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Dear Former Classmate/Facebook Commenter,

Man oh man do I have some questions for you. When a friend of mine shared the article about George Lawlor saying “this is not what a rapist looks like”, why did you feel compelled to comment? Why did you feel the need to go out of your way to spread your hateful and judgement-filled opinion on my newsfeed when we haven’t spoken more than a “hello” when I see you in public for years?

What do you think gives you the right to tell me and other women that if we get drunk and have sex then “regret” it later that it isn’t rape? That it’s our fault? What right do you have to say that “calling men rapists” is anywhere near as damaging as having your physical and emotional dignity and identity torn apart by experiencing a sexual assault? Could it possibly be the same privilege that George Lawlor experiences every day? That of a white, heterosexual, middle-class male who has never experienced street harassment, getting groped against your will in a club, or being shamed for enjoying and embracing your sexuality? Do you not see that the throne of privilege you sit on is also a throne of ignorance, hatred, and misogyny? Believe me that in being white, heterosexual, and middle class myself I have often struggled to recognize my privilege. But while it is difficult to do, it is imperative in order to live life as an educated, respectful, loving member of society who advocates for people of all backgrounds.

When you said that “not all men are rapists”, did you for one minute think that I or any other women think that? Do you honestly think that we, as women, believe all of our male friends, significant others, spouses, fathers and brothers are rapists? If you do, I am completely baffled. Do you not realize that ANY men raping women is enough for women to be a little apprehensive? And the fact that 1 in 6 women will be victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime gives women EVERY reason to be afraid? Yes, your point about men also being victims of rape is valid. Though that is the only valid point your comments made.

When you said that teaching the consent standard is victimizing men by calling them rapists “simply because of their genitals” did you for once think that this isn’t rooted in feminist issues? That feminism can’t help men too? Do you think that women being afraid and angry because our bodies aren’t guaranteed safety is for one second less important than your fragile male ego? You and George Lawlor are the exact reason we need consent education for men AND women and for people of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, ages, and religions. Your ignorance infuriates me and at the same time makes me terribly sad.

And on the note of you saying, “shouldn’t there be education programs to teach people not to get raped” instead of teaching consent: shame on you. Women hear this message day in and day out. We are told that if our skirt is too short, we deserve to get raped. If we get too drunk, we deserve to get raped. If we flirt too much, we deserve to get raped. You are perpetuating an incredibly dangerous culture of victim blaming and slut shaming. Shame on you. I am thankful that I am not a survivor of sexual assault so I cannot speak directly to how these comments feel to survivors. But knowing how angry, hurt, and attacked they make me feel, I can imagine these emotions grow exponentially for those women who have experienced sexual assault.

Thankfully, the hatred and ignorance that you possess has only had the consequence of fueling my fire for advocacy, activism, and education. You have just provided me with another story to use when I teach, another example of why we all need feminism and why we all need to take a second to check our privilege. While you sought to make me feel bad, you did the opposite. I feel powerful. I feel informed. I feel that my purpose is reinvigorated. So while I want to scream “screw you”, instead I will issue a small “thank you”. While your ignorance is dangerous and damaging, the fire you threw gasoline on in me will reach much farther and wider than your ignorance ever will.


The Angry Feminist You Went To Preschool With

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Sexual Violence… the youth breakdown.


Did you know that about 10% of youth are affected by sexual violence? Although that may seem like a small amount, it is still pretty shocking, and it is important for people to be aware of this. More than 75% of women who have been raped were raped before the age of 25, and more than 42.2% of that group was raped before the age of 18. These statistics were calculated in a study conducted by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention in 2010.


But before I go any deeper in the topic, its important we all know the definition of ‘sexual violence.’

“a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.” This definition was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Some examples of sexual violence are as follows:


  1. Unwanted penetration of completed penetration on a victim, also with alcohol, or drug affiliated penetration of a victim. What this is saying is that the victim is intoxicated with either alcohol or other substances, and cannot give proper consent or defend themselves due to a lack of awareness to what is going on.


  1. A victim is forced or someone is attempting to force them, to penetrate someone else or in some cases penetrate the perpetrator, also sometimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


  1. Verbally forced non physical acts of penetration after a person has been pressured or intimidated enough.


  1. Completely unwanted sexual contact.


  1. Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.

examples of this would be forced exposure to pornography, or verbal sexual harassment.


Statistics also show that sexual violence begins at a young age, primarily during the teen years, 16 being considered the “peak.” Today’s adult rapists may most likely have been teen perpetrators and if it had been noticed it probably could have been prevented. The main question is how could this have been prevented, and why does it happen?


A basic reason why this may happen so often, is that there is a high chance the perpetrator doesn’t even realize or understand the seriousness of the crime. 1 in 10 teenagers experience sexual and emotional abuse by their partners. The most common perpetrators are actually partners in a relationship, rather than someone you’d run into in a dark alley. 6 out of 10 rapes of young women have actually been in their home, rather than with a stranger in an alley. This isn’t saying that can’t happen, but it goes to show how sexual violence seems very common in relationships even as teens.


Sadly, people seem to stay quiet when they witness such a tragedy. Whether seeing it on the street or seeing the “symptoms” of sexual or any abuse in general maybe by a close friend or family member. People may think “oh it’s none of my business,”or “getting involved will just make things worse.” This is not okay, if a victim doesn’t see it or is trapped, they need help or a wake up call before it’s too late.


It’s sad to say I myself have seen videos that have gone viral on Facebook or Twitter of mostly men sexually and physically abusing young women. While the person with the camera is just recording and the people around watching or completely ignoring it like it’s not even going on. The video gets millions of views but does it change or help the chain of violence? I’d hope so. Enough about why, lets discuss how it can be prevented in the first place.


I look at it like this, teens go to school, High school is where relationships begin to get more “serious” and intimate, why shouldn’t every middle and high school have a specific course, or a specific section in comprehensive sex education class on information revolving around sexual violence, healthy relationships, and also how to learn sexual respect. It can only really benefit the youth with knowledge and educate them if they don’t know certain things. These courses honestly could save some lives from trauma and prevent violence for future situations which could happen in college or even older for these teens. Although this won’t prevent all sexual violence in youth, if these courses could be placed in more middle schools and high schools across the country sexual violence rates would decrease.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Women have always had to bear the brunt of patriarchal domination, cruelty and exploitation. One of the explicit forms of violence besieging women since time immemorial is rape. The Country Code 2020 of Nepal has recognized “Rape” as grievous crime. However, the 35 days statutory limitation in filing a plaint for rape has evolved into an impediment in justice delivery.

Statutory limitation is the procedural principal which states the absolute time limit to bring forth a plaint by a party to the court. This principle encourages law enforcement and prosecutors to act in an appropriate manner to apprehend the wrongdoers, making justice better accessible to victims.

Most state legislations have not imposed limitation on ‘heinous’ crimes. The notion of limitation period is justifiable in most legal circumstances, but the question of whether such a short limitation period should exist, or any limitation should exist at all over heinous crimes, is highly debatable. I find the 35 days statutory limitation on rape cases idealistic, unrealistic and unreasonable, in consonance with the directive order given by the Supreme Court.

Various social stigma, fear of re-victimization or ramifications, reliance on male relatives to access the legal system, political threat, intimidation, rejection of registration of First Information Report and lack of due diligence in investigation and prosecution deep rooted hindrances aggravated by the 35 days statutory limitation. A victim might necessarily need more than a month to get through the trauma of rape and develop the mental strength to deal with legal procedures.

In addition to the Supreme Court, prominent organizations like UNHCR, ONHCR, CEDAW committee, Human Rights Watch, and National Women Commission share the same opinion that a rape victim might often be too traumatized and scared to speak up and approach the justice system within such a short time span. Furthermore, the statutory limitation is evidently more often than not, used by the law enforcement to not file complaints of rape cases. Even when a complaint is lodged, the restrictive statue gives very little time for investigation (to the police) as well as for filing of charge sheet at the court, thereby undermining the chances of a successful prosecution. As stated by the ONHCR, and reflective of my personal notions; rape is a crime at any time: after 35 days, months or years.

Hence, this statute of Limitation for filing a charge sheet within 35 days of the date of commission of crime is largely inadequate, in light of the gravity of the offence, and the traumatization and social ostracization that victims are compelled to go through. Hence, in light of the international and national obligations, Nepal has a duty to reform its criminal laws by eliminating the 35-day limitation period, that currently stands as a barrier to victim’s justice.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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One of my colleagues recently had a worst experience. This experience is a nightmare to anybody who has to bear the trauma. She was a victim of sexual assault. This occurred in a workplace, by the senior most officer of the organization. As she was reciting this horrible experience with me, I already was furious. She was compelled to bear all the inappropriate talks and touches. She could not protest more than staying as much as far and distant as she could. But, this did not help much. The ill-intentioned officer also called her all day and night and forced her to meet outside the office premises. All these malapropos gestures could no more be tolerated by my colleague resulting in shifting the work place.
On asking her, if she ever complained about this incident to the police, she said that she did not want her name to be publicized on this issue. She was also adding that the perpetrator is also her distant relative. Thus, she refrained herself from sharing this thing to her family and closed ones fearing that the relationship will get messed up. This incident, thus, raised few questions in my mind. “Why should the victim only think about the stability of the relationship of their family members with the perpetrators after the things get shared?” “Does the perpetrator really bother to care about the relationship with the family of the victim?” “What motivates the perpetrator to do sexual assault?” “Can these people just molest any one with ease?” “Do they ever get punished for their wrong deeds?”
We all are quite known to the fact that majority of the victims are assaulted by someone they know. Many of the readers may think it’s such a foolish act not to file a case against the one who assaulted us. But, if you were in the above mentioned case, would you ever open up your mouth? Would not you bother about the relationship of your family with that person, no matter how close they are? And the most important thing would be, would you ever file a case against that person? Would you??

Categories: Sexual Violence
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We often hear about rape incidents here and there, every now and then. Women and girls, children of small ages and even elderly women have been victimized. Often it is not the strangers but their own family members or the relatives that commit the hideous act. Rape is a violent crime not only against the victim whether it is a women or a minor but against the whole society and humanity. Rape, is not a dirty secret that is to be suppressed and silenced. It is one of the hideous truths in our society that must be spoken.

According to the latest statistics, a woman is raped every 54 minutes somewhere in Nepal. About 200 rapes are committed annually and reported but also nearly the same numbers are not reported. Shame and fear of both social stigma and reprisal attacks prevent majority of the rape victims from reporting the crime. Pregnancy due to rape is another important factor that terrorizes the victims’ family to face society. Society remains ignorant and the victim is made the culprit. She is forced to give in and even made to marry her own criminal, leading her to the most devastated life. It is the victim that loses respect and dignity in the society that ultimately ruins her. All that is left are the silent cries.

It is not only the ignorant societies, but also the law itself that has led to suppression of the victim’s voice, encouraging the crime. In Nepalese context, the loopholes in the criminal justice system of Nepal, lack of effective legal protection and inadequate rape laws have made the prosecution difficult and the justice system thus fails to bring those perpetrators to justice as criminals. Furthermore, the corruption and the news about gender crimes by the policemen, the so called country’s security itself, cannot be overlooked.

Those many voices of reported and unreported cases are still hidden somewhere waiting to be heard, waiting for justice. They were abused, victimized and sworn to silence. The pain they have gone through is not just physical but also an emotional and psychological one that would not be healed unless we unite and make the perpetrators pay for their deeds. On the path to find justice, many have perished away with suicide as the only way out. The rape now is not just a rape but becomes a murder.

As the rape cases still continue, who are we to look upon for security? One’s own family…? The society or the government…?? The fear of being raped anytime and anywhere is continuously present at the back of a girl’s mind. Who is to take the responsibility to free a girl from that fear- is still a big question!!!

The silence needs to be broken….!!!


Categories: Sexual Violence
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We hear girls being raped and often it is implied that, it’s the girls who must have provoked men and she got exactly what she asked for. Many men claim their sexual frustration or their inability to control their libido to be the reasons driving them to rape. In many instances it is suggested that women get raped because they were careless at night times and sometimes they get raped just for revenge. There are different motives to rape and each case differs from the other. With it various causes and psychological needs have been pointed out along which various myths and misconceptions are linked as well.

Though there are various reasons, in rape psychology specifically six psychological drives for rape have been pointed out. They include dealing with rejection, feeling superior to women, expression of power, revenge, compensation and regaining control. When the subconscious mind wants to force a person to satisfy a certain need it sometimes makes him believe that he is satisfying another need. In other words men who rape women might believe that they are doing it just to satisfy their sexual desire without realizing that there are other deep needs behind their motives.

This clarifies many of the misconceptions regarding the reasons why men rape such as the way women dresses, their free way of lifestyle or their attractiveness and flirtatious nature. Rape can occur to any women and girls, of all ages, classes, culture, ability, sexuality, race and faith. Rape is not just the sex but an act of violence and the reasons are much deeper than just the sexual tension or libido. It is not the girl or the women to be blamed, but the urge for power and the superiority complex that drives them to commit such heinous acts. It is thus essential to realize this in order to bring about changes in thought and mentality of people. Only then can the perpetrators be accounted for their crime and the victims brought to justice.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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(Based on the true story after Earthquake. One of my friend who worked for the disaster relief from one month’s reported this all. They were six in numbers and were a remote area. It was the experience of working in some rural village in the eastern part of Nepal))


It had been fifteen days I had not talked to my mom since I had been there.

My phone got charged after so many days after walking nearly about 5 hours. The area was too remote. And I had to buy a recharge still 2 km far from the residence I stayed.

I decided to go alone. Since all of my friends were busy washing the clothes and bathing.

I was satisfied from inside that I was working for the disaster victims.

(After I covered nearly one kilometer)

”Hey, leave me.”

A trembling and frightening sound hit my ear. Breaking my solitude and my thoughts.

Thinking it was my subconscious mind, I moved forward towards my destination.

Again a sound of pain and yelling broke out.

Oh! My god. Is there something really serious? I turned back and went towards the place where the sound was coming.

I was in fear. I was imagining the worst of worst’s in my mind. And I was running towards the area with thousands of thoughts in my mind.

“Maybe it’s a rape.”

“It should not be.”

“If it is?” Then?

When I reached there, I nearly got faint. My heart stopped for a minute may be, and tears roll down the eyes.

I could not decide what should I do know?

I saw something that I should not have seen.

My mind didn’t work out.

I felt like I should die here it, the situation of women is still pretty serious.

I wanted to spit all the inhuman peoples.

It was a broken house and a pregnant woman with two girl children.

When I saw their situation I could say everything clearly. Some inhuman peoples raped her five years child and when she stopped them for their act they raped her too. She was bleeding and no house and no peoples were around there. When I touched their hands, I felt they were dead.

I was frightened even more, since I cannot see the dead body. I tried run out to call my friends some 1 km far crying.

But my legs stand still.

With lot of efforts I reached up to my friends till evening.

I insisted them to leave the place the same night and they were shocked.

After I told them the whole story they even panicked. We all went there the next day with some peoples and police.

According to peoples there she was the one who used to fill her stomach with daily labor in others houses. And her husband died on the earthquake.

Shit peoples. I could not control myself I returned back the same day. I still have not recovered from the trauma.

But the day has made me determined to work for the women of rural areas.  I want the teenagers like me to join me. We can do something for such violence. Never forget this could have happened to us.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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Human is the one beautiful gift of nature. The human are developed on the time of started the society.  That decade and time human desire demand and needs was limited. Our time and society continuously going to be modernize. Modernization one of the good and best way to develop our country and society within the duration of modernization we get many facilities, technologies, infrastructure its golden opportunities for us.

Time is change, society is change, human’s attitude and thinking are change but most of the man’s behaviors and activities are hastiest. I am happy for one sides because I am grow in this modern society but I am very sad and hopeless because our country is going to be develop but here people have not a relationship of humanity. They involve in crime, they discriminate other people from their caste, class, religion, ethnicity and culture. They create always one by one social problem and crime.

Now, I am really serious and sad because why people are going to do bad activities. Rape is one of the big social problems. Its make life is painful and unrepeatable of women and girls also of the boys. But now why day by dad increase in the rape case? Why people are so stupid they don’t control their desire? Many girls, women and the child of 3 to 5 years they also victims of rape and other sexual harassment. We always says evidence is most of the important and strange favor for the provide justice. But we can’t able to found many more evidence of the rape. Some people are able to do police report about rape. Sometime media are able to open and publish news to many media line but most of the case and rape, accident are not flash on public.

One man he rape to child, one father he rape his daughter, one brother he rape his sister, one grandfather he rape his granddaughter, one husband he do sex with other girls and one women she build sexual relationship with many man. Man and women both involve in rape case almost rape case are relate in same relationship. Some media flash news and able to provide justice but most of the reap case are not flash in society reason has fair and other. I think people have not humanity so that they don’t think about good and humanity relationship.

Evidence is most important part of justice so if we want to reduce rape cases specially child rape with sexual harassment  please focus to investigate evidence and other separate rape related case then thy to provide justice for our meaningful humanity.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Its not daily that we come across people who may be looking at us from another orientation but when most of us do- we tend to ignore those people and give out the signal that society is not ready to accept them. Similarly, we also come across brutes who disregard the importance of women and consider them as material things and hence measure them in terms of money.

Just recently, a 31 Year Old Doctor from India committed suicide blaming her husband as he had lied about his sexual orientation and also accused him for asking for dower. It should be of no surprise to these people since in reality, this is what society in this region of the world teaches. Dower, polygny, betrayal and treatment of women as a third class citizen is as common as one can imagine.

Many from the society in which this man was nurtured would stand up to abuse and blame him for the events that happened but in reality, is the society not to blame?

A husband who lied to his wife about his sexual orientation since the common society did not accept him as a human is indeed the fault of society. Why was it that he was not able to reveal such an important reality about his life when his mother possibly forcibly married the two in a union without even having know each other? The first crime that this society committed was by making that man shy of revealing his reality. Secondly, due to the constraints that prevail in India and most of the region, the husband and wife were not able to know each other for any or at least a moderate period of time before the marriage hence the incapacity to reveal secrets and trust each other. Had the two known each other for some time, maybe he could have revealed to her that he was not a straight male. Similarly, this could have saved us from this absolute cruel to hear story.

Now, coming onto the second main point. In a society where a woman’s family is expected to give large sums of money, why is it that many expect another male member of the society to not do the same? Had these trends not been publicized and supported by the families of many- He would most possibly never had asked her for any money in the form of dower and saved her from a lot of mental duress and physical torture.

At the end, it all sums up to one and an only main point. A person’s personality is structured more by his surroundings and less by himself and in a society where dower and such things are widely acceptable even if “Illegal by law”- There is no way that another man even if a doctor would stop from doing so. Simultaneously- accepting what a man or women wants should be the society’s job but instead making one shy to reveal himself is not acceptable at all and hence today we are seeing such horrific results today.

Bring change in yourself, in the society and learn to accept what one’s sexual orientation is. Do not discourage and abuse a person if he is gay/lesbian/transgender but do abuse him if he asks for dower. Stand against the wrong, not a humans thinking! #Support Ones Sexual Orientation! #Demoralize those who support dower because women are equal and humans. Empower those who gave us birth!

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“It always starts but then it suddenly ends. They come for a week and then I just never see them for months” Said Ameena (Original Name not disclosed for security purposes)a housewife who barely gets to see her family.

She was married at the ripe age of 19 without even the slightest of her consent as her dream to continue forth a career in Journalism was shattered. From dreams of being an Anchor at a Political Scrutiny Show, she was brought down to the bitter reality of life of a woman in Pakistan. She was told that she does not need to pursue any career as her sole purpose of existence was to give birth and please her man. Hiding her tears to uphold her parents dignity- She threw away her dreams and got married to a bachelor known for criminal charges in the city. Her parents married her since their view of a woman’s life was just like that of a slave to her man. Forgetting everything, she still managed to get through with all tradition and marry the man her parents intended for her to marry. They thought he would protect her but the reality intervened and the mad man could not even protect her wife from himself. 2 Years later; Ameena found herself trapped in the same house without any medical help with 2 broken bones and miscarriage. She lost her child and the full function of her left arm after which she was kicked out of the house by her brutal husband who was supposed to “protect” her. She cried her way back home asking for random strangers to help but none decided to aid the poor lady. At last after 2 Miles of Walking with blood all over her body she arrived at her parents door. They didn’t welcome her, they threw her away as you would throw a tin into a bin. Their first sentence “He is you husband, he holds rights over you, Go back-Apologies and make him happy”. She begged and begged until her brother broke the silence and decided to take her to a hospital. She decided never again to go back to her house again and today; She works as a columnist for a renound Newspaper today. 2 years of abuse, a broken bone for helping her male cousin up the stairs and another broken for standing out the widow with open hair. Her parents tried hard but after seeking refuge at local NGO she survived and prospered.

Tales like that of Ameena are not unheard in the cities of Pakistan and even emotions are also hurt, hearts also cry for these poor beings but then no action takes place. No man mans up to save her daughter and no brother stands to protect her sister from brutality. Many issues are today covered raging between the rights of Homo-Sexuals to Protection from Harassment but unfortunately they are only covered. No action takes place, no help is provided and women are left to rot in societies such as that of Kalam Garh in Karachi.

1/3 rd of 2015 has passed and so shall the year itself soon but what would we have done, nothing but type words and give a few speeches at the UN. This takes me back to a quote of that hung outside the wall of my classroom, “Facta Non Verba”, “Deeds, Not Words”. We speak but let our actions speak louder that our words and let us bring a change.

With countries like Pakistan and Saudi where women are treated as nothing less that servants, let us help them in their struggle to achieve independence from chains that entangle them and oppress their dreams under a patriarchy of inequality. According to the National survey of Human Central Independence, conducted by the Government of Pakistan; 9 in every 10 women faces sever abuse at least once in her lifetime and 7 of them face such hardships based on the excuse of religion and male domination.

