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sexual assault

Trauma is a Complicated Thing

Originally published on loadofhotair.wordpress.com. Second part in a series, first part is here.

My last post didn’t cover everything I wanted to say about this topic, and it was a bit all over the place. The thoughts were all very fresh and I was still working through them, and I was also kind of dissociating at the time. Which brings me to the points I wanted to make in this follow-up.

Trauma is messy. It is messy and ugly and it doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. It has been brought up a lot recently, because of the Jian Ghomeshi trial, that there is no such thing as a perfect survivor. This is because rape is a complicated thing, and so is trauma. My personal experience is an excellent example of this. My story is just one story; it does not at all describe the experiences of every survivor of sexual abuse and assault, it may not even describe a lot of them. But it describes mine, and it is an important example of the myriad ways that trauma is messy.

I spoke in my last piece a

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Rape is a Complicated Thing

Originally published at loadofhotair.wordpress.com.

Tonight I realised that I’ve been raped. I had already recognised and identified a previous sexual assault, and sexual abuse, throughout my life. But this took me a lot longer to see. My rapist would never, in a million years, believe that he is a rapist. If he found out that I was saying this, he would probably roll his eyes, and be genuinely amazed and astonished by my ability to make a mountain out of a molehill.

There are a lot of people who, upon hearing the details without the context, would also be quick to tell me that it really isn’t a big deal and really isn’t rape. But the thing is, rape is a complicated thing. Rape needs context.

My rapist would absolutely have stopped if I had told him to. So then, how could that possibly be rape? My rapist created an environment in which I felt like I couldn’t say no. But it’s tricky, because I didn’t feel like I was in physical danger if I said no. I didn’t think he would hit me, or “r

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Scarleteen Confidential: Supporting a Teen after Sexual Assault

How do you support a teen as they recover from sexual assault?

Higher Learning: Navigating Sex and Relationships in College

Going away to school can present some new sexual challenges. Here's a get-you-started guide to grow on.

If you didn't ask for it? Then you didn't ask for it.

LulaInTheOrangeBoots asks:

I'm an 18 year old virgin. A few months back, I was out clubbing with a friend, and she wanted me to make-out with a guy, because she does it all the time when we go clubbing. I started dancing with a guy, and we started kissing, which I DID want to do. But then he started putting his hand up my skirt, and then in my underwear. I kept pushing his hand away and telling him to stop and he kept putting it back. I managed to escape and didn't see him again, but I feel kind of violated, as he was touching me sexually. Is this my fault? I did want to kiss him, but I said not when he put his hand down my pants. Was this wrong, or was I asking for it, and is it just something that happens?

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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Dear Abby

This is a guest post from alphafemme, part of the blog carnival to help raise awareness and support for Scarleteen.

My mother reads Dear Abby religiously. She’s done it for as long as I can remember, always picking out the “Lifestyle” section of our local daily paper and turning to page B2.

Some days growing up, my sister or father would abscond with the section before she got to it to do the crossword or read the comics, but she would keep her eye on it, calling dibs on the section next. As a kid, it didn’t occur to me to question her loyalty to the column, and in fact I blindly followed suit–reading Dear Abby, it seemed, was something one did if one was to be a Woman. I was never all that impressed by the advice “Abby” (Pauline Phillips was her real name, if I remember correctly) doled out, and eventually I got bored of her predictable responses and stopped reading. The act of stopping wasn’t all that memorable or all that conscious; it just sort of slipped away, superseded by more

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How do I approach my college about sexual assault awareness?

Annie W. asks:

Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty excited about the job and really would like to make residence life a positive experience for the students I will be living with (about 170 guys and gals in total).

However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with the residence, they offered no sexual assault awareness education for the students. In the 2008-09 school year, there were 3 sexual assaults reported, which lead to criminal charges, and almost all I have talked to who have lived in this residence for multiple years have either been sexually assaulted themselves or had a friend who was while living there.

So, clearly, something is needed to change this residence culture that seems to be conducive to sexual violence.

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