V-Day UMKC presents benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops

vday-2014-450x232pxV-Day UMKC 2017 will be presenting benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops. The film documents the start and success of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues Join us this Tuesday, January 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Street Residence Hall basement, 5051 Oak St.; or on Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, 4801 main St., KCMO. Donations accepted. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Women’s Center and V-Day 2017’s spotlight campaign. Co-sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program, UMKC Masters of Social Work Student Organization, UMKC Residence Life, and Kansas City Public Library.

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

We all became feminists to fight for gender equality, and to stop this worldwide, irrational female hatred.  But

I am the second oldest of my siblings, but the oldest of the girls. I have always been told that I have to set the example for them. But some members of my family think women should love being in the kitchen, and live their lives as if marriage is the ultimate goal. So when I said that I don’t like cooking, and I plan on never getting married, a lot of people deemed me a bad influence on my sisters. That was when I became a “Closet” feminist. Secretly, I began giving Malaun, Madisyn, Morgan, Marsyiah, and Mackenzie feminist opinions. I loved it, and they became more confident from it.

Unfortunately, the day that I openly started calling myself a Feminist wasn’t a happy day. It was when one of my sisters was assaulted. She was 8 years old when it happened, and the first person she told didn’t believe her. But two things that I have always drilled into every one of my siblings heads is don’t ever lie about assault, but if it happens don’t ever be silent about it. So when she called and told my mom, though we didn’t want to believe it, we knew it was true. I have always been protective of my siblings, but after that incident I don’t think I will ever trust them with many people.

I will never forget that day, and I probably will never forgive myself for not being there to change the situation for her. Because rape culture is the norm in our society, I will never stop trying to create change. Because the first person my sister told the story to said she had it coming, I have no choice but to at least try to change people’s opinions before it is too late for our society. I am proudly, openly, and loudly a feminist.

Carry That Weight

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

Have you heard of Emma Sulkowicz? Emma Sulkowicz is a junior at Columbia University who was sexual assaulted on the first day of her sophomore year. Initially not wanting to tell anyone, Emma was quiet for a long time. Later, finding out that two other young women she knows were sexually assaulted by that same person, Emma stood up to make a change. She spoke up and let others know what happened to her. Emma took matters into her own hands and began rallying other victims and activists around campus to make a statement by deciding to carry there mattress’s across campus. By carrying her mattress around until her rapist is expelled from campus, she symbolizes the weight she carries around as a victim of sexual assault. Imagine the powerful image of Emma lugging a huge mattresses around every day on Columbia’s campus. More and more people joined her, the Carry That Weight Movement had begun.

Carry That Weight is a movement among college students and activists who are striving to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Their goal is to raise awareness of sexual assault, advocate for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, and challenge rape culture. Do you know that 673,000 women currently attending U.S. colleges and universities have experienced rape at some point in their lifetime? Sexual assault on college campus has been and still is a major issue within society today. When parents send their children off to college, they expect that they are going to be safe. They don’t expect that their child will come home stating they’ve been sexually assaulted on campus. Things must be done differently and resources must be put into place to change these statistics on sexual assault today! Sexual assault is a hard situation to speak out about, so we applaud Emma Sulkowicz for standing up for not only herself but advocating for other victims as well.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, And for Good Reason.

By: Amanda Johnson

We hosted a Denim Day table on April 23 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We hosted a Denim Day table on April 23 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 22 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime; 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men experience rape in their lifetime. Think about all the people you know- think about your family and friends. Does this startle you?

Unfortunately, reality paints a darker picture than what these numbers say. We live in a world where victims are prosecuted, where by-standers capture rape on their phone for laughs rather than for evidence, and where rapes go unreported and rapists go free. Why is it that, in a culture that knows rape is wrong, it is so prevalent?

Sexual violence isn’t comprised of a series of isolated events perpetrated by individuals. It’s engrained in our culture. As scholar Thomas Macaulay Millar wrote, “It takes one rapist to commit a rape, but it takes a village to create an environment where it happens over and over and over.” This is a culture where sexual violence is a normal occurrence and rape can be used as a humorous term- where rape victims can “deserve it.”

I’d rape her,” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as synonymous with “I’d tap that.”

Those Broncos got raped at the Super Bowl, amiright?

No. No. No.

Rape isn’t tantamount to losing a game. It isn’t a term to use when you find someone attractive.

The lines are being blurred between what constitutes condoned and consensual behavior and what sexual violence really is. In a survey of high school students, 56% of girls and 76% of boys believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances. It turns out, when you replace the word ‘rape’ with ‘forced sex,’ a lot more individuals will admit to committing it, being victims of it, and finding it acceptable under certain conditions. We are a culture that normalizes rape, yet, we don’t even seem to understand what it means.

Throughout the last 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey has reported that only approximately 30% of rape survivors report the incident to the police. Of those rapes reported to the police only 16% result in prison sentences. This means that only 5% of the time, a man who rapes ends up in prison. Unfortunately, when looking at institutions like university campuses, the numbers get even worse. The Justice Department estimates that even fewer than 5% of completed and attempted rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement officials. This number is even more staggering when you consider that 1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual violence during her academic career. In these instances, 9 out of 10 women knew their attacker.