Polygny is acceptable polyandry is not. My son get a doctorate my daugher should be married by her 20 Birthday? Females are slaves and men are master? Let us please change this and bring a change to these statistics that are literally destroying our women apart.

It is understandable of your to follow your religion but manipulating it to oppress and hurt one is simply not acceptable. These people do not have the right to bring their religion as a reason to stop “Her” from pursuing their dreams, chasing their fantasies, fulfilling their wishes and rising with ambition.

We see lesser and lesser women in the open now, barely a few to spot by as more and more hurt by men nowadays. Many hide their emotions to protect their dignity or that of their family so let us help them as they cut their way across fields of pain and agony and get a equal shot at life. I am maybe a male but a human before that; if you are one who believes in “being a man” become a Human first otherwise there is no way to progress to the point of Manhood.

Bring change and remove religion as a basis of inhumanity. Bring Humanity as the religion and work to eradicate silly fake religious limitations and wonder just why would God want just only to favor men.

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Part of my childhood was spent living with 14 other family members, not including myself. Growing up, a part of the conversation at my home was about not talking (at school,) about the times when my uncle would slap my aunt, or get so angry that the sofa would end up in his arms, and thrown across the living room. I remember that one time, I forgot and mentioned the violence to my teacher: tension at home grew when the elementary school called and wondered how safe I was in a home where domestic violence was “normal.”


Years later in college, I came to realize that it wasn’t O.K. for my uncles to throw chairs at their spouses, or that it was not normal for my aunts to cover up black eyes with makeup and sunglasses. Then I understood that my aunts were not in the position to go to the authorities, in a country where they are invisible and disregarded by police: their brown skin marks them as immigrants and targets, and because that – the same brown skin means they must do nothing more than be complacent, and survive.


I within the first year of college, I was exposed to the reality that the LGBT community experienced high rates of sexual assault, domestic violence and rape. I dreaded to even think of where the intersection was between the immigrant community queer communities, in regards to statistics of sexual assault. I then visited an immigration Detention Center and met an undocumented teenager (19,) named Saul. Saul was from Peru and made the journey through Peru, to Central America, to Mexico and finally to the United States. He chose to migrate because he was being assaulted in Peru due to his perceived sexual orientation. Now in the United States, the American guards sexually harassed him. Saul hinted at a possible assault, but couldn’t speak much because guards loomed over us while we had our conversation. When I spoke with him, he’d already been at a different detention centers, but was moved around because of the sexual harassment/assault(s) he was experiencing.


It broke my heart to think that this 19 year old was fleeing violence and prosecution, only to be prosecuted and assaulted in the United States. He was queer and an immigrant – and he was a reflection of myself: A queer immigrant (or child of immigrants,) who had seen too many scarred faces and bruised lips from his family members. As soon as I left the Detention Center, I made the decision to forever include both communities, when having conversations about sexual assault. Not too long ago, I delivered a “know your rights” training to the Latin@ Student Alliance at school – and made sure to include the LGBT community in the conversation short after. Understanding that there is power in storytelling, and in knowing that the U.S Constitution protects all people living in the United States brings a sense of relief to my already vulnerable and fearful heart: Fearful that I won’t be able to reach the hundreds of thousands of folks like Saul, or fearful that there are immigrant men and women who are survivors or currently experiencing sexual assault or domestic violence.


I think about the times when my uncles threw chairs at my aunts, or when I was strictly told to not mention the violence at home; now I also think about how powerful it is to talk about sexual assault in my immigrant community, in my queer community and in both: Making sure that folks like Saul, my family and thousands of others are represented and heard.

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Women are considered vulnerable groups against any kinds of violence in the society. They are often considered weak and are exploited by people in the society. These types of exploitation and violence were practiced from the ancient years till the recent dates. The only difference is that the types of violence against women are changing; are being more brutal.

Though most of the people are being gathered to stop these kinds of violence and encourage women empowerment , on the other hand the violence is being more severe. Mostly rape and acid attack are being common means of violence done against women. These cases are common in developing countries like India, Nepal and other South Asian countries etc.

One of the recent case of acid attack that occurred in the most developed and sophisticated cities of Nepal proves that the violence against women still exist in our society. The more developed the country or any cities; the more new ways of women’s violence arises. In the past years violence against women were only limited inside the four walls of the houses but today violence is everywhere in the society.

These kinds of acid attack is mainly caused due to the rejection of the girls in response to any kinds of proposal made by the men. This rejection hurt the so called pride of the men and they commit such inhuman activity which shows their cowardliness. This inhuman activity has shattered the dreams of many girls in the society as well as affected their near and dear ones.

The recent case of acid attack occurred in Basantapur has shattered the dreams of two normal girls who were preparing for their SLC Board for shaping their bright future ahead. They were just like any other normal girls in the town who have some dreams to be fulfilled and some achievements to be made in their future but the incident have shattered all their hope and courage of achieving their goals.

I believe, strict action must be taken against this types of violence before it becomes one of the trend of violence against women so that one will never dare to commit such crime in near future.

#GirlDeclaration #post2015 #globaldev #girlsandwomen #girleffect #investingirls #generation2030

Categories: Sexual Violence
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realmendon'trapeSince stepping foot on a college campus I have met three individuals that have been victims of sexual assault.  It is a fact that “reported assaults hit 5,983 in the 2014 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 8% from last year and up from 3,604 in 2012” (TIME) and the numbers continue to rise. The question at hand: is it a good thing or bad?

Sexual assault is a major threat in the United States of America, especially on college campuses. Women seem to be the primary targets, though men are not exempt from being victims. So why, then, are rapes considered “alleged” when they occur on college campuses? The recent assault at the University of Virginia has been an eye opener. A young woman was gang raped at a Fraternity house, and the University has been reluctant to act. The University President has been reluctant to respond and the President of the fraternity claims he was absolutely clueless about what was going on. Howard University has had a similar case of the “Silent Bison”. No actions were taking, although she reported. This is not surprising considering that, according to the Huffington post, “fewer than one-third of campus sexual assault cases result in expulsion.”

I am on the Young Women of Color Leadership Council, which consist of 11 young women in high school and college, and the focal point of the organization is to ensure the well being of women, with an emphasis on a variety of issues, including sexual assault awareness and eliminating stigma. I have been on the council for several years. In addition, I have also conducted several case studies to gather information on this issue and I couldn’t believe my findings. Because of my education, my personal experiences, and my involvement in the Young Women of Color Leadership Council, I became passionate in in this work.

So I am every aware that it is a hard psychological thing to tell the story of what happened during a sexual assault. As a resident assistant, I was trained not to allow any of my residents who suffered from sexual assault to re-tell their story unless appropriate authorities so that they won’t have to keep reliving the traumatic encounter. Recently, I even read a few articles where some news sources tried to discredit the young woman from the University of Virginia. In the case of the University of Virginia, Mark Herring, the Virginia Attorney General, “called on Rolling Stone to take steps to correct errors in the story rather than simply issuing a walk-backed statement”. This trend of encouraging the nation to pick through someone’s narrative in order to give it merit is a flawed one and it is no wonder why sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the country. It bothers when I can read an article in TIME and find excuses: “We learned the rules to frat life quickly, or at least we thought we did. Never let your drink out of your sight. Don’t go upstairs – where the bedrooms were housed – without a girlfriend who could check in on you later”. This is classic victim blaming, and it paints the picture that rape only occurs in Frat Houses. But sexual assault on college campuses is not just a fraternity issue. The advice the Time’s imparted was something I was told as a freshman in college. Which makes me think: Are we accepting this culture? And if so, how can we change it?

However, as I mentioned before, there is hope. Spaces that are notorious for under-reporting, such as the military and institutions of higher education, are seeing increases in victims telling their stories. President Obama even recently launched a campaign to end sexual violence on campuses and as result; I expect to see more accountability from higher institutions.

But it cannot stop there. As a college student it is important for me to know what avenues to take if sexual assault ever occurs and something has to be done to hold the individuals accountable who commit these attacks. Consider this: a study by two psychologists out of Brown University and University of Massachusetts at Boston found that ninety percent of college rapes occur from a serial rapist. This not only means that those who are committing these rapes are not being held accountable, but that if they were taken to task for their crimes, there could be a considerable decrease in rapes.

“President Obama suggests that 1 in 5 college women is a victim of sexual assault” (Washington Post).  That means that if I am in class with twenty-five women, five of them are probably sexual assault survivors. For the sake of these women, sexual assault needs to be taken seriously in all spaces, but especially on high-risk spaces like college campuses. Rapists and higher institutions that are not dealing with must be held accountable and victims must be free to share their stories, without fear of being blamed for being attacked.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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After the long wait !
After so many hardworking days!
finally my name got announced,
big round of applause was there
congratulations wishes were everywhere!
and i took a long breath of happiness!
i was stunned! i was speechless!!!

literally i was about to brust into tears
remembering all those my struggling years!
wheni was standing infront of all
while evryone was saying me,”WHAT A GIRL!”
i remembered my father
who had left me!
i remembered my mother
who alone raised me!

i looked up in the sky
and showed her the award!
in a hope,from heaven
she might be watching over me!!!
because all she wanted to see me,
because all she wanted
her daughter to be,

and it was 8pm.
ceremony ended!
while returning home alone!
i got chased!!!
and next morning
i found myself in hospital’s bed!
there was a NEWS,
“last night one GIRL been #RAPED!!!”

Categories: Sexual Violence
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World indeed has been as a small village with the growth of technologies. Within few decades, the world has grown a lot in field of technologies. With the help of web technologies and mobile technologies; no one is left behind at the past technologies; every one are influenced by the technologies. But even with the development of technologies; the perception of human being has not even been changed against GBV(Gender Based Violence). There are the people around the society who knows how to use the latest technologies but still has the old thinking.
Past; were the days when one person from a country could not possible to communicate with other person in other country. World was a strange place to live; a person could rarely see the beautiful corners of the world. But the world has changed it’s face within few decades. The people were civilized more; the culture were possible to be shared with the revolution in the technologies. People from thousand miles away could share their culture, language, knowledge with the help of technologies. With the revolution in technologies; every people were influenced directly and indirectly. The advancement in technologies also deviated on the social issues. Many social problems was minimized with the help of branches of technologies. People were secured in streets with the help of CCTV on the roads; people could raise their voices against social issues with the help the social networks and many more. The development on mobile system is also a revolution on technologies where on could be connected without staying at the fixed place. Many application were launched focusing on social problems. Lots of applications on Android, IOS were developed within the society to make people aware on the social issues. There are lots of application that has been developed for the security of women. One of the app is “Women’s Security”. This is a smartphone app that helps women to ensure their safety using their devices. The app following feature:
1) At first user have to save some details. These details include: Email address and password of the user, Email address and mobile number of the recipient and a Text Message.
2) Then initialize this app as a “widget”, so that a finger touch is enough to alert your recipient.
3) It will also record voice around surroundings for 45 seconds and then send these record and a text message to the recipient number.
This message also includes the current position (latitude and longitude) of the victim.
Some other application’s information’s are at this link: http://apps.allwomenstalk.com/security-apps-to-keep-you-safe-whenever-wherever
#GirlDeclaration #post2015 #globaldev #girlsandwomen #girleffect #investingirls #generation2030

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Every human being originated from a single cell. After lots of phases/stages, human have evolved. We became the most intelligent living being and successor of the world. Back from Stone Age till now, human are categorized as male and female with our sex. As the world began to civilize, people started wearing clothes to cover their bare body, they began to differentiate people in different categories, and they developed their own rules and ethics. People achieved a lot and lost a lot during civilization. They grew physically and mentally in the course of time. All people worked together to achieve the success that human have now. Not only men or women worked alone to achieve this height of success. But after all these centuries, still women are at the shadow. Still in various part of the world, women are not empowered as much as men. The condition is still bad in the most part of southern Asia, Africa. Male dominating society still is rooted to be the barrier for women empowerment.

In southern Asia, there are critical condition for women where they are not secured within their own locality, they are not free to go outside, and they are harassed, abused. They are not respected as much as men. Even their own family don’t support them for their studies because they consider women are meant to marry so they just need to learn house work. This stigma leads women to dark side where they are not well educated, not aware of the problems they might face in near future. The stigma is so deep rooted that the family are not aware of the consequences their daughter might face in future. This social stigma becomes one of the cause of the increasing number of crimes like rape. When the society is male dominated and the women cannot raise their voice for the justice, the crimes grows more and more.

The UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific surveyed over 10,000 men at nine sites in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka. At the survey site in China, 23 percent of men admitted to at least one rape. In Papua New Guinea, that figure was 61 percent. Although there are lots of rape cases around the globe, very few of the women are able to raise voice for their justice. Most of the women are still scared of their society which gives more inspiration to the rapist and the crimes goes on.

According to researched performed by Racheal Jewkes on Asia, Sexual entitlement was the most common motivation across all of these countries. Sexual entitlement means feeling that you ought to be able to have sex with a woman—essentially, if you want it, you can have it. The attitude of the police in many countries often discourages victims from reporting rape: one study in Turkey found that 33% of police officers agreed with the assertion that “some women deserve rape” and 66% agreed that “the physical appearance and behaviors of women tempt men to rape.”


Some of the people really sets very bad example of human being. Before differentiating one another on the basis of sex, gender, religion, countries; we all are human being. Though we may have different language, different culture and community; we all have one thing common and that is Humanity. Humanity has been described as “the quality of being humane”. But some people has completely lost their humanity and lost the privilege of being called human. Women are no different than men. We have same capability to perceive, think, and imagine the world.

Every Human should learn to respect another Human because “what goes around comes around”. Real men don’t rape; only those cowards who doesn’t have courage to respect women; rape. There was a phrase on internet which was too meaningful for them who thinks wearing short dress for women means the invitation for rape: “If you blame the rape victim because her clothes was provocative then you must also blame bank that was robbed because its content were provocative”.

I respect every human regardless of their sex, gender, religion and all the differences that human have set. And I believe “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

#GirlDeclaration #post2015 #globaldev #girlsandwomen #girleffect #investingirls #generation2030

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Each country has its customs  and traditions,like my country!but the thing is that those traditions especially have bad consequences in people’s life,no,chiefly,in girls’life.When you are a girl and you live in the south east of Madagascar,your life won’t be a fairy tale!your entire existence will be a nightmare where you could never wake up!why am i saying that?Because:

There,when a girl has just started to have breast and her period,her parents can offer her to be sold and bought by the first rich gyu who is coming to buy her in a place which called:”Tsenan’Ampela”,where she should honor her parents by satisfying her buyer with sex and be available at anytime for her owner!it’s just disggusting to know that there are parents who are ready to sell their children just because of the traditions,and i feel lucky to have parents who would never exchange me even for all the tea in China!Last month,while i was watching the news,there was a girl named SOLANGE,she was testifying that her parents urged her to prostitute because the traditions ask them to do so,she did it even though it was against her will,just because she loves her parents.And one of her customers was a good guy who knew that this violence inflicts on them was unfair and so he decided to help her by escaping her village and moving from here,and now she is at university and married with her hero!

But what might happened if the guy was not there to save her?And how about the other girls who are stiil living this hidious traditions?should we just look at that and doing nothing?

Categories: Sexual Violence
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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month so I did a bit of research and found some signs to look for when it comes to dating violence. First I have listed some signs to look for within yourself, if you match any of the scenarios, then look onto step two. Step two is looking for signs from your partner.


Here are signs to look for when observing yourself and your position in the relationship.

  • Spending all of your time with a dating partner and very little time with friends
  • Losing interest in or giving up activities that once were important to you
  • Feeling afraid of your dating partner
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Refusing to discuss your relationship with others, including close friends and family
  • Having bruises or injuries inflicted upon you by your partner
  • Apologizing or making excuses for your dating partner’s behavior, anger ojealousy


Step 2!

When observing your partner here are a few red flags:

  • Insulting you in front of others
  • Controlling your money and finances
  • Quickly losing his or her temper with you or someone else
  • Demanding to know where you are at all times
  • Making most of the decisions about your relationship
  • Requiring that he or she approves of your clothing or make-up choices
  • Showing signs of extreme jealousy
  • Hitting, pushing or acting out violently (this is never acceptable, and you should get help immediately)

If you find that you are in an abusive relationship after observing there signs please reach out to a trusted adult, friend, or family member. DO NOT let the abuse get any further. Put an end to it before it’s too late. 

All of the information listed above comes from the website listed below. Please click on the link for more in depth information: http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/tips-for-dating-safety-and-avoiding-dating-violence/index.aspx 


Stay Informed. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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World indeed has been as a small village with the growth of technologies. Within few decades, the world has grown a lot in field of technologies. With the help of web technologies and mobile technologies; no one is left behind at the past technologies; every one are influenced by the technologies. But even with the development of technologies; the perception of human being has not even been changed against GBV(Gender Based Violence). There are the people around the society who knows how to use the latest technologies but still has the old thinking.
Past; were the days when one person from a country could not possible to communicate with other person in other country. World was a strange place to live; a person could rarely see the beautiful corners of the world. But the world has changed it’s face within few decades. The people were civilized more; the culture were possible to be shared with the revolution in the technologies. People from thousand miles away could share their culture, language, knowledge with the help of technologies. With the revolution in technologies; every people were influenced directly and indirectly. The advancement in technologies also deviated on the social issues. Many social problems was minimized with the help of branches of technologies. People were secured in streets with the help of CCTV on the roads; people could raise their voices against social issues with the help the social networks and many more. The development on mobile system is also a revolution on technologies where on could be connected without staying at the fixed place. Many application were launched focusing on social problems. Lots of applications on Android, IOS were developed within the society to make people aware on the social issues. There are lots of application that has been developed for the security of women. One of the app is “Women’s Security”. This is a smartphone app that helps women to ensure their safety using their devices. The app following feature:
1) At first user have to save some details. These details include: Email address and password of the user, Email address and mobile number of the recipient and a Text Message.
2) Then initialize this app as a “widget”, so that a finger touch is enough to alert your recipient.
3) It will also record voice around surroundings for 45 seconds and then send these record and a text message to the recipient number.
This message also includes the current position (latitude and longitude) of the victim.
Some other application’s information’s are at this link: http://apps.allwomenstalk.com/security-apps-to-keep-you-safe-whenever-wherever
#GirlDeclaration #post2015 #globaldev #girlsandwomen #girleffect #investingirls #generation2030

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Hey guys! This is Hamna Tariq from Pakistan. ViolenceI\’ve recently noticed that the streets in my city are mostly crowded with males and hardly do I spot a woman nowadays. This has concerned me greatly as girls tend to stay home, hidden from society, to prevent them from being harassed. As a result, several women leave their jobs and their families become a target of poverty. In today’s society women are not even safe enough to walk to a nearby market alone. They are trapped within the four walls of their house so they remain ‘secure’.

Adolescent girls, who dream of success, are forced to do household chores or marry someone so other men are not able to harass them. This disrupts their education and they are not able to live their life the way they want. This caged oppressive life causes psychological problems for adolescent girls and not only do they have to carry the burden of maintaining a household but also endure the pain of childbirth and an age when they should be studying.

Two years ago, I had a girl in my class, Mishaal. We were good friends and had the same subjects. However, she was forced to leave school. Why? Because her ‘brother’ felt that by coming to school, she came in contact with males thus she should sit home and do what women are supposed to do; household chores and get married. She had to sacrifice her education and her dream of becoming a doctor because of a certain mindset inculcated in our society. But why does this mindset exist in the first place? This is because of the lack of laws and regulations ensuring women’s safety. It is believed that women are ‘supposed’ to be harassed when they leave their homes. Why else would they come out?

This trend of adolescent girls being barred from society is on the increase. There should be strong and adequately resourced child protection systems which do not only secure girls from all kinds of harassment but allows them to live their lives freely without fear. Thus, safety is a pertinent issue that needs to be addressed and hopefully by working together we can protect adolescent girls all around the world from violence and exploitation.

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In a surprising turn of events Wednesday night, House Republican leadership decided to cancel their Thursday vote on a 20-week abortion ban. The decision was largely driven by GOP Congresswomen who felt that the details of the ban were too harsh and would further alienate their party from young and female voters in 2016. The bill, which made the usual exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the parent, did so in a more restrictive way than is usually attempted. The rape exemption only applies to survivors who have already reported their assault to the police (something that happens in only an estimated 35% of rape cases), and the incest exemption also requires prior reporting, but is only available to survivors who are 17 years old or younger.

During an interview, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of South Carolina described her hesitation on the restriction of the rape exemption. “The issue becomes,” she said, “we’re questioning the woman’s word. We have to be compassionate to women when they’re in a crisis situation.”

With similar concern, Congressman Charles Dent of Pennsylvania voiced his confusion on the logic behind the age limit of the incest exemption. “So the exception would apply to a 16-year-old but not a 19-year-old?” he questioned. “I mean, incest is incest.”

While the bill, titled the (medically inaccurate) Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is off the House floor for now, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey isn’t ready to give up on it. While speaking to the House Rules Committee, he said, “I would just briefly mention that the pain-capable legislation is only delayed. It’ll be up on the floor, it’ll be up on the floor soon. That bill, I promise you, will be back on the floor very, very shortly.” It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to make this happen given the dissention that has made itself evident within the party as they’re trying to make the GOP more palatable to younger voters before next year’s Presidential election.

Instead, the Republicans decided to vote today on a different anti-abortion bill, one called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. It passed by 242-179, with only one Republican voting against it and three Democrats voting in favor.

While the bill makes it sound like there is currently federal money being used to fund abortions, that’s just not the case- not entirely. What’s known as the Hyde Amendment has been routinely passed each year for decades and states that no federal funds may be used to assist poor women in accessing abortion services. The amendment does have exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the parent, but the bill voted on today also allows for those exemptions. The only difference is that today’s bill would make the funding restriction permanent.

