The Daily Free Press controversy regarding its coverage of sexual assault and other crimes

Two days ago, this article was published on xoJane.  

A Boston University student relates her account of how the student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, reported the incident of her sexual assault using “a pun involving a popular rap song that describes the sexual appeal of a woman’s body” in the crime logs section.

Shockingly, this was not the first time that the DFP had trivialized a crime with a catchy pun or phrase.  The author of the article gives several other examples of this practice.  She goes on to say that when she brought it up to one of the student managing editors, she was told “that’s just what they’re like.”

The author’s words:

I felt less-than-human. The day in my life that I was sexually assaulted marked a before-and-after divider in how I felt about myself as a human being and as a woman, and this thoughtless, demeaning description of it by somebody who is a fellow student and supposed “journalist” minimized it to a fucking RAP PUN. This was over a year and a half ago, and I am still livid.

The DFP issued  an apology, declaring that they would put an end to this practice of satirizing crimes by updating the past headlines as well as only using serious ones in the future.  They also “plan to begin mandatory sensitivity training for new editors at the start of each semester.”

However, the issue doesn’t seem solved to us or the author of the xoJane post, who stated that “the apology did not come off as very sincere and I remain unhappy with them and their conduct.”

What exactly will this sensitivity training consist of?  As aptly put by one of the comments on the DFP’s apology: “I’m not sure how sensitivity training will help anyone who finds humor in rape, hate crimes & violence.”  And it seems that the real issue is with the current editors who were the ones who actually wrote the offensive tag-lines.

As a BU student, I want my school to be the type of community where things like this wouldn’t fly in the first place.  Why have issues as serious as sexual assault been insensitively trivialized by the DFP on multiple occasions?  Let alone, once?

The DFP is a student newspaper.  It should be the voice of the student body – it shouldn’t alienate students with such blatantly offensive and distasteful content.

We at Hoochie will endeavor to hold the DFP to its promise to “improve its coverage of student affairs, its reputation and credibility and its sensitivity to crimes that continue to plague our campus.”

Please do not hesitate to contact us at BUHoochieWoman@gmail.com if you wish to be a part of our effort to improve the BU community.

Domestic homicide and what the state of Massachusetts is doing to stop it

Unsurprisingly, it is pretty difficult to stop a man intent on murdering his wife.

Though such men show warning signs by physically abusing, stalking, and raping their victims before actually killing them, it isn’t always as easy as it would seem to differentiate between the true killers and the domestic abusers.

Massachusetts has devised an effective system to determine just that, as well as manage the individual situations so that fewer women are harmed.

They do it by first assessing and rating each man based on how aggressive and dominating he is.  The men who score high on this scale are monitored more closely, and their victims receive additional resources.

Domestic abuse is so nasty because abusers intend to make their victims feel as though they will never escape from the abusers’ control.  If the victim attempts to move on from the relationship, she faces being stalked by the abuser as well as violence toward herself or her children.

The Massachusetts system takes the power back from the abusive men and flips the situation.  If an abuser is acting up, Massachusetts can restrict his ability to see his children, monitor and limit his freedom with a tracking device, and if his abuse continues, jail him or put him into a psychiatric hospital.

Massachusetts does to abusive men what they have been doing to their victims.  Like their victims once did, the abusers must now monitor their behavior because someone more powerful is watching.

It seems one would be hard-pressed to come up with a more effective and poignant way to combat domestic abuse and homicide.  Nicely done, Mass!

From the XX Factor:  Massachusetts’ Simple Solution for Preventing Domestic Homicide

Terms You Should Know #1: Street Harassment

Here is a definition of Street Harassment, courtesy of StopStreetHarassment.org:

Unwelcome words and actions by unknown persons in public places which are motivated by gender and invade a person’s physical and emotional space in a disrespectful, creepy, startling, scary, or insulting way.

There are various definitions of street harassment, but all of them specify that street harassment occurs in public, between people who do not know each other, and is a physical or emotional intrusion.  The harasser usually makes reference to the victim’s appearance or gender.

Why this term it is relevant:

According to a nationally-representative poll,

87 percent of American women have experienced street harassment, and over one half of these women have experienced “extreme” harassment including being touched, grabbed, rubbed, brushed or followed by a strange man on the street or other public place.

Street harassment is not a compliment.  It is, in fact, harassment, and should be treated as such.  Let’s lower the numbers!

See Hollaback, The Everyday Sexism Project, and Can I Get a Smile? to start.

Wicked Clothes you really should buy

Because you always need to buy new shirts (well at least that’s what I tell myself)….

‘Feminism is the Radical Notion’ Charity Tank Top

Image of [PREORDER] 'Feminism is the Radical Notion' Charity Tank Top

Let’s talk about that dirty F-word that people like to avoid: “feminism”. But why? There’s nothing wrong with being a feminist! Feminism is founded on a belief of equality, it’s as easy as that. Why run from it? Show off your feminist pride!

$5.00 from the sale of each sweater will be donated to Planned Parenthood. – Wicked Clothes

‘A Woman’s Place’ Tank Top

Image of [PREORDER] Tri-Blend 'A Woman's Place' Tank Top

A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate.

Despite being half of the population, women only make up 18.3% of the United States Congress. That’s a number that certainly needs to increase. Sport this sweater to show your support for current and aspiring women in politics. – Wicked Clothes