Despite the increased prevalence and need for victim services, universities most often  lack adequate policies and fail to provide for victims of sexual assault. The Campus Accountability Project, started by Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFE), showed the sad deficiencies in adequate sexual assault policies. Over 80% of policies received a C or below, with none making a grade higher than a B+. Nearly one-third of the policies didn’t comply with federal regulations, and only 40% had a dedicated full-time staff member dedicated to sexual assault prevention and education. In a world where victims are prosecuted, less than one-third of the policies stated that a victim’s dress and past sexual history are relevant during investigation.

In recent years, many universities have gone under fire for directly mishandling or covering up cases of rape and sexual assault- many times making national headlines such as Harvard and Yale. Some, such as Dartmouth, have even seen a decline in applications because of the negative attention. It’s time for universities to take a stand against sexual assault and provide the responsiveness that victims deserve.

We ended Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, a Men's March to end rape and sexual assault.

We ended Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, a Men’s March to end rape and sexual assault.

Tides are starting to turn though. Fortunately, this year, President Obama has issued a task force to directly deal with sexual assault on college campuses, and Sen. Claire McCaskill has conducted national surveys on the issue and has lead a bipartisan effort through the legislature to combat sexual assault in the military and now on college campuses. This effort is aimed at implementing new regulations that force campuses to adopt and change policies. Moreover, it seeks to provide additional resources to help universities be able to provide crucial services for those affected by sexual violence.

Many campuses have already made a stride towards victim services as well as prevention. Thankfully, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is one such school. It offers many services and support on campus for victims, awareness, and prevention. The UMKC Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response Project seek to strengthen the university and community response to gender-based and sexual violence. Together, and in collaboration with other campus and community offices, the Women’s Center and Violence Prevention and Response Project provide vital training and education on prevention and response, resources and services for those affected by sexual violence including a safe place, referral information. Unlike many universities, UMKC offers a full time Victim Services Adjudication Advisor, Michelle Kroner. Her office, as well as the women’s center, is available to any student.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to remain active and to raise your voice against sexual assault. Sexual assault and rape has received national attention because of people like you. What UMKC and other institutions are doing is significant progress. But, it’s not a fix. Not yet. Remember, 1 is 2 many. If my article makes you uncomfortable: good. Be a person who seeks to change the system instead of ignoring it. Don’t be complicit. We can end the culture that perpetuates rape.

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Author’s Note: Violence against women is a larger narrative than what simple statistics have to offer. It’s a culture that extends worldwide. It’s a world where one in three women will be raped in their lifetime- where sexual violence is more guaranteed than an education.

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Resources:

The Strength of “Her”

By Ayo Aruwajoye

UMKC's Violence Prevention and Response Project promotes violence prevention in the UMKC community.

UMKC’s Violence Prevention and Response Project promotes violence prevention in the UMKC community.

Working at the Woman’s Center, I can truly say I have grown. One of the big lessons that I learned is that us as women are very strong. I wrote this poem around the time of Sexual Assault Awareness month last year. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. This poem describes a woman that has been through so much in life in general, but to be specific, in her relationship, and she still remains strong optimistic. This is the kind of woman that I want to be when I grow up. I have heard stories from friends, family, and strangers about different things they go through, like domestic violence, sexual harassment, relationship dominancy, and stereotyping. We hear so many stories about the bad things that woman go through like unfair payment issues, teen pregnancy, but we never take the time to reward these woman for moving forward, for standing up for what they believe in or even for remaining STRONG through all the turmoil and tribulations. Every woman should realize how strong she is and praise themselves for being such strong woman. Neither a man, nor the government has a say in what a woman’s worth is. I commend all the survivors of any sort or discrimination, embarrassments, or sexual assault because that’s the example we should set for other woman and young teenage girls that you are to be treated fairly, equally and with respect, Stand up for what’s right and stay strong, because better days will come.

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The Strength of “Her”

It’s the strength of her that shows why her presence is demanding like the rush of cold wind on a snowy day.
It’s the strength of her, that’s why her smile refuses to fade away
What is it about a woman, the way we hurt but solemnly stay?
Wishing that tomorrow could be so much of a better day!
Is it the way her Hips sway that tells the Pain she’s on her way?
Because it seems like instead of walking away, she’s running at a faster pace
The yearn to be loved, but the confusion above, mind all over the place, so hard to crack this Love case
The strength of her is overwhelming, overbearing and overrated
Who designed us to be this strong, to go through all the emotions of a love song?
It’s the strength of her that lets you think I’m okay
She nods her head up and down, like accepting a check on pay day
In my mind…. No in HER mind, she’s screaming for just one escape
One superhero with a red, long cape
I know he sees her tears, the ones that fall from fear
I know he feels her, she knows too
They sit there with nothing to say, nothing to do
The only similarity is their strengths showcase
He’s is the physical aspect
But her emotional aspect has lifted the weights
Showed its face, fought the same old race, and still had time to reminisce on the day
It’s the strength of her that lets her ignore foolish ways
Yes, she’s aware of your continuous lacking words every day
It’s the strength of her that she can say…
That the strength of her makes her Okay
It’s the strength of her that shows why her presence is demanding like the rush of cold wind on a snowy day.
It’s the strength of her, that’s why her smile refuses to fade away
What is it about a woman, the way we hurt but solemnly stay?
Wishing that tomorrow could be so much of a better day!