In addition, the bill also bans the federal government from subsidizing health insurance plans which offer coverage for one of the most common out-patient medical procedures in the country: abortion. One-third of American women will have an abortion by the time they are 45. Considering how many people of reproductive age are currently getting an affordable, reduced rate on their health insurance plans thanks to ObamaCare, the passage of this bill through the House is a national health concern.

Now that the Senate has a Republican majority as well, pro-choice and pro-abortion activists cannot rely on bills like this being restricted to one chamber of Congress. President Obama promised in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that he would veto any 20-week abortion ban, and while he’s very likely to veto this funding bill should it pass the Senate, reproductive rights in America are far from secure.


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Every human being originated from a single cell. After lots of phases/stages, human have evolved. We became the most intelligent living being and successor of the world. Back from Stone Age till now, human are categorized as male and female with our sex. As the world began to civilize, people started wearing clothes to cover their bare body, they began to differentiate people in different categories, and they developed their own rules and ethics. People achieved a lot and lost a lot during civilization. They grew physically and mentally in the course of time. All people worked together to achieve the success that human have now. Not only men or women worked alone to achieve this height of success. But after all these centuries, still women are at the shadow. Still in various part of the world, women are not empowered as much as men. The condition is still bad in the most part of southern Asia, Africa. Male dominating society still is rooted to be the barrier for women empowerment.

In southern Asia, there are critical condition for women where they are not secured within their own locality, they are not free to go outside, and they are harassed, abused. They are not respected as much as men. Even their own family don’t support them for their studies because they consider women are meant to marry so they just need to learn house work. This stigma leads women to dark side where they are not well educated, not aware of the problems they might face in near future. The stigma is so deep rooted that the family are not aware of the consequences their daughter might face in future. This social stigma becomes one of the cause of the increasing number of crimes like rape. When the society is male dominated and the women cannot raise their voice for the justice, the crimes grows more and more.

The UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific surveyed over 10,000 men at nine sites in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka. At the survey site in China, 23 percent of men admitted to at least one rape. In Papua New Guinea, that figure was 61 percent. Although there are lots of rape cases around the globe, very few of the women are able to raise voice for their justice. Most of the women are still scared of their society which gives more inspiration to the rapist and the crimes goes on.

According to researched performed by Racheal Jewkes on Asia, Sexual entitlement was the most common motivation across all of these countries. Sexual entitlement means feeling that you ought to be able to have sex with a woman—essentially, if you want it, you can have it. The attitude of the police in many countries often discourages victims from reporting rape: one study in Turkey found that 33% of police officers agreed with the assertion that “some women deserve rape” and 66% agreed that “the physical appearance and behaviors of women tempt men to rape.”


Some of the people really sets very bad example of human being. Before differentiating one another on the basis of sex, gender, religion, countries; we all are human being. Though we may have different language, different culture and community; we all have one thing common and that is Humanity. Humanity has been described as “the quality of being humane”. But some people has completely lost their humanity and lost the privilege of being called human. Women are no different than men. We have same capability to perceive, think, and imagine the world.

Every Human should learn to respect another Human because “what goes around comes around”. Real men don’t rape; only those cowards who doesn’t have courage to respect women; rape. There was a phrase on internet which was too meaningful for them who thinks wearing short dress for women means the invitation for rape: “If you blame the rape victim because her clothes was provocative then you must also blame bank that was robbed because its content were provocative”.

I respect every human regardless of their sex, gender, religion and all the differences that human have set. And I believe “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

#GirlDeclaration #post2015 #globaldev #girlsandwomen #girleffect #investingirls #generation2030

Categories: Sexual Violence
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“Girl raped by her own grandfather”
“Fourteen months old molested by neighbor”
“Seven year child raped and killed”

These are a part of daily news now-a-days. The news of sexual abuse, and above all,the child sexual abuse are astonishing. Be it a infant of 9-months or the little girl child of merely 5 years old, they are being the victims of pedophiles and ill motive people. Boys are no exceptions. Children are being molested in public places, fondled and cuddled with bad intentions, raped, abused and killed just for the sake of pleasure. These issues are slowly being reported these days, but often they are kept undercover.  The “culture of silence” engulfs the pain and suffering of the abused child giving the victim the lifelong scar of emotional and mental distress. Moreover, this phenomenon is widespread, far beyond than what is being conventionally acknowledged.

From various researches, it has been found that the abusers are the ones who have the shared responsibility to care for the child and help them grow emotionally and physically. Yes!! It is absolutely  stupefying to know that family members, neighbors and friends are using their juniors for sexual purposes. (more…)

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Awakening to the structures and news of precise world where women’s are being victimized by various cases of rapes, harassment and so on. On the occasion of Laxmi puja, a girl was raped and thrown in the river in Ilam and after I went to see the dead body my tears rolled down. I got a revolutionized and my blood rages every time I hear such news. A kind of frustration hovered inside me with what difficulties those victims were facing on their life. I wholeheartedly wanted to work on that but I basically had no idea from where to start on. I brainstormed a lot and after a long time I recalled kamala Aunty of my village who forgone with various painful circumstances in her life and still was working on. She had two brilliant daughters who were bright on their studies and were raped on their way to home. She was like broken from inside since her one daughter was killed and the other was going through mental trauma after that incident. Her husband was killed in a bus accident after two weeks of the rape case and the challenges were not less for her. She had to live a life of a single woman as well as a mother of two victimized daughters.
She took her time to come out from that emotional phase of her life because she believed she had to work for many others girls like her daughters who may go through same cases. She believed she had to fight back. She had to bring change in mentality of the peoples who take girls as tools to fulfill sexual pleasure.
After that she worked on the sector of child right, she now goes to places and provoke the things she faced so far. She is also a representative of single women organization. Some women’s are strong in spite of the trouble they faced and one of them is kamala Aunty. I got my realm now to work on the sector where I firmly rebel the disgusting patriarchy and now I know I have to start as how she started, how she developed the courage to work on the field she felt to work through.
My brother used to say “every generation needs a diehard revolutionary figure to bring about the change” and question is “Why not I?” and the answer is “Yes I will and I can”.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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I am a girl. I have a breast, I have a vagina  and I menstruate  and I am proud of whatever I have .But things were not like this in my past days, I used to get shy, get embarrassed and even sometime I used to ask myself, “why the hell I got born as a girl?”.  I still remember my childhood days when I wanted to play outside  but   I was not allowed  to play outside  when I used to ask them “ why i cannot  play outside as my brother ? And   people around used to say “A girl should not play outside”. And I stayed quite. My brother and I used to go same school but my grandmother used to scold my parents saying,” Why the hell you are sending your daughter to a boarding school?” and I got transferred to a government school. I stayed quite. When I entered teenage, things went worst, when I got menstruate for the first time , I got locked up for 12 days  and I was treated like that I had committed a  big sin and for that I got locked up that way as a punishment.  When my breast were developing, women around used to say to my mother,” oh look! Your girl is getting ready for marriage!” And I used to get afraid thinking that they would marry me soon for which I used to tie my breast with bandage to hide my breast even though it used to hurt a lot. Boys used to stare at my breast wherever I go and intentionally they used to bump at me and I only know that feeling how much pain I felt at that time.   Because of that  reasons many times I even did not want to go school, go out of my home, I hardly used to go outside but  even again I used to get  harassed on buses, on crowd, my so called relatives used to molest  me  , they used to caress me, I was literally broken.  Being frustrated I had asked my mom once “mom! Why am facing all these and harassment? Why people stare me like am their food and they want to eat me? ” and my mom replied me, “you are a girl! Every girls goes through it! World is like this, take it easily!” And after that I literally got broken. After that I started to live hating my self being a girl. I stopped to go outside, I even stopped to use public transportation, I used to get afraid of boys. even when I used to get harassed I used to stay quiet, literally  I had accepted  that  being  a girl I have to get used to it, I cannot do anything to stop it!  But one day my younger sister shared with me that one of  her teacher used to molest her  ,thinking that I could  help her to get out of that  situation but unfortunately  I was that broken  that I could not say a word  to her rather I hugged her and we cried together .  That whole night I kept thinking that for how long we girls need to get suffer, Get harassed like this? Then I cried the whole night remembering each moment I was molested, I remembered the face of my younger sister, how badly she was broken like me?   I decided not to tolerate, I decided to fight back! I realized that I have to speak up for my younger sister, I have to raise my voice for every innocent girl  who have been  harassed  like me?. We do not deserve this at all. Then next morning  I went to my sister’s school and complained  the authority I found there  that he had been molesting many students like my sister  and all the students  also stood up for my sister  after that authority took action against it. And I cannot describe it in words that how I felt at that time when he got fired. After that I started to love myself, I started to be proud of who I am. No girls deserves to be molested, get harassed. Every girl has right to live with dignity. The more you tolerate, the more you will be victimized. Speak out!  Your one voice makes all the difference!! Vagina and penis should not define you, your character and ability should matters!!!!!


Categories: Sexual Violence
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Since when does mass media publicly value rapists excuses and denials more than they value victims stories?

Rolling Stone has set a precedent within their own publication with this note. They have made a statement to their readers. They have taken a very public and obvious stance against survivors, and they have even started attacking a survivor and their credibility.

When people share their stories of such violation, cruelty, and violence, it is one of the most difficult things they can do. It is choosing to relive that experience over and over again, bleeding yourself dry hoping that no one will ever have to bear the same wound.

I know this, as for the last two years, I have worn the word ‘survivor’ like a piece of armor, and sometimes, the heaviest weight I can’t ever seem to bear. I have shared my story, hoping for change, hoping for future ‘Caitlyns’ to never have to go through this.

(Not my photo/Not me)  Source: https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Mary-Stands-With-Survivors/407233096039349

(Not my photo/Not me)
Source: https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Mary-Stands-With-Survivors/407233096039349

I have had my credibility tested, questioned, and attacked. I have had prying noses, pity stares, and half-hearted apologies. I have spoken to media outlet after media outlet, each one tending to see my story as an attention grabber, a selling point, a juicy story. To see Rolling Stone paint Jackie’s rape in such a way, almost with a borderline entertainment factor, layered with unnecessary and re-victimizing descriptions, has been a painful experience that I simply can’t even put into words.

Further more, to see that they wanted ‘the other side of the story’, and regretted honoring the survivor’s wishes, it makes me question how much respect they have for Jackie, for women, for survivors, for ME.

I fear, every day, that my rapist might see the stories, see my statuses, see me on the local news, and identify that it is him that I am speaking about. He has never known of the fact that I have shared my story as I simply didn’t know to report or press charges when it happened. It took me years to identify, name, and share my story. To this day, I cannot gather the bravery or courage it would take me to make such an allegation to the court of law, or furthermore, to his face.

With my situation, as well as many other survivors, it would simply be too dangerous to give a name, report, or have our stories get back to our assailants. If a news outlet were to contact my rapist, I’m almost certain it could mean an immediate threat to my safety. The fact that my credibility and my side of the story could come under such scrutiny and question is a direct disrespect and disregard to the already stigmatized survivors that choose to share their stories.

When our world begins to ignore the stories we, as survivors, share, for the denial and accusations of our rapists, there is more than a problem.
When our media outlets begin to paint our stories, our violations, our rapes, and our assaults as a vivid movie-esque source of entertainment, there is more than a problem.

When our stories are denied, when our voices are silenced, we are re-victimized.

When our rapists are again more valued than we are, there are all these messages being reinforced that society already spoon feeds us.
“You aren’t enough.”
“You’re less than.”
“You deserved it.”
“He is the one of worth, the one of value.”

These messages are ones that replay in my head. I expect media outlets, such as the Rolling Stone, to do everything they can to dismantle these thought processes, and to validate and support our survivors.
Anything else is simply unacceptable. Re-victimizing and further violating such brave folk that choose to use every ounce of strength within them to step out of the dark, again and again, is simply despicable.

#IStandWithSurvivors. Rolling Stone doesn’t.

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Screenshot 2014-11-25 at 11.36.55 AM

From November 25 to December 10, people all around the world will be celebrating 16 Days of Activism!  

16 Days of Activism was created to build awareness of gender-based violence between the days of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the International Human Rights Day.   In honor of the campaign, I created a Pinterest board – yes, a Pinterest board.

I’ve pinned a collection of videos, images and articles highlighting the issues, facts, and initiatives around gender-based violence in conflict areas. Feel free to take a look, repin, and share my board with everyone! Check back during the 16 Days of Activism as I will be adding more pins throughout the campaign!  

Enjoy!   For more information about 16 Days of Activism, visit this website.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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On October 28th, Hollaback!, the anti street harassment organization, released a video that sparked a worldwide conversation about street harassment. While this video has sparked an important conversation on the prevalence of street harassment, it has been heavily criticized for centering the experience of a white woman being harassed by men of color. All experiences of street harassment are valid, but it’s important for us to recognize that there are many different types of harassment, such as:

1.Harassment of people of color.

The video that was create for Hollaback has been criticized for upholding the stereotype that white men don’t catcall, and that we should only care because white women are victimized. However, according to Hollaback!, people of all races and ethnicities are harassed on the street by all types of men. Dee Locket wrote a piece for Slate magazine that provides another perspective: that white men, instead of catcalling, use other methods of harassment in places where they have power, such as in the workplace. As Hannah Hodson writes in Autostraddle, the movement against street harassment should center women of color.

Several women of color spoke to Jezebel about their experiences with street harassment:

2. Harassment of queer, and trans, gender non conforming people.

QTPOC, or people who are perceived as such, are frequently harassed on the street. You may recall the story of CeCe McDonald, a young trans woman who was harassed and attacked on the street, and who ended up serving 19 months in jail for protecting herself. One study found that half of LGBT people in the EU avoid public spaces because of harassment, and some data show that LGBTQ people are more likely to be harassed in general.

3. Harassment of People of Size

Fat people are often mocked or discriminated against in public. People of size may be called things like “fat bitch” or “heifer” while in public spaces. Because of the fat phobic society that we live in, fat people are often judged for what they eat, wear, do, or simply for existing. Haley Morris-Cafiero has documented looks she receives from people on the street because of her size, in a project called Wait Watchers.


4. Harassment of People With Disabilities

People with disabilities are often targets of harassment in public. Research done in the UK shows that people with disabilities routinely face abuse, and that police are less likely to take cases involving harassment of those with disabilities seriously. Often, as we can see in the following video, other people think they are being helpful or positive, when they are really being condescending and harassing.

5. Harassment from Police

Recently, several high profile cases of police abuse have captured the attention of the country, including the killing of Mike Brown, and the beating of Marlene Pinnock, both of which happened this summer. In general, police harassment tends to affect queer people and people of color more than the general population. Harassment is can be written into law or police department policy, such as New York City’s infamous stop and frisk policy, which allows police officers to stop and frisk anyone at any time, and Arizona’s SB 1070, which allows officers to determine the immigration status of someone who is detained if the officer suspects that they are undocumented.

All of these types of harassment tend of affect young people as well, who are often the targets of harassment from police, strangers in public, and classmates at school. In fact, at least half of LGBT students have been physically assaulted or sexually harassed at school.

In order for us to combat street harassment, we must recognize that it comes in many different forms, from many different perpetrators, and towards many types of people. Hollaback! has since released a statement saying that they are “committed to showing the complete picture” of what street harassment looks like, and we hope that they stay true to their commitment.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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We are all feminist!
People fight for every girls right,–whether in secret
or not. We have once said no to those people who,
one way or another have adjusted the beauty of the
“Girl Child.”
Life made things easy, but our new story-telling,
and blueprint-art, shaped the way things used to
be. It is quite beautiful to say we have tried our best
to influence most of the affairs of girls living in
rural areas–“to put a smile on gaunt faces.”
Today, there’s a task on each of us to help raise
awareness and #Write4Girls ; to ring the bell, and
set prosperous margins for them to follow.
In Cotonou, the Republic of Benin; teenage girls are
going through a lot of pains–from hunger strike in
major rural areas, to sexually transmitted
infections, and rape! Most of these girls have no
parents, only few of them have access to hospitals
and parental care. The selfsame happens in
Ekpoma, Edo state, Nigeria (…my state of origin);
girls have turned coated wires, nude. From peer
group relationship to hotel services. Almost 15% of
teenage girls in my environment from (14-17) are
pregnant, 10% are already mothers,–the story goes
From these circumstances “Feminism” becomes a
dwindled act, because majority of the girls we fight
for–(to get quality education, parental care and
reproductive health services…),–are knowingly
doing the wrong things.
But aside from any heart feelings, we are still
And There’s always a heart that wants to put a smile on
wrinkled faces. While “Malala,” is working on education for
every girl child, we too can do our best.
Today, there’s a new definition, the renaissance of a
new hope; thoughts that begets’ essence, and
notions that raises the bowels that once lay flat.
Our words, written or spoken, can influence and
reach the farthest places. Faults may emerge, and
we may have to shrink to environmental and
governmental laws; but the grace to move on will
spring forth, if we decide to take a stand.
This is for those girls that have lost all, those girls
that have been shut out, raped, coerced for
pleasure, used as slaves, Infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections, and made to hawk fruits
in the market.
We can do a lot more if we #Write4Girls, and
channel or thoughts to the development of every girl child.

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On THAT Nicki Minaj song:
Since “Only” by Nicki Minaj dropped yesterday, I will admit, I have listened to it an obsessive amount of times. I credit this to my love for Queen Nicki, but some aren’t having that, since the song had three featured artists alongside her: Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Drake.

Nicki starts the song off by clearing the record of her relationships with said artists, and she – as always – puts people in their place. She owns her sexuality, and she lets them know she’s boss.
I could honestly go on about lines like this one;

“When I walk in, sit up straight, I don’t give a fuck if I was late.”


People have been protesting the overall obsession with this song because the infamous Chris Brown is featured on the chorus of this song.

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t take in any media that featured abusive, violent, and unapologetic men as such. It’s not an ideal world. I am not here for a world in which listening to a song and supporting Nicki Minaj – someone who is not a perfect person and whom has never claimed to be the perfect feminist/womynist – is endorsing a women beater.

We see white men committing the same atrocities (Woody Allen, Tom Cruise, Jared Leto, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, etc), but we do not see the same amount of continued outrage and demand that anyone who declares themselves a feminist boycott all works involving them.

As much as I don’t want to uphold a society in which these men can continue to be on top of their games, making money and profit, regardless of the violence they have dealt, I refuse to villainize Chris Brown. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I recognize there is anger to go around because Chris Brown is far from being the only one.

I refuse to villainize a Black woman who takes control of her sexuality, is on top of the game, and continues to speak realness in a world that isn’t always here for it simply because of an artist she featured in a chorus of a single.

Nicki is smarter than the world thinks she is. I show up for Onika. If you won’t, that’s your problem.

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This article was written by a youth activist with Advocates for Youth, who wished to share her story anonymously.

[Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault]

When I was a senior in high school, I was raped. My rapist was my most recent ex-boyfriend at the time and my rape was one of the many facets of an emotionally manipulative and abusive relationship. Despite my interest in feminism and advocating for survivors of sexual assault, it took me an incredibly long time to realize what had happened to me was rape, and an even longer time to admit it to myself and say it out loud.

The most common “I was raped” story we hear in the news is the one where their rapist jumped out at them from the bushes, followed them home from a party, broke into their house in the dead of night. We think we know how to tell people to avoid that: “don’t dress too slutty”, “let people know where you’re going”, “don’t get too drunk”, “make sure he doesn’t drug your drink”. But what happens when your rapist is someone you know, even someone you love? We’ve become more and more conscious as a society of these situations, especially because the statistics say that about 2 in 3 rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. We’re gradually getting to the point where we realize that “I’m too drunk” and negative body language also mean “no”, but my rape doesn’t fall in any of these categories either.

The reason it was so difficult for me to name my situation was rape was because, ultimately, begrudgingly, I did end up saying “yes”. And I know in some people’s eyes, that one “yes” is enough, but it wasn’t enough for me. My ex-boyfriend asked me to hook up with him, send him nude photos repeatedly, and each time I said “no” he asked me why I didn’t love him and told me that if I said yes that we would get back together. He would pester me again and again, trying to wear me down, telling me I was a hypocrite for saying “yes” all the other times but for not wanting to this time. This type of behavior is coercion, and yes, it is also rape.

Coercion, specifically in a sexual context, involves forcing someone to perform a sexual act against their will by use of threat, intimidation, or physical force. Threats in this case also include emotional threats and manipulation. Coercion is a hard thing for us to wrap our heads around sometimes, because it’s so easy to think that convincing a person to have sex with you or wearing them down is “winning them over” and not a violation of their body.

When you emotionally manipulate someone into being sexual with you – that is rape. When you try to persuade someone to change their “no” into a “yes” – that is rape. When you wear someone down until they give up and say “yes” to get it over with – that is rape, and you are a rapist.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Catcalling and street harassment is an act of sexual violence that is often forgotten in the greater discussion of sexual violence. While there has been much more work in recent years to shed light on his issue and fight back, the Hollaback! campaign is a great example, but the issue remains and is getting worse in my community. Mississippi University for Women is not, as the name suggests, an all woman school. It was created as the first public university for women only, but has been coed since 1982. However, its population is still 85% women. One would think that a school with mostly women would be something of a safe space from the daily struggles and harassment that women face every hour, every day. It seems that this is really just wishful thinking as the recent surge in harassment on my campus shows. The difference between my freshman year two years ago and now is stark. Young women are now reporting incidents of harassment at unprecedented levels. Many of the people I know no longer feel safe to walk on campus alone or even walk in groups at night. Many don’t feel safe at all. The impact of having men follow you, laugh, yell at you, is hugely influential and a key, if often forgotten, part, of rape culture.

