Tag Archives: Sexual assault

Stop Raising Aggressors, So We Can Stop Preparing For Sexual Assault

Why Our Current Interventions May Be Worsening The Problem

By Lul Mohamud


We know college has much more to offer its students than what’s displayed on brochures and websites. Behind their advertisements lies the worst kept secret on America’s college campuses: sexual assault. Sexual violence has not ever been a feature colleges or universities are eager to discuss – and there’s yet to be a school that steps up to become the exception. And waiting any longer will not solve our problem.

On every college website you’ll find an office dedicated to the sexual assault problem, and a few clicks away awaits a bystander program. Bystander interventions remain the weapon of choice utilized by administrators in the battle against sexual assault. Colleges across the United States have been rewording the same message of stepping up to protect your fellow student. This may be an effective effort from an ethical standpoint, but it is not a practical one. However, it has served as an effective mouthpiece to protect these institutions from accusations of an inadequate response – or from the financial or reputational consequences that would result. But this response has had a more detrimental consequence on its most burdened with the task of sexual assault prevention, their students. In the largest survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct in 2019, the Association of American Universities found a significant increase in the rate of nonconsensual or forced sexual contact amongst all students when compared to their last climate survey in 2015. We owe it to our students to fix what’s broken, and not only readjust the bandage of an under-utilized training or sentimental PR campaign.

Yes, we all agree in common place conversation that sexual violence is wrong and should be stopped. Up to two-thirds of the American public view sexual assault and harassment as a widespread societal issue, and about 74% see this as an important problem in the United States. But no matter how comforting these findings may sound, sexual violence and misconduct remain on the rise, revealing this “we all know better” rhetoric to be a smokescreen we’ve relied on to keep from viewing the true extent of this harrowing crisis. A crisis birthed by our complacency and historic reluctance to fight at the roots of sexual violence – and keep that life-saving fight alive.

Current campus sexual assault prevention programs rely on the assumption that sexual assault is inevitable – an occupational hazard of being a student. It is time to abandon this ineffective reactionary approach that awaits assault. A proper crisis response employs eradicative and preventative measures first. As reported by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the extent of the American sexual violence problem desperately calls for a new approach – an action plan that addresses its pervasive, widespread, and devastating nature.

That plan must begin with accepting that at the root of sexual violence lies power. Sexual violence is a purposeful violation of physical liberty, gutting its victim of the basic right of agency over their body. And to belittle the gravity of the decision to commit sexual violence to an “indiscretion” or “lapse in judgement”, is to revoke the validity of agency over your body. We, as the American public, are guilty of minimizing the nefarious nature of sexual assault by calling it a “mistake” in defense of perpetrators, and by placing the weight of the assault on the victim. We commit the latter through our cultural colloquialisms regarding sexual assault, and more despicably through indoctrinating ourselves and our children with the belief that only those “at-risk” are responsible for mitigation – and when they are assaulted it is due to their failure to take adequate precautions.

Sexual violence is an abuse of power. Not an accident or misjudgment, but a choice that abusers have been emboldened to make. The solution needed is a strategic intervention that cuts out the decision-making process and removes sociocultural factors that lead to the choice of assault. This strategy begins with reorienting who we define as “at-risk”.

Only with a consensus that identifies those “at risk” to be the people given the choice to perpetrate sexual violence, will we begin to develop and implement successful interventions. With this method we will erode the outer layers, and gain access to the epicenter of this crisis where we then can initiate generational behavior change.

We must develop nationwide educational and accountability campaigns that focus on sexual agency, with the collective goal being to incorporate them into American culture. However, the impact of these campaigns are entirely contingent upon the inclusion of collective action against the abuse of authority and the wrongful bestowal of societal power. Speaking up and fighting against our historically institutionalized white, male, heterosexual, and class supremacies in our homes, schools, workplaces and courts will catalyze the societal change we seek.

It is a change that will alter the lives of our families, friends, and fellow strangers. But, until sexual agency is rightfully woven into the fabric of American liberty and freedom, our sexual violence crisis will no longer remain a problem to solve – but a shameful pillar of American livelihood.

Support Your local Rape Crisis Center and RAINN here.

If you’d like to contact the author, Lul Mohamud is available for comments and questions via Instagram @thelulmohamud.

The Thing About Male Lyft Drivers

By: Maria Ordoñez

source: Mercury Insurance Group
source: Mercury Insurance Group

The thing about male Lyft drivers is that I’m trapped in their car.

