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Link Roundup 4/26/13

“Hell no, I’m not one of THOSE girls!” On internalized sexism.

Soraya Chemaly talks about Facebook’s misogyny problem — namely, tolerance of abuse against women.

Germany resolves to increase the amount of women represented on the highest levels of management.

A judge has permanently blocked North Dakota’s medication abortion plan.

Jill Soloway’s kickstarter project, “The Empowerment Project”, aiming “to create positive role models for women everywhere”, looks really fascinating.

The creator of the Everyday Sexism project talks about her experiences, the stories, and the backlash that she’s received.

This is rape culture: an Arizona Man proudly displays a sign reading “You Deserve Rape” at a sexual assault awareness event.

Amanda Marcotte talks about how not to be an overt sexist.

Likewise, Phaedra Starling talks about how to approach women without being threatening.

Finally, Samantha Allen, one of our wonderful panelists at the Sexism in Video Games panel tomorrow at ETSUCon, talks about teaching intersectionality through Halo.

Don’t forget! The sexism in video games panel is tomorrow night at 5:00PM-5:50PM in the Culp Center Meeting Room 2, and Feminerds Unite! Discussing general sexism in nerd culture, is from 11:00AM-11:50AM in the forum.




Link Roundup 4/19/2013

Christina Huffington debunks the myth that women are underrepresented in leadership positions due to lack of ambition.

Teach sex ed honestly, already.

Pregnant women in America are being locked up for losing their babies in miscarriage.

Michael Dyzel Smith talks about how street harassment is partially about impressing other dudes.

The importance of calling rape and rape culture out, and calling them by name.

Linda Burnham gives a critique of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, and “1% Feminism”.

Boys’ Clubs: A tumblr dedicated to exposing the areas in society that women have yet to tread.

Ozy Frantz put up a wonderful post critiquing “sex positivity” and our dialogue regarding sex, sexual desire, sexual goals, and expression of sexuality in general.

Brittney Griner talks about being “out” in pro sports.

David Haglund talks about the “feminist comedy” of Louis C.K.

And on a day like today it is important to remember the power of white privilege, as Tim Wise points out.


(editor’s note: I am also very proud to announce that at next week’s ETSUcon, a comic convention held right here at ETSU, there will be not one, but two incredible feminist panels which I highly recommend attending.  The first, hosted by Women’s Studies student Caroline Locke, “Feminerds Unite!” is a discussion about internet misogyny in nerd culture in general, with the second, my panel, regarding Sexism in Video Games (industry, culture, the games themselves)





A final note of congratulation to all FMLA members and Women’s Studies students elected in the SGA elections, as well as a thank you to those who did not for running and trying to make the campus a more inclusive and safe space.  It is appreciated.

Weekly Link Roundup: 3/22/13

Publishers reject video games such as Remember Me because they have female protagonists.

Katharine Hughes reflects on Steubenville and the larger context of rape culture.

Anne Thériault explains why we should stop defining women in terms of their relation to men.

The language of violence against women is steeped in victim blaming.

“Creepshots”, or the sharing of pictures of women taken against their consent for a sexual purpose, are becoming more common on facebook.

The NRA is fighting to keep guns in the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence.

So you’re tired of hearing about rape culture?

Prominent women’s colleges are rejecting trans women.

Adria Richards heard a man making inappropriately sexual comments at a professional tech conference, reported it, and is now facing horrifying retaliatory harassment and was publicly fired as a result.

Joe Rogan facilitated internet harassment against a woman who called him out on transphobic comments against Fallon Fox.

In good news, more than half of all female voters identify as feminists!

Randi Owenby, Katharine Hughes, Kristin Tillotson, and Dr. Phyllis Thompson talk about Women’s History Month to BTN Channel 16.

Civility week begins this Sunday! Here’s the schedule.

This has been your weekly link roundup! If you are an ETSU student and would like to submit a story or article for publishing, contact our editor Katharine Hughes or our facebook or twitter.  Either way, “Like” and follow us!

Remember to check out our website!


Rape and Rape Culture: Beyond Steubenville

By Katharine

Yesterday, a judge found Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond guilty of the rape of a 16 year old girl in the highly publicized Steubenville case.  The case involved disturbing video evidence of the assault leaked by internet hackers as well as texts and publically-visible tweets documenting it as it happened.

Despite the horrifying evidence, the defense’s actual argument was that what happened to the victim is her fault (and isn’t actually rape) because

“Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.”

Let that sink in for a moment.  Not only was the defense of the perpetrators based upon the premise that consent to sexual activity is the default state of being, which one must “affirmatively” opt out of,  but that the entire incident was her responsibility to avoid rather than the responsibility of the perpetrators not to perpetrate it.  In addition, after the verdict, there have been no shortage of individuals who have also elected to blame the victim, rather than the perpetrators, for the incident.

This is unacceptable.

This is bigger than a reaction to an individual case.  This is an epidemic of “victim blaming” and “slut shaming” in our society which serves to perpetuate rape culture by further assaulting its victims.

“A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.

In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.”

What the defense and the reactions of many to the Steubenville rape case are saying is that the violence perpetrated against the victim was an inevitability, which she alone was responsible to prevent, by “affirmatively saying no” (in an incapacitated state, in a confined space with physically dominant attackers) or removing herself from society by never going to any parties or being in any situations in which rape might occur.  Where are the rapists in this equation?

Their absence is the evidence of rape culture.

These are the facts:

Rape is always, 100% of the time, the fault of the rapist, and not the victim.  Victims do not deserve rape for the clothes they put on their bodies or the things that they put into their bodies.  They do not deserve rape because their bodies were in a certain place at a certain time.  They do not deserve rape for being visible.  They do not deserve rape for not carrying a deadly weapon, nor should their safety depend upon ownership of a deadly weapon.  Victims should not simply have to accept rape as an inevitability due to our flawed social dialogue.

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).


15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3

  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18.3
  • 80% are under age 30.3
  • 12-34 are the highest risk years.
  • Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.4

  • 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.

In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.5

  • Of these, 75% were girls.
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.6

  • 34.2% of attackers were family members.
  • 58.7% were acquaintances.
  • Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.


Rape in our society should not be a blemish on the victims of it, but rather on those who perpetrate it.  Rape should not be made excusable by the actions of the victim.  Rape should not be used as a threat or as a means to put women in their place.  Rape should not be sexualized in and used as a selling point in entertainment.  Rape should not be a joke.  Rape should not ever be thought of as something that an individual deserves, even if they are a sex worker or if they have consumed alcohol – no matter how much.

Unfortunately, that is not our reality.

What happened in Steubenville can’t be limited to its borders.  The victim blaming and rape apologism, the threats against rape victims, the assertions of false rape accusations (despite their rarity and the damaging effects of the false rape accusation mythology) , the defamation of the victim’s character – These intimidate rape victims from ever reporting their rapes, from talking about rape culture, and maintains a status quo in which, as Freda Adler put it,

“Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.”

This is a status quo that we cannot tolerate.  This is a status quo that ensures that there will be more Steubenvilles, because despite a guilty verdict for the perpetrators of that rape, rape itself is still running free.

We must aggressively work against rape culture if we wish to end rape.  We must place the blame where it belongs, upon the heads of the rapists.  We must change the way we talk about rape.

We must do these things to ensure that not only Jane Doe receives justice, but to ensure that there will be no more Jane Does.

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