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Who's Calling Who Compulsive? Calling Out a Common Rape Survivor Stereotype

I was one of several guests on a radio show in Baltimore on Friday. The topic of the show was apparently going to be about sex education and social justice, but turned out to be more like fear-mongering and a whole lot of projections around teen sexuality mixed with focus on parents and teen sexuality. I got the impression all four of us who were asked to take part, despite some of our disagreements, were very frustrated with the show and the host clearly asking questions he didn't want factual answers to, despite purportedly asking us to take part to provide just that.

At one point, he asked one of the guests to talk about rape victims and survivors. She said she did not do any work with rape or survivors, but instead of deferring to any of us who had, or just saying "I don't know," she went ahead and did some postulating and guesswork. There were several things she said in a rush of words that bothered me, but one of the most troubling was a statement that rape survivors "compulsive

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How Can Sex Ed Prevent Rape?

I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.

Now, this is hardly a new form of cluelessness (nor is it exclusive to Canada: we've all but made an art form of it stateside). I've addressed this issue before, at Scarleteen and in some talks and interviews I have given over the years, and also in a piece a little while back for the Guardian in the United Kingdom.

Hopefully it's obvious the reason I, as a sexuality educator and activist, and Scarleteen, as an organization, provide sex education isn't just about preventing unwanted or negative outcomes, like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infecti

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Sound Counsel: A Conversation With Lynn Ponton

Considering counseling or think you or a friend might benefit from some therapy? Here's a basic introduction and a shared conversation with adolescent therapist and author Dr. Lynn Ponton to clue you in on what to expect from the couch.

Why "Gray Rape" Doesn't Exist

This morning, I picked up my mother's copy of “Brigitte”, a German woman's magazine geared at women between 30 an 50. I often borrow the magazine from her, because it tends to have pretty interesting articles. More recently, I've declared myself an out-and-out fan after Brigitte became the first magazine to stop using professional models for their photo spreads. Instead, they now use women they simply approach on the street, and supplement the pictures with information about the woman's life (this particular issue -06/2010- features a 41-year-old woman covered in piercings and tattoos, who has been working as a wrestler and a programmer of computer games).

However, what caught my eye today was one of the titles on the cover: “The sex I didn't want – Confessions from a Gray Area”. In my mind, I immediately flashed to the infamous Cosmopolitan article by Laura Sessions Stepp ( A New Kind of Date Rape ). With a funny feeling in my stomach, I flipped to the article. And lo! - the concep

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10 Surefire Ways to Prevent Sexual Assault

Just a helpful reminder from Feminist Law Professors if you're looking for tips on how to prevent rape.

We agree with them that these ten tips absolutely, positively can prevent many sexual assaults without fail.

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

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

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault th

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Welcome to the 6th Feminist Carnival!

We're pleased to host the 6th edition (oops, make that the 8th!) of the newly reborn Feminist Carnival! In the spirit of rebirth, and in alignment with the readers and mission of Scarleteen, this round puts it's focus on young feminist bloggers and feminist issues particularly pertinent to younger women.

The F-Word & The Myth of the Invisible Young Feminist

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Did rape ruin my vagina forever?

Adrienne7777 asks:

I was raped about seven months ago and my vagina hasn't felt the same ever since: it has felt more open. My boyfriend and I just started having sex about a month ago. I asked him if I felt loose, because ever since the incident I haven't felt good about my vagina. He said that I am definitely not tight. I looked at my vagina with a mirror and noticed that the opening isn't completely closed. I tried inserting a small dildo and standing up but the dildo fell out. I can easily insert one finger with little resistance. I have tried doing kegels but still feel like my vagina is open and loose. I cry about this and feel really self conscious. Is it possible that because when I was raped the rapist was really rough with me that my vagina is broken forever? Thank you.

Consent is Sexy

What is consent? What is sexy? Why is consent sexy?

Should I stay or should I go? My boyfriend disclosed that he has sexually assaulted two kids...

mlti asks:

I am in an extremely confused state right now. I'm almost in the state of breaking down too and I just cannot accept the irresponsible fact that my boyfriend has raped a family member and a girlfriend's sister before who were both kids. It happened two years ago. He told me with all out honesty yesterday about it all since he didn't want to hide it from me as I am his girlfriend. He said that he is an overall changed person now...and he was really terrible to ever thought of doing such things, it was mainly because of his uncontrollably strong sexual desire and that it was harder to find a girlfriend at that time. He promised it will never happen again and he repented. I am very disappointed and terribly upset about this incident. But I weighed the good and bad sides of the problem. To me, it is beyond wrong to do such a thing and unacceptable to me. He also lost his virginity in that way and though guys are less skeptical about their virginity, I really didn't like him losing it that way. But there's nothing I can do about it now...what's lost is lost. On the other hand, he has every right to be forgiven too. This not only happened in the past, there was nothing of that sort after that and at the present moment. If he had repeated it, I wouldn't be so tolerant. He also chose to tell me the honest full truth even though he knows I was gonna be terrified. Furthermore, we are already planning a future together and we love each other very much. What should I do? Should I move forward, focus on us now and the future as well as forgive his past mistakes...or stop being with him? I really need some good advice.

Is it appropriate to offer a blessing to someone pregnant from a rape?

doctors_daughter asks:

I'd like to direct this question to Hanne Blank. I am Chassidishe, (I know, I shouldn't be on the internet) but needed to find something out that I can't ask my Rav (or anyone on Askmoses for that matter, especially since I know quite a few of their scholars). Does a person say Mazal Tov to an unwed mother? Jewish, maybe not frum, or even worse, a teen mother (again Jewish, VERY FRUM...)? I recently found out that my friend, age 14, was pushed against her will to have intercourse with one of her brother's "frum" friends (age 20ish). She is now pregnant, and doesn't know how to handle it. She is not sure how to tell her mother. Does one say B"sha'ah Tova to her? I don't want to say the wrong thing, and want to help her in her time of need. I have a non-frum friend who is a teen mom going through her third pregnancy. Her parents disowned her. I now am convincing my mom to take her in with her kids. Should I start asking her about taking my other friend in now? I know that the mother would probably disown her if she found out.

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