I’m acutely aware of it the second I close the door behind me. It’s like a palpable transfer of power that happens when I entrust my safety to a stranger. It’s a transfer that I consent to when the bus doesn’t show up on time, when I’m late for work, or when I don’t want to walk home alone in the middle of the night. However, this power is often abused by male Lyft drivers who see my vulnerable position as an opportunity to say things like:

“How old are you?”

“Is this where you live?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I would love to take you out sometime.”

“You should give me your phone number.”

“You are so [insert unwanted compliment here].”

“You have such nice [insert body part here].”

I receive comments like these more often than I ever should, but I never say anything about them, because if I reported every time a male Lyft driver made me feel uncomfortable or objectified, I’d never have time for anything else. That is, until a few days ago:

I had gotten out of class late and had fifteen minutes to get to my job across campus. My job was a 30-minute walk away and the bus was 47 minutes away. And so, I decided to order a Lyft.

From the moment I got into the car, my Lyft driver began complimenting my appearance. It started with my eyes and how special they were. Then, it continued with how “hot” I was making his car. After that, he asked me questions, like how old I am, where I live, and if I smoke weed.

At this point, I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable, praying that no other passenger get added to my shared ride, if only to get out of his car as soon as possible. He then offered to take me back to his place to smoke weed with him, saying how bad he could “fuck me up.” I nervously laughed off the offer as we arrived at my destination. I was relieved to get out, until I noticed his car lingering at my drop-off. I left as quickly as possible, questioning what made him think any part of his behavior was ok.

Picture2

So, tell me, Lyft driver, how exactly did you expect this to play out?

Did you expect me to forget about the paying job I was on my way to and go home with you instead?

Has that worked for you before?

Has that worked for anybody?

Ever?

Because all I know is that it’s been days since I felt trapped in your car, and I’m still angry.  

I’m angry at you for having the power to make me feel unsafe.

I’m angry at myself for not speaking up in the moment.

And I’m angry at Lyft for not doing enough to put an end to this kind of behavior.

You see, that day, as soon as I got home, I reported this Lyft driver for his inappropriate behavior. The next day, I received a generic email from a Lyft representative apologizing for the incident. The email went on and on about how much they value my safety and comfort, but in the end, the only thing they had to show for it, was a promise that I would never be paired with the same driver again.

And that’s the problem.

The lack of action taken by companies, like Lyft, is what perpetuates cultures of sexual harassment. Lyft drivers know that there are no real consequences to their actions and that they are at liberty to continue treating young, female passengers like potential conquests instead of customers.

Any Lyft driver, male or otherwise, who takes advantage of the unbalanced power dynamic between a driver and a passenger, should not be paired with anyone at all.

When I use shared ride services, like Lyft, I deserve to feel safe and respected every second of the way – whether I’m going to class in the middle of the day or to my dorm room in the middle of the night.  

And that is the thing about male Lyft drivers.

But, most of all, that is the thing about Lyft.

source: Twitter @AnnaGillcrist
source: Twitter @AnnaGillcrist

Look How You Look When You’re Looking at Me

New ad focuses on women empowerment in response to men’s unwanted gaze. The lyrics in the background translate from Hindi  to “look how you look when you’re looking at me.”

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT” is the need of the hour. On 16th December 2012, the horrific incident of Nirbhaya’s Rape Case not only shattered Nirbhaya’s family but every single Indian. This incident did trigger a sense of solidarity to stand up, fight against and do our best to eradicate such atrocities & gender inequality.
At Cinema100, 2013, a WWI Initiative to commemorate the completion of 100 years of Indian Cinema, we commissioned our Alumni Ketan Rana to make an ad on Woman Empowerment.
Watch the video & Spread the awareness to Think, Reflect & Act! X

When the Nirbhaya Rape Case took place last year , Indian government statistics showed that a woman is raped every 22 minutes on average [X]. Since the attack women have become more vocal on speaking out against their attackers. However, society still needs to focus on the wrong way women are frequently treated in society as this Ad addresses.

via Buzzfeed

We were throwin…

We were throwing this rager at my friend’s house last week. There was this hot chick there dancing super slutty. As the night went on she got worse and worse and guys were giving her shots left and right. Later on I decided to try my luck and take her up to a bed room. At this point she was shit faced and I only had a couple of beers. We got to the room, shut the door, and she threw herself onto the bed. This was my chance. She sprawled out over the covers, mumbling words I couldn’t understand. I knew she wouldn’t remember any of this the next morning, so with a half grin on my face I did what any guy would do…I sat her up to make sure she puked, gave her some water, and tucked that bitch in and said good night. Sexual assault is not cool.

Finally! A meme we can get behind. Thanks, BU Confessor #2904, even if you did steal this from Reddit somewhere.