There has been much debate on my campus about the cause of this recent surge in harassment. Could it really be men on our campus? Students? Trusted staff and faculty? This notion has largely been dismissed as ridiculous by those in power who now turn outside our campus gates to the community at large to seek an answer and possibly, a scapegoat. While there is a good argument to be made that much of this harassment is likely coming from men who have made it past our lax security onto our campus, all to taunt and bully the young women here seeking an education, it also shows a common mindset among school administrations. The problem couldn’t possibly come from within, they say. No, we must turn outward, they say. I disagree. We must look at our campus and our culture first to understand these problems. How do we foster this kind of unsafe environment for our female students? I’ve heard administration and staff in the past warn women never to walk alone at night, to avoid certain areas of campus at certain points, to watch our alcohol, to do this, not do this. How can we be surprised when some men take it upon themselves to harass women when it is our fault for walking at night, for being alone, for daring to feel safe on our campus, what should be our second home. But what women know is that no where is safe for us, not our homes, not our schools. Not even the Mississippi University for Women can really be relied upon to provide a small safe space in a world of fear. This realization extends to my trust in all supposedly safe spaces.  It is not enough for me for an institution to call itself a safe space. Being a safe space is a process, a continual act of proving to individuals that yes, you will be there, you will be a small refuge. While I can say with some pride that I do see action being taken on my campus to remedy this issue that has ballooned in recent years, I also know that it was partly complacency that led to this. The idea was that our school was unique, that issues like rape culture were, if not nonexistent, then simply not an issue like other schools. That our status as a largely women’s college made us immune to these problems and thus, no action was needed. Unfortunately, it has become obvious that this is simply not true. No space is safe unless we keep putting in the work of making it safe.

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Today the world celebrates the third annual International Day of the Girl Child, a day to recognize the position of the girl and her unique challenges she faces around the world. This year, the focus is on ending the cycle of violence.

But why focus on violence? Don’t girls face other problems around the world?

Yes, they do. Girls lack access to basic rights, such as education, access to health, political and economic opportunities, amongst others. However, violence against girls intersects all other disparities girls may face. As the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action states, “violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms…In all societies, to greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture.”

Unfortunately, girls around the world face violence every single day. The UNFPA estimates that about 1 in 3 girls and women have experienced violence at least once in their lives. Much of this violence stems from the socialization of the boy and the reinforced societal position of girls and women; girls are taught to keep quiet while boys must dominate and treat girls as their inferiors.

Fortunately, there are ways to stop and prevent violence against girls. All across the world, creative solutions are not only protecting girls, but empowering them.

Boys- and Girls-Only Discussion Groups, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC currently faces an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The conflict has excited the problem of sexual violence, genital mutilation, and other forms of gender-based violence. Within displacement camps, UNICEF and Association of Volunteers in International Service have created Adolescent Discussion Groups to give young people a safe place to discuss violence and gender equality. Girls discuss issues pertaining to safe sex, healthy relationships, and sexual violence. Boys are empowered to act as allies in the fight against gender-based violence. Since 2009, the program has supported about 2300 participants. To learn more about the program, watch this video.

Engaging Girls in Sports, Multiple Locations

Engaging girls in sports gives girls a safe place. While playing a sport, girls gain confidence, they learn how to use their voice and they become more aware of their bodies. Coaches can sit with girls, talk with them, and provide counseling for survivors of gender-based violence and can provide girls with any other resources they need. Currently, programs exist in all over Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Australia and the United States. For more information, watch this video.

HarassMap, Egypt

In Egypt, 83 percent of women have been sexually harassed and 67 percent of men admit to being harassers. The growing social acceptability of the problem led to the creation of HarassMap, an online and mobile system that maps reports of sexual assault submitted by texts. In addition to the reporting system, volunteers are trained to go into their communities and talk to people, such as kiosk and shop owners and doormen, about standing up to sexual assault and harassment. HarassMap also helps communities develop safe zones for girls and women. Safe zones can be shops or entire streets where sexual assault is not tolerated. Here is a video to learn more about HarassMap.
As you can see, all around the world people are working hard to ensure the safety, security, and equality of girls. Let’s take this day – and everyday – to reflect on the issues girls face and continue to take creative approaches to end the cycle of violence against girls.

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I have observed carefully a situation which is responsible for the high rate of teenage pregnancy in my community. I find most young girls as young as 15 with children on their back. What happened , are they married? Of course not. They are victims of rape the quarter head told me. After some careful studies on their daily lifestyles, I realized that certain factors account for this social ill.

In the first place, indecent dressing alone is enough to fuel sexual abuse or harassment from the opposite sex .Besides this, bad company acts as a fertile ground for sexual abuse. These youths keep company with the wrong persons which makes it possible for bad things to happen. Excessive alcohol intake renders them vulnerable to sexual violence. I also realized that they donot have risk vulnerability maps that indicates risky zones at certain hours. If these youths could avoid walking alone in dark corners as well as been alone with strangers then sexual violence can be avoided. As a saying goes ‘ A man does not escape from bees with a lump of honey in hand’ I think that to better avoid sexual abuse, youths should desist from tempting lifestyles, unfruitful company and movements in dreaded areas

Categories: Sexual Violence
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I have a very clear memory from my freshman year of college of when I first heard another girl talk about her experience with consent. It was a Saturday morning and I was at breakfast at Hilltop Dining and it was becoming a perfectly cold and painfully sunny day in Maine. Consent makes a lot of sense in my head and before this conversation, I was under the impression that most people had a fairly strong grip on it, too. No means no, right? Or, as California has recently initiated, yes means yes (http://n.pr/1vqdnrt). End of story.

So, imagine my surprise when two girlfriends of mine sat next to me at breakfast, omelets  and water balanced in one hand and a coffee in the other, to tell me what they had heard in class this week. “If you are hooking up with somebody and you say no, but then you continue to hook up and it goes further than you want, that could be assault,” one said to me, with complete disbelief, like she had been in that situation before and had never realized her own rights. For me, I had never considered it in such explicit terms, but it made a lot of sense. I knew if I were ever in that situation, I would make sure that as soon as I said no, it was over. That was it. I would leave. I knew it in my heart, felt it in my bones, that I could walk away from that situation.

Fast forward a semester and I did find myself in that situation. But it didn’t seem so concretely clear. All of a sudden, I couldn’t find the strength to say no again. Why couldn’t I find the ability to fight what I didn’t want and push away? And I had a moment, later in the same night, when I realized what the girl at the breakfast table had just realized: there is something, at times, that restrains women. Something is keeping us from maintaining our strength, standing by our “no” after we have said it once, or twice, or more. There is a serious gap in knowledge and explanation in our sexual health education in our schools and in our communities. There is nothing that teaches young people, especially women, to speak up, to intervene, and how explicitly to do so. Without this accessible knowledge of what consent and healthy relationships are, young men and women instead find ourselves in increasingly negative situations. Even worse, this lack of knowledge leaves space for shame to grow and overshadow our ability to say no and to take charge of our own sexual experiences. On college and high school campuses across the nation, this fear of a reputation– either for saying yes or for saying no or for saying nothing at all– leads women into believing our voice is not as powerful as we want it to be. It is miseducation that causes this. It is knowledge that can fix it. So now, we as a society have this wonderful opportunity to teach young women to find the strength to say no again, to pull away, to stop what we don’t want, as well as to teach young men to listen and respect us. More importantly, to learn that it is not young women who are in the wrong. It is equally important for young men to hear and respect our no’s, so that they do not need to be repeated. Young women must find their strength and young men must learn to accept it.

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We bond over our black and purple; we reflect in pride over our 2013 Super Bowl win. We wait eagerly for football season to arrive and to celebrate our amazing athletes. We love our Ravens – and we should hold them accountable for both the good and bad that they do in our community.

This past February, our local star Ray Rice physically assaulted his wife in an elevator. After waiting for the elevator doors to close, he hit her multiple times and managed to knock her unconscious. Afterward, he dragged her out of the elevator. This event was captured on video surveillance at the hotel where the incident occurred and the video was later released. A horrible act of domestic violence was committed, and few disputed this. Out of respect for his wife, Janay Palmer, I will not be adding the violent content to this blog post.

Hardly anything was done upon the original release of this content, which only showed the aftermath of his attack. After a pretrial intervention in May, Rice became exempt from prosecution, and his charges will be expunged from his record within a year. Recently, a two-game suspension was issued. Seven months after the tape first surfaced, a second one was released that showed the attack in its entirety. It was only at this point that Ray Rice’s contract was terminated by the Ravens, and soon after the NFL banned the athlete indefinitely. Upon immediate release of this information, my social media feeds were flooded with remarks like:

“There should be a separation between the personal and the public.”

“His wife stayed with him; if she’s okay with this, then the Ravens should be too.”

“I just don’t think a man’s career should be ruined over one mistake.”

“No one knows what she said to provoke him… He was just being a man.”

Seriously, people?

This act of violence goes well beyond a superstar making a very, very poor decision. This is about power dynamics. This is about accountability. This is about black men and black women. This is about domestic violence, and how major corporations handle offenders. Domestic violence is a crime. It occurs within all racial, age, and religious groups. It happens regardless of your soci0-economic status and level of education. No one is exempt, and everyone should be held accountable. Ray Rice was not subjected to the typical consequences of his actions (jail-time, specifically). He was protected by his status, and consequently his wife was not. Add this to his being a representation of the NFL, the Ravens, and Black America, and we have a huge problem.

When a black man in power hurts a black woman, he sends a message to the community. It is up to us to decide how he is received from there. When the footage was brushed under the rug initially, we said “it’s okay to hurt your wife if you’re a millionaire, just say you’re sorry and your career will not be in jeopardy.” To young black men everywhere, the message was “you can hit your partner and get away with it, as long as you’re exceptionally talented.” To black women everywhere, the message was “your body, your life, and your safety are not priorities if your partner is an asset to our society and our industry.” I can’t help but think how this scenario would’ve played out differently if Ray Rice critically injured, or even killed, his wife during this incident. Is that what it takes to penalize assailants?

As a Ravens fan and an advocate against domestic violence, I have struggled with this news. However delayed, I am glad that both the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL did the correct thing in removing Ray Rice from their community. This football season, I will be expressing my purple pride in solidarity with domestic violence victims, and I hope that many of you will do the same.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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Day 5 of Men’s Health Week and there are plenty of other great examples of organizations working to promote healthy sexual behavior in young men through engaging and innovative programing. Today we speak with our colleagues at Men Can Stop Rape.

Why young men?

Promoting an understanding of the ways in which traditional masculinity contributes to sexual assault, relationship violence, power dynamics and other forms of men’s violence against women is one of MCSR key components towards the development of Healthy Masculinity for young men in our programs.  A young man that embraces  healthy masculinity, is able to think about: (more…)

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glenn beck.png.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

This post has been cross-posted on the collaborative blog Feminists-At-Large. 



Glenn Beck, a conservative television and radio host, revealed his family history of rape and abuse today, on his network, The Blaze. This revelation, however, was not intended to demonstrate solidarity with or validate the experiences of survivors. Rather, it comes in response to criticism he has received after Stu Burguiere claimed that college sexual assault statistics are inflated and mocked scenarios representing sexual coercion and assault, on Wonderful World of Stu,a show on Beck’s own network.

Beck told the “Left-Wing Sites” who demonstrated outrage at the clip “Don’t youever preach to me about what I can say and cannot say about rape,” and defends the segment by saying that the supposed inflation of sexual assault statistics “cheapens the horror of real rape.”

Yes, “real rape” – we can add that to the list with Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “forcible rape” or former Congressman Todd Akin’s (R- MO) “legitimate rape.”

Beck continued on to say that the inflation was intended to make “every college-age male into Genghis Khan.” And while I’m not sure whether we’re referring to Khan as violent or sexually prolific, regardless, I’m unimpressed by another person more concerned about the rare men who are falsely accused of perpetrating sexual assault, rather than the inordinate and wholly unacceptable number of survivors.

The skit is absolutely deplorable and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the reality of sexual assault. In light of the Isla Vista shooting and the proliferation of literature on the effect of misogyny, and the Pick Up Artist (PUA) and Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) movements on the perpetrator, Elliot Rodgers, I can’t help but wonder how this video would be perceived by PUAs and MRAs alike. The invalidation of survivors’ experiences, the complete denial of evidence, the notion that the feminist movement is a threat to men- a video like this is exactly the type of ‘proof’ PUAs and MRAs use to justify their beliefs and behaviors.

My first issue with the video is the intended ‘debunking’ of sexual assault statistics; my second, is the mockery made of sexual coercion and assault ‘scenarios.’

A range of studies have been done on sexual assault, and while I haven’t scoured the methodology sections of the two surveys with which Burguiere takes umbrage, the data consistently shows that at least 15% of college-aged women experience completed or attempted sexual assault. The most comprehensive survey of 3,187 women on 32 college campuses indicated that the rate is 25%, with 84% being assaulted by someone known to the survivor, or what we call “acquaintance sexual assault.”

It is easy to get caught up in the numbers. As a Sexual Assault Peer Educator at Georgetown University, I was often asked how our statistics compare to the national average, assessing the severity of the issue on the basis of whether we were doing ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than other schools. However, as Nora West, feminist activist and a fellow Peer Educator says:

“Those numbers are huge and they are scary, but quite frankly I don’t care about those numbers, and you shouldn’t either. What I see in those numbers is that assault happens on Georgetown’s campus. It happens here.”

One is too many, however, people love to dissect the numbers, it is a defense mechanism, it is a way deny the reality of our rape culture and the epidemic of sexual assault in America and on our college campuses.

Burguiere takes issue with the wording of the questions on these surveys- he believes it is too inclusive. One question states “When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever had sex with you,” which Burguiere finds misleading because drunk sex happens all the time (!?!) and haven’t you ever seen a beer commercial that includes drinking and the “strong insinuation” of an impending hookup?!? Yes, Burguiere, drunk sex happens, and is not necessarily rape, that’s why the question explicitly asks the respondent if they were unable to consent.

Burguiere then challenges six phrases used in these surveys to ascertain if the respondent has been sexually assaulted, intending to ‘prove’ how inflated the stats are, intending to show how these scenarios are totally not sexual assault. He finds it absurd that “pressuring someone to have sex with you by telling them lies,” “making promises about the future you know are untrue to get sex,” “threatening to end your relationship to get sex,” “threatening to spread rumors to get sex,” “repeatedly asking for sex to get sex,” and “acting sad to get sex” are all considered to be forms of sexual assault.

What Burguiere doesn’t understand is that these scenarios don’t just involve a disappointed man and a traumatized woman [my use of “man” and “woman” are merely intended to reflect his use of a man and a woman as characters in these scenarios]. Burguiere does not recognize that these tactics involve coercion and often explicit threats. Survivors often recount being told “no one will believe you.” In other cases, when either the perpetrator or victim is in a committed, monogamous relationship, the perpetrator will threaten to tell everyone that they had sex, that it was consensual, and that the victim is a slut, whore, or home wrecker. Burguiere also clearly does not understand consent. Consent isn’t a lack of “no,” but rather an affirmative “yes.” “Maybe” isn’t consent. If you have to convince someone to have sex with you, it isn’t consensual. And consent is definitely not coercive.

The questions on these surveys may seem complicated, but that is becausesurvivors may not classify their experiences as “sexual assault.”Burguiere finds this preposterous, claiming “the President is saying these women were raped, and these women are saying they weren’t.” However, if we actually used the definition of sexual assault – unwanted sexual touching – then nearly one hundred percent of women would be survivors.

There are a multitude of reasons survivors may not consider their experience(s) “sexual assault.” For some, it is a defense mechanism- it is easier to believe that everything is okay, that it was consensual. Calling it sexual assault means acknowledging the reality of our sexual assault epidemic, recognizing that it can happen to me. Many survivors go into what we call “survivor mode.” Survivor mode is a defense mechanism as well- doing and believing whatever you have to in order to survivor or cope with the incident. Survivors may ask the perpetrator to use a condom, they may not fight back, they may continue or start to date the perpetrator after the incident. It is not our place to judge how survivors cope.

Many female survivors don’t classify the incident(s) as sexual assault because they don’t feel entitled to the term. We are taught that sexual assault is committed by a deranged stranger who corners an innocent woman in a dark alley. We aren’t taught that sexual assault can be perpetrated by a classmate, a friend, or a partner. We aren’t taught that it can happen when we previously consented to making out with the perpetrator, or when we consented to returning to the perpetrator’s residence. We are taught that if we dress or behave a certain way, we are “asking for it,” and that by wearing that sequined mini skirt, we have no right to call it sexual assault. We are taught that our bodies are not our own, that men and the media are entitled to examine, comment on, even touch our bodies.

While I recognize the validity of Beck’s experiences, his experience does not entitle him to define the experiences of others. Having experienced sexual assault either first hand, as a witness, bystander, or ally does not give one the authority to tell survivors what is and isn’t “real rape.”

Categories: Sexual Violence
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“Being in a patriarchal society, I often get to see the discriminatory act in between male and female. Not only have seen but have also often been the victim.” This sentence might reflect the thought of many girls of Nepal. And generations have been passed with the same thought.

In front of the other crucial/greater issues like rape, acid attack etc. very often the case of eve teasing is taken minor and is being neglected. But this is slowly forming a greater impact and is being established as culture. This is the issue that every girl has to face. As soon as she gets out of her house, she is used to with hearing some kind of comments, whistles or other forms of abusive language. Due to this many girls are very much concerned about their dresses and looks. Many girls often sacrifice their desire of wearing certain dresses to avoid such compliments. Beside this, such kinds of act affect the girl’s psychology in one or the other way resulting them to feel inferior and loose their confident level.

When we complain about these things we often get to hear that the girls themselves want such compliments and their vulgar or sexy style of dress up make boys to act in such way. But is this really the Justfiable answer? If it is so, haven’t they ever harassed to the girl who wears a formal kurta salwar? Above all, we have the right to wear what we want.

However, the major reason behind all this is the ‘Silence’ that we prefer to move on with. How many more years do we want to be suppressed by others? Now, its upon us whether to make our generation as same with just the dissatisfactory feeling upon the existing situation or to act upon it and end the discriminatory act for ever. So lets not just think, it’s Time to Act.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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images (2)

How many of us(girls) have had to deal with the comment that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation while we are out in the street? Yes, many of us. Street harassment is nothing new where we live in, be it developed, developing or under-developed country. It is a serious issue because it limits women’s ability to be in public as often or as comfortably as most men.

We have faced, if not, heard the different stories where we girls are the helpless victims of the street harassment. We hear quite a lot about girls being raped, misbehaved, followed, and threatened and so on. We have seen girls being chased down the street, whistled at, commented at their private parts, trapped against a wall, their crotch being grabbed suddenly, shockingly, in vitriolic entitlement. What does this mean? Does this mean that a man has the right to our body, a right to discuss it, analyze it, and appraise it whether we like it or not?

Even legally, street harassment has been overlooked. Yes, physical forms of street harassments are termed as illegal and police take them seriously. But verbal form of harassment is constantly not taken seriously as it is hard to term ‘hey baby’, ‘nice body’, ‘come to papa’ and so on as illegal words. But for us, street harassment (either physical or verbal) makes us feel violated and demeaned. The damage is still the same. We feel the range of negative emotions surging in us. Anxiety, Fear, Shame, Guilt, Headaches and Frustration.

Some people justify their deeds by ‘Freedom to Speech’. What an utter bullshit! No one is free to make a speech that hurts the other human being, that makes us feel sick about the world that we live in. What makes them make a comment on our body? Even though we are dressed decent, not anything particularly provocative, we are not spared. I don’t think ‘Freedom of Speech’ makes them that free to make a comment even on to the bodies of the 11- and 12-year–old girls about their breasts and developing bodies as they walk in their uniform to school.

Street Harassment is not a compliment. Never. A compliment is supposed to make us feel good and proud about ourselves. ‘Nice ass’, ‘woah! loot at those tits’, ‘sexy boobs and pussy’, ‘hey, whore’, ‘You sexy bitch’, ‘slag’, ‘slut’ and so on, do not sound as complimentary words to us; especially not when these words come out of the random hooligans in the street. A compliment doesn’t make you rethink your route the next time you walk down the street. A compliment does not make you jab your earphones on your ears and walk, ignoring the ones who is giving you one.

So what is Street Harassment? It is certainly not the compliment, not the right use of ‘Freedom to Speech’, not the harmless fun but the power and violence of certain men out there which not every girl can go and have the temerity to reject. Not every girl can go and throw her fist at them because both the nature and the character of the harassers can be unfavorable for her. Sometimes, it is not safe to respond. Sometimes, it is better to walk away without saying a word of discontent. But that is what making the harassers feel strong. They feel like it is their inherent right to make their so called ‘power’ strong and intimidate anyone in the street. Thus, instead of telling victims how to react, we all should focus on preventing it from happening in the first place.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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TW: Discussion of rape and sexual assault

Nonconsensual Sex: How Colleges Rebranded Sex

“It should not be called nonconsensual sex. Rape is rape. It’s a crime. It’s a felony.”

via Al Jazeera America

Categories: Sexual Violence
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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there\’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an \”Advocate\”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
\”A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all\”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an \”Advocate For Youth\”.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an “Advocate”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
“A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an “Advocate For Youth”.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. FGM, which is often carried out with unsterilized instruments, can cause severe health and psychological problems and in some cases, girls bleed to death or die from infections. Later in life, FGM can lead to complications in childbirth and increase the risk of the mother and baby dying.

In East Africa, Female Genital Mutilation is practiced by several tribes with promoters of the practice arguing that it initiates girls into womanhood and increases their chances of being married off. Other tribes believe that cutting off some of parts of the females genitalia like the clitoris reduces cases of girls and married women engaging sex outside their marriages. Promoters of Female Genital Mutilation have little regard (if any) for girls and women’s lives lost or the suffering that they go through after undergoing this cruel and life-threatening ordeal. Girls between eight and fourteen years of age are cut by elderly women often using unsterilized razor blades or knives  to initiate them into womanhood and subsequent early marriages. This also exposes girls to higher chances catching HIV from unsterilized knives  because cutting is done by unprofessional cutters who are mostly old women who have been involved in cutting for decades.

