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rape culture

If Guys are Coerced by Girls, Is It Still Sexual Abuse?

arielleknowles asks:

A friend of mine was in a relationship about 2 years ago. He's a guy. His girlfriend at the time pressured him into doing oral sex by saying that if he didn't do it that meant he didn't love her. Would that be sexual abuse? Because if a guy pressured a girl into giving him a blow job that would be considered sexual abuse and I'm just double-checking to see if that goes both ways.

This is What a SlutWalk (Really) Looks Like

SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!This is part two of three entries about the Slutwalks this week. I wrote the first part of what I had to say about them yesterday here.

Today I want to briefly address the way that the walks have been visually represented in the media and by many bloggers writing about them, especially those who have been nonsupportive or critical.

In a word, they have frequently been represented by photographs which expressly stated or just implied they represent what people at the walks looked like as a whole, and have been anywhere from just incorrect to exceptionally dishonest in those assertions or implications. Because as far as I can tell, the images that keep getting picked aren't those which are most representative of the protests as a whole, but which are most representative of what a given person either found most provocative or most interesting. Or, which best represent their reasons for nonsupport or mockery.

This isn't unusual with images of protest at

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Because yes, it really DOES happen: A thank you to SlutWalks

I want to tell you something very personal about me. Not because I want to. I really don't want to. But I'm going to do it anyway.

It's one of those things where even though it's incredibly uncomfortable for me, I feel like sharing despite my discomfort might be able to make a positive difference. And since this has to do with something where I believe others have been making a positive difference in a way I, myself, have not also been able to, it seems the least I can do. I've been largely silent around the Slutwalks. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest one of all is that what inspired them simply struck me much, much to close to home. So, my silence has not been about nonsupport of the walks. In more ways than one, it's been about my stepping out of the way of them in part based on my own limitations.

If you're triggered by candid stories about sexual or other forms of assault, this may be triggering for you. I know it still is for me, very much so. Telling this sto

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How do I make my activism more accessible?

Anarchofemme asks:

I'm trying to organise some sort of event/forum at my university in Australia about sexual assault and violence against women. I've got good ideas for speakers, the women's department at my uni is supportive and I have organised similar events before.

My problem is: how can I frame the event so as to draw people to whom information about sexual assault (myths, prevalance, how particular gender stereotypes/ideas about sexuality can contribute) would be most useful? Currently, events run by the women's department often only get a select group of women already engaged by feminist issues. I fear that if I call the event something like "myths and facts about sexual violence", or something similarly straightforward, it would only be attended by people from this group, as others would be intimidated by the reference to sexual violence and would view it as something only relevant to people who have experienced sexual violence, rather than EVERYONE!

Julien Assange, Rape Apologism and the Media

If you haven't been living under a rock the past few weeks, you'll have noticed that there's big media hoopla about one Julian Assange. Everyone seems to have an opinion and something to say about him, and between Swedish arrest warrants, Interpol searches, public defenses by people like Michael Moore, and protests to these defenses by many feminist bloggers, it's getting hard to separate fact from bias and get to the bottom of what is really going on.

So, what IS going on here?

As you probably know, Julian Assange is the founder and main spokesperson of WikiLeaks, a media organization that publishes classified documents. The aim is to release information that is otherwise kept confidential in order to expose secret, and possibly illegal or questionable going-ons in international politics. The website was launched in 2006, and initially received mostly positive attention for its fight for freedom of information. But increasingly, governments have been accusing WikiLeaks of presenting

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Was it sexual harassment? Was it my fault?

Ms.dee asks:

Is it consider sexual harassment if some guy fingered my vagina, but I didn't want him to...I'm now 17 and this happened when I was 13, I haven't told anyone about this...I wanna know if it's my fault that this happened. We were on a bus and this guy undid my pants and fingered me. I didn't want it to happen, but I was too scared to stop him. Is it my fault? I mean, when he tried to kiss me I did sort of slide away. Is this my fault?

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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The "Rape" of Mr. Smith

What would it sound like if a mugging victim were asked the kinds of questions a rape victim is? Check it out.

My best friend was raped: what can I do for her?

Suze asks:

First off, thank you for this site. It's wonderful. Now, I'm a just-graduated senior, and my best friend went with a big group to Florida for their senior trip. She called me wasted and crying, upset and saying that this guy I'll call E wanted to have sex with her, she told him no, and he did it anyway. His side of the story was that she didn't protest. Sounds like rape, right? But she's known for teasing guys, and people might not believe her. And they liked each other a while back--E never displayed any signs of being likely to take advantage of someone.

I have no idea how to handle this situation because there's so much gray area. How can I help my best friend?

Why we don't always know

(Heads-up: parts of this post are fairly explicit when it comes to detailing rape and abuse.)

One of the more interesting (and by interesting, I mean ridiculously ignorant) responses I have seen in a few places discussing the I Was Raped project and my input was my statement on the news that the first time I was assaulted -- at the age of 11 -- I did not know what had happened to me and was without any language to even express it.

This is being met with some measure of disbelief by a few folks, or the assumption I was on drugs or had been drugged or that I was simply stupid. My personal favorite was that I'm a young girl who only called my rapes rape after being brainwashed by Jennifer and feminism, a newfangled notion she apparently just clued me into recently. Who knew I was such a late bloomer, and that I was somehow able to grow up in the 70's in a progressive Chicago neighborhood with a single mother, an activist father, and managed to never hear about feminism? Wowza.

I think

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