Read about it here. (Thanks, Mr Jender!)
How Anonymous began fighting rape and rape culture May 14, 2013
Read about it here. (Thanks, Mr Jender!)
And the fox preventing attacks on chickens… May 7, 2013
From Democracy Now:
An Air Force officer who led the branch’s sexual assault prevention unit been arrested for allegedly committing an act of sexual assault. Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski is accused of drunkenly approaching a woman in a parking lot in Virginia and groping her. The woman fought back, and Krusinski’s mugshot appears to show cuts and bruises on his face. The news came on the eve of a new Pentagon report showing the epidemic of sexual assault among servicemembers is continuing to rise. There was a 6 percent increase in reports of sexual assaults in the military in fiscal year 2012 compared to the previous year. The number of people who anonymously said they were sexually assaulted, but never reported the attack, rose dramatically from 19,000 in fiscal year 2011 to 26,000 the following year.
It seems that only in fantasy does the chicken win:
Violence and Silence May 4, 2013
Excellent TED talk by Jackson Katz, one of the folks behind the bystander approach. Watch it. Then ask your friends to watch it.
Rape conviction rates up, but… April 29, 2013
It was reported last week that conviction rates for rape in the UK are higher than they’ve ever been. 63% of prosecutions in 2012/13 resulted in a conviction, which is 5% more than five years previously. Similar success is reported regarding domestic violence. This is, of course, good news. However, it’s not quite a straightforward success.
First, the ‘conviction’ rate includes all convictions resulting from the prosecution, many of which are not actually for rape (someone might, for example, be tried for rape and convicted of a lesser sexual offence). In 2010/11, the actual rate of conviction for rape was 33% out of an overall conviction rate of 58%. The same is likely to apply to the reported figure for 2012/13.
Second, as the initial linked article points out, another main complaint about the legal process concerns the proportion of reported rapes which result in a prosecution. According to this article, an annual average of 15 670 reports results in an average of 2 910 prosecutions. That’s about 19%. So even if 63% of those 2910 cases result in convictions, that’s a mere 11% of the original reported total. In other words, 89% of reported rapes don’t result in any sort of conviction. Bear in mind that the Crown Prosecution Service recently released a report (pdf) which establishes pretty comprehensively that false allegations of rape are extremely rare.
Third, yet another problem with the legal process is the fact that so many people are discouraged from reporting rape in the first place. For fairly obvious reasons, statistics on under-reporting are hard to come by or verify (one estimate attributed to the Ministry of Justice in the Independent article above is 60 000 to 95 000 — that’s quite a variation between the upper and lower limits). But it’s apparent that this is a problem, and it’s apparent that even if conviction rates continue to increase, there’s a lot more to be done to improve the legal and policing environment which results in under-reporting and under-prosecution.
SUNY Geneseo Colloquium: Perhaps not what it seemed April 24, 2013
Today we have been hearing from Heidi Savage, a feminist philosopher at SUNY Geneseo about the talk many have recently posted on by Ted Everett. She tells us that the event has been very much misrepresented:
The talk was misrepresented in the assumption that Ted was seen as some kind of rape apologist, simply in virtue of the title, which he certainly isn’t. But this is how it’s been portrayed on jezebel and in a petition started to ask the president of SUNY Geneseo to condemn the talk. In fact, even the media represented the issue itself far more neutrally and reasonably! I’ve seen the talk and it raises legitimate issues, issues that are controversial within feminist discourse itself. To represent the issue as one between THE feminists and the anti-feminists is an embarrassment to me at least as a self-proclaimed feminist.
Moreover, in a somewhat ironic twist, the critics have failed to notice that there is a feminist woman responding to him. Here’s the full schedule.
Topic: Political Perspectives on the Sexual Assault Awareness Movement
Speaker: Dr Theodore Everett
Title: Against “Sexual” “Assault” “Awareness”
The quotes in the title indicate that I am not against SA awareness, but that I am against much of what’s *called* SA awareness. My central concern is that the sexual assault awareness movement counts too many borderline cases (for example, badgering somebody into letting you give them a kiss) as true sexual assault, when they are not really sexual and not really assault. This diverts attention away from the truly damaging core cases of rape and sexual assault that everybody cares about and toward borderline cases that no one believes are equally important, even though they also shouldn’t happen. The presentation of sexual assault as systemic to American culture rather than pathological behavior, together with the zero-tolerance mentality that it supports , both do more harm than good to college women, who in my view would benefit most from an honest, unpatronizing, genuinely respectful, and two-sided discussion of these issues.
Commentator: Dr Heidi Savage
Title: “No” means “no”: feminist and victim understandings of sexual assault awareness
While there are many different motivations for raising questions about the Sexual Assault Awareness Movement, at least one motivation comes from feminist controversies about what counts as consensual sex. Historically, this controversy arose between those known as “anti-pornography feminists”, and “sex positive feminists” whose proponents had very different understandings of what counts as sexual autonomy for women. It is important to understand that questioning the current definitions of what counts as an instance of sexual assault does not entail an anti-feminist agenda. There is not a unified feminist front on this topic. To assume otherwise is to risk silencing victims of sexual assault even further by imposing a particular conception of sexual assault upon them that they might themselves reject. If we are to properly address sexual assault as feminists we must listen to victims of sexual assault and develop a theory of consent in tandem with victims’ own understanding of that concept.
I’d like to ask that everyone be super-careful about being nice in their comments.
Steubenville Victim’s Request March 21, 2013
She’d like everyone to donate to a shelter for abused women and children in her county. After the hell she’s been though, and is still going through, her main thought is how to help others. What an amazing person. You can donate here. (Thanks, J-Bro!)
In Case You Are Not Yet Sick of Hearing About Steubenville March 20, 2013
Perhaps the title for this post is a but uncharitable; this post entitled “Toxic Masculinity” discusses Steubenville, but it is really picking out a larger phenomena as its topic.
”as former NFL quarterback and newly-minted feminist Don McPherson recently put it, ”We don’t raise boys to be men. We raise them not to be women, or gay men.”"
“Toxic masculinity is damaging to men, too, positing them as stoic sex-and-violence machines with allergies to tenderness, playfulness, and vulnerability. A reinvented masculinity will surely give men more room to express and explore themselves without shame or fear. (It will also, not incidentally, reduce rape against men as well, because many rapes of men are committed by other men with the intention of “feminizing”—that is, humiliating through dominance—their victim.)”
I’m willing to bet feminist philosophers have already taken up similar arguments in regards to masculinity. Does anyone know of any work in particular?
Indeed. March 18, 2013
American media on the India gang rape: Omg those barbarians are out of control! Look at us, we’re so ahead of the times!
American media on the Steubenville rape: Omg look at the lives we’re ruining by convicting these 16 year old rapists!
Thank, Mr Jender! From here.
Framing the Steubenville rape verdict March 17, 2013
Harlow explained that it had been “incredibly difficult” to watch “as these two young men — who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”
Those poor, passive boys, whose lives have been torn apart. You know, by *committing rape*. The commentator went on to lament that they would be placed on a sex offender register. There are lots of cases in which one can criticise the placement of people on a sex offender register. But raping someone unconscious and incapable of consent is not among them. More here.