Hundreds of infants, girls and women are still forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation in East Africa. Young girls run away from their homes for fear of undergoing FGM and miss school while others drop out of school. Local political leaders fear to publicly condemn the practice for fear of losing elections and in some cases they have helped offenders escape being prosecuted in Courts of law. Girls and women are not informed about their rights and protection provided by the available legislation. My visits to communities that practice FGM in Northeastern Uganda have exposed to me the need to continuously inform communities about the dangers of the practice and empower communities to directly take part in projects and efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation.

During my most recent trip in February to a community that practices FGM in Northeastern Uganda, I met girls who had been forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation and needed collective surgery. Most the girls pass out urine uncontrollably and require collective surgery to fix fistula. My trip also inspired  me to try and create positive change in these communities to help girls live in safer communities live to their full potentials. I decided to produce a documentary  film  called ‘Chasing the Cut‘ about girls and women forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation and bring their stories to the world.  I am now in my final stages to travel to Northeastern Uganda, Northeastern Kenya, Western Kenya and Central Kenya from April 15 through to May 15 to film and produce the documentary. I am trying to raise funds on Indiegogo to make this film, organize public screening across  East Africa, carry out FGM campaigns and organize a procession of hundreds of Activists to deliver a petition to the East Africa Legislative Assembly in  Tanzania. I am excited by the prospect of reaching to millions of people and inspiring change through film a to make a difference. My Indiegogo has only 6 days left. Please join me,  donate and share my campaign widely http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kata-ending-female-genital-mutilation

I think men must also actively take part in ending Female Genital Mutilation instead of promoting as is the case in communities that practice FGM where men promote it arguing than women who have been cut make better wives. I think that by exposing the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation, we can then shape plans to completely stop Female Genital Mutilation. I am committed to lead the demands for change and help girls live healthier lives.   Please support my campaign here http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kata-ending-female-genital-mutilation

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The Big picture :

Rape- is a word which is supposed to be wiped out of existence. Most girls in the rural and urban ares extensively suffer from this dreadful cause. It’s a shame to see young girls go through this uncomfortable act.

Raped girls now have STDs , unwanted pregnancy and some may die as a result been bartered.

When parents mutter at words, ungodly things happen. And when girls feel reluctant they become victims to this cause. I blame non, it is simply because there’s no unity and the law holding the term for rape has almost been ridden off.

Every GIRL child DESERVES a brighter future. Why not share the word!

What\’s your say on RAPE !

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In the past years, I have volunteered my skills and time on a number of community projects. But the feeling I had this morning after digging for the laying of pipes which will convey potable water to  the community of the of the Bassa Industrial area especially those of the “Plateau Guinness” neighborhood was  special. Special because sparked by the smiles on the faces  of the adults of this community who had come out in their numbers to contribute to the building of the taps from which will flow this so much talked about “Precious” liquid which some have said is “Life”. The smile on their faces was as radiant as I have only seen on the faces of children enjoying every minute of their life on a school playground at break.

These persons have every reason to smile because Cameroon’s water sector is one of the most neglected and poorly maintained. According to a United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP), about 92% of Cameroonians living in cities have access to improved water while only 47% of Cameroonians living in rural areas can access potable water. This situation has not only been the cause of the repeated Cholera outbreaks that the country has experienced recently but caused untold damages in families and communities especially rural communities.

World Water DAY 2014In fact, these people who are not alone in their case have had their sisters, daughters, and mothers raped as they moved to the stream to fetch water, they have missed their lessons or being late to   school because of they have to move for long distances to fetch water for the family every morning while their peers are in class, and have lost a loved one to diarrhea and other water related diseases. This has no doubt contributed to the lamentable state of rural areas in my country Cameroon.

We must all make the progress our world is currently enjoying benefit all. It is only when the fruits of the progress the world is currently experiencing are enjoyed by all that the development we are so much clamoring for will really be sustainable.

Knowing that atrocities such as those described above are experienced by a countless number of people in other communities around the world is revolting because we live in a world of plenty and can all afford to make life better for all. In fact, the United Nations estimates that 800 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water .May the below extract from Reflections on Water  by the  Ecumenical Water Network, a project of the World Council of Churches, inspire you to act  in your own small way for this liquid as we observe World Water Day today, March 22nd  2014.


Like the ticking of a clock marking out time, water drips noisily.

Maybe it drips off the edge of a stone or roof in times of rain and plenty,

or perhaps from a badly turned off tap in societies where earth’s most precious

and vital resource is unconsciously wasted.

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Attractive Kalki Koechlin Images 2013

I may not know much about Kalki Koechlin, but there are two things I know for sure.

  1. She cannot dance to save her life and it’s adorable. Exhibit A: “Balaam Pichkari” from Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani.
  2. She is fiercely outspoken when it comes to women’s rights.

The following video is a piece the bollywood actress performed at the India Today Conclave titled, “The Truths of Womanhood“. It touches on everything from gender roles in history, societal expectations of women, objectification and rape. Her monologue is poignant in all of its shining veracity.


Kalki is also famous for starring in the All India Bakchod viral video titled, “It’s Your Fault”.


Bless her!

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“Nothing decisive,Nothing sustainable,can be done in our country as long as this important part of ourselves remains in the oppression imposed on them by different systems of exploitation….the true empowerment of women is that which makes the woman responsible,that includes her in productive activities, and in the fight against the different challenges faced by our people. The true emancipation of women is that which forces consideration and respect from men”
Though these words may sounds like those of a convinced women’s rights activist of the second decade of the 21st century, they aren’t. These are words from Burkinabe revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara to women gathered to celebrate International Women’s day on March 8th 1987 a few months before his assassination.
The above was not only an appeal for women to never lose sight of the fundamental role they play in the progress of a society, but above all, a call to men and society as a whole to support them as they selflessly invest in the nation’s future at times through acts of courage that are often taken for granted or ignored such as beautifully balancing their role as mother, caretaker of the family, and increasingly bread winner for most families in my part of the world.
Rural Women deserve more……
 The brave women of the rural areas of Cameroonlive what I call “A life of service to the community” by waking up early to prepare the children for school; prepare breakfast for the family; toil all day in farms; return home late and despite the hard day’s work prepare dinner for the family. This makes me so proud of these women and reinforces my conviction that they merit more attention than is currently being accorded them by politicians and policy makers in the far away capital cities and comfortable skyscrapers in Yaounde, Addis Ababa, and NewYork.
Women make up more than half of Cameroon’s vastly youthful population. A majority of this very “important part of ourselves” live in the most ignoble of conditions in its rural areas and are on a daily basis subjected to torture, rape, and abuses of all sorts by men who are themselves oppressed by a society in which the gap between the very rich and the very poor is ever widening.
Economic Injustice is an Effective fertilizer for the Oppression of Women
Yes, a man who is powerless in the face of  his family’s inability to eat to their fill; cannot pay  health bills for his family; and cannot afford to send his children to school,  transfers the injustice done  him by society to his wife, sister, and daughteronly  in the face of whom he feels  “a real man”.Non-inclusive redistribution of a country’s resources therefore leads not only to economic inequality among a nation’s citizens but aggravates the already existing inequality through abuses of all sorts on women and girls.
Achievement of Millennium Development Goals is impossible without women 
Thus, greater economic opportunity is to be extended to rural area dwellers if the Millennium Development Goals to which this year’s International Women’s Day is dedicated are to ever be achieved and this cannot be done without the brave women who though living in these socially challenged areas, have put their lives “at the service of the community”

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We open here the voice of structure of society like she was raped because she was walking alone. She was late at night and she was dressed provocatively. This is really silly logic. Walking alone does not mean that she was asked to be raped. So, let’s change those common excuses for rapist behavior. Does wearing a Rolex Watch mean asking to be robbed? Certainly not, so we cannot think a girl to be more responsible for the rape. Women’s cannot be deprived of the right to dress the clothes that she likes. However, the way that she dresses or behave can be a risk factor for the Rape. Therefore, we should avoid walking alone at night, Drinking when going out to unfamiliar places and letting someone buying a drink for you.

This view of mine was published in YES! Magazine

Himanshu Rayamajhi
Nobel College –Nepal (Bph 7th Semester)

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Sex is very important things for human beings. So all the people do sex,only rare people doesn’t. In the case of our Nepalease society.

Nepal is one of the country where having sex before marriage is illegal. Only marriage couple can have the sex. But if a girl and a boy have a sex before marriage it is illegal. If their parents or society will know about than it may be bring a very big issue about it. Sometimes their parents or the society case them cases like rape case. Because of this reason we Nepali people are not talking about sex freely in the society or with family or any other third person(stranger). In our society till 63% people are educated but no one can talk freely about sex. If say a word “SEX” our parents, teachers,society etc will scold us or they just move away form us. Due to the society and the parents their children are not being able to talk about sex. Going out and staying for a long time for Nepali unmarried girl this is totally banded by their own parents. Because of that also girls are dominated in this society. ‘Yes girls talk about sex openly’ no one can say this sentences. Not only girl but boy also can’t talk freely. Making a different sexual friends use to be uncommon but slowly slowly this is being change. For that change credit goes to school and collage. Now being a girl is blame or what??? Is our parents wanting us not to do any their without their mercy. Let’s think hard and stand for change.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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TW: graphic discussion of rape and sexual violence

Using Mapping and Twitter to Fight Rape in Syria

The Women’s Media Center has created a user-generated map to document and raise awareness of sexual violence in Syria.

“The goals are three-fold: Firstly, we want to put the stories of sexualised violence in Syria on the map, drawing attention to them.

Secondly, we want to highlight where these abuses are taking place, pinpointing where victims need help, so that they can be offered survivor and psychosocial services once the fighting dies down.

The third aim is a long-term one – we want to build up a documentation base that could potentially be used as evidence if there’s going to be war crimes trials.”

via Vice

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Ya’ll this is so awesome. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in such a long time. Do you remember that prank that FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture played on Victoria’s Secret last year? Well if you don’t here’s the quick version. FORCE launched a line of lingerie that talked about consent while looking like Victoria’s Secret pink line. It took the web by storm and many thought that Victoria’s Secret was changing their ways, and getting in the game to end rape culture. However, it turned out that it was just a prank, and Victoria’s Secret didn’t capitalize on the opportunity and actually create the underwear. However, NOW you can get consent underwear. Think Progress reports that a student up in Canada is actually making an amazing consent based underwear line.

You can get the new underwear here on Kickstarter, and you totally should! I’m planning on getting all of the different men’s underwear that I can. You should support this wonderful effort and buy some of their awesome products! Not only do they have puny things like “you mustache for consent” but they also have slogans to promote healthy body images, and good sexual practices like “ask me what I like”. They even have men’s underwear which is awesome because it attacks rape culture from all sides.


Here is a picture of the underwear on their Kickstarter


This is one of the cooler projects that I’ve seen for a while. You can proudly display them as you’re taking off your clothes, and make sure that you’ve had a conversation about consent. I have no more words for this because I love it so much Consent is so necessary in our society and there hasn’t been enough promotion of it. #Consentissexy and we should use it every day.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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What is rape culture? Is it a new dialect that researchers alike have studied and tested through social-interactions? Is it just another, “uptight” feminist perspective digging up new short-comings of men? These are the many questions people might ask as it is addressed more frequently today.

Rape culture is simple. It stems from language and actions that without conscious thought, maintain insensitivity toward sexual assault in our society. Rape culture is attitudes that normalize, excuse and even tolerate rape. Some examples of how it is manifested into our everyday behaviors and interactions are: blaming the victim, making light of sexual assault with jokes, and denial of rape accusations. Unfortunately, the list could go on. Here are some examples of what I have heard from: “Man, we are about to get raped!” He (friend of a friend) said, while playing Black Ops 2. And, “Now I know what it feels like to be raped. My bio test killed me.”

Statements like these have evolved into popular lingo to express the difficulty of everyday challenges. I have primarily witnessed men venting about their frustrations in this way. A countless number of men do not realize that they too can experience rape. Women are not the only “victims” in this equation; rape can happen to people of any gender.

Sadly, the word rape, like many other words in American culture has been desensitized. The nerves of society are numb to sexual violence. When I have attempted to have a conversation about how the word rape used in a joking context can be painful, defensive responses are nudged in my face, such as, “You don’t have to be so defensive! I didn’t mean anything by it. Plus you haven’t been raped, so why do you care?”

So, why do I care? It is easy to understand, I believe in working towards destabilizing the norm of accepting sexual violence and abuse in our youth culture.

Consider this
• Sports, contests of any kind, and videogame-athons are physically exhausting–like when I attempt to play racquetball. But they never equate to the trauma of rape.
• Taking a final exam or writing a paper is mentally draining. Fortunately for you, your final exam is not a traumatic experience.
• It is important to understand what rape is. It is a sexual action (penetration) that is forced and without consent from the other person.
• Jokes about rape “ain’t wassup.”
• There are alternative ways to illustrate your irritations about experiences and exclaim your competitiveness toward your opponents—rape is an unacceptable comparison.


A culture that supports abuse and violence by trivializing it with jokes, justifying rape by blaming the person who was attacked, and comparing rape to daily challenges you face only perpetuates that rape is “okay.” Why should that kind of power even be thought of as acceptable? One person’s story of being sexually assaulted is far too many. I am fed up with the lack of accountability placed on the person who commits rape.

I believe that it is important to combat rape culture by having honest dialogue about how it contributes to a vicious cycle of normalizing sexual violence and abuse. Having these conversations start with YOU. Making an attempt to be more inclusive with our language and intentional about our actions, and challenging our peers to do the same, promotes a more positive and enlightened culture. I believe that we have the POWER to reverse the normalcy of rape culture by supporting survivor\’s stories and together resisting the oppression of rape culture. Action is our most forceful weapon, silence is acceptance.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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Adrian Nava (18 years old) and Scarlett Jimenez (18 years old)

Colorado Youth CREATE Council Members

As educators, advocates, and allies of sexual health, we often ask ourselves why we are still having conversations about the implementation and support of comprehensive sexuality education for young people across the nation. For a lot of us, the issue of reproductive rights and justice is one that hits very close to home. As advocates, our stories and personal experiences hold immense power in our work. They allow us to break down barriers when interacting with others, and to create room for meaningful human connections and a space to share why we are so passionate about the work we do.

We share our stories with the hope that we will create awareness and support for comprehensive sex education. Having personal stories that reflect a lack of inclusion of all sexual orientations, or lack of information about healthy relationships and self–esteem, we – Scarlett and Adrian – understand and are optimal examples of why sexual health education is essential for all youth. During our years in advocacy, we have both been exposed to a world of possibilities, and have actively participated in various levels of advocacy.

From local to national participation, both of us have had the opportunity to express ourselves as young people. During the 2013 legislative session at Colorado’s State Capitol, we were actively involved in advocating for the passage of House Bill 1081, what has become known as Colorado’s “updated sex ed law.” We wanted to make sure that young people’s voices and concerns were included throughout the process. As part of CREATE, a youth advocacy council sponsored by Colorado Youth Matter and Advocates for Youth, we testified in favor of the bill during committee hearings and organized a youth advocacy day, which brought more than 230 youth to the capitol to speak to their legislators about the importance of passing laws that increase access to comprehensive sex education.

Adrian’s Story

Adrian NavaI consider myself an advocate not only for programs and policies that promote youth sexual health, but for change founded on social justice principles. As an advocate, a person of color, and someone who identifies as gay, I remember sitting in a crowded 7th grade health class during my glorious awkward pre-pubescent years, asking myself what the ladies at the front of the room were talking about. It turns out that these women were teaching the girls how to say “NO” to males who would only want to have sex with females. I then realized that this uncomfortable discussion was actually part of a “sexual health” class. Yikes! This situation was uncomfortable not only because I did not know what sexual health education looked like, but because I was being targeted as a male. I was expected to insist on having sexual intercourse with women. I was ultimately astonished and speechless at the sexist, and judgmental tone that was being set within a classroom environment.

As a student, I was genuinely eager to learn about what was going on inside of my body and mind. But after much talk about “male and female relationships,” I asked the teachers if it was possible for two boys to be together, and the teachers ignored my question and moved on to talk about the importance of abstaining from having sex.

I began to feel like it was wrong to ask that question – which meant that something about me was wrong, since I was attracted to people of the same gender as me. The following day, my peers and I participated in an activity in which one person was assigned to be a person with “AIDS.” To my surprise, that person was me. I learned later that gay men are stereotyped as having HIV, which only deteriorated my self-esteem and self-love because I was not exposed to positive messages about LGBT people.

My negative experience of feeling ignored and stigmatized in the classroom is the reason I became actively involved in advocacy work for increased access to comprehensive sex education. I was made to feel ashamed of being gay, which harmed my emotional health for a long period of time. I wish I could have received comprehensive, inclusive, medically accurate, age-appropriate information about my body and mind – but I didn’t.

However, just because my school did not provide me with that education, it does not mean that future generations should not have access. I am completely in love with my advocacy work and impacting my generation, for the better. I find empowerment through making my voice heard and mobilizing young people to speak about and advocate for their sexual health.

Scarlett’s Story

Scarlett JimenezI am an advocate for comprehensive sex education and reproductive rights and justice for young people, because I believe that the issues at hand should be considered as part of our basic human rights. I believe that young people should have the right to have access to accurate information about their bodies. Furthermore, youth deserve the opportunity to develop the life skills that are included in comprehensive sexuality education. I believe that my high school experience would have been a much happier and more successful time had that been included as part of my education.

On a daily basis, young women are bombarded with highly sexualized messages from the media that dictate the social norms. I think that it is absolutely essential for young women to learn that these messages are disempowering and are not actual expectations of women. All youth, regardless of their gender, deserve to hear that they are much more valuable than the media depicts them. High school is such a hectic and overwhelming stage for teens. Oftentimes, teens do not receive much needed positive and empowering messages about themselves or young people in general. I know that for myself, low sense of self-worth and a lack of basic sexual health information and the ability to communicate with my partner led me into an unsafe relationship and a very hard time in my life.

I am an advocate for comprehensive sexuality education, and all that it entails, because now I have a vision for future generations. Creating access to comprehensive sex education can inform and support youth to be empowered, inclusive, educated, compassionate, communicative, strong, and driven by their identified passions and goals.

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Drunk in Love = Safe in Love?

A few weeks ago, Beyonce quietly dropped an album (thanks for being awesome #QueenBey), and a hit single “Drunk in Love” is blaring from every angle. Corner stores, cars on the highway, my dentist’s office. You name it, and “Drunk in Love” is on everyone’s playlist. While the entire album is well received by her audience, “Drunk in Love” raises a bigger question about the role of sobriety in sexual encounters.

As a third-year college student in America’s biggest college town, I’ve seen and heard all the effects of alcohol in sexual encounters.

“It makes flirting easier.” “It makes cumming faster.” “It makes talking smoother.”

Easier. Faster. Smoother.

Things alcohol does to your hook-up/sex life (because not all hook-ups involve sex). Sounds good, right? But, then glance over at the role of alcohol in sexual violence and the role of alcohol in America’s rape culture, especially among young people. While there is no direct correlation between alcohol and sexual violence, is there a safe way to be drunk during sex and, of course, during love?

For Beyonce and Jay-Z, one of the most powerful couples in the entertainment industry, their marriage seems like something out of utopia: a child, money, love, fame, etc.

But most couples aren’t like this. In fact, how many women can say that they completely trust their partner when they are drunk? How many times are women left feeling comfortable in their vulnerability and sexuality with their partner?

That’s what struck the most in this song. Beyonce feels safe enough to trust Jay-Z when they’re both drunk. And that’s actually so rare. Society places so many preconceived notions of sex and alcohol, especially on the role of alcohol to get women drunk for sex. With sex comes vulnerability and trust, the trust to be with someone during your most intimate moments and the vulnerability to linger with your most intimate thoughts.

While “Drunk in Love” represents a part of a relationship rarely depicted in media, I would like to see other women feel more safe and secure in their relationships, sober or not.

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One year has passed since the high profile case in which a Delhi woman was raped and murdered. The case resulted in many changes in India, the most notable being more strict laws that doubled the prison terms for sexual assault, voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks, and trafficking. In addition, the minimum sentence for rape cases has increased to 20 years and the death penalty is now a possibility for cases in which death occurs.

It is exciting to see what local movements have achieved in a year, but as mainstream media rallies around this story, here are some points to keep in mind:

  1. India is not the only country where rape is a problem. While the highest number of cases were reported in the US and India between 2004 and 2010, these numbers are complicated. They are a mere fraction of the number of estimated cases by the CDC and US Justice Department and are not calculated based on population density. Looking at population density figures, there are dozens of nations with more reported cases than India. Sexual assault is not a problem unique to India. [1]
  2. Similarly, it is easy as outsiders to view Indian culture and life solely through this event and the response surrounding it. There are many positive, vibrant aspects of India and we cannot erase those out of our frustrations or cast stereotypes centered on violence onto an entire nation.
  3. This past year should not be marked as the year India ended all indifferent to rape. While the story of the urban woman who worked her way through college spurred outrage through its relatability, organizing around sexual assault has been happening for years. There are many established advocates and individuals who work on this issue. One of these groups is the Red Brigade, who patrol streets in groups and confront perpetrators. [2]

[1] http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/quick-click/which-country-has-the-highest-reported-incidents-rape-data

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/04/world/asia/india-rape-problem-udas/

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I am a pretty big fan of sitting at home with food and shows to binge on.  And East Los High caught my full and undivided attention.  I’m not normally into soapy teen dramas, but the problems teens face everyday, especially teens of color in neighborhoods like East Los, were real.

While many find sex and the details of it to still be taboo to discuss, teens are left without the rights and respect to get the knowledge they need to better protect themselves.  I found it so refreshing to find a series that is easily relatable, stimulating, and educational.  Oh, and guess what?  Characters in the show can actually say the word “abortion.”  There wasn’t a Voldemort treatment of an actual medical procedure that one out of three women in the United States will experience in their lifetime.  Even better, several choices and paths that follow unprotected sex are explored and tidbits of helpful sexual health facts and info are casually placed into the dialogue.  There’s even brief but impactful conversations on masculinity and gender roles in regards to safe sex throughout the show.

