Tag Archives: rape

Why It’s OK to be Emotional

by Heather Charles, B.A. ’10 + M.A. ’12

I’ve been following the Stubenville Rape Case very closely. You see I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor, so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. In addition, I had a close friend who was brutally raped in high school, and my little sister was raped while I was in my junior year of Stanford. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, obviously, but that doesn’t really matter here. I just follow these cases because it’s one of my personal causes as an activist. All of the causes I take up are deeply personal, and this is because they are the ones that I both have the authority to speak on and the drive to fight. Besides this, the most important mentor of my life, Professor Tom Mullaney (Seriously take his class) told me that we should chase the questions that haunt us most. So rape, sexual assault, and the rights of women are all near and dear to my heart (among other issues).

Like all Stanford students, I have the ability to talk reasonably and with authority about many things. But there are things that I get emotional about, and if you’ve ever encountered me and said something that I find to be ignorant you’ve likely faced a wrath you weren’t used to and didn’t expect. Where I come from, people were never surprised when I was angry, they were grateful that an articulate person had so much passion and was willing to speak for others.  People are completely ok with expressing anger, so I had to learn that this was shocking when I got to Stanford (also, I am a white girl and I think that plays a big role in how people expect me to talk). I get emotional about this issue. I don’t get irrational, my arguments, even in anger, stem from a highly logical, well-educated place because I am both highly logical and well-educated. I do however get angry and aggressive when I am making my point, I won’t sit by idly when something stupid is said, and now that I am older I don’t care what response I get.

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Pillow Talk

by anonymous, ’13

Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault 

I don’t know if I said no

But I didn’t say yes

Hands in fists, belly up

Torn from sleep

Awoken from ignorance

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Shattering Taboos: Let’s Talk about Sexual Assault

By Joanna Poppyfield, student

Trigger Warning: Contains details of sexual assault

I am a firm believer in the power of open, honest dialogue as a prerequisite to healing. Not just personal healing, but collective healing. At Stanford, we need to improve dialogue around sexual assault and rape if we want to truly beginning to address the fact that we have a real problem with sexual assault and rape on our campus and to heal the wounds that afflict far too many of us.

Just a few facts to put this all in perspective (all obtained from the Stanford Daily):

  • 4% of Stanford students reported having been raped, while 7% reported in a Health Promotion Services survey that they had been penetrated against their will
  • 15% of people reported having sex under pressure, according to the same survey
  • 9% of the general student body, 13% of straight women, 28% of gay/bi/lesbian identified students, 11% of gay men and 15% of students who did not select a gender option have experienced attempted, non-consensual penetration, again according to the HPS survey.
  • Furthermore, over 50% of students surveyed reported being forcibly fondling, unwantedly touched or kissed, again according to the survey through HPS.
  • According to Angela Exson, Assistant Dean of the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse, “the average offender will commit [sexual] crimes seven times before any action is taken against them.”
  • The worst statistic though, in my opinion, is that 28% of victims had no one to talk to about their experiences. Continue reading
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The Tragedy of Grey Matter

by Alex Nana-Sinkam, ’13

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I grew up glued to a reality of black and white. Don’t freak out, this isn’t an essay on the struggles of mulatto identity in 21st century American suburbia. I left and will continue to leave that dance to my 18 year old, boldly naive, college essay writing self (but damn did I do that introspection justice; always did picture my words metaphorically synonymous with a rebellious Taylor swift song). This essay is neither about the way I was raised. Because yes, my parents taught me morals. But no, never once was I presented with a blue vs. red pill. They never asked me to swallow, without doubt, an understanding of the world that was not my own. I’m also lucky to have never been made to feel like my soul searching was mindful ambling all for naught.

Instead, I was my own Oracle growing up. And for whatever reason, I painted my own Matrix in (what i considered to be) vibrant hues of black and white. My compass pointed me North or South, illustrated right versus wrong, narrated good against bad. [1] I credit my success throughout the first 1.8  decades of my life in large to my presumptuous moral understanding of the world during these years. For long enough it served as a nexus for my motivation, most crucial decisions, lifestyle choices, and appreciation of those people who added substantially and positively to my growth as a human being. Maybe now, such a stark outlook on existence would prove harmful (still paring this one out). For a while, though, the profound belief that being a skilled hurdler simply meant practicing, that divorce was wrong, that cheating (in or on anything) was never (not ever) acceptable, that skipping dance class was weak, that drinking was irresponsible (as was sex), or that working hard should not ever be question but simply nature, gave me a focus and ambition I could not even attempt to recreate today. Continue reading

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Response to Daily Coverage of Sexual Assault on Campus

by Leow Hui Min Annabeth, ’16, Sara Maurer, ’16, Diego Argueta, ’13, Arianna Wassmann, ’13, Monica Alcazar, ’13, + Teresa Caprioglio, ’14

Last month, The Stanford Daily published an article by executive editor Brendan O’Byrne, “Culture of silence surrounds sexual assault.” As victims, survivors, and allies, we find ourselves shocked, upset, and outraged at the article—at the methods used in contacting sources, at the framing of the story, and at the failure to substantially address real issues surrounding sexual violence on campus.

