Powerful Way to Prevent Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Could the key to ending rapes lie in a clinical trial? 

An intensive program showing female college students how to recognize and resist sexual aggression reduced their chances of being raped over a year period by nearly half, according to new research.

The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared the effects of attending a four-session course in resisting sexual assault to a more typical university approach of providing brochures on sexual assault.

The program is one of the first to demonstrate success in a controlled trial — and among the first to be published by the medical journal, best-known as a forum for clinical drug trials.

The study comes just weeks before colleges and universities across the country are required to detail how they will deal with sexual assault. Those reports, due to the U.S. Department of Education on July 1, are mandated by the 2013 Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act.

At least 1 in 5 women has been a victim of sexual assault that occurred while she was attending college. By far, most of the attempted or completed sexual assaults on college campuses are perpetrated by classmates, dates or acquaintances of the victim.

Freshman and sophomore women are thought to be at the greatest risk of sexual assault.

Experts say the ubiquity of alcohol, freedom from parental monitoring, and an atmosphere that celebrates macho and athletic bravado are all factors that foster sexual assaults.

Canadian psychologist Charlene Y. Senn, lead author of the study, said that the socialization of young women often prevents many would-be victims from acknowledging and responding to a sexual predator in ways that will thwart an assault.

Young women arriving at college have widely been socialized to be friendly and likable, which can blind them to the aggressive advances they might encounter at a party, she added.

In 2005, Senn devised a curriculum to help young women overcome the emotional barriers that delay or prevent their recognition of sexual aggression and respond to it.

Over four three-hour sessions, the course worked on skills to assess, acknowledge and, if necessary, rebuff unwanted sexual advances.
Those sessions included instruction in recognizing sexual coercion and the circumstances in which it can take place. Participants also had two hours of self-defense training based on the martial art Wen-Do.

Experts caution that reducing sexual violence by focusing on a victim’s will or ability to resist has fallen out of favor in recent years.

In their place are programs that address the motives of potential perpetrators and energize bystanders to intervene. Such approaches place the blame for sexual assault squarely on the perpetrator.

By focusing on a potential victim’s power to thwart her attackers, some experts warned that such a program might contribute to blaming victims.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Kathleen C. Basile, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote that the study’s “primary weakness is that it places the onus for prevention on potential victims, possibly obscuring the responsibility of perpetrators and others.”

But teaching women how to identify and resist are still important strategies, Senn says.

Between September 2011 and February 2013, 893 freshman women at the Universities of Calgary, Windsor and Guelph in Canada took part in the study.

Holding three-hour sessions on weeknights and marathon sessions on weekends, Senn and her coauthors put 451 women through a series of lectures, problem-solving exercises, discussions and self-defense classes aimed at helping them define their own sexual desires and boundaries, recognize and discourage sexual aggression and resist an assault.

The remaining 442 women were assigned to a control group, in which they attended a 15-minute session and were provided brochures on sexual assault.

About a year after the sessions ended, Senn and her colleagues surveyed the participants, asking detailed questions about their sexual contacts in the preceding year.

Among women offered the brochures on sexual assault, 9.8% reported they had been raped and 9.3% reported they had been the intended victims of attempted rapes.

Some 40% reported other nonconsensual sexual contact, in which they experienced unwanted sexual touching or fondling.

An additional 14% said they had been subject to coercive sex in which a perpetrator pressured or manipulated them into compliance.

Among women who got the resistance training, 5.2% said they had been raped and 3.4% reported attempted rapes — reductions of 46.3% and 63.2% respectively.

Rates of nonconsensual sexual contact reported by this group were 34% lower than those in the control group, and reports of sexual coercion were roughly 24% less common.

Sarah Yang, a 2014 graduate of UC Davis who was president of that campus’ Women’s Health Initiative, said publication of the study in a medical journal boosts the profile of the issue.

“It validates campus sexual assault as a public health issue — and that’s huge,” said Yang, an aspiring physician. “It’s national now. It’s international.”

Senn emphasized that training only women to avert sexual assailants addresses just part of the solution.

“There’s no quick fixes,” she said. “We have to make stopping sexual violence everyone’s problem — everyone’s business — to hold men accountable, to support victims. But we also need to give women the tools they need to fight back.”


Curated by Timothy
Original Article

Stories of Rape Often Go Unheard

Sexual assault happens to many people who don’t speak out. These shocking facts are visualized below  to highlight topics we often don’t speak widely about. 

In the wake of the Bill Cosby scandal, New York Magazine has created what may now be considered one of the most powerful magazine covers of all time. As noted in the article, the stories of rape have stirred serious discussion, thanks in large part to social media.