I had a Hulu Plus account and was fortunately able to view the “Hulu exclusive” series, but anyone can watch the full episodes on the East Los High website.  It’s a good and fairly accessible teen drama with lots of examples and lessons to share.    There are little whispers about a second season to appear, and I am excitedly waiting.  Not everyone shared my enthusiasm for the show though.  An online “news” article from Life Site News expressed an opinion:

Planned Parenthood’s has its guns aimed squarely at Hispanic teens, as it continues its latest foray into eugenic targeting via an unbelievably salacious novella featuring an all-Latino/Latina cast…

What kind of public service is done by the airing of this trashy novella directed to Hispanic teens? And just what is the “moral” of Episode 1? Finish the dance with your boyfriend before dashing to the car to have sex with someone else? Watch out when you have sex in a car because someone may be videotaping you? Being voted Winter Queen will make you extremely popular on the hookup circuit?

How can anyone even use the word “moral” in connection with this series?

There are some other significant things that this writer neglects to mention besides the awesome sexual health info and examples found throughout the series.  East Los High is the first English language show with an all Latino cast.  And what is even better is that the cast defies the mainstream roles that Latino people are often forced into.  For something like this to be left out in this diatribe is quite telling of the kind of perspective the writer has, especially with the condescending and twisted but very nonexistent link between the show and fictitious eugenic attempts.

Miriam Perez, a past contributor on Racialicious, Feministing, and RHRealityCheck, has written on this topic of anti-choice movements making it seem like they care about women of color.  Her post was originally found on RHRealityCheck, but I pulled it off Racialicious.  From the succinct and eloquent post Worried About Women of Color? Thanks, But No Thanks, Anti-Choicers. We’ve Got It Covered:

At first glance, it’s nice to see the anti-choice community pretending to care about communities of color. But within a few minutes, the skepticism sets in. What’s really behind these tactics, coming from a group that is majority white, middle-class and Christian? In the end, we know this isn’t actually about women of color and their well-being. It’s a sensationalist attempt to pit women of color against the reproductive rights movement. Classic divide and conquer…

We’ve fought back against governmental policies like welfare family caps and limits on access to certain types of contraception over others. We’ve fought with the reproductive rights community to get them to care about these issues and how they affect our communities—and we’ve won.

We’re fighting for access to contraception, to abortion, to options for childbirth and parenting. And now we’ll fight the racist and paternalistic logic behind the eugenics arguments being made by anti-choicers.

Life Site News has urged concerned citizens to call  Hulu’s corporate headquarters at 310-571-4700 to remove the series and to make sure a second season contract cannot be extended.  Please use the number to the opposite.

(This has also been posted on my blogs FanTalk and STFU, Pro-Lifers.)

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*This post speaks about sexually based crimes-specifically rape- and has the potential to be triggering for survivors of sexually based crimes. Please practice self-care before, during, after, and always* 

Scandal is known for its hard hitting fast paced story telling.  In one of the most recent episodes viewers found out that Mellie had previously been raped by her father in law. 

I remember watching the scene and basically having an absence of thought. The rape happened so quickly and the scene in which it was part of had no indication that a rape was about to take place. 
After thinking about it more I, never being the survivor of rape, felt okay with the scene. I kind of felt like the quickness of how the rape took place could be realistic to how a casual encounter with someone could turn sexually violent so quickly. I also felt that having a sexually based crime on a show that millions of viewers tune  into watch would cast a light on how pervasive rape is in the lives of many people. 
Reading the article I could see what the author meant but didn’t entirely agree. 
While talking to a few friends I learned that they were very upset about Mellie’s rape scene, how it had no forewarning, and how extremely triggering it was to them. 
I was blown away. I finally “got it”. 
Like it or not media has a sense of social responsibility to its viewers. Providing trigger warnings for viewers when an episode includes a violent sexually based crime should be paramount to “not spoiling the shock value”. 
In the past when an episode of Scandal had a consensual sex scene they warn the viewers that “viewer discretion is advised”  before the episode begins. However, for the episode that included a rape scene no warning was made.  NONE. 
When will the entertainment media stop using rape simply as a “shock value” way to rank in views? Rape is real so personally I do not feel it should never show up in shows however, including a sexually based crime in an episode with no warning, no real story line, and with no heads up to it’s viewers is disrespectful, lazy, rude, and dangerous. 


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Why ’12 Years A Slave’ Is

Different From ‘The Help’

And ‘Django Unchained’–

And Why It Matters

[originally posted on ThinkProgress by Alyssa Rosenberg]

[TW: racial slurs, movie spoilers, rape]

This post discusses plot details of 12 Years A Slave in depth.

“Forgive me,” Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) tells his wife Anne (Kelsey Scott) when he returns to Saratoga and to freedom after more than a decade of enslavement in Southern states. “There is nothing to forgive,” Anne tells him. And of course, Solomon is in no way responsible for being kidnapped into servitude and for being out of his touch with his family for twelve years, except for the errors of judgement he made in trusting the men who deceived and sold him. But the exchange between the reunited spouses reveals, in plain language, what makes Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave so strikingly different from many of the movies about slavery, race, and the South in recent years. 12 Years A Slave is concerned with Solomon’s character arc, rather than the moral development of a white woman like Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), the misfit socialite who becomes a reporter and goes to work for a publisher in The Help, or Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), the bounty hunter-turned-hater-of-slavery in Django Unchained. And the movie treats whiteness not as a neutral thing, but as a complex construct that, in its intersections with class and gender, creates a landscape more unstable and risky than any Palmetto swamp.

Unlike Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis), the housekeeper in The Help, who goes from quiet acceptance of her lot to speaking her mind, or Django (Jamie Foxx), who begins Django Unchained in irons and ends it galloping off towards freedom with his wife, Solomon spends much of 12 Years A Slave traveling an opposite trajectory. At the beginning of the film, his freedom has granted him the privilege of being trusting when two men, Brown (Scoot McNairy) and Hamilton (Taran Killam) offer him a job playing his violin at an exorbitant salary with a circus. “Your generosity is extraordinary,” Solomon tells them over a rich dinner in Washington, DC, where he’s traveled for what he believes will be a two-week engagement. Even after he wakes up in irons, Solomon refuses to believe that Brown and Hamilton have betrayed him, protesting that “They were not kidnappers, they were artists.” And even more tellingly, he believes that some sort of justice is within reach. “I promise you, upon my liberation, I will have satisfaction for this wrong,” Solomon declares to one of his jailers.

For much of the next twelve years, Solomon spends his time being disabused of the notion that fellow artists are trustworthy, that his talent will save him, and that decency and fellow-feeling trumps race. And he comes into uncomfortably close acquaintance with he’ll do to survive, and to be free again.

Solomon’s education takes place in three acts, the first, and swiftest in a form of violent gaslighting designed to swiftly transition him from thinking of himself as a free man to accepting an identity as a slave. “You ain’t no free man. And you ain’t from Saratoga, you’re from Georgia…You ain’t nothing but a runaway nigger,” his jailer in Washington, DC tells Solomon as he beats his new identity into him. “You’re a slave. Your’e a Georgia slave.” That man’s partner teaches Solomon the other part of the essential lesson of servitude, that he’s meant to be surprised by any generosity show him, rather than feeling entitled to it. “Got no gratitude?” the man tells him, when he comes to offer Solomon a replacement for the shirt that’s been shredded and irreparably bloodied by his beating. And when Solomon arrives at his destination, the custody of a slaver named Freeman (Paul Giamatti), he’s punished when he doesn’t answer to the new name bestowed on him, Platt. “You fit the description. Why didn’t you answer when called?” Freeman demands of Solomon, making sure that his latest commodity will behave as expected before he’s sold off.

If Solomon becomes convinced of the value of docility to his survival in the first stage of his journey South, it’s in his second that he learns that his talents and intelligence need to be deployed carefully, and the extent to which race trumps class for Southern whites. The man who purchases him is a plantation owner named Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) who fancies himself a benevolent owner. Ford’s first attracted to Solomon in Freeman’s establishment when the slaver tells Ford that “This is a nigger of considerable talent,” and Ford hears Solomon’s playing. That respect extends beyond Solomon’s music. Ford is willing to accept Solmon’s advice on transporting lumber through the swamps around his estate. Tibeats (Paul Dano), a foreman who’s taken an instant dislike to Solomon on the grounds that he doesn’t know his place, asks Solomon “Are you an engineer or a nigger?” when Solomon volunteers his experience working on a canal crew as proof of his plan. “I’ll admit to being impressed even if you won’t,” Ford tells Tibeats and Solomon, giving Solomon a chance to prove his idea viable.

But Eliza (Adepero Oduye), who like Solmon was kidnapped in Washington, and has been sold to Ford along with him but away from her children, sees what Solomon cannot in these gestures of respect. “Ford is your opportunity?” she asks Solomon, recognizing that Solomon’s displays of his talents only make him more valuable to Ford, rather than convincing Ford of his humanity. Solomon’s first inkling of this comes when Ford gives him a violin, telling Solomon “I hope it brings us both much joy over the years,” envisioning a placid, and permanent, coexistence with the slave he’s come to enjoy.

Even if Solmon accepts that might be his lot, he fails to recognize that the means by which he expresses his usefulness may someday erode the risks Ford is willing to take for him. His error is in continuing to challenge Tibeats, treating the white man as if he’s foolish, telling him “I simply ask that you use all your senses before rendering judgement,” and when Tibeats criticizes his work, declaring “If there’s something wrong, it’s wrong with the instructions.” When their repeated confrontations finally become violent, Solomon acts as if his skills outrank the whiteness of Tibeats’ skin, beating him rather than allowing himself to be physically abused. When Tibeats declares after the fight that “You will not live to see another day…I will have flesh and I will have all of it,” it’s another layer of the instruction that Solomon first received when he was kidnapped: he’s in a place where reason matters very little, and race and class are everything.

In one of the most intellectually complex and visually harrowing sequences in12 Years A Slave, Tibeats rounds up a lynch mob, only to be interrupted by Ford’s overseer, who informs Tibeats that “You have no claim to his life.” This doesn’t, of course, mean that Solmon’s life is his own. And to remind him of it, the overseer leave Solomon hanging just low enough that he can relieve the pressure on his neck by pointing his toes in decidedly unstable mud. The slaves around him, better-trained in the art of self-preservation, largely go about their work as Solomon languishes there. Children play near the tree from which he’s hung. Mrs. Ford watches Solomon struggle, then strolls away from her viewpoint on the porch. A woman sneaks him a drink of water, but she can only ease his comfort, not relieve him of it. The one person who can do that is Ford, who ultimately cuts Solomon down with a machete. But that assertion of ownership comes paired with an acknowledgement that Solomon himself has transgressed so far in his beating of Tibeats that Ford cannot–or will not–assert his class privilege over the poorer man’s racist outrage in order to save a slave, even one he’s grown fond of. “You are an exceptional nigger, Platt,” Ford tells Solomon as he prepares to sell him to Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). “But I fear no good can come of it.”

It’s on Epps’ plantation that Solomon learns submission and compromise, which, paradoxically, are the qualities that will allow him to save his own life at the end of the film. On the Epps plantation, Solomon’s skills are turned against him. Far from being able to win Epps’ respect with any knowledge he might possess, Solomon proves poor at the one thing Epps wants of him, picking cotton. His musical skills, once a source of consolation, become part of Epps’ macabre entertainments, as Epps forces Solomon to play for grotesque dances he forces his slaves to hold in the middle of the night.

And amidst the brutality of the Epps plantation, Solomon learns to do what the people who saw him being hanged and did nothing did on that day: to ignore what he sees, and to keep quiet. When he contemplates running away when Mrs. Epps (Sarah Paulson) orders him to run her errands at a store, his flight through the woods brings Solomon upon a lynching party. Solomon effectively promises the white men in the group that he will forget what he saw. He tells Mrs. Epps that “No m’am. [He encountered] No trouble,” on his route, erasing the experience from his official account of the trip. And Solomon and Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), a slave Epps describes as “Queen of the Fields,” and who Epps rapes regularly, warning his wife that “I will rid myself of you before I do away with her,” are lectured on the value of patience and submission in Christian terms by Mistress Shaw (Alfre Woodward), a slave who accepted the role of mistress to another white man. “Where once I served, I have others serving me,” Mistress Shaw counsels the two younger people. “In good time, the Lord’ll manage ‘em all…The sorrow of the pharaohs is no match for what awaits the plantation class.”

This education saves Solomon when he is caught in a dangerous ploy, trying to convince a former overseer-turned-cotton-picker named Armsby (Garret Dillahunt) to deliver a letter to his family. “Well, Platt. I understand I got a learned nigger writes letters, tries to get white fellows to mail ‘em,” a drunk Epps tells Solomon, clearly eager to use this knowledge against a slave who’s irritated him, but not quite given him the excuse Epps needs to dispatch him by violence. Solmon, by this point, knows enough to play Epps’ class suspicions against Armsby. “He made the story out of whole cloth because he wants a situation,” Solomon insists, and Epps believes him.

But submission also means that Solomon is pulled deeper into complicity with Epps’ cruelties, nowhere more so than in the case of Patsey. At one point, Patsey begs Solomon to kill her and to make her body disappear, telling him “I ain’t got no comfort in this life. If I can’t buy mercy from you, I’ll beg it.” But Solomon declines, even as he becomes witness to her escalating suffering. When he returns from a stint on another plantation, where he was allowed to play his violin and earn money for himself, Solmon sees all the blood vessels in one of Patsey’s eyes broken, whether as the result of abuse from Mrs. Epps, or as an assertion of authority from Epps himself. Later, when Patsey is not available to Epps on a Sunday, a day she’s traditionally been free to go visiting, his wrath is dreadful. And it escalates when she explains that she was visiting Mistress Shaw to get some soap because Mrs. Epps has denied it to her. “500 pounds of cotton a day, more than any man. And for that I will be clean. That’s all I ask,” Patsey begs for her dignity. And Epps, telling her “You’re doing this to yourself, Pats,” orders Solomon to whip her, and then to whip her harder when he makes a show of the beating rather than administering it properly.

And when Mr. Parker (Rob Steinberg), Solomon’s white friend, comes to Epps’ plantation with evidence of Solomon’s freedom, 12 Years A Slave makes wrenchingly clear that Solomon’s freedom depends on his willingness to simply accept it and go. “Get away from him, Pats,” Epps warns Patsey as she insists on saying goodbye to Solomon. The price of her minor act of dignity is likely to be severe, and during her whipping and the treatment of her flayed back afterwards, we’ve seen what that cost looks like. And the price of Solomon’s freedom is his willingness to turn his back on her, as he looked away from her injured eye, as he refused to risk Epps’ wrath or his soul to kill her before she suffered more.

None of this is to say that the decisions Solomon makes are wrong, or to argue that he should have martyred himself on Epps’ plantation and died forgotten, rather than living to tell his story and to become an abolitionist activist, a chapter of his life that’s left out of the film. But 12 Years A Slave is a remarkable film because it examines the ways in which slavery coarsened the moral sensibilities not just of the white people who practiced it, but of the black people who were held in bondage. And unlike Aibileen Clark, who is a saint, or Django, who is an action hero, Solomon can be damaged by slavery, he can do terrible things to survive, and the movie extends to him the privilege of never sacrificing his claim on our immense admiration and respect. When Solomon tells his family “I apologize for my appearance, but I have had a difficult time these past several years,” he is speaking not only physically and emotionally, but with a veiled honesty about the terrible compromises he has made to return home to them. In between 12 Years A Slave and Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler’s remarkable debut film about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), who was shot to death on a BART platform in 20009, 2013 may prove a waster-shed year for cinema in the long-overdue assertion that black men don’t need to earn the value of their lives or their dignity, that they simply possess them.

12 Years A Slave is also admirably corrective for sidelining the moral development or degradation of the white people in Solomon’s journey. This is not to say that the characters are poorly sketched. With the exception of a badly miscast Brad Pitt as Bass, a white Canadian who eventually delivers news of Solomon’s fate to his friends and family in Saratoga, McQueen has gotten remarkably rich psychological portraits from his cast. Fassbender seems likely to be a strong Best Supporting Actor contender for his performance of the louche, self-loathing Epps. And it’ll be a shame if his work overshadows Sarah Paulson’s enraged, humiliated plantation wife.

But for once, we have a film about the South where the highest concern is not whether Skeeter Phelan turns on her racist friends and finds fulfillment in the world of publishing, leaving the black women who gave her the material for her first book behind in Mississippi, or whether Dr. King Schultz acts in accordance with his newly-awakened conscience and dies in a blaze of spectacularly impractical glory that puts Django and his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) in greater danger than a show of deference to violent planter Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) might have done. To 12 Years A Slave, whether individual white people are good or bad, compromised or virtuous, cowardly or courageous is simply less important than their collective impact on black men like Solomon Northup, who must navigate their whims and class prejudices to survive. Really, what does the small kindness of a Mr. Ford matter when men like Epps live and bear lashes? 12 Years A Slave dismisses the moral myopia that governs movies like The Help and Django Unchained, which reduce the experiences of black people down to the importance those experiences play in white people’s moral educations.

Those learning experiences are not unnecessary to social progress. But the movies have often given the impression that this is a one-sided process, in which white people of good will must learn to recognize the ills that they have unconsciously done and benefitted from, and find some small way to renounce them. 12 Years a Slave is a powerful corrective in its illustration that racism in America is a matter of mutual, continual and detrimental education, in which all parties learn to read privilege and respond to their position relative to it, rather a monolithic and impersonal institution.

Excellent review, analysis, and description of this film I watched a couple weeks ago by Alyssa Rosenberg.  Though I would have ventured more in depth about Ford’s character and how even though he is much kinder than your typical slave owner, he is still a slave owner and in the film it was clear that his compliments and actions were still dehumanizing.  He represented another face of racism and oppression.  And that would be it, because I choose not to speak on a character whose role was only less than ten minutes.

And I say this as a response to the overwhelming amount of praises for Benedict Cumberbatch who played as Master Ford.  Admittedly, Benedict Cumberbatch did very well in his less than ten minutes on the screen.  Of course with personal perspective, I did not find it spectacular.  Not even close.

I see no reason to extend more than a few kind words for Benedict Cumberbatch’s role when the movie was not even about a somewhat kind, but very cowardly and oppressive white slave owner.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon) and Lupita Nyong’O (Patsey) were the real stars of the movie.

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(Image reposted from Amplify Facebook – click here for more)

Urban Retreat 2013 was truly an experience beyond any tier.  Never have I ever been surrounded by so many like-minded individuals–as much of an oxymoron as that might sound.  We were all individuals because we all had our own story to share.  We came from many different walks of life and parts of the world.  All of us had to overcome some type of unique trauma and oppression that we were facing in our own separate lives.  But we celebrated our diversity.  And we were all there in unison trying to contribute to the vision we shared for the world.

I might have been a tiny bit apprehensive about making the trip to Washington, D.C. at first.  I wasn’t really enthusiastic about being away from my girlfriend.  It was a place I had never been to on my own.  I would be surrounded by strangers.  But these strangers quickly became my friends.  And these friends were all activists and advocates for social progress in their own communities from all over the world, so I had a lot to learn from them.  And I found, to my surprise, that I had things I could share with them as well.  Together we received training to become more effective activists and leaders.  And after the inspiring trainings and workshops, we headed to Capitol Hill together to share our stories and insight with our representatives.  It was a self-affirming and inspiring experience.

I even got to meet Janet Mock!  We talked and had dinner.  She even tweeted me and followed me on Twitter!

It’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained new tools, resources, and concepts that would empower me and inspire me to be more involved in activism and advocacy for social justice.  And it’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained a new family with YouthResource.  Today I woke up this morning and found myself in my own bed in Michigan.  I wasn’t in Washington, D.C. with my fellow advocates anymore.  The realization was bittersweet.  But I know I’ll see these faces soon enough with stories to share.


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If you’re a cosplayer or con goer, you might know who Yaya Han is. She’s a costume designer who is known pretty well in the convention circuit. Recently, she became a cast member on the SyFy show, “Heroes of Cosplay”. Below are a photos of her cosplaying Fiora (League of Legends) and an art nouveau interpretation of Chun Li (Street Fighter) which is one of my personal favorites. As you can see, her work is amazing. I can’t imagine ever being able to perfect costumes the way she does.



Now sometime during one of my random meanderings through the interwebs, I stumbled upon a post criticizing Yaya Han. The criticism did not stem from a lack of diligence in her work or perhaps a nasty attitude, no. Rather, it was about the fact that she had expressed a desire not to be degraded because of her work and her physical endowments. The author of this post felt that Ms. Han should not have any objections to being the subject of wank sessions because her career “centers around her body”. Let’s put that up there with the rest of the justifications for cat-calling and rape now shall we guys? By this person’s logic, the moment Yaya decided to begin a career in cosplay, she was no longer in charge of her body.

Here’s another gem – “Practically all of her costumes have been of skimpily dressed characters with focus on her breasts. Of course, she has legions of guys wanking off to her. You’d think that this would be a well-known and accepted aspect to all successful models. And generally, all women should realize that dressing in a way that shows off a part of their body will attract attention to that part. But apparently Yaya missed the memo. After years of 14-30 year old lonely nerds splooging their mega milk all over their keyboards to her, she seems to have become irritated as she recently let out her thoughts on her facebook page.”

