The other day I came across a video about a case of rape at Columbia, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. According to students who attend Columbia, the college does not deal with rape and sexual assault cases well, and in most cases dismisses these allegations made. For one student, Emma, she decided she wouldn't take it. Being raped in her own bed her sophomore year, she has decided to employ herself to make a statement about the way the school dealt with her case, carrying around a large mattress until the man who raped her no longer attends Columbia. This piece of performance art moves to make a change, and symbolizes how the weight of this rape is something she carries with her everywhere, everyday.
Colleges everywhere are beginning to see how necessary is to change policies on how they deal with sexual assault and rape cases, because the issue is currently getting so much press. In fact in the video a woman was quoted saying that it should actually be a red flag if colleges report no sexual assault cases - as it shows they are denying that there is an issue rather than helping the people affected by it. I remember two years ago hearing the statistic that on average 1 in every 4 girls will be sexually assaulted before they leave college - that gives me, and every one of my classmates a 25% of being raped in college. A large problem is the amount of depth that this issue comes with, and the resources required to properly deal with it - schools would need to hire therapists & investigators and would have to create rape crisis centers in order to truly help those who've faced the trauma of sexual assault.
The recent invention of a nail polish that changes color when one is exposed to a date rape drug is also a huge topic of conversation right now, but is it really dealing with the root of the issue? To me its saddening that it's taken this long for America to begin to realize and accept this as a real issue - and that for so long we decided to brush it under the rug and not talk about it. In that time hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals have been harmed so unnecessarily.
On a personal level as a female student applying to various colleges, including Barnard (a women's college part of Columbia), hearing of cases such as Emma's makes me really question and look at where I want to spend my time in college - as an event like rape can completely dictate one's entire experience for these four years. This can be said in Emma's quote in the video, " Every day I'm afraid of leaving my room." That's a worry no college student should ever have to deal with.
I sincerely hope this is the time for change in our society on how we view rape - in a lot of ways, it really needs to be.
Link to the Article & the Video: http://time.com/3259455/columbia-student-pledges-to-carry-a-mattress-every-day-till-alleged-rapist-leaves-campus/
Since this Friday is Valentines Day, I thought I'd send some love to any single ladies who want a song to jam out to this Friday...
Don't forget to make this holiday about you too and spend some time sending yourself some love (get our fave book or movie or maybe enjoy a mani/pedi....take some time to self care in whatever way makes you happiest!)
“'i love myself.'
-Ism by Nayyirah Waheed
"You better change out of that right now. You look like a prostitute." I've heard this more than once and every time it drills a deeper hole into my heart. Not because I am hurt by being thought of as a prostitute, but because I hate the way prostitutes are singled out as an evil one would not want to be associated with. Every time we slut shame or scoff at a prostitute we are perpetuating a system of blame-the-victim that has so been engrained into us. We have built a culture in which we see the victim as the wrong-doer, the one in need of punishment, without trying to understand why that person is a victim.
No matter what your opinion may be on the debate over the legality of prostitution, the grey area of 'consent' must be acknowledged. Those who advocate for prostitution as a legitimate profession often will state that it is something that a women has decided to do out of her own free will. Yet such an assertion fails to acknowledge how she started as a prostitute in the first place.
The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14. At that age, no sense of consent, whether ethical or legal, is legitimate. This is not just my opinion. It is law. According to Trafficking Victims Protection Act any child under age 18 used for prostitution is considered a commercially sexually exploited child (CSEC). They don't have to prove that they have been tricked or coerced or abused (1). A twelve year old girl being sold on the streets night after night is not doing it because she wants to be there. In most cases, somebody is working behind the scenes of her nighttime career, pulling the invisible strings of manipulation. These girls are automatically considered victims of human trafficking. (Read about how girls get sexually trafficked http://tostopthetraffick.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/very-young-girls/). Technically, human trafficking is the exploitation of a human body for labor or sex (for the profit of another person). However, once their are protected as victims until they are 18, suddenly when they pass the magic number, these girls are considered criminals.
A ghastly number of victims of human trafficking are arrested and charged as prostitutes. Pimps sell girls out, whether online, in brothels, in strip clubs, etc and then collect the money. Yet it is those very same girls who are being locked up as punishment for their "misdemeanors" and in some cases "felonies". Because it is so difficult to prove that a person is not selling her body of her own accord, those who are being manipulated are the ones getting punished. A pimp can so easily turn the situation around, arguing that she made the choice to be there. When it comes to this point, it is all he-said-she-said, and the pimp usually wins.
Some women may start off being trafficked and even once freed, turn to prostitution later in life. It has been engrained into some girls' minds that sex is all they are good for, thus making it seemingly impossible to forge another career path. Other girls may have been cut off from all other resources--human, financial, skill-building-- during the time when they were trafficked, and left jobless, turn to the only thing they know.
Yet so easily we write off prostitutes without trying to understand what has brought them to where they are. We celebrate a culture in which "boys will be boys," yet if a woman does something overly sexual, there is cause for judgement. This is taken to the extreme when it comes to prostitution. Sure, some prostitutes come to the profession with fully independent intention of being a sex worker. But many girls are manipulated and trafficked into being there. Human trafficking is very real and very prevalent. It needs to be acknowledged as such.
Read up on the laws concerning prostitution in the US: http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000119
Good afternoon guys!
I hope your monday has been going well, and that, as the last monday of January 2014, you've been able to work on your New Year Resolutions!
As we recover from Beyonce's amazing performance last night at the Grammys, I thought I'd share my personal favorite from her new album. "Flawless" by Beyonce uses powerful lyrics and incorporates Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Why We Should All Be Feminists" Ted Talk into the song.
Enjoy and check out the Ted Talk after if you have time!
Happy (late) New Years lovely followers! I hope your vacations were nice and the beginning of your year has been pleasant!
As the first Music Monday for this 2014, I wanted to make it a special one. Today I'm sharing with you a song called "Salute" by Little Mix that I take as my (personal) feminist anthem. In this song, Little Mix use empowering lyrics and a kick butt tune that will get you ready and pumped to fight for women's rights.
If you think I'm exaggerating how hardcore and battle ready this song is, then give it a try and don't be surprised when you feel ready to pull on your combats and blast this song everywhere. Go on...try it.
Get ready for a new feminist anthem.
The month of January is Human Trafficking Awareness month and to kick it off I partook in chalk-bombing downtown San Jose. You can look at the pictures here, in addition to reading about the other events that will be held this week in San Jose. If you care about this issue, please help advocate with us and attend one of these events.
While you're at it go ahead and check out our friend's website where she discusses the different issues and grey areas surrounding human trafficking!
In this video created by Yahoo, you see the power of photoshop as it transforms celebrities into the images we see in media. It reminds us not to compare ourselves to the unattainable idea of perfection portayed in magazines, TV, and movies. Remember to love yourself for who you are and not to compare yourself to others!