I came to my computer today ready to write an incensed post about how the De Anza civil trial is playing out, to find that Cara at The Curvature had me covered. Please read her post for the full update on the trial, but beware the depressing amount of victim-blaming/”slut-shaming” involved in this case.
Last year, SAFER did a training at SUNY Geneseo, where a survey of students showed that “about 15% of women and 8% of men in [the sample] were severely sexual assaulted.” I was excited to read last week about their Sexual Assault Teach-In, which included a presentation from the awesome folks at Green Dot.
The National Union of Students in Australia is undertaking a large-scale survey of college students, and has so far found that “1 in 10 female students have experienced sexual violence while in university.”
A student at San Diego State University describes her frustrating experience with campus police after being raped and beaten by her then-boyfriend. She wanted to file for a restraining order, but the campus police would not release the report to her, which included the photographs of her injuries. Here’s something you never want to read: “I was at Staples taking pictures of my bruises, doing all of this on my own, paying out of pocket.”
Jessica Valenti called out university responses to sexual violence this weekend, mentioning the Yale frat chant, and the recently released recommendations of the task force that was subsequently formed at Yale. The recommendations focus on education, but the full report can be found here.
Finally, there is an interview with Heather Corinna of Scarleteen over at Where is Your Line? I really loved her answer to the question “How do you think we, as young activists and students can best make a difference?” and wanted to share it here:
Value your own voices and experiences where they are right now and get them out there, ideally to a larger audience that just the people who you’re working with. I often hear young people who feel that there’s no point in them speaking up and out because older people won’t care or some peers won’t care. However, even for those who won’t care — and whose adultism is their problem and bias — plenty do care, and more to the point, your peers do care and they need to see and hear you to help them feel and be more empowered.
Everyone also needs all of you to speak to where you have been and where you are, rather than trying to speak from a place that isn’t yours, or is a place you’re not at yet, but think you need to be at to have authority or earn respect. Not only do you not need to be anywhere but where you are, giving your own experiences and the you-of-right-now the weight they deserve, and YOU giving them authority is incredibly powerful. Not just for you, but for other people who, by virtue of age, gender, of having been victimized, who are of color, who are in any way oppressed and silenced by someone else. Doing that models that authenticity is more powerful than conformity and that oppression is something we have the capacity to change, even when we’re the ones oppressed, and we do that not by making ourselves people we aren’t and more like those who are oppressing us, but by refusing to be anything other than ourselves.