This is such an unbelievably stupid comment. Why are so many female costumes skimpy? Uhhh, because dudes duh. Men are the reason why Wonder Woman wears a bustier to fight le bad guys and female warriors in video games are expected to fight successfully in armor equivalent to a bikini. And don’t even get me started on the anatomically impossible poses. And apparently, the fact that Yaya had a breast augmentation is further justification of her “attitude problem”. The author goes on to list tips such as, “Don’t leave your tits hanging out if you don’t want to be stared at.”, “Don’t be a bitch if your boobs are just that awesome”, “Learn to take it as a compliment” and “Don’t get pornstar implants or try to “improve” your boobs if you’re just going to be in prudish denial about it.”. Tall, dark and rapist anyone? Are your alarm bells going off yet?

Now while I have no idea why Yaya chose to enhance her breasteses, that decision should in no way diminish anyone’s opinion of her. Learn to take a compliment? The breasts are not on your chest so why would you assume that you should have anything to say about it? I mean, really? What are you, a dog? I take that back. It’s an insult to dogs. Even they know what the word “No” means and obey when it is spoken.

NO-ONE should be subjected to such disgusting degradation because of the way they look. It’s really that simple.


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Most people who occupy the social justice corners of the Internet are sure to have heard of the Edmonton police department’s anti-rape campaign.  What makes the campaign so great is the focus on the offenders to not rape rather than telling the victims to not get raped with messages like, “It’s not sex when she’s passed out.  Sex with someone unable to consent = sexual assault.  Don’t be that guy.”  SAVEdmonton even includes men as potential rape victims and broadens the crime outside a heteronormative perspective.  From their own page on what makes this so different from other anti-rape campaigns:

Typically, sexual assault awareness campaigns target potential victims by urging women to restrict their behavior. Research is telling us that targeting the behavior of victims is not only ineffective, but also contributes to and increases self-blame in survivors. Instead, the SAVE campaigns targets potential offenders – ultimately the ones who hold the power and responsibility to end sexual assault. By addressing sexual assault without victim-blaming, we intend to mark Edmonton on the map as a model for other cities. (reposted from SAVEdmonton.com)

Edmonton’s posters with messages of ending victim blaming and targeting perpetrators was successful in its intention to decrease the rate of sexual assaults.  But it seems like not everyone is supportive of the campaign and its success.  An unauthorized campaign took SAVEdmonton’s original posters and made parody versions.

(image reposted from The Edmonton Journal)

What makes these parody posters so problematic is the perpetuation of the myth of false reporting or allegations, which our current culture is already strongly promoting.  These parody posters not only silences actual and potential victims, but blames them for the assaults against them which completely contradicts the original campaign’s message.

Here are the actual posters from SAVEdmonton:

Definitely check out the other posters on SAVEdmonton.com!

With the current messages that’s fed to our youth on a daily basis, it’s really important to think of the messages SAVEdmonton has to share with the world.  It doesn’t promote a rape culture and actively seeks to create a change by preventing sexual assault.  SAVEdmonton is truly a model anti-rape campaign.

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Just yesterday on a Friday afternoon, I posted the petition to make The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act a reality on my reproductive justice blog.  It’s not much, but it’s already gained a little less than 900 notes on Tumblr.  Popular blogs like ST*U, Sexists and F*ck Yeah, Sex Education just gave the petition a signal boost and I’ve seen a lot of #vision4sexed hashtags on Twitter, so we’ll be sure to see more feedback before September 10.  And the youth activists have been out and about getting physical signatures, which is something I’m doing once school is back in session.  Some people are reblogging it with their own commentary to emphasize the importance of it, and sometimes it’s all in caps so you know it’s a pretty big deal.  Especially with our current culture’s views on sexuality and education.  No one should have to suffer another abstinence only class in which our youth, especially girls, are compared to used up candy wrappers and dirty pieces of tape if they’re sexually active.  If you haven’t already and you support comprehensive sex education, definitely sign the petition and share it!

The petition page lets you know exactly what you’re saying when you’re leaving behind a signature:

I support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a sex education vision that outlines what young people truly need. The bill not only authorizes funding for comprehensive sex education directed towards adolescents and college students, but also prioritizes teacher training so that our nation’s educators have the tools they need to be effective in the classroom.

Let’s work to realize our vision of young people receiving the sex education they need in order to lead healthy lives and have healthy relationships. We owe it to them to provide them honest sexual health education. With the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act we can start bringing our vision for sex ed to life!

My vision for sex education includes letting our youth know that it’s never okay to shame others for being sexually active or abstinent by choice.  My vision for sex education also includes teaching our youth the signs of an abusive relationship, whether it’s emotional, physical, or both.  I’d love for there to be discussions that include the LGBTQ community because often they are erased from the topic, leaving many without resources.  I find it to be very dangerous to let our youth go through life without the tools they need to have healthy lives.  Comprehensive sex education just makes perfect sense to me.  What’s your vision for sex ed?

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A team of YALC had organized a workshop on 23rd August, 2013 for grade 9 and 10 girl students at Vishwa Niketan School, Tripureshwore, Kathmandu. The main idea of the workshop was to aware students about Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Sexual Violence. There were around 30 participants.

The workshop was started by giving a short introduction about Yuwa and YALC. Then, there were sessions on SRHR and Sexual Violence. The sessions were open to discussion so the students poured out their experiences and concerns related to the subject matter. There were also one or two games in the middle to make the workshop fun which really re-energized the students.

After lunch, the students were divided into four groups and were given a task to discuss about issues related to sexual violence. They were asked to list down solutions and measures they would adopt to defend their dignity as a woman in the worst situations of abuse and violence. Each group got a chance to present their viewpoints after the group work in the form of presentation.  The students opened up to a great extent at this point. They even made slogans to fight against violence. One such interesting slogan was,” The world suffers not because of violence but because of silence of people.”

At the end, some protective techniques were shared by the council members. The council members who had facilitated this workshop were Smarika K.C, Alina Acharya and Rosy Wagley. All the participants of the workshop were very thankful to the team of YALC for being there and creating an atmosphere where their voices were heard.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Ireland Has Performed Its

First- Ever Legal Abortion,

And It Saved A Dying Woman’s


(Re-posted from ThinkProgress)

The first legal abortion in an Irish hospital has been carried out in Dublin, the Irish Times confirmed on Friday. It represents the first pregnancy termination under Ireland’s historic new abortion law, which slightly relaxed the country’s total ban to allow for legal abortions in cases when it’s necessary to preserve a woman’s life.

Before Ireland’s prime minister approved the new law in July, the country’s abortion laws had not been updated since 1867. Now, there are 25 Irish hospitals that are authorized to perform legal abortions in life-threatening cases without worrying about legal repercussions.

The National Maternity Hospital in Dublin carried out the pregnancy termination for a dying woman whose membrane had ruptured for more than 24 hours. She ran a high risk of sepsis, and her 18-week twin fetuses had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Doctors said her case bore many similarities to that of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old woman who died after being denied an emergency abortion in an Irish Catholic hospital last year. Halappanavar developed sepsis after she began to miscarry, but doctors wouldn’t terminate her doomed pregnancy until the fetal heartbeat had officially stopped three days later — and by that time, it was too late.

The Irish Times reports that in contrast to Halappanavar, the woman who received a legal abortion this month “has made a good recovery after receiving antibiotic treatment and undergoing the termination a number of weeks ago.”

Ireland’s new abortion law was spurred by Halappanavar’s tragic death, which sparked a global controversy. Reproductive rights activists vowed that an individual would “never again” be denied the life-saving medical care that could avert this type of tragedy. But even though Ireland has slightly relaxed its stringent abortion law to successfully avert another Savita, a handful of other conservative Catholic countries still impose total bans on the procedure. Following Halpannavar’s death, similar controversies have unfolded in El Salvador and Chile.

The Guttmacher Institute’s research has found that harsh bans on abortion don’t actually lower abortion rates. Instead, they simply encourage women to risk their lives to end a pregnancy illegally. An estimated 47,000 women around the world die each year from unsafe abortions — and that figure doesn’t include women like Halpannavar who die from pregnancy-related complications that an abortion could have averted.


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Yay Iceland!

How do you protest the appearance of an anti-gay preacher? Reserve all the seats at his event and then don’t show up. What was he thinking going to a country where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010?

“Why doesn’t feminist media treat immigration as an obvious feminist issue? Why doesn’t mainstream feminism seem to give a damn about undocumented women? Why aren’t more feminist organizations coming out in support of the Dream 9? As a comprehensive immigration reform bill is being butchered by Congress, accomplishing little more than further militarizing the border, and the Dream 9, largely led by women, continue making national headlines after participating in the most radical, risky act of civil disobedience in the history of the undocumented student movement, there is literally no excuse for the silence on behalf of feminist media.”

Great read! Aside from “Dostana” and “I Can’t Think Straight”, I hadn’t even heard about these.

Even though her latest book and other occurrences have changed my perception of her, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is still a voice that needs to be heard.

Why is there even a need to ask this question in 2013? Have you not heard all that we have been screaming about how taking advantage of women and girls in compromised situations is NEVER ok?

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One year ago, then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) uttered his infamous “legitimate rape” comment when explaining his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape. The comment gave the public a rare peek into the extreme views Akin and other like-minded conservatives have on reproductive rights and how fundamentally misinformed they are on matters of basic biology.

The comment was the beginning of the end of Akin’s Senate run. But while it may have cost him an election, it hasn’t stopped Republicans across the country from trying to legislate legal abortion out of existence. On Friday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) quantified those efforts in a new report, Shut That Whole Thing Down: A Survey of Abortion Restrictions Even in Cases of Rape. The report looks at abortion legislation in the states and Congress from the first half of 2013 and finds that:

  • 86 percent (235) of the 273 provisions that politicians introduced in state legislatures to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

  • 71 percent (27) of the 38 state provisions restricting women’s access to abortion enacted by the states apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

  • 72 percent (18) of the 25 bills introduced in Congress to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

Source: http://rhrealitycheck.tumblr.com/

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Fetal Pain Is A Lie: How Phony Science Took Over The Abortion Debate

New laws banning abortion after 20 weeks are based on pseudoscience — and real research proves it conclusively.

This article originally appeared on Salon.com.

Since Nebraska first jump-started the trend back in 2010, close to a dozen state legislatures across the country have passed laws banning abortion at 20 weeks. Most of these restrictions are given grave-sounding titles like the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” or some near-identical riff on the words “fetal,” “pain” and “protection.” All of them, no matter what they’re called, rest on the stated premise that a fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks, and that this is a sufficient justification to ban all abortions after this gestational stage.

But “fetal pain” in the popular discourse is a nebulous concept, one that lawmakers like Jodie Laubenberg, Trent Franks and others haven’t much bothered to define or help ground in available medical evidence.

Probably because there really isn’t any. The limited research used to support such claims has been refuted as pseudoscience by both the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (Not to mention smaller studies from researchers at Harvard University, University College London and elsewhere.)

“We know a lot about embryology [in the field]. The way that a fetus grows and develops hasn’t changed and never will,” Dr. Anne Davis, a second-trimester abortion provider, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, and consulting medical director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Salon. “And what we know in terms of the brain and the nervous system in a fetus is that the part of the brain that perceives pain is not connected to the part of the body that receives pain signals until about 26 weeks from the last menstrual period, which is about 24 weeks from conception.”

Because the neural structures necessary to feel pain have not yet developed, any observable responses to stimuli at this gestational stage — like the fetal “flinching” during an amniocentesis — are reflexive, not experiential. Which is to say, the fetus at 20 weeks can’t actually feel anything at all. Which is to say, the fundamental justification for these laws is a really big, really popular lie.

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When I first started getting involved with Our Harvard Can Do Better, a campaign to dismantle rape culture at Harvard, I had no idea what Title IX was. Like many students, I thought it was a “football thing” and very skeptical as to how this football thing could be of any use to survivors of campus sexual violence. On university campuses, survivors faced not only interpersonal violence, but also administrative injustices: victim-blaming administrators dismissed the gravity of the violence and refused to make academic, residential, and extracurricular accommodations for survivors’ safety. Too often, survivors encountered two levels of injustice: one with their attackers and another with unhelpful administration. How helpful could this “sports thing” possibly be?

Actually, very. Title IX is a component of the 1972 Education Amendments that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding. Accompanying Title IX is the Clery Act, which requires education programs to disclose campus safety information and provide certain basic measures of handling sexual violence incidents. This means that the federal law mandates that colleges and universities to comply with Title IX and Clery Act requirements. For colleges and universities, these requirements include: having an established procedure for handling sexual violence grievances, taking immediate measures to ensure that survivors have continued access to education without feeling threatened, issuing no-contact directives to prevent attackers from approaching survivors, providing accurate data about on-campus crimes, and disclosing information about educational programs, disciplinary process, and survivor rights, among others. Moreover, schools cannot use intimidation to dissuade survivors from pursuing legal and/or disciplinary actions and cannot retaliate against survivors regardless of the choices they make about their assaults.


It is truly distressing that, despite the existence of federal laws that hold colleges and universities legally responsible for supporting survivors, most students do not know about their rights under Title IX and the Clery Act. At Harvard and other universities, survivors have not only been blamed for what happened to them, but also have had to interact regularly with their attackers because the schools refused to make accommodations. In some cases, students have even been kicked out of their schools–even though these are direct violations of federal laws.

Survivors and activists in universities all across the country have had enough, and we are doing something about it. Last week was the launch of Know Your IX, a legal education campaign, and End Rape on Campus (EROC), which provides free support to those who are filing Title IX and Clery complaints. Both resources have been created in entirety by survivors and activists themselves.


These are incredible resources. But they expose a disheartening reality that we don’t trust our schools. It seems absurd that, in addition to school work and extracurricular activities, we as students have to learn our rights so we can better advocates for ourselves. In a way, it’s almost like a defense strategy: we can equip ourselves with knowledge and fulfill the immediate needs of survivors, but at the heart of student activism on this issue is that rape culture exists on our campuses and that we have not been able to rely on our schools for support.

Yet, survivors and students continue their activism in ending rape culture, because care about our schools–we want to feel safe, we want to trust our schools, we want to graduate as proud alumni. This means that we need our schools and the Department of Education to keep their words. At universities all across the country, including Amherst, Harvard, OccidentalUC BerkeleyUSC, and Yale, students have been organizing. At the national level, activists of ED Act Now are demanding that the Department of Education hold universities accountable to making our campuses safe. I don’t believe that we can end rape any time soon, but this convergence of student activism, both on our respective campuses and at the national level, is a promising start. And we start with knowing our IX.



Categories: Sexual Violence
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I must admit that I was completely and utterly surprised to read this article and hear this awful news about my wonderful alma mater.  Guess it goes to show that every institution has its flaws, but the fact that the college has not delved deeper into investigating Enrique Gaff until now, has truly surprised me.

Gaff was a music professor at the College of Charleston who has always had a great reputation working with students; helping them hone their craft and work on finding a successful career from playing the piano. However, secretly, (or maybe not so much) he has had a nasty habit of interacting inappropriately with male students on more than one occasion. Some articles even say that in some situations, he has provided drugs to some of the students as well.  Even in light of all these allegations, what seems to be a question on everyone’s mind is why nothing has been looked into.  He seems to have just gotten slaps on the wrist, and only now, under more serious circumstances, has he felt the pressure to resign so as to halt all investigations.

This story upsets me greatly because, so often is the focus on making sure female students are protected and making sure that they never fall victim to sexual misconduct;  however, we have seemed to neglect males and the fact that they too, can fall victim to sexual misconduct.  Unfortunately, it seems like their advocates don’t speak as loud.  Thankfully, this man is no longer working on the College of Charleston’s campus, but will actions be taken to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else? One can only hope. Perhaps, this case finally being brought to the forefront will decrease the chances of it happening again.

Be an advocate for what you believe an to find out more about how to be an advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights, visit www.advocatesforyouth.org.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Originally posted at Choice USA: Choice Words:

India just banned the use/exploitation of dolphins as entertainment, as they are now considered “non-human persons”Blackfish, a documentary about the psychological realities other animals face when confined in captivity, has just opened in theaters (at the distress of SeaWorld). Bird brain mapping has recently revealed that birds are “remarkably intelligent in a similar way to mammals such as humans and monkeys,” but ‘bird brain’ is still an insult. And the U.S. State Department and President Obama have decided to push ahead with building the Keystone XL Pipeline’s southern half amongst numerous questionable building practices, even though the previous Keystone I Pipeline has leaked fourteen different times. But isn’t this the Choice USA blog? What does this have to do with reproductive justice? Everything.

feminist cat

Having grown up with cats my whole life and having a vegetarian mother, I guess you could sayI was predisposed: at age 10 I chose to become a vegetarian and at age 19 I chose to begin living a vegan lifestyle. Somewhere in between there I also became a sexual health peer educator and have dedicated all of my time and effort to the reproductive justice movement ever since— including my eating habits.

 I, like many of you, am pro-choice because I believe in each individual’s autonomy concerning their own body, lifestyle, and choices. I am pro-choice because I challenge any attempt to infringe on each individual’s freedom to control their own bodies and minds. I am pro-choice because it is not my place to coerce or use another being’s body as a means to any reproductive end she did not choose. And I am vegan for the exact same reasons.


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When we hear about politicians making unqualified and uneducated statements about abortion and reproductive/sexual health, we just shake our heads, asking ourselves and our peers, “How does someone like that get into office?”

Not to diminish your faith in humanity, but less than a couple weeks ago, Brian Nieves, a Republican state senator of Missouri, commented in a Facebook argument to a pro-choice priest, “‘Life of the Mother?’ Your own argument proves it is a matter of convenience!”  State senator Brian Nieves later denied that he said this.  But the denial wouldn’t do him any good since his comments have been screencapped and the comment is still on the Facebook page.

There are people who treat this like it’s an isolated incident.  Like it’s nothing to worry about, but you’d have to imagine the kind of culture it takes to condition people to be able to say these things.  You don’t even have to imagine because that’s the culture we’re living in.  It’s not just one old, white male politician.  It’s several.  And they’re not necessarily always white men.

Brace yourself.  This is pretty triggering.

“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”

— Florida Rep. Allen West expresses a clear understanding of how oppression and privilege works.

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”

— Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, discussing why there shouldn’t be a rape or incest exception in bills restricting reproductive health care because clearly she understands how health care works.

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”  —Richard Mourdock, an Indiana state senator candidate who fortunately did not win.

“Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception.”

—Joe Walsh, former Illinois congressman revealing just how “pro-life” he really is.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

—Missouri Representative Todd Akin basically sharing how much he doesn’t know about a female body in one terrible sentence.

“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

—former North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge using imaginary doctors as his sources.

“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

—Clayton Williams regarding rape, he was a former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender and a past fundraiser for John McCain.

This is one of the many reasons why I’m in total support of Advocates for Youth.  The politicians I’ve listed are the kind of people who have been supporting legislation that not only hurts people who need abortions, but rape victims and teens in desperate need of comprehensive sex education.  It hurts people who need access to contraception, affordable health care, and everything else a person would need to live a quality life.  And it’s not going to stop until we change the culture and institutions that allows it to happen.  So, we advocate for the youth.  We have a responsibility to them to ensure that they have their rights and are to be respected.

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Young sexual and reproductive rights advocates continue to push for the full integration of a rights-based approach in relation to advancing population and development goals. That was the overarching message of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where activists representing over 40 international organizations gathered and developed a Call to Action, ensuring young people sexual and reproductive rights continue to be integrated in development agendas.

The summit brought together a diverse group of 40 young people from Eastern Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel (EECARO region), to discuss and develop priority goals. During the summit, we organized ourselves into three sessions based on interest and expertise

  1. Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development,
  2. Families, Sexual and Reproductive Health over the Life Course,
  3. Inequalities, Social Inclusion and Rights.

After lengthy conversations, each group came up with a number of recommendations to share with the entire forum for us all to debate and finalize. The culmination of our work was translated into a solid document that represents what the youth from the EECARO region want elected officials and  leaders to take into consideration. You can access the full document here.

The outcome of the summit embodied the youth vision and development priorities for the region over the next decade and was presented at the Regional Conference in Geneva. Fifteen delegates from our group (bearing in mind equal representation) attended the Geneva Conference and shared our declaration (Youth Call to Action). The speech, delivered by Grace Wilentz from YouAct (European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights) and Jakub Skrzypczyk from Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights can be found here.

On a personal note, I had a great time interacting with all the youth participants at the Regional Youth Forum and learning more about the EECARO region. It became clearer to me that the same sexual and reproductive health and rights issues we are advocating for in the US are found in other parts of the world. I was happy to discover that we are not alone in this battle. Young people from all over the world are rising up to the challenge, demanding greater youth representation in world affairs and better human rights conditions for all.



About United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA)

Tasked with the mission of delivering “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” UNFPA is a UN organization whose efforts are guided by two main frameworks, 1) the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and 2) the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which are eight targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.

With the date for achieving these goals fast approaching, UNFPA and its partners, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have been working together to ramp up their efforts. UNFPA and UNECE have been involved in the Beyond 2014 Review, an effort to engage world leaders from governments and civil society in drafting a new global commitment to create a more equal and more sustainable world.

The ICPD Operational Review has been taking place as part of the Beyond 2014 Review, and UNFPA and UNECE have been facilitating this process. Within this process, UNFPA and UNECE organized three thematic meetings on the following topics:

  1. “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development”,
  2. “Reducing Inequities, Fostering Social Inclusion” and
  3. “Life Course, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Families”.

As a culminating event, the agencies planned for a two-day Regional Conference entitled “Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century,” which was just held in Geneva (1-2 July), gathering leaders from all over the EECARO region (Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel).

Young people are at the core of the UNFPA’s mandate, offering an essential voice to help shape the future development agenda. Therefore, young people have participated in the operational review at the country level and in all the thematic meetings mentioned above. In order to continue their involvement, UNFPA EECARO has organized the Regional Youth Forum in Istanbul (30-31 May) and in which I participated, representing Advocates for Youth and the US at large.

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Workplace violence manifests itself in many forms, ranging from verbal abuse to physical violence to quid pro quo, a type of sexual harassment when sexual favors are requested or demanded in exchange for tangible benefits-like promotion, pay increase-or to avoid tangible harm like loss of job, demotion, etc.

