Sexual Coercion

Playboy takes aim at catcalling.

Playboy nails it with this flowchart (at bottom).

I love this approach to educating men about catcalling. It's effective without shaming, and acknowledges and validates men's sexuality without letting them off the hook for shitty behaviour.

Someone on a related Reddit thread clearly described why catcalling can feel so threatening. She invites men to imagine what it would be like to experience the following:

  • being catcalled by someone over a foot taller than them
  • who starts bothering them while they were busy
  • and then starts ordering them around or making sexual comments and won't go away
  • and is much stronger and could easily hurt them
  • and makes them feel afraid and ashamed
  • and that this happens week in, week out

Check out the entire Reddit thread here: link.

Playboy catcalling sexual harassment | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

Woman recounts her rape and meets her rapist.

An extremely brave and compassionate personal accounting of rape and its impacts.

For those who have never experienced sexual assault, or never witnessed the effects of it on someone close to you, Ms. Aguirre's story will help you understand what it's like. It's a tough read, but valuable.

 Photograph: Brian Howell for the Guardian

Photograph: Brian Howell for the Guardian

From the Guardian:

‘I’m Carmen. Nice to meet you again’: why I faced my rapist in prison
Thirty-three years after she was raped, Carmen Aguirre travelled to meet the man who attacked her
It is the last day of summer, and I am walking under a blue prairie sky through the grounds of a medium-security prison in Alberta, Canada. It has been 33 years since I was raped, and I am on my way to meet my attacker. Laura, who was also raped by him, has travelled with me. We spent last night at the Best Western, where wrought-iron signs dared us to “Walk on the Wild Side”.
Everyone has asked us why we want to meet him. I tell them what Laura, one of the wisest, most articulate people I’ve known, says. “Because I’d like to meet the man I’ve been in a relationship with for my entire life.”
For myself, I want to even out the power imbalance between us, to sit across the table on my terms and look into his eyes. The meeting has been arranged by Brad and Abbey, restorative justice facilitators with experience not only in Canada but in Rwanda and South Africa. Abbey has had several talks with the man, John Horace Oughton, once only known as the “paper bag rapist” on account of him covering his victims’ heads with a paper bag or with a piece of their own clothing during the attacks. She warns us about the Nirvana Outcome, which rarely happens and consists of the offender offering a heartfelt apology to his victims. Laura and I tell her that we are expecting no such thing.

Read the rest here: link.

Woman tricked female friend into having sex by pretending to be a man.

Not often that you hear stories like this. Wowzer.

From Guardian:

Woman who pretended to be man to trick friend into sex jailed for eight years
Gayle Newland sentenced to eight years in prison for disguising her appearance and persuading woman to wear blindfold while they had sex.
A woman who duped her friend into having sex by pretending to be a man for two years has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Gayle Newland, 25, of Willaston, Cheshire, disguised her appearance and voice, and persuaded the woman to put on a blindfold when they met up.
They had sex about 10 times until the complainant took off her mask and saw Newland wearing a prosthetic penis.
Sentencing, Judge Roger Dutton said Newland was “an intelligent, obsessional, highly manipulative, deceitful, scheming and thoroughly determined young woman”. 
Newland claimed her accuser, also 25, always knew she was pretending to be a man as they engaged in role play while struggling with their sexuality.

Read the rest here: link.

 

Sex, dementia, and consent: A delicate dance.

Over the last year, a couple of high profile cases have drawn attention to sex in elder care homes. Many people assume that with aging, interest in sex and sexual behaviour tends to wane. While this is true for some people, many people enjoy sex into their later years.

The concern expressed recently has been around sex, dementia, and consent. There was a case earlier this year in which a man was charged (and eventually acquitted) for sexually abusing his wife, who has Alzheimer. This has started an important conversation. Time magazine recently published a piece on this issue. Here are some excerpts:

Today’s aging Americans also grew up with fewer sexual limits than earlier generations and may be unwilling to live in nursing homes that don’t accommodate their sex lives, experts say. “Let’s be real. Baby boomers brought the sexual revolution to America in the ’60s—what are they going to bring to nursing homes?” Roberta Flowers, co-director of the elder law center at Stetson University College of Law, told TIME.
But elder advocates, physicians and nursing home experts say that there is no national standard of best practices for how nursing homes should accommodate residents who are sexually active. The policies that do exist are archaic, regressive and even ageist, and do not acknowledge that nursing home residents could happily have consensual sex with each other.
[...]