The writing of the article itself was founded on ethically dubious practices. One of the methods which O’Byrne used was to cold-email strangers whom he knew were possibly rape survivors, and to proceed without any warning to ask for their thoughts on the Alternative Review Process. While there may have been no malice in this act, there was certainly a lack of sensitivity which made him ill-suited to write on such a sensitive topic.

A trigger warning, while helpful to many victims and survivors, merely cautions readers that the following subject material can be psychologically distressing and triggering. It does not give the writer licence to proceed from that point onwards with needlessly, egregiously graphic and gory details. Yet that is precisely what happens in this article, which begins in medias res with a painfully and unnecessarily elaborate description of a rape. That description—especially a description framed by an outside party, rather than given first-hand—serves no purpose other than to shock and sensationalise an extremely personal experience of raw and humiliating vulnerability. Continue reading

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Empathy, Compassion and Accountability: Finding a Middle Ground to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

by Viviana Arcia, ’13

Disclaimer: Women are more likely to be survivors of sexual violence than are men. As such, I will refer to perpetrators by male pronouns and survivors by female pronouns. However, domestic violence and sexual assault affects men, women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. 

The recent article on sexual assault on campus has brought an often taboo subject back into campus dialogue. And, like almost every time the subject is back in public consciousness, two opposing and fiercely vocal sides begin heated and passionate debates, often failing to openly take in what the other says and feels, more often than not failing to reach a comfortable middle ground.

As an advocate for survivors of rape and domestic violence for four years and as someone who is close friends with numerous survivors, I myself have very often been dragged into these debates and, in the meantime, made enemies, gained allies, and learned difficult but ultimately fulfilling lessons in engaging “the other side.” Two very important lessons I’ve learned and would hope that others who engage in these discussions do as well is the idea of empathy and compassion.

One in three women will be raped or abused and one in six men will have been survivors of sexual assault/abuse in their lifetime. As such, you are guaranteed to have met a survivor, although most won’t readily identify as such. However, these statistics have failed to affect much of Stanford’s campus culture regarding rape and domestic violence, and it is this culture which I believe holds the most power in reducing the number of violent acts that we perpetrate against each other. Continue reading

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Introducing Students for Reproductive Justice!

by Simone Hudson, ’16, + Miranda Mammen, ’14

Artwork by Favianna Rodriguez

We are so excited to introduce Students for Reproductive Justice, reignited and renamed from Stanford Students for Choice.

We reactivated this student group because we crave a more sophisticated dialogue about reproductive autonomy, choice, and access than our current political discourse has to offer – and because we’re scared and disgusted by the recent flood of anti-choice rhetoric and legislation. (It seems the Republican party can’t go a week without an outrageous comment defending an abortion ban with no exception for rape – oops, we meant “legitimate rape”. Or maybe just “the rape thing” in general? Remember, these aren’t gaffes – they represent actual political doctrine!)

We renamed the group to signal a shift in our approach to these issues. The reproductive justice framework moves beyond the pro-choice narrative to ask how reproductive decisions are impacted by access and identity, even when legal rights are in place. Continue reading

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V-day and Militarism

by Pr. Geoff Browning, Campus Minister

We all know what V-Day is, the day that victory was declared in the wars against Japan and Germany in WWII. Eve Ensler, in her book and play, The Vagina Monologues has reclaimed the meaning of “V” to mean “Victory, Valentine, and Vagina” and to build V-Day into a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Stanford V-Week just presented an extraordinary production of The Vagina Monologues that was profound, hilarious and heart-rending all at the same time. But I would like to call attention to a seldom-acknowledged connection between militarism and sexual violence.

As Stanford V-Week has been working to communicate, violence against women is epidemic. Among the grim statistics, one in three women globally will be the victims of battery and/or sexual abuse sometime in their lives. Somewhere in America, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. Globally, four million women and girls are trafficked into sexual slavery every year.

According to a recent Defense Department report, there were over 3,100 sexual assaults in our professionally trained military in 2011. But these are only the reported assaults; the Pentagon believes the actual number is much higher. Non-Pentagon sources say it may be as much as 10 times this number. Think about that: more than 30,000 sexual assaults. This means that every woman who serves in the military is at greater risk of being assaulted by her fellow soldiers than being killed or wounded by the enemy! Continue reading

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