Sexual harassment not only arises out of objective differences in the amount of power held in the workplace but also out of the “cultural power” which men exercise over women, in accordance with the predominant gender system which discriminates against women through the control, disposition and use of their sexuality and bodies. There are also cases, therefore, of sexual harassment among colleagues or on the part of lowerranking employees of women managers. In these cases, harassment is a mechanism used to debase their role in the work place, their professional capabilities and their leadership abilities and to draw attention to their sexuality, while at the same time undermining the exercise of power of authority by women.

According to a Business Week report (USA 2000/1), 42 per cent workers ‘witnessed others yelling and other verbal abuse'; it tops the list of the different types of workplace violence. The report recorded 29 per cent cases of ‘being yelled at co-workers themselves’, followed by 23 per cent incidents of ‘being cried over work-related issues.’ The cases of workers ‘purposely damaging machines or equipment’, and inflicting direct, ‘physical violence’ in the workplace stood at 14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. There were 2 per cent cases of ‘striking a co-worker.’

Research in Santiago, Chile, based on interviews with 1,200 female workers in different branches of activity and of varying ranks, skills, incomes, schooling and occupations, found that 84.3% of the women thought that sexual harassment in the workplace was a fact; 20% reported having been harassed themselves, 78.4% said that sexual harassment should not be regarded simply as a personal problem, and 88.3% stated that it was clearly different from seduction or attraction. The study points out that it is possible to distinguish between more direct forms of sexual harassment, which affect

women in a situation of subordination to the hierarchical power of men, and the type of sexual harassment that consists of attempts to discredit women who occupy posts not traditionally held by women or other sorts of high-level positions, which takes the form of “putting the women in their place” (Délano and Todaro, 1993). In both cases, harassment performs the function of “disciplining” women in the working world.

Traditionally, employee stress caused by uncaring managers, long service hours, unrealistic deadlines and unnecessary work interruptions is attributed to the rise in workplace violence. Office layout designs with small rooms or cubicles amidst the noise and commotion from those around the employees are other factors contributing to such violence. However, for modern management experts, the dangerously dysfunctional work environment is the root cause of the workplace violence.

There are a number of factors that constitute the dysfunctional work environment. These factors include the rapid and unpredictable change (in which instability and uncertainty plague employees), authoritarian leadership (with a rigid, militaristic mindset of managers), repetitive and boring work, and double standards in terms of policies, procedures and human resource development opportunities for employees.

Likewise, another factor is the ‘destructive’ communication style in which managers communicate in an excessively aggressive, condescending, or explosive style; it takes the form of excessive workplace teasing and ‘scapegoating.’ Chances of violence rise, as managers make no attempt to get proper help for ‘emotionally troubled employees’.

Unresolved grievances tend to pile up dangerously when the management- because of personal favors or trade union pressures- protects ‘dysfunctional and problematic individuals’, only to increase work-related violence cases. Hazardous work environment as well as faulty operation process and equipment also results in a dysfunctional workplace where violence is most likely.

Sexual violence is not limited to the workplace. This form of abuse of authority and blackmail is also found in educational institutions, where it consists of imposing undesired sexual activity on female students as a requirement for passing a course. There is a tremendous lack of statistical information on this form of harassment in the region, due to the absence of studies on the causes, forms and consequences of sexual harassment of female students. Furthermore, when incidents of this nature do become known, they are usually extreme cases of rape or abuse of minors.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Over the past few decades, gender-based violence has increasingly come to be recognized as a serious problem at the international level, not only for women but also for the attainment of equality, development and peace (United Nations, 1986).  The issue has also become a priority for women’s organizations in the region and a subject for feminist thought during the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace  (1976-1985), and in recent years Governments in the region have also begun to devote attention to the issue.

Although in 1979 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which incorporated women into the sphere of human rights, but it doesn’t denote all kinds of the discrimination or other issues. Since, the term gender based violence was such vague topic; the actual definition was not defined properly.

Later in 1980, another world conference was held, World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, held in Copenhagen, adopted the resolution on “Battered women and violence in the family”, specific problem began to manifest, paragraph 288 of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (1985), issued by the Third World Conference, calls for specific measures to deal with violence against women. In 1989, the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommended that member States report on violence against women and the measures adopted at the governmental level to eradicate it.

At the Expert Group Meeting on Violence against Women held in 1991, it was determined that the existing instruments did not give due consideration to gender-based violence and that a specific definition of this crime was lacking. At the region level, pursuant to the resolution entitled “Women and violence” adopted at the Fifth Regional Conference on the Integration of Women into the Economic and Social Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, 1991b) and General Assembly resolution 45/114 on domestic violence (United Nations, 1990), the documents and policy recommendations issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have characterized the problem of gender-based violence as one of the obstacles that must be overcome in order to improve the status of women in the countries of the region and achieve development with social equity. Women’s groups in the region have carried out a variety of activities to promote respect for women’s human rights. This process intensified during the preparations for the United Nations World Conference on Human rights, held in Vienna in June 1993. In the year 1997, new international instruments was proposed which recognized that all forms of gender-based violence are human rights violations: declaration 48/104 of the United Nations General Assembly on the elimination of violence against women and an inter-American convention on the prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women, which has been proposed by the Organization of American States through its Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW).

In summary, progress has been made mainly in two areas: dissemination of information about violence against women and violations of their human rights. Governments and nongovernmental organizations are also organizing information and sensitization campaigns that help to make the problem known and offer various informational and preventive measures. The media, too, are more open to publishing articles denouncing gender-based violence, editorials concerning the issue and the conclusions of studies on the subject. Gender-based violence is no longer reserved for the news sections devoted to police case reports. Professionals and students of various specializations are also showing more interest in the problem. The academic world has been slow to study the causes, consequences and characteristics of gender-based violence, but the fact that it is now doing so is an important advance.

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Andy is Nigeria guy that has been living and schooling with his older sister for the past 15 months. Andy is in a relationship with his landlord’s daughter. Andy decides to be the chef in the house because his sister who is a banker always comes back home late from work, his sister is very grateful to him for saving her from the stress of doing more work, because she comes back home everyday to a good meal already served.

Unfortunately for her, Andy has his own “evil” intention. She realizes her period is 3 months late, and she goes for a pregnancy test and discovers to her dismay that she is 13 weeks pregnant and she doesn’t have a clue how it all happened.

One faithful day her colleague at work followed her home after work and as usual food was ready, she served her the food and didn’t have any left to eat. After her colleague’s departure she goes to sleep. Andy thought his sister ate the food and as usual started romancing her, when he undressed her and himself, she suddenly woke up and started shouting on top of her voice her voice. Her neighbors’ came to her aid just to discover them naked. She explains the whole scenario to them, and the neighbors call the police and got Andy arrested. Andy explains that he drugs his sister’s food daily just to have sex with her for the past 8 months.

As if this isn’t enough drama for Andy, the landlord’s daughter comes to tell him she is pregnant for him. Andy’s sister decides to go for an abortion, but is told that the procedure would be detrimental to her health, and she might lose her life if she proceeds with the option.

What decision would you make concerning yourself and your brother if in this situation?

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Military sexual assault is just now starting to come out of the woodwork. It seems just recently that we have to ask why it seems that nothing has ever been addressed. When you watch the documentary The Invisible War, the most shocking part is how long high ranking officials knew of these issues and did little to nothing to dissuade the issue. In fact, it was ruled that rape is actually an occupational hazard of the military. Military sexual assault is also an interesting problem because it makes people face that this is not just a women’s issue, for a variety of reasons. In this case, it is estimated that more men than women are actually raped statistically in the military. People wonder why this is, and your answers to their curiosity could be a positive factor in how they view rape and sexual assault in the rest of society.


When women are raped, many often fall back on the old standby of blaming the victim: what she was wearing, how much she was drinking, if she was walking home by herself etc. The list extends almost indefinitely. These excuses and myths rely heavily on societal sexualization of the female and her “weaker” disposition. These myths are directly challenged when men are raped because often the victim blaming questions don’t apply. When this happens, we are finally able to push the reality of rape not as a crime of sex motivated by attraction, but as a crime of violence motivated by power and control which can affect anyone regardless of any extenuating circumstances. Once we take into account the reality of rape in our society, the powerful change and societal shift should be to tell rapists DON’T RAPE instead of putting blame on victims!.


For information on sexual assault and domestic violence centers in your area, you can text SEXT to 74574!

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Texas Lawmaker Says Sex Ed Makes Teens ‘Hot and Bothered’ Leads to Sex and Babies

The Texas house recently passed an extreme bill that could force most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. Many of the debates over the bill were heated, but one of the more interesting ones started last Tuesday night after a house committee vote was over and three members of the committee had a conversation that was audio-taped by a reporter for theHouston Chronicle. In that conversation, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) pointed out to two of her Republican colleagues, Reps. Steve Toth (The Woodlands) and Bill Zedler (Arlington), that sex education that includes information about contraception can help prevent unintended pregnancies, and therefore can reduce the number of abortions that are performed. Toth was quick to disagree about the merits of sex education.


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The video below is about a wonderful movement I found called Everyday Sexism. Started by Laura Bates after she experienced a crippling instant of sexual harassment, it aims to combat the WHOPPING LIE that we as a society, have achieved gender equality. Women are constantly dismissed and told that we are being too sensitive. If we are raped, of course we asked for it. If we want control over our bodies, we are sluts and murderers. If we want to be treated like actual human beings, then we are accused of having a “political agenda”.

The stories told by these women are ghastly. It’s so disgusting that there are people out there who think they have every right to make such lewd advances.

If you have a story, share it here. Add your voice to the all the others and keep shouting back.


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Amidst mass protests in Egypt over the past week, reports are emerging that dozens of women have been sexually assaulted. So far there have been 91 reported instances of harassment, assault, or rape according to Human Rights Watch. The number is estimated to be much higher, for a known global phenomenon is that most survivors do not ever report assault or rape.

Some believe these attacks have been executed to discourage women from joining the protests, while others believe attackers hope to benefit from the chaos and lawlessness the protests have created. We could point fingers all day at everything from Egypt’s unaccountable justice system to a patriarchal culture to the attackers themselves, and yet these attacks are still happening.

Sexual assaults not only hurt those who are attacked; they hurt families, cities, and nations. Women who are afraid to enter public spaces are stripped from their right to engage with civil society. Strategically isolating women “from fully participating in the public life of Egypt at a critical point in the country’s development” devoids Egypt of potential organizers, activists and leaders.

Despite the incorrigible assaults, Egyptians are firmly sending a message to attackers. Photos from Tahrir Square depict a buffer zone between male and female protestors. The Associate Press believes this is to create an intentional human shield. While I am a bit wary of this tactic, I applaud protestors for taking action on the ground.


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Men being the potential perpetrators, shouldn’t they be banned from walking at night and restricted to doing things that could lead to raping a woman instead of women?

Why should being born as a man be a privilege and being born as a woman be a curse? If a man cannot control his sexual urges then how is being raped a woman’s fault?

I think the society has been preventing women to fully use her rights in the name of Protection. This has been running down since ages, but it does not have to continue. I advocate for gender equity before equality because women are still treated as 2nd class beings. And only after woman’s position is raised to the level of men in the society, equality can be attained.

If there are things women need to take care of in order to end rape, there are certain things MEN need to undertake too. Why should all preventive measures, precautions be focused only for women? If the points on the picture above sounds ridiculous to you,  I am sorry to say my dear but, you are blinded by this biased society.


Shristi Khadka

YALC 2013


Categories: Sexual Violence
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 It is no mistake, and it is not mere happenstance, that Lifetime refused to allow me to make a show for them about complex, nuanced Latinas, yet greenlit a show about Latinas as sexy domestic servants. It isn’t a matter of me being too sensitive and lacking a sense of humor, and it isn’t a matter of me not liking maids. It is about the way the Latina maid stereotype beautifully cleaves to the time-honored imperialistic way this country has dealt with its Spanish-speaking neighbors in the Americas. My vision of us – as autonomous human beings – is simply too threatening to be considered realistic.”

Opinion: The problem with “Devious Maids” goes far beyond Hollywood

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A Chinese company is advertising “super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings” that is “essential for all young girls going out”.


I feel like a broken record on this subject. Conservations should not center on altering your appearance in order to avoid sexual harassment and assault, but rather on how to teach people consent and respect. On the surface these leggings may seem like a silly thing you would find in a joke shop, but it furthers the notion that ending harassment and violence is the receiver’s responsibility.

Attaching this message to products with the intention of profiting is bizarre. In addition, the attempt to make a “joke product” that depends on an entire system of fear and violence really upsets me.  Why are people capitalizing on violence and supporting rape culture instead of developing socially responsible products?

Categories: Sexual Violence
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“Together we can end HIV stigma, but we need to be able to TALK ABOUT IT. Share this graphic to continue the conversation and encourage your network of friends to speak up!”

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This week there has been a lot of discussion around sexual assault in the military. On June 4, the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first hearing this session and the following day the House Armed Services Committee approved legislation that will establish stricter prosecution and punishment measures for perpetrators of assault. The bill is expected to move to the House floor next week. The major theme that prevailed through these talks was the question of who should address sexual assault cases. Heated debates pursued, but the overwhelming response was clear: keep this issue within the chain of command.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill that would allow military prosecutors to establish separate courts and pick juries and judges to handle the cases. In addition, it forbade commanders from overturning convictions or reducing sentences. Allowing military prosecutors to decide which sexual assault cases will go to trial provides protection for service members to step forward without facing potential backlash from commanders. Gillibrand defiantly argued against those advocating for internal resolution stating that, “Not all commanders are objective. Not every single commander necessarily wants women in the force. Not every single commander believes what a sexual assault is. Not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together”.

There was great support for Gillibrand’s proposal among the 7 women on the Senate committee and the 18 cosponsors. However, 18 out of the 20 witnesses, along with the Joint Chiefs, pressed that keeping cases within the military justice system was best.

A snapshot from the Senate hearing of the witnesses reveals that despite women’s elevated role in this hearing, their underrepresentation in politics and the military deters their ability to influence military culture.

Associated Press

We can see that 11 of the 12 presenting witnesses are aging military men. They’re talking to the Joint Chiefs who are also military men that were raised and socialized in a period when sexual assault was even more hushed up than it is now.

It is imperative to create a culture where people feel comfortable voicing their concerns without facing intimidation or retaliation. Most whistleblower programs are facilitated through uninvolved, third party institutions in order to encourage people to report problems while protecting their identity. These programs are a no-brainer, so why are leaders afraid to break from the rigid hierarchy of the military?

In my opinion, it is all about power and signaling. Overhauling the military justice system reflects a failure to successfully protect its members. Signaling weakness to the world would have implications for recruitment and the institution’s reputation among other nations. The irony of this is that the military does not care about the individuals experiencing sexual assault; it cares about upholding the “elite” image of the military. Most commanders are threatened by transferring some of their duties to military prosecutors. For an institution that modernizes slowly, this relinquishment of power would acknowledge the ineptitude of the military to manage itself and highlights how deeply institutionalized sexual harassment and assault is in our security apparatus.

A drastic and pervasive problem such as sexual assault demands an equally drastic plan to end it. That means securing justice for those assaulted, and challenging the aggressive nature of the military that harbors sexual assault. Thus far, the military has failed to internally address issues related to sexual assault, and the time has come for the military to forfeit their monopoly on the justice system.

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If you haven\’t browsed the #safetytipsforwomen hashtag on Twitter, you probably should. It consists of sarcastic tweets for women, highlighting the fact that women\’s behavior is not the cause of rape, rather people are just horrible.

Leigh Hofheimer at canyouralate.org (run by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence) posted this. She was inspired by ridiculous violence prevention tips targeted at victims, like they are the problem and not the attacker.

Ten rape prevention tips:

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.

4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.

7. Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

8. Use the Buddy System! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.

9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.

10. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be raping her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

This is satiric gold!

Categories: Sexual Violence
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Part one and part two of this series has outlined the structural nature of rape culture in the US military that is made of and results in severe lack of trust, abuse of power, and a staunch unwillingness to make necessary changes. Those outside the command structure of the military however are more than ready to force them in line. Since February, six pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress and the Senate that, together, tackle these problems in a comprehensive way.

The Ruth Moore Act

The first is the Ruth Moore Act, introduced on February 13th by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Jon Tester. It is named after a veteran who joined the service 25 years ago at the age of eighteen. When she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a supervisor, she tried to report the crime but was “attacked again in return and discharged…with a misdiagnosis of border-line personality disorder.”


Categories: Other, Sexual Violence
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On Wednesday, the highest court in El Salvador denied an abortion to a woman with a pregnancy that is so high-risk that doctors say it could kill her. Beatriz, 22, is carrying a 26-week fetus with anencephaly, a birth defect that means part of the brain and skull are missing and that the baby will almost certainly die at birth. Beatriz’s doctors say the abortion is necessary for Beatriz’s health and perhaps to save her life. But by a vote of 4–1, the Salvadoran judges ruled that in light of the country’s absolute ban on abortion, “the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those” of the fetus.

El Salvador’s complete ban on abortions has become relatively rare worldwide, as the first map below shows. Keep scrolling and you will see enormous variation in how countries (and states in the U.S.) regulate abortion and birth control. Our main sources of data for these maps are the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Population Reference Bureauthe National Conference of State Legislatures, and Harvard University’s Center for Population and Development Studies.

The maps reflect continuing change: Uruguay recently legalized first-trimester abortions, and courts in Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina have begun to allow them in certain cases. Meanwhile in the United States, Republican-led statehouses have been tightening restrictions since the 2010 election. It’s the largest wave of legislation in the decades since Roe v. Wade.

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This is the experience shared by a 22-year-old married woman regarding the marital sexual violence she is grappling with Living at Lalitpur,Nepal



I always tried to convince him that I was not interested in having sex. But he would not be convinced and used to force me into having sex unmindful of my mood. What could I do to resist him in such situation, except give up and tolerate?”He thinks that it is the right of the husband to demand sex at any time he wishes from his wife after marriage and he would not be convinced no matter how much I tried to drive home the point. He took me as his slave,” she said adding that her husband would not bother about her feelings, mood and sentiment.”Still I cannot raise my voice. If I talk about this with somebody, it would be disgraceful for me. If the society comes to know about this, then I will be looked upon in bad light. So, because of this only I am compelled to tolerate this injustice,” said this 22-year-old woman.


Not only her, another 21-year-old married woman who hails from the Tarai [the southern plains region of the country], is also the victim of the marital sexual violence. It has been only one year she got married. “If I was literate, may be I could speak out against this kind of exploitation,” she sometimes wonders. But she does not have the courage to speak out against her husband.

“I tolerated all this during normal period; but he would demand for sex even when I had my periods. With whom should I go and share these things? Sometimes I even went to my parents’ house to avoid him, but for how long? You cannot stay at your parents’ house for long,” said this woman from the Tarai. She said in the initial days after their marriage her husband would not force her into having sex. But she found her husband’s behaviour was gradually changing. She said her husband used to watch hardcore sex movies at night and also made her watch, and tried the same methods on her as shown in the porn movies.

“In the beginning I resisted him, but for how long could I stop him? So due to this we were not in good terms. I was fed up with all this. So, presently I have left my so-called husband and am staying at my parents’ house,” she said.


According to the Centre for Research on Environment, Health and Population Activities (CREPHA) , a study carried out  showed that 43 per cent Muslim women are victims of marital sexual violence followed by women of the Tharu community at 40 per cent, Tamang community 22 percent and Brahmin and Chhetri community at 20 per cent.


Women suffer from different physical and mental problems due to this kind of sexual violence against them. Most of the women suffering from sexual violence suffer mentally, they suffer from pain in the lower abdomen, swelling of the private parts and pain ,burning sensation in the sex organs ,excessive bleeding and have problems even during pregnancy.


When a 22-year-old Muslim woman shared her problems with other women members of her family, she was told to shut up and concentrate only on household work.She says her problems are far from over. “Neither did I get any consolation nor any treatment when I told them about my problem. When fellow women themselves have such attitude, what do you expect from the male members,” she wondered.


A majority of women suffering from sexual violence from their husbands have taken up various measures for avoiding that. Some 90 percent of women suffering from sexual violence try to convince their husbands that what they are doing is not the correct way and is against their will. Many women even lie about having their period or sleep with their children or sleep in a separate room and fake feeling unwell. But only 49.4 percent among them are successful to protect themselves f\rom the sexual violence of their husbands.


It was found in a study carried out by CREPHA from 2009 to July 2010 that mostly women whose husbands are illiterate, drunkards, have more than one wife and have extra-marital relations suffer more from sexual violence.
Married women could be protected from sexual violence by educating the husbands on gender issues. Various programmes could be brought to promote and improve interaction between wife and husband.


 Since only punishing an individual is not enough for addressing the problem of sexual violence within marriage, the policy makers should bring appropriate programmes discouraging the social and cultural habits that increase gender disparity, providing care and support to women affected by sexual violence and punishing the perpetrators.


The Act of Domestic Violence and Punishment has been formulated in 2009 since the planners, policy-makers and researchers have started paying attention to addressing the problem of sexual violence against women after marriage. According to this Act, marital rape is considered a violation of human rights and a punishable offence that carries jail sentence of three to six months depending on the nature of the offence.


Categories: Sexual Violence
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What’s wrong Jamaica?


Tell me .. what really is the problem?

The bodies of two female children, one four and one eight found dead, bodies severed .. in the space of one week?!? It’s ridiculous .. frightening and downright barbaric!

These tragic incidents are a sad note to culminate child’s month (May 2013) and also a stark reminder of how much we are yet to do to protect our children.

Its a very scary world we have come to live in where we realize that no life is considered sacred any more. The vulnerable, our children were ideally protected… so now if our children can be killed in such a barbaric fashion what says the rest of us?

We are not safe.

<3 kevz

Categories: Sexual Violence