A recent article published in USA Today (Issue December 15, 2011) provided readers with rape statistics found in a new study released by the CDC. The first line of the article, written by Janice Lloyd, reads, “A major government study examining sexual violence in the USA reports the majority of the victims have serious physical and mental health consequences that can last a lifetime.”
It seems hard to believe that literate Americans need be instructed that “38% had difficulty sleeping” after experiencing sexual violence. The article also enlightened readers with findings of the study, which reported, “Violence often begins at an early age and commonly leads to negative health consequences across the life span.”
These findings might appear blatant and common sense, yet readers may not be aware of sufficiently committed to understanding the affects of sexual violence. And perhaps more disturbing, American television viewers may be encouraged not to take sexual violence seriously, as motivated by programs such as
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Television programs like Law and Order: SVU trivialize victims of sexual abuse to gain ratings and maintain an audience whose only concern is the traumatic and graphic incident itself, instead of the repercussions of sexual violence. Viewers are desensitized when they are constantly exposed to a stimulus, and those instructed to be entertained by something as sexual violence, might not only be less likely to care about the victims of such assaults, they may also be more likely to emulate this behavior if its consequences are stripped of meaning.
This past weekend on Saturday the 5th at 1:00 pm at the UMass Observatory field, I was lucky enough to participate in the first MVP hosted powderpuff game. A total of 10 young women participated and a group of supporters showed up. The event was a success. It was so enjoyable we decided to reselect teams and play another game! Due to my unbelievable athletic skills, I was on the winning team both times of course! Winning aside, we all had great fun and decided we would try and start an intramural tackle football for women and with the support of the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality. This decision was made after several aggravated “accidental” tackles during the game.
This game not only represents the mentors in violence prevention but the dedication and support of people on this campus. Hopefully, when another game is held in the future, we will have more support and even more participants! Thankfully there were many photographers present and a multitude of pictures were taken. Enjoy!
A beautiful representation of both the support of your teammate and the aggressiveness the game had. This is why we need WOMEN’S CONTACT FOOTBALL! Pictured is Kayla Akin bringing down her fellow woman for her fellow teammate, Rola Hassoun.
THE PLEDGE: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that “It Gets Better.”
This is the pledge that is on the front page of the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org/page/s/pledge . Not only does it represent the message we should be sending to our youth, but it gives hope to those who are still struggling with their identity and sexuality. Countless LGBT youth struggle with coming out. They don’t know what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They find it hard to imagine a future that is built in a comfortable environment with people who are supportive and understanding. This projects aims at showing LGBT youth what the future holds for them and being the support that they need. Many LGBT kids and teens are bullied and tormented on a daily basis. This treatment instills a feeling of isolation and misunderstanding. Many of these youth hide their sexuality to avoid the daily harassment.
On October 11, 2011 UMass Dartmouth is holding its very own spin of the It Gets Better Project Event! It is taking place in the Fredrick Douglass Unity House from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. We are also having a special film project where LGBT members of the UMass Dartmouth community come together and share their stories about how their lives got better after high school. Please come and show your support! We want to hear your story! To be involved contact Donald Dow at email@example.com. Or stop by the Center for Women Gender and Sexuality, located on the 2nd floor of the campus center. Room 207. Or call 508-910-6567!
Visit the website and take the pledge. This is a great way to get involved, helping spread the message of hope to LGBT youth. With your help, many will soon have hope that It Gets Better.
After reading Chloe’s post: Caitlin Flanagan calls for the end of fraternities @ Feministing.com
I quickly realized that this is a battle both myself and some feminist friends on campus have been dealing with all semester. What is the real problem here? Why don’t we have more co-ed fraternity/sorority groups? Why don’t we start a feminist one?
The problem in campus communities is that everyone wants to believe everything is all fantastic and wonderful. Women fail to remember how they hold their keys between their fingers as they walk to their car at night. Men laugh and call women pathetic when multiple women go to the bathroom together. Women lock their doors the second they get in the car and check the back seat for unwanted company. We live our lives in fear.
