Earlier this week, Anna North, a writer at the women’s blog Jezebel, posted an article about a video uploaded to YouTube which appeared to show, in graphic detail, a woman being gang raped. Just writing that sentence made me shudder, as the thought of someone brutally raping a woman, filming it, and then putting it on the internet for public consumption is horrifying beyond words. The video — titled, in Arabic, “Original video of foreign journalist being raped in Benghazi” — was quickly taken down, but Jezebel rightly wondered who raped this woman, who uploaded the video to the internet, and “will she ever get justice?”
To illustrate their post, North (or someone else at Jezebel) posted four somewhat pixelated screengrabs from the video in which the victim’s identity is obscured, though you can see parts of her mostly naked body. Images of the three men assaulting her are also pixelated, but Jezebel included accompanying captions describing the assault, just incase it wasn’t already abundantly clear that the video depicts a rape in progress. It should go without saying that the crime committed against this woman is sickening and deplorable; but I am also disgusted by Jezebel’s approach to reporting this story — which I will not link to, for this very reason — which is nothing short of callous and exploitative pageview bait. Keep reading »
The issues of male rape and sexual abuse get plenty of sensationalistic air time on “Law & Order: SVU,” but not so much substantive awareness in our day-to-day lives. While it is true that reported sexual abuse of girls and women is far more prevalent than male abuse, I also assume acknowledging or discussing male sexual abuse brings up uncomfortable feelings amongst guys about masculinity and what it means to be a “strong man.” There’s even vicious stereotypes that dog gay guys — who are routinely denigrated as being “not manly enough” — that they must have been sexually abused as kids. In a way, that’s kind of all you need to know about what some (perhaps many) people think of male sexual abuse survivors.
So it makes sense then, from a messaging standpoint, that to reach male victims of sexual abuse, the UK group Survivors UK would address “masculinity” head-on. Their new campaign, which launches this week in time for a rugby tournament in London, features a rugby ball (speared by a nail, I think?) and the slogan: “Real men get raped: and talking about it takes real strength.” Keep reading »
Fact checking time! Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail in Colorado last night and referred to emergency contraception/the morning-after pill as “abortive pills.” This could be because he or his team genuinely doesn’t understand that emergency contraception (Plan B) and the abortion pill (RU-486) are two completely different pills. Or it could be because he’s irresponsibly trying to totally conflate the two for political gain, which I am sure would shock — shock! — you coming from an anti-abortion politician. (Is Mitt anti-abortion this week? I can never keep track!)
Let’s recap, very briefly: The morning-after pill prevents a pregnancy by stopping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — which could be fertilized by the sperm and go implant in the uterus — as well as thinning the lining of a woman’s uterus so a fertilized egg cannot implant. The RU-486 abortion pill, on the other hand, ends an existing pregnancy — as in, the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus and a fetus is growing. (I explain it all in more detail in this post.)
See? Two different things, Mitt. Keep reading »