Real Men Show Respect

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sOXN_80ohM[/youtube]

By Maritza Gordillo

I came across this video on YouTube and, after watching it, to my surprise, it had a different ending that what we would expect. Now, I say “ what we would expect” in the sense that society has taken rape culture as a norm so that we aren’t even surprised to hear about another rape victim. It should be the other way around; we should be surprised when it happens (which it shouldn’t), not when it doesn’t happen. This man portrays what should be the norm and how men (and anyone!) should treat women.  Watch and see for yourself.

 

In Case You Missed It – Great Blogs You May Not Have Seen Over the Winter Break

 

Image from Google Images, via Creative Commons

Image from Google Images, via Creative Commons

Check out these great feminist blogs from over the holiday break!

1. “Jane Campion to Lead Cannes 2014 Jury”
Jane Campion, Director and one of the largest critics of Hollywood’s discrimination against women, has been selected to oversee the Cannes Film Festival.

2. “The Refutation of ‘Good Hair’ and the ‘Consumption’ of Kanekalon Hair.”
Photographer Nakeya B. makes a statement about  hair, portraying the importance (good and bad) that hair has for women of color in the media and everyday life.

3. “10 Ways to Keep Up the Feminist Fight in 2014”
This article highlights some steps to take in 2014 to promote gender equity.

4.“What’s like as the First Transgender MMA Fighter? Meet Fallon Fox.”
Check out this biographical piece about the first transgender MMA fighter who identifies as female.

5. “New Campus Rape Bill Written with Help from Sexual Assault Survivors”
This article is informative about how California is revising the Education Code with regard to sexual violence by listening to the thoughts and opinions of assault survivors.

6. “The Price of Being Female and on the Internet”
This guest blog highlights how legal action should be improved to deal with cyber stalking, and other online crimes that women face on a day to day basis.

7. “Thoughts on Women and the Wolf of Wall Street
This article examines the view of the world that the film portrays, specifically with regard to the role of women in the film.

8. “Bitch Tapes: Favorite Feminist Music Finds of the Year”
Bitch Magazine compiled a list of their writers’ favorite feminist artists and songs from 2013. Take a peek at it and maybe you’ll find some new favorite artists!

9. “Blockbuster Films Featuring Actual Female Characters Made Serious Money in 2013”
Check out this short article (and infogaphic) proving that 2013 films that featured meaningful, life-like female characters made more at the box office than those that simply objectified women and focused on people who identified as male.

10. “Recovering from an Abusive Relationship”
Read one woman’s story about her recovery after leaving her abuser, and how she came to realizations that changed her life.

Mattie Rhodes to Promote Violence Prevention in the Latino Community

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTupT5pfmf0[/youtube]

By Maritza Gordillo

Mattie Rhodes has been serving the Kansas City community for more than 115 years. Their vision is to create a “vibrant community where individuals and families are healthy, safe and have the resources to thrive” (from the Mattie Rhodes official website).  In a few weeks they will be sponsoring a presentation called United for Equality, Ending Violence, featuring Dr. Julia Perilla as the keynote speaker. I was so happy to see that this center is aware of the need for domestic violence prevention and awareness in our community, and in particular, the Latino community.

Join them on November 20, 2013 from 1p.m.-5p.m. for a presentation that will enhance your knowledge of domestic violence in the Latino community. RSVP required with a $15 registration fee. Please click here to view the invitation.

 

The Prevalence of “Rape Culture” in Today’s Society

By Amber Charleville

After the recent events of Maryville, a story so close to home (Maryville is an hour and a half north of Kansas City), I thought it might be a good idea to refresh old readers and introduce new readers to what the phrase “rape culture” means.

Here is a definition from the Marshal University Women’s Center’s website: “Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.”

I don’t want to get into a detailed response to the circumstances of Maryville other than to wish for justice to prevail for all involved, but I think it’s important to reflect on the way rape culture impacts and influences our lives when we’re presented with these sorts of horrible, harsh examples. Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted (RAINN.org), and with those sort of sobering statistics in our faces, we can’t deny that something is seriously wrong with our culture.

From songs like “Blame it on the Alcohol” and “Blurred Lines” to advertisements, entertainment, and news sources that perpetuate the commodification and objectification of women’s bodies, everywhere we turn we are exposed to this culture of rape that encourages men to rape and women to stay silent when they are attacked.

I encourage you all to take a moment to reflect on these things and think of ways you can work for change in your daily lives. Even something as simple as telling a friend that a “rape joke” is not okay can make a difference. I want to leave you with the below video to help you think about and recognize rape culture in action:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ5dftyWOxo[/youtube]