The question of whether the elderly should be having sex is most troubling when it comes to dementia. But experts and elderly advocates say people with dementia are capable of consenting to sex, that they are able to express that consent, and that sex and touch can be good for them, which makes it difficult to know when it is appropriate to set limits. Hebrew Home’s policy is explicit that patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s can give consent to sex, either verbally or non-verbally.

“A 12-year-old can’t consent to sex with an adult today or tomorrow. You can’t have the same black-or-white rule for someone suffering from dementia,” said Flowers, the expert on elderly law. “Someone with dementia is not incapacitated all the time for all things. If they are not incapacitated at the moment of the sex act, they have a right to have sex.”

She added, “It’s a difficult issue and it’s not going away.”

Read the rest here.

Max Hardcore and (un)ethical porn.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

Depending on your perspective, Max Hardcore is either a champion of free speech or one of the most reviled men in the porn industry (second only, perhaps, to Khan Tusion, the director of the infamous Meat Holes and Rough Sex series, etc. - to read about him click here - it's brutal, so heads-up). Max Hardcore did a 4-year stint in prison for breaking American obscenity laws. He is also very successful; in other words, his content sells.

Max Hardcore's films feature adult women dressed as, and acting like, young girls, gynecological toys, and extremely rough sex. He regularly spits and urinates on his performers, and chokes them with his genitals until they vomit. [These acts aren't necessarily indicative of unethical pornography in and of themselves - what matters more is labour rights, respect for and empowerment of performers, and consent.]

Max Hardcore claims that all his performers provide freely given consent and that pushing their boundaries is a requisite part of the contract. Some women like performing for him, but many do not, and some have even tried to press criminal charges of sexual assault against him. Performing for him was once considered a rite of passage - i.e., if you could work for him, you could work for anyone.

Despite his claims that he treats his performers with respect and that they freely consent to work with him, anecdotal evidence suggests that his tactics can be emotionally abusive, manipulative, and that he uses soft coercion to get performers to do things they would not normally do. For many of the women who worked for him, if they refused certain acts, or stopped their scenes, they knew that their careers were in jeopardy.

Still, we as outside observers must take care not to infantilize performers, and to balance our concerns with respect for autonomy. In other words, people need to be free to make their own decisions for the better or worse, regardless of the outcome as judged by us.

This is a scene about Max Hardcore from the documentary Hardcore. You can see the rest of the documentary here, although the video quality is very poor (NSFW!).

If the previous info and clip about Max Hardcore haven't already left a bad taste in your mouth, this is post-scene debriefing with one of his performers likely will. Presumably, he secretly taped it as insurance against claims of misconduct and exploitation. The woman he's talking with later accused him of sexual assault, among other things. This clip includes extremely NSFW language, is uber-creepy, and may be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual violence. It perfectly exemplifies the dark side of the industry.

This video clip is an interview with from the AVN expo, post-release from jail:

And here is a longer interview with him from 2011:

Being a woman.

This video has gone viral and there has been a pile of commentary published about it.

For a good discussion (including race) with links to other pieces, check out this article at the New York Times: link.

A lot of guys (and some women) simply don't get it: e.g., "They're just saying good morning!" But do they say good morning to everyone, or just woman who they find attractive? A Reddit user did her best to explain it. I copied it in its entirety (full thread here):

Between the original video and the parody one, I see a lot of the same reactions, generally from men. "But that's not catcalling! Lots of people just wanted to say hi or good morning!" "She gets more compliments in 10 hours than I get all year." "How am I supposed to get to know someone if I can't even say hello?" "Ok, maybe being talked to is annoying, but come on...harassment?" and "Oh, yeah, it must be REALLY HARD being attractive." I get it. I understand that when you haven't experienced something, it's hard to understand. So I'd like to give to a brief explanation as to WHY it feels so awful to be shouted at every few minutes while you are just trying to exist in this world.