But at the center of this scandal is a simple truth: There are millions of victims of sexual assault worldwide, but social stigma, among other factors, prevents many victims from speaking out and seeking help. A closer look at the numbers surrounding these crimes reveals even more disturbing trends. (And that’s not accounting for the fact that most rapes go unreported.)

To shed light on this subject, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (Rainn.org), America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, has compiled numbers from the FBI, Bureau of Statistics, and U.S. Department of Justice to give us a clearer picture of what is happening in the U.S. From the sheer volume of rapes, to convictions, to demographic breakdowns, these are the powerful statistics you need to know.











To learn more about victim demographics, offender demographics, state laws, reporting, and what you can do to prevent sexual assault, visit Rainn.org.

Curated by Karinna
Original Article


It’s Not Okay! What Happened When I Was Intimately Assaulted on an Airplane

I waited in a small room for two FBI agents to finally show up and ask me typical questions such as, “What were you wearing?”

In light of the election and talk of “grabbing pussies,” I thought I’d go ahead and tell my tale of such atrocities. Many people have made light of the subject, writing it off as “locker room talk,” and saying things like “that’s just how men speak.” I don’t know what men these people are associating with, but this is not the way the men I know speak. Men of varying orientations, backgrounds, ages, etc., all across the country and world are saying, “Um, no, we would never just grab pussies, in a locker room or elsewhere.”

There are, however, men who do feel this behavior is okay. Let me just say for the record, it’s SUPER NOT OKAY. Grabbing a woman, on any part of her body, let alone right in her pussy, without consent, wouldn’t even cross the mind of most of the men in my life. It wouldn’t cross my mind either, and I love pussies! So to brush “talk” off like it’s nothing is extremely irresponsible, especially when influential people in the media are the ones speaking these harmful words. I’m not just talking about the candidate who I don’t respect enough to even mention the name of. He wasn’t the only person in that conversation. And that conversation unfortunately does happen in certain locker rooms. But that still doesn’t make it okay, or harmless, or something to brush under the rug. Because guess what?! It happens. Words become actions. Many men feel that they can just grab you right in the pussy. And they get away with it.

I was on a 15 hour American Airlines flight home to Chicago from India. The man sitting next to me was wearing way to much cologne, donned a big bushy mustache, and a cell phone clipped to his belt. These offenses would unfortunately not to be his worst. He was asking me questions about Chicago and what he should do there on his layover. At one point, he asked if I wanted to show him around and I politely declined stating that I was excited to see my boyfriend who was picking me up at the airport. I then decided to drape a blanket over myself and try to get some sleep. About an hour and a half into the flight, in my sleepy state, I began feeling a hand all over my body. I mean ALL OVER my body. It was invasive, and heavy, and under my blanket. I could feel the pressure from it all over my breasts, and then it snaked down to my legs and in between my thighs. I was in that mid-way point between sleep and awake so I didn’t react right away. I finally woke right the eff up when I felt his hand grab me, guess where?! That’s correct, right in my pussy. The hand under my blanket belonged to Mr. Too Much Cologne.

I jumped up immediately. He moved his hand away and stared at the screen on the seat in front of him. I looked at him and asked, “What were you doing?!” He sat completely still and silent, apparently unable to take his eyes off the Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds blockbuster, “The Proposal” playing in front of him (who can blame ‘im?!). I sat for a second wondering if he’d even realized what he had done, or if maybe I was mistaken. Was I going crazy? Was I still asleep and dreamed the whole thing, or rather, nightmared it? Then I looked down and saw his erection. This was not imagined. I yelled, “Do you think what you did was okay?!” Still, the movie was far too engrossing for him to reply. I finally exclaimed, “Get UP!” At which point I finally received a response from him, which was to stand up and move into the aisle.

I left my window seat and not knowing what else to do, ran. I ran first toward the back of the plane, losing a contact lens in the process (for which I have yet to be reimbursed by the man or American Airlines). Failing to find a flight attendant in the back of the plane, I ran toward the front. Finally I came upon a male flight attendant near the bathrooms and frantically told him what had just happened, to which he replied, “Oh…so…do you wanna move seats?” No, I just wanted to tell you how happy I was that I finally found the one! “YES! Move me!”

I was moved to business class where the female flight attendants made sure I was okay, as the male attendant brought my things to me and said, “geeze, you have a lot of stuff.” I don’t check luggage when I travel abroad, which is not the point, asshole, but thanks for the unsolicited opinion! They let me know that the pilots had been informed and the man would be apprehended upon landing, but there wasn’t much else they could do at that time because there was no marshal on the plane. I tried as hard as I could to sleep for the next thirteen hours, but it was pointless. I just imagined him coming up to me in my new fancy seat and doing it again, or something even worse. Did he know he was going to be apprehended? Was he going to come after me and try to get me to shut up or change my story? Was there an in-flight Lifetime movie relating to this exact experience that could keep me occupied for the next several hours?! Luckily there were no further incidents and the plane landed safely in Chicago.