A lot of these actions are imbedded within us because our mothers, sisters, aunt and grandmothers have taught us by sharing their stories and telling us that the night is not ours, we are never safe and every man is a potential rapist. We then want to believe that when we move away to college to further our education and break free of our gender stereotypes, that we will remain safe and protected. Well unfortunately we remain as women in this rape culture where women are seen as sexual objects and are asking to be raped when they dress up to go out on Thursday night.
I challenge you to educate yourself more on the rape culture in your country, state, town and university. When looking at a college and you see low statistics or no statistics of sexual assault, wonder why? Is this because it doesn’t happen on this campus or because the majority of assaults are acquaintance rapes and women are terrified.
I challenge sororities to challenge fraternities.
I challenge fraternities to evaluate what they are doing for their philanthropy project. Check out Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, The White Ribbon Campaign, Mentors in Violence Prevention, Men Standing Up, & Men Against Sexual Violence. There are many men out there making an change and letting women know that they are working for and with women to help end sexual assault, sexual violence and rape in our present rape culture.
I challenge you to challenge someone else.
Yours Truly, Samantha Coffin
After viewing the video below I decided it was time for me to share my opinion on talking to sex partners about STDs.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with an STD. Herpes. I got genital herpes from a boyfriend I had been dating for six months but just started sleeping with. He was my first sexual partner after my rape in 2005. I was very confused when my doctor told me what I had and who I got it from. Convinced I got herpes from my rapist, I apologized up and down to my “then” partner and told him I couldn’t believe that happened. Why did we have sex that one time without a condom? OMG?
It felt like my life was over and I was stuck with my partner for the rest of my life and we should just start picking baby names and talking about marriage. I was 18 years old.
In 2009 my partner decided to end our relationship. I wanted to go places and he didn’t. I wanted to travel and he was comfy right where he was. So the relationship ended and I was left as a single 20 year old women with an STD that I would have FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!
I had a ton of first dates, first kisses and then the little fling thing ended over and over again. My friends thought I was playing all of these guys and no one understood. I couldn’t expect them to understand. They didn’t have an STD. If they had, they were gifted with a the temporary one that fled your body after a few naps, heavy medication and terrible regret. I couldn’t bare to tell anyone I was thinking about sleeping with that I, me, this 20 year old college student who had only been with in one serious relationship, had an STD that would last forever.
After many tears and potential amazing boyfriends that I never even gave the chance to accept my “condition”, I ran to one of my closest mentors. “Me too!” Was the first thing out our her mouth. She told me how she dealt with Herpes in day to day life. A year later I found myself still unable to tell anyone and being abstinent for almost two years IS NOT FUN. I asked another mentor about my situation hoping she would be shocked and tell me “I’m so sorry” like they always do. She said “ME TOO!” WHAT?? The second women I asked had herpes too? Damn. I am not alone.
So then the first time I was going to tell someone was only a few hours away and I started throwing up. This is such a hard thing to do. I just said it. ” I have Herpes”. “Oh” pause ” How did you get it?”.No negative reaction at all. Just a group of questions and an ok. That was that and how it has been with the few I have told since. Now I am “out” and say proudly that I was an ignorant teenager that now can educate friends about herpes and about how easy it is to get. The partner that gave me herpes got it from his ex when she had a cold sore. It is that easy.
My advise is, just say it! Tell them. If they are worth your time they may ask some questions and you both my need to sign onto google and look it up. The worst is, you don’t have sex with that person! The world is not over! I promise!
Women’s basketball continues to gain recognition thanks to the outstanding play of the college elite. This year’s NCAA tournament provided upset and superior athleticism, as well as showcased a blend of talent and dedication to academics offering positive examples to women of all ages.
Were you watching? You may be reminding yourself at this point that you came across a game or two by accident while you were watching the men’s tournament. Unfortunately this may be the case for many as the women’s games were not easily found on the major networks until the final four. However the women of college basketball certainly made sure that someone was watching this year. The defeat of UConn in the semi finals shocked every sports fan as it opened up the door for an unlikely champion. Texas A&M took the title this year defeating Notre Dame 76-70.
If you were wondering what became of the UConn women after their loss…you likely missed the WNBA draft on April 11th. Senior, Maya Moore took the number one pick sending her to the Minnesota Lynx where she’ll begin a lengthy professional career. Continue to follow and support these amazing athletes and amazing women as they begin their WNBA season this Spring! Viva women’s sports!