Let's pretend you have something lots of people want. Maybe you're famous or rich or powerful. In fact, let's go with something lots of people on reddit understand: let's say you're a whiz at computers. You've always been great at them, and when you hit college you finally decided to make it your career.

Of course, people know you're a whiz. When you were in high school, your parents always had you fix their computer, and maybe they made you go over to your grandparents house and teach them how to do simple stuff on it. It wasn't a big deal, and you liked using your skill to make other people happy. It made you feel good to be acknowledged for your talents, too.

But as you've grown, your social circle has widened, and now that it's your career path, everyone knows that you're a whiz. And the requests start coming more often. Your friend thinks he has a virus. Your cousin who you never speak to is having an issue getting his printer to work. A facebook "friend" wants to make a wordpress site and heard you were good at that. Your brother in law just can't get his wireless router set up.

It starts to really grate on you. You recognize a pattern...someone whom you don't talk to that often will send you text, email or facebook message, and it always starts off nicely with the "how are you"s, but within 3 or 4 minutes of small talk they will get to what they really want. You realize that the more you do for people, the more they want; and if you accommodate everyone, you would never have any time for yourself. So you decide to start being more assertive and tell people (nicely) "no."

Well, that was a fucking mistake. There is now hostility in your family because no one can understand why you were so rude to Uncle Joe, it would have just taken you a half hour to set up his new monitor, why would you be such a dick about it? And now you've been unfriended on Facebook by several people, your boss is pissed and you're worried now about job prospects down the line.

You obviously handled that poorly, you think. But you're still unwilling to spend 5-10 hours a week doing favors for people who seem pretty ungrateful, so you just change the way you deal with requests. You don't sign on to social media much anymore, and emails keep getting "lost." You try to ignore as many requests in as many ways as possible, thinking that if you don't say no, people won't get angry. Weeeeell, that was a lost cause. People are just as mad as before. In fact, it seems that the only thing that will make people happy is to do what they're asking...no one seems to care how this impacts you, because they just want what they want when they want it.

This starts to color all of your other interactions. Now, every time an old friend randomly wants to reconnect with you, you get a knot in your stomach. You read emails knowing that at the end of all of the sucking up and small talk, there's a good chance for an ask at the end. And because you've had so many hostile reactions when you tried to stand up for yourself, all of these reactions are now colored with that.

Maybe your old middle school crush really is just trying to say hi, but you've been through this before and you know the odds are on the fact that she wants something from you. This is now the way you look at most people. It wears you down. You don't understand why people can't respect your right to just be left alone, and why you can't find a space that is free from all the asks. You know your dread at seeing a simple facebook message seems unreasonable, but damn. If people only understood how many you get, and what it has led to. It's become a big thing in your life somehow, and you fucking hate it.

Now, this little comparison isn't really the best, because it doesn't deal with the actual scary shit that women get constantly...being followed in the streets, sometimes with people in cars. A guy walking down the street and putting his arm around you while he starts a conversation. The touching. The slurs of "slut," "cunt," or "whore" when you ignore someone. The threats. The occasional actual violence.

So yeah, I guess some people see someone saying, "Mmmmmm...good morning, mami!" as a nice greeting. But when it is constant, when it is colored with years of experience, when you JUST WANT TO WALK DOWN THE STREET AND LIVE YOUR LIFE....it is gross. So gross. Someone earlier mocked the fact that it was only 100 example of harassment in 600 minutes. When you have random strangers (an ALL men) talking to you every five minutes, when it seems like they all want something from you and there is no good way to respond to it, a simple twenty minute stroll just becomes exhausting.

Sorry for the length of this, and I doubt anyone will read this novel I've just written, but I wanted to explain why this feels the way the way it does for people who simply can't sympathize. I hope this maybe helps a couple of people understand why even "innocent" interactions feel very charged for the women who experience them.