As promised, Chicago PD was waiting for us to get off the plane. They were all set to take both of us to customs when one of the female flight attendants chimed in, “Maybe you should take her first, so she doesn’t have to see him again.” A male police officer scoffed, “She’s already seen him, what’s the big deal?” This is yet another great example of the training offered to those meant to protect and serve us. The men that I dealt with on this exhausting day had zero sensitivity for the issue, while the women seemed to completely understand. This baffles me, but I have to think it has something to do with the fact that women are trained from birth on how to deal with and/or try to avoid these situations and men, well, I don’t know what most men are trained for, but it’s clearly not sensitivity.

I waited in a small room for two FBI agents to finally show up and ask me typical questions such as, “What were you wearing?” and “What did you say to him?” As though my yoga pants and light conversation about fun things to do in Chicago were to blame for my sexual assault. They made sure to laugh a lot and make real light of the situation. One of them asked if I wanted to press charges, and while doing so suggested that it wouldn’t really do much, because, “this has already happened thirteen times this year.” Did I mention it was February? I absolutely wanted to press charges and made sure that everyone knew that. They said they spoke to the man, who apparently was “very sorry” and crying, which was another reason I shouldn’t press charges. I insisted once again on pressing charges. They said they would send him home, and “he’s here on business, so he’ll probably get fired. Plus, he’s married, so his wife will be pissed.” To which I replied, “That’s not enough, please press charges.” I was told to go home and they would continue talking to him. I would receive a call when they were finished.

I was met by my boyfriend, and had to explain why I didn’t want to be touched even though we’d been apart for ten days. I got back to my apartment where I finally laid down to get the sleep I desperately needed when I was awoken by a phone call with a laughing, literally laughing FBI agent who said, “Yeah, we didn’t press charges. He said that he’s done this with other Middle Eastern women before who liked it. I think he just thought you liked him cause you were being so nice. He’s already on a plane back to India, so, he’s really gonna get it from his wife. He wrote you an apology note. It’s kinda cute, want me to read it to you?” I received the note in the mail a couple weeks later. The officer and I have differing opinions on what we consider to be “cute.”

To this day, when I travel, I have a very difficult time sitting next to strangers. All I can think of is this disgusting man who’s face and shitty mustache are embedded in my brain forever, and the fact that he knows it’s okay to do this. After all, who’s going to stop him?Not American Airlines who, in response to my letter asking that they ban him from further flights said they can’t deny his business. Not the FBI. Not anyone in the US government.

So I ask you this, if this is already a huge issue in this country, if this exact situation had already happened 13 times in just two months, why would it be okay to elect someone into office who chalks things like this up to “typical male behavior” and “locker room talk?” Anyone who so clearly disrespects women, and has such low opinions of them, or any gender of human, doesn’t even deserve to be on a plane, let alone lead a country. Don’t we as a country need to move forward, rather than slip back into archaic, misogynist mindsets?

I have to say, I’m grateful that a dialogue has started, and I’m hopeful that it continues. Because people need to know this is not something that should be laughed away, or scoffed at, or disregarded as women being oversensitive. It’s an invasion on someone else’s body, which, often times in this world is literally the only thing we have that’s truly ours. Don’t let it be taken away from you. And when it is, fight back. I was too scared, tired, and weak when it happened to really fight back. But I fight now. And, at the risk of sounding cliché, one of the best ways to fight is to vote. So vote, dammit, and keep creeps away from our pussies!

Here are 5 Resolutions to Empower Women After the #MeToo Movement

Women’s Christmas present to America was an outburst of honesty, bravery, and a whole bunch of eye-opening truth bombs. My New Year’s resolution is to help do more to support #MeToo.

Every year in December I look back on the big things that happened that year. It’s therapeutic to reflect on my accomplishments and write my thoughts down in a journal. I make notes on how I’ve grown, what I’ve done, and how the world changed.

This year, I did a lot: I finally figured out what to do when the internet stops working at my house, I won eleven dollars on two seperate lotto scratchers (Las Vegas here I come), and finally figured out how to do sit-ups properly (they’re way harder than I thought).

But more importantly, I helped bring sexual harassment into the spotlight and take down predators who took advantage of less powerful men and women. Of course, I wasn’t alone — I joined a chorus of brave voices standing for change.

Since the New York Times reported sexual harassment allegations on Harvey Weinstein in October, women have been stepping forward in droves to name their harassers. It seems that everyone has a story they want to share: from co-workers, to parents, to friends we haven’t seen in years.

