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blue and white police tape

Stop telling survivors they must report to the police

This week, I was one of three survivors that spoke at a press conference where Senator Gillibrand announced her new initiative to increase federal funding for the Department of Education to address the high rates of sexual assault on colleges campuses. After each of us shared our stories of our colleges miserably failing to support us after sexual assault, multiple reporters asked about the role of the local police in each of the investigations and whether one of the Columbia survivors, a junior named Emma Sulkowicz, reported. These questions prompted a shift that often happens when survivors speak out: a focus on the police and pursuing retribution through the courts.

US Department of Education building

Campus safety committee fails to recognize violence as violence

Last week, a 15-member committee of representatives from various groups related to campus sexual violence reached a consensus on a new set of rules that will take effect under the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act). These rules are the new mandates that colleges will have to follow under the Clery Act as part of the Violence Against Women Act that was reauthorized after much unnecessary delay last year. The Clery Act requires schools to record and distribute statistics about violent crimes that happen on and near their campuses. Under the new approved set of rules, colleges will have to report and include in their annual crime statistics instances of domestic violence, ...
Last week, a 15-member committee of representatives from various groups related to campus sexual violence reached a consensus on a new set of rules that will take effect under the Campus Sexual Violence ...
It's not you 27 wrong reasons you're single by Sara Eckel's book cover

Not Oprah’s Bookclub: It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single

I never buy e-books. Well, I never bought e-books until I read Sara Eckel’s New York Times article “The Hard-Won Lessons of the Solitary Years.” I normally avoid reading pieces that address adult singledom; most of them end up being fodder for a self-flagellation fest over some unknown collection of traits I must have that make me destined to die alone. Fortunately, Eckel’s piece provided a refreshing, honest view of some struggles of being a single woman for most of her life.

Despite framing the piece through her experience as a woman in her 40s who moved in with her boyfriend of six months–something that I could absolutely not relate to in any way–I was surprised to find ...

I never buy e-books. Well, I never bought e-books until I read Sara Eckel’s New York Times article “The Hard-Won Lessons of the Solitary Years.” I normally avoid reading pieces that address adult singledom; ...

Screenshot of webpage: RAINN Recommends White House Focus on Criminal Justice Response to College Rape

RAINN’s recommendations ignore needs of campus survivors of all identities

Recently, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) issued recommendations to the White House on how to properly respond to college rape. Seeing the title of the page–RAINN Recommends White House Focus on Criminal Justice Response to College Rape–instantly made me panic. I’m an organizer with ED ACT NOW, a national campaign calling for better federal enforcement of Title IX, and have worked and met with many survivors and activists. I have had the opportunity to hear a wide range of reasons as to why survivors have turned to their schools, rather than the police, to address the sexual violence they endured. One of the most frequently-used reasons I have heard – especially ...

Recently, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) issued recommendations to the White House on how to properly respond to college rape. Seeing the title of the page–RAINN Recommends White House ...

Show's daughters with eyes, ears, or mouth covered by their father.

Lifetime’s “Preachers’ Daughters” Shows Everything That is Wrong with Purity Culture

This week, I came home to my sister watching a show On Demand, Preachers’ Daughters, that followed the lives of three different daughters who had one or both parents as pastors. As someone who grew up in a family that regularly attended a Pentecostal church, I was interested in seeing how Lifetime would choose to portray several families that are–presumably–very religious. Fully aware of the many shortfalls of reality TV in regards to sensationalism, sexism, race, etc., I still found myself watching the show long after my sister had left the room. Instead of a series showing different facets of the trials and tribulations teenagers face as the child of a pastor, I found myself watching nearly ...

This week, I came home to my sister watching a show On Demand, Preachers’ Daughters, that followed the lives of three different daughters who had one or both parents as pastors. As someone who ...

How “You get what you put out” encourages victim blaming

There are two things about me that continue to have a significant impact on my life: (1) I spend a LOT of time on the internet; and (2) I have spent a LOT of that time feeling down and out in the aftermath of traumatic episodes. As a result, I am confident that I have been on the receiving end of every shallow (yet probably well-intentioned), mostly-useless platitude that is supposed to provide some sort of groundbreaking guidance that will magically empower me to instantly pick up the pieces of my life. Over time my patience for these platitudes has shrunk significantly. Instead of being comforted by a friend’s/acquaintance’s/stranger’s words, I feel a flash of annoyance as I try ...

There are two things about me that continue to have a significant impact on my life: (1) I spend a LOT of time on the internet; and (2) I have spent a LOT of that time ...

Castro Theater and Castro Street at dusk. San Francisco, California, USA

There’s a conference for queer women in tech and it looks awesome

 

Are you a woman? Queer?  Do you work in tech? If so, I hope you’re able to go to the Lesbians Who Tech (LWT) summit that is taking place in San Francisco, CA February 28 to March 2nd. This conference will the first held by the Lesbian Who Tech group, which calls itself  “a community of queer women in or around tech (and the people who love them).” Looking around a room and feeling like the only one from your community can be really rough. Lesbians Who Tech exists to combat the negative effects of that type of isolation and now there’s a chance to connect with other women from all over the world.

 

Are you a woman? Queer?  Do you work in tech? If so, I hope you’re able to go to the Lesbians Who Tech (LWT) summit that is taking place in San Francisco, CA February ...

Photo of the Day: Survivors thriving in numbers

 

At Surviving in Numbers – a sexual assault and domestic violence awareness/prevention project featuring posters from survivors – a new batch of signs are up that are noticeably different than those posted before. These signs focus on life after the assault, with survivors sharing their journeys after violence and how they’ve found their way to healing and thriving.

 

At Surviving in Numbers – a sexual assault and domestic violence awareness/prevention project featuring posters from survivors – a new batch of signs are up that are noticeably different than those posted before. These signs focus ...

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