More on Jian Ghomeshi.

jian.jpg

New piece from the Toronto Star - four more women come forward, one willing to be identified (an actress staring in Trailer Park Boys): link. Dan Savage's interview with a woman who participated in consensual BDSM with JG, plus some of his commentary: link.

Two related articles on why sexual assaults, with specific reference to this case, are often not reported: link and link. The first article is an essential read - it's written by a lawyer who describes exactly what it's like to go through trial as the person who was sexually assaulted.

Also rumours circulating that Navigation, the PR crisis-management firm that crafted the Facebook post for JG, has parted ways with him.

Sounds like the worst of what people were predicting/suggesting is true.

Jian Ghomeshi claims CBC fired him over BDSM.

This just happened earlier today and several students have already passed it along (thanks!). What appeared to be a case of wrongful dismissal based on private sexual practices has blown up into much more.

Jian Ghomeshi, the host and co-creator of arguably Canada's most successful radio show, Q, was let go today by the CBC. He took to Facebook to explain why. From his Facebook page:

Dear everyone,

I am writing today because I want you to be the first to know some news.

This has been the hardest time of my life. I am reeling from the loss of my father. I am in deep personal pain and worried about my mom. And now my world has been rocked by so much more.

Today, I was fired from the CBC.

For almost 8 years I have been the host of a show I co-created on CBC called Q. It has been my pride and joy. My fantastic team on Q are super-talented and have helped build something beautiful.

I have always operated on the principle of doing my best to maintain a dignity and a commitment to openness and truth, both on and off the air. I have conducted major interviews, supported Canadian talent, and spoken out loudly in my audio essays about ideas, issues, and my love for this country. All of that is available for anyone to hear or watch. I have known, of course, that not everyone always agrees with my opinions or my style, but I've never been anything but honest. I have doggedly defended the CBC and embraced public broadcasting. This is a brand I’ve been honoured to help grow.

All this has now changed.

Today I was fired from the company where I've been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I've done nothing wrong.

I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.

As friends and family of mine, you are owed the truth.

I have commenced legal proceedings against the CBC, what’s important to me is that you know what happened and why.

Forgive me if what follows may be shocking to some.

I have always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participate in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners.

Go read the rest here.

He describes his preference for BDSM and rough sex, and a story of a past jealous lover who sought to take revenge against him in collusion with a journalist who Mr. Ghomeshi claims has been trying to ruin his career. His account is very compelling and it's hard not to feel like Mr. Ghomeshi has been horrifically wronged, simply because he's into BDSM.

Being curious to see the public's response, I headed over to Reddit and sure enough there is a very active thread (link here) about Mr. Ghomeshi's Facebook post. Many people are sympathizing with Mr. Ghomeshi but many others are questioning the veracity of what he claimed, noting that Mr. Ghomeshi has a reputation for being a "creep", "douche", and that many women have complained about his lack of respect for boundaries and worse. Someone also noted that Mr. Ghomeshi has hired Navigator, a PR firm in Toronto that is famous for managing crises like the one Mr. Ghomeshi is facing, and that the Facebook post has all the hallmarks of a very well crafted PR piece (e.g, mentioning dad's death to garner sympathy, use of words like "freelance" to discredit the reporter, inclusion of reference to being a "soldier" to associate Mr Ghomeshi with the soldier "hero" who was shot this week, etc.).

Then the Toronto Star published a piece tonight, describing the stories of several women who approached the paper earlier this year with their complaints about Mr. Ghomeshi's behaviour. This is the paper that Mr. Ghomeshi refers to in his Facebook post. These women's accounts seem to contradict the claims that Mr. Ghomeshi makes. Go read them here. The editor of the paper also wrote a brief piece explaining that the paper didn't originally write the piece (because the sources wished to remain anonymous, and therefore couldn't be verified), but given the events that transpired today, the paper reversed its decision and published the piece. Read the editorial piece here.

You can also read more about the entire story at Gawker.