As a woman, life can be challenging. Women are often afraid for their safety and well-being, and not without reason. Studies show that one out of every six women will be a victim of attempted or completed rape within her lifetime.

But that’s not to say sexual harassment or violence is only a threat to women. Studies also show that one in ten rape victims are male and one in every thirty-three men are the victims of attempted or completed rape.

So while this certainly isn’t an exclusively female issue, women still stand as the majority of victims. This, when paired with unequal pay and rates of domestic abuse against women, makes for a grim reality.

Every woman I know has a story about being harassed or taken advantage of. But, finally, after struggling through years, nay, centuries of mistreatment and silencing, women are finally being heard. They’re being listened to, and being allowed to tell their stories.

Suddenly, employers care about reporting inappropriate behavior, about creating a better workplace, and making sure this doesn’t happen to others. The internet is filled with stories on how to fight back against harassment, how to help survivors, and even how to raise children that won’t mistreat others. It’s about time.

I’m amazed at the heroism of these women, the ones who told their stories in 2017, and every one before that. Telling the story of what was probably the worst time of your life, the most embarrassing and dehumanizing, can be incredibly challenging.

It can be even more intimidating knowing that many people might not believe you, try to discredit you, or say you have ulterior motives. Every woman who has ever stepped forward has had to face all of that. And every person who has been able to tell their story should be applauded for their bravery.

These women are helping change a generation. And while I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished in 2017, I want to make sure that all of this continues in 2018.

Here are some resolutions you can make this year to help continue the movement.

#metoo movement powerful women feminism

1. Help each other out.

I once had a friend at work who was often scheduled in shifts with an older co-worker. She was 18, and when this 30-something man starting hitting on her, she told him right away that she wasn’t interested. She expected his advances to stop, but when he started saying sexual things to her and began touching her inappropriately, she became scared.

She mentioned her problem to me one day and told me about how the man made her uncomfortable. She was new to the job and didn’t want to cause any trouble, and the man was known for being a good worker. She felt stuck.

I told her how serious this was, how what he was doing wasn’t right, and, when she was ready, I went with her to Human Resources. I waited for her as she made a written statement and told her to call me if she needed anything. Soon after, the man was let go.

If I hadn’t listened to my friend, supported her, and helped her go to HR, that guy would probably still be working there.

It’s easy to tell yourself that something is none of your business, to ignore an issue by reasoning that it’s “not your problem.” But we all have to live in this world, and staying silent helps no one. If you can help someone, do it. New employees, especially those who are young or inexperienced, might be scared or not know what to do when they encounter harassment. Helping someone might mean saving them from a nightmare.

2. See something? Say something.

While you should definitely help someone if you know they’re being harassed, it’s also important to point out anything that seems fishy.

In February 2017, a flight attendant, saved a teen from human trafficking because she felt something wasn’t right. It pays to follow your gut and call attention to whatever seems strange. Whether your friend is acting odd or your co-worker is noticeably avoiding someone, don’t ignore it. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

3. Stop the “it’s not so bad” mentality.

You might brush off the occasional uncomfortable interaction with someone from work. Maybe you think something’s not big enough to blow the whistle on, so you try to forget about it. But don’t let those things slide.

If someone is being inappropriate to you, they’re probably doing it to a lot of other people as well, or will do it to others in the future. Even if their actions “aren’t that bad” think about how many people he or she could be treating this way as well. If 20 people had the same “uncomfortable but not serious” interactions, that really means something. Plus, if the perpetrator thinks they can get away with inappropriate behavior, they might try something worse in the future.

Let people know when these “not so bad” incidents happen. Let your co-workers know. Even if your voice doesn’t feel very big, it can be made stronger by those around you.

4. Keep an open mind and provide a safe space.

If you’re an employer or a manager, work this year to keep an open door, have an open mind, and provide a safe space for employees to talk to you. The best thing you can do for your employees and your company is to make sure your workers are comfortable and feel safe in their workplace, which might mean dealing with some uncomfortable things.

Make sure that people feel like they can talk to you. Stay open-minded and investigate complaints. You’ll gain respect from your employees and you’ll be able to correct issues fast.

5. Talk to someone about it

The #metoo campaign was so powerful because it showed how many women were affected by sexual harassment, but it also gave women a platform to tell their stories. It encouraged women to speak up — and a woman’s voice is a powerful thing. Continue talking, telling, and listening in 2018.

These five resolutions are a great way to kick off your year. They’ll help you support the brave men and women who stepped forward to tell their stories — and help make a change. By the end of the year, I know you’ll be especially proud of all that you did in 2018.


Read more stories like this such as When You Say “I Do,” Does That Mean “I Do Take Your Name?”, Not All Domestic Abusers Are Men, and What You’re Getting Wrong About Sex Positivity.