Beyond the Campus

Following up from last week’s story on the New Jersey gang rape of a 7-year-old girl…the lawyers for one of the men charged in the assault claimed that “These boys are victims of their own hormones.” The Community blog at Feministing challenged: “Rapists…are not victims of biology. I give men much more credit than that. I recognize that they are rational human beings who have and deserve control of their own bodies. This allows them to make choices about what to do with their bodies…That doesn’t make them a victim of hormones. That makes them a rapist.” Trenton community leaders and activists, joined by Mayor Doug Palmer and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, also made a call to the men of New Jersey in an impromptu march last Saturday through the neighborhood where the attack took place. Said Palmer: “I think it’s a good beginning. The proof will be if we can get more men together in this and other sustaining activities.” Also to come out of this story was a piece on Philadelphia Weekly calling out the local Fox channel (surprised?) for labeling the assault as “had sex” versus the correct term, “rape,” noting: “It’s language that takes the point of view of the attacker.”

Also following up from last week’s story about the many barriers one woman experienced in reporting her rape in DC, Feministe confronted issues of citizenship in sexual assault, asking “If it takes the nation/state to confirm a rape happened–what does it mean when states require local police to check the immigration status of anybody who “reasonably” looks “illegal“?” Yes Means Yes blog also compared the road blocks in reporting rape to confronting bullying at the elementary school level.

Now onto celebrities…they’re just like us! Still subject to sexual harassment (if you’re a woman) and perpetrators of rape (because testosterone + money + power + celebrity = infallible). On Tuesday, Gawker posted that Steven Seagal sexually assaulted his assistant and trafficked two Russian women as his sex slaves. Then the VERY NEXT DAY there was this piece titled, “Surprisingly, this ‘Steven Seagal used me as his sex toy’ story isn’t going away.” Going away? While apparently the story broke back in February, I was actually surprised not to see it plastered everywhere (I mean, c’mon, Tiger Woods was on the cover of the NYPost for more consecutive days than 9/11). The AV Club, who posted the latter article, played into a bit of victim-blaming, or perhaps merely relayed the victim-blaming happening within the lawsuit: “Also complicating matters: The inevitable revelations that the former model has done things that could be used against her in the press, such as taking “come-hither,” clearly-she’s-a-harlot! sexy photos and appearing on an episode of The Tyra Banks Show, where she regrettably said she can “trick any guy” into getting whatever she wants.”

There’s a sexual harassment case developing out of NY1, an NYC television station (a suit that apparently has been in the making for nearly 10 years, with no help from sexist, wife-beating colleagues). The story developed from the initial report of a hostile work environment, to victim-blaming (like this headline, “If NY1 Reporter LOL’D at Big Breast Parody, Was It Harassment?“), to details that expose the news organization as a hostile work environment to all of its female employees.

RH Reality Check confronted why so many victims of sexual harassment and abuse often respond in silence, and Feministe tackled the issues of silence surrounding the sexual assault of trans women. The Curvature wrote of the importance of consent in every day situations – even as seemingly simple as getting your hair cut.

Finally, a victim-blaming columnist just won the Pulitzer Prize. I’m appalled by the anti-feminist behavior being rewarded, and what this says about what we hold in high regard in our country. What’s your reaction?

What else have you been reading this week?

Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess. You can find her on Twitter @TheUndomestic.

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