So, is this a case of Mr. Ghomeshi, one of Canada's current stars, being wrongfully dismissed simply because of his atypical sexual preferences (i.e., BDSM)? Or is this a story an entitled celebrity whose supposed history of predatory and abusive sexual behaviour has finally caught up with him? If it's the first, then it would be an epic example of discrimination based on sexual preference. If it's the second, it would be an repulsive example of hiding inexcusable and abusive behaviour behind the cloak of sexual freedom.

Monday morning edit: a great piece of commentary from someone in the BDSM community, link here. Recommended reading, including the comments section. Lots of good debate.

AR Wear.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts in the reply section.

From Mashable:

Company Crowdfunds 'Locking' Anti-Rape Garments By Eva Recinos

The creators of a new clothing line featuring underwear and running shorts aim to help women feel safer on the streets.

AR Wear has been working on a anti-rape garments that women can wear discreetly, underneath their normal clothing. The idea is that customers can wear the AR underwear, for example, with a dress and leave for a night on the town feeling, potentially, a bit more secure.

The company designed the underwear with specific locks that keep it safely and tightly on the user and make it difficult for a stranger to forcibly remove it. The "skeleton structure," as the company's video describes, functions on certain parts of the garment to add protection by making those parts harder to move.

A set of so-called thigh locks make it so that the material over the leg openings are difficult to move after the user snaps them in place. The center of the underwear's waistband also contains a lock which only opens when a wearer sets two notches to a specific position, like the hands of a clock. Each pair of underwear is assigned a position out of up to 132 different combinations.

Mashable spoke with a representative of the company, who preferred the focus to stay on the product versus the identities of the people behind it. Ruth and Yuval, the main creators of the project, therefore declined to give their last names on the campaign or elsewhere.

"Our goal is to get a product out there that might be used by some people and prevent some rapes," said Ruth. "And possibly even make more awareness of the problems of rape culture."

The clothing adds new features to already existing clothing items so that women can incorporate them into an outfit.

"Basically you're putting in some straps and webbing that can't be cut ... and you connect that with the center panel and you miraculously end up with something that is comfortable," said Ruth. "And that was the really tricky part."

AR Wear currently features underwear and running shorts and the creators hope to apply the same techniques to "traveling shorts" in the future.

The team's Indiegogo campaign had raised $2,080 at time of writing, out of its $50,000 goal, with 28 days to go. Donations of $25 yield a 10% discount on any AR Wear purchase and a $100 contribution gives the largest discount of 30% per garment. The project, however, will only be funded if it reaches its goal.

The clothing line debut has not been without controversy, however. Aside from raising questions about whether or not it would even be effective during an assault, the Daily Dotpoints out that such an invention "subtly shifts the responsibility for avoiding rape from the attacker to the victim," among other problems.

From the Daily Dot:

Admirable. But these ideas for anti-rape clothing never go anywhere, and that’s because preventing rape has nothing to do with what a woman is wearing, or not wearing, and everything to do with the rapist and a culture of victim-blaming. Are panties with thigh locks really making us safer, or is every woman’s fear simply being exploited for profit?

And here's the promo video for the clothing line:


The Girl: A life in the shadow of Roman Polanski

From the CBC:

In 1977, 13-year-old Samantha Geimer was sexually assaulted by movie director Roman Polanski. The case dominated the headlines. But mystery surrounded the circumstances of that day and the girl at the centre of it all. Now, more than 35 years later, Samantha Geimer breaks her silence in her new memoir, The Girl.

Roman Polanski is an artistic genius to some, a sad widower to others and a constant reminder of a terrible crime to a woman who believes he took advantage of a little girl's dream of fame.

Roman Polanski, the eighty-year old Academy Award winning filmmaker is acclaimed for his films -- but there is that conviction of unlawful sex with a minor from 1977.

Samantha Geimer was just 13 years old when she found herself at the centre of the turmoil. She's spent much of her life trying to avoid the media.

But three and half decades later Ms. Geimer decided she would come forward with her own account of the assault and its repercussion. Her book is titled The Girl: A life in the shadow of Roman Polanski.

Samantha Geimer was in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The link to the podcast is here.

Sexual assault PSAs from India.

Over the last year, several high-profile rape cases in India have drawn worldwide attention, the most infamous being the gang rape and subsequent death of a physiotherapy student (link). Historically, cases of sexual assault have not been taken seriously, in particular by the Indian Criminal Justice System. Due to large protests and pressure created by the media, this is beginning to change (link). Julia (thanks!) from class sent along a couple of related public service announcements (PSAs).

From IBN Live:

Rape? Ladies, it's your fault: Kalki Koechlin features in viral video

New Delhi: A group of stand-up comedians known as 'AIB' has come up with a satirical video in the wake of recent sexual assault cases in India. The group consists of Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya. Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin and VJ Juhi Pandey have featured in the video. The campaign is called 'It's Your Fault', and it showcases different dimensions of a victim's life. Take a look.

 

And from Buzzfeed:

India’s Incredibly Powerful "Abused Goddesses" Campaign Condemns Domestic Violence

Save Our Sisters is an anti-sex trafficking initiative. This is their print campaign.

Ad agency Taproot physically recreated scenes from old hand-painted images of Indian goddesses.

Makeup was used to add bruises and wounds to the models before photographing them.

All the props were either real or painted on, keeping both authenticity and realism in mind.

“Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.”

Each ad includes a phone number to report abuse to “Save Our Sisters.”

The campaign simply and effectively captures India’s most dangerous contradiction: that of revering women in religion and mythology, while the nation remains incredibly unsafe for its women citizens.

Last year alone, 244,270 crimes against women were reported in the country.

For more information on the “Save Our Sisters” initiative, visit their website.More of the photos here.

Swept off their feet.

From the CBC:

'Sweeping girls off their feet' video sparks assault concerns

Many women describe falling in love as a feeling of being swept of their feet. A prankster duo, who specialize in invading personal space and awkward stunts, posted a video on YouTube of them literally sweeping girls off their feet.

The video, which takes place on an American college campus, has drawn much criticism in its short life online so far and has critics likening the prank to assault.

The video shows the two choosing their targets, walking up behind them and picking them up off the ground in their arms. The act is met with awkward laughter and looks of bewilderment.

But, some viewers are seeing a much deeper social problem arising.

A few of the girls are charmed by the act, but those who are not comfortable say things like, "What are you doing?" and "I think I'll break your back."

The comment section under the video on YouTube exploded with posts from viewers facing off over the apparent lack of respect or boundaries the two men exhibit.

"I am afraid for this world where men or women think it's ok to just grab people and even picking them up. That is so creepy and weird and no it's not all in good fun. Learn to respect boundaries,"  IIIShmeeIII.

"This is very disturbing to me as a woman and as a human being in general. Men are not just entitled to grab or touch a woman without her consent. This just perpetuates the culture of 'women's bodies exist for men to do what they please with them.' It's not ok and no real man would ever do this to a woman and expect her to feel flattered. Though your intentions may be good, the way you act on these intentions is completely wrong. You took away a woman's most sacred right towards males: CHOICE," said Jennifer Marcombe.

"This is what is known as assault. It is not okay," said Spiniflex88.

"Gave me some really bad vibes," said princessvideoklub.

Read the rest here.

Frosh week gone wrong redux: UBC.

From the CBC:

UBC investigates frosh students' pro-rape chant Chant condoned non-consensual sex with underage girls

The University of British Columbia has pledged an investigation after its students reportedly sang a chant advocating rape during frosh week.

The incident took place on a bus ride during the Sauder FROSH, a three-day orientation for the Sauder School of Business, organized by the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS).

The chant condones non-consensual sex with underage girls saying, "Y-O-U-N-G at UBC, we like 'em young, Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for go to jail."

Business student Vaibhab Verma was on the bus at the time and said he chose not to think about it.

"I listened to it and kind of ignored the chant, because for some people it was a bit vulgar," he said.

"If you don't feel like doing the chants, you can just ignore them and that's what I did."

Robert Helsley, dean of the Sauder School of Business, condemned the cheer.

"This is a deeply, deeply troubling event and one that we take very seriously...and we will take steps to ensure that nothing like this happens at UBC again," he told the CBC.

Helsley previously issued a joint statement with Louise Cowin, UBC vice-president for students, saying the chant is of grave concern to all members of the UBC community.

"Such behaviour would be completely inconsistent with the values of UBC and the Sauder School of Business and completely inconsistent with the instruction that the Commerce Undergraduate Society receives on appropriate conduct prior to FROSH," the statement said.

Read the rest and see the corresponding news clip here.

Sexual response during rape.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE! Click Continue reading to view the post, including a Reddit Ask Me Anything with a therapist who treats sexual assault survivors who experienced orgasms while being raped.

Many rape survivors start having rape fantasies after being assaulted. It's seems counterintuitive given the psychological trauma that accompanies rape. But it appears that rape fantasies, for some rape survivors, can actually be a part of the healing process. Fantasies allow for total control by the person having the fantasy, so what was once completely out of that person's control (i.e., the actual rape) becomes something that she can control (i.e., in her fantasies). It's about regaining power over a powerless situation. Some rape survivors also report developing a preference for rough sex for similar reasons.

One thing that rarely gets mention for fear of absolving perpetrators from the damage that they cause and for making it seem like the victims enjoyed the experience, is that many people, both women and men, who have been sexually assaulted become physiologically sexually aroused, and some even orgasm. Again, this seems counterintuitive, but from a purely physiological point of view it makes some sense. One can become physiologically aroused through physical stimulation without becoming psychologically aroused or enjoying the experience. It's simply a physical response, much like laughing when tickled (which is typically an unpleasant experience). For someone who has physiological response during sexual assault, this can be an extremely difficult thing to understand given the traumatic nature of the event. It can lead to shame, guilt, secrecy, etc. There was an AMA on Reddit a while back by a therapist who specializes in treating women who have such a response. Here's here intro:

There are people who do not believe it's possible for a woman or man to achieve orgasm during rape or other kinds of violent sexual assault. Some believe having an orgasm under these circumstances means that it wasn't a "real" rape or the woman/man "wanted" it.

I've assisted more young women than I can count with this very issue. It often comes up at some point during therapy and it's extremely embarrassing or shameful to talk about. However once it's out in the open, the survivor can look at her/his reaction honestly and begin to heal. The shame and guilt around it is a large part of why some rapes go unreported and why there is a need for better understanding in society for how and why this occurs.

There have been very few studies on orgasm during rape, but the research so far shows numbers from 10% to over 50% having this experience. In my experience as a therapist, it has been somewhat less than half of the girls/women I've worked with. (For the record, I have worked with very few boys/men who reported this.)

In professional discussions, colleagues report similar numbers. Therapists don't usually talk about this publicly as they fear contributing to the idea of victims "enjoying rape." It's also a reason why there isn't more research done on this and similar topics. My belief is that as difficult a topic as this is, if we can address it directly and remove the shame and stigma, then a lot more healing can happen. I'm hopeful that the Reddit community is open to learning and discussing topics like this.

The AMA is an intense read, both because of her amazing compassion and the willingness of those participating in the AMA with her to share their experiences. Here's a sample (click to make larger):

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.13.22 AM
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Click the following link for the entire AMA: link. And one she did a few months earlier: link.

Popular Science also published an article on the topic which reviews some of the research. See it here.

Class act.

Despite the extremely NSFW (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) language, I think this is worth posting. I've posted about male sexual entitlement and the fragile male ego before (here and here).

Despite all the strides made in gender equality, and that many men do not exhibit these sorts of repugnant traits, attitudes, and behaviours, it's clear we've still got a long way to go. Conversations like the following are not at all uncommon. The narrative, from the invitation, the lack of respect given when the invitation is turned down, to the inability to graciously accept rejection, to the hostility and harassment that follows, is typical of some men. This is pretty much a textbook case.

Via Yer a wizard, Mary, and a thumpin' good one (click to make larger):

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