Yesterday, I wrote a response to a Refinery 29 profile of an anonymous Scientologist named “Elaine” which I believe glossed over very serious allegations of abuse within the Church and ultimately served as a piece of PR masquerading as “journalism.” I took issue with a number of aspects of writer Kelsey Miller’s reporting on this story, which she said occurred over the entire summer, namely that she went to the Church directly and requested that they select an “average, regular member” for her to interview and then granted that person anonymity. (For what it’s worth, Tony Ortega at the blog the Underground Bunker has a pretty solid theory on who the real “Elaine” is and she’s hardly your “average regular member.”)
There aren’t just “rumors” about the Church of Scientology being horrible; there is more than enough evidence to support that claim, the most damning being the detailed, corroborated testimonials of actual members. These are the alleged victims of the Church of Scientology. There are many. I believe them just as I am inclined to believe all victims who come forward about abuse. I take what they say seriously. And what bothers me the most about this whole kerfuffle is that it’s clear in their approach to this profile and their response since that Refinery 29 really doesn’t take them as seriously as they should. But I don’t think they’re necessarily alone in their dismissiveness towards victims of cults. Keep reading »
Sheesh, I don’t know what these silly broads are so mad about. Ramapo College in New Jersey had their coordinator of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention lead a super-helpful presentation on college sexual assault. It included the completely innocent suggestion that women learn how to not invite rape with their outfits and practice rape-preventative facial expressions in the mirror at home, and both the student body and various journalistic outfits are getting all up on Ramapo’s asses about it. WOMEN, amirite?!?! Ehhh??
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Given the dismal state of international headlines these past few weeks, the Miss America pageant had a whole host of issues to draw from when putting together the question and answer portion of the competition. The question judge Kathy Ireland asked Miss Florida during the Sunday night competition started off with an impactful topic — Ray Rice’s dismissal from the NFL for beating up then-fiancee Janay Rice (nee Palmer) last February. Things could’ve gone in a powerful direction from there and the pageant could have served as a platform to raise awareness about domestic violence. Instead, Ireland asked the most useless question of all:
“We were all rocked by the video of football star Ray Rice punching his wife Janay. She’s standing by him. As a woman, what do you think of her decision?”
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Via Feministing, a British blogger has helped adjust some old PSAs from a National Health Service campaign to encourage safer drinking. The original poster, which shows a woman lying on the ground laughing, says, “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking.” With a Photoshop edit from the blogger behind Two Thirds Nerd, the PSA now reads, “Three in three reported rapes happens [sic] when someone decides to commit rape.”
As the blogger wrote regarding responses she’s received from her initial tweet, “[the original ad] reinforces and validates the belief that women are responsible for avoiding rape, and, therefore, responsible for anything that might happen, also. The onus is always placed on the woman to not get raped, rather than the man to not rape.” She’s right, of course. Still, I’m dismayed that when we talk about sexual violence, alcohol use and abuse becomes a verboten subject. I’m reminded of a response I wrote to a Dear Prudence column about young women and drinking: victims shouldn’t be held responsible for the crimes committed against them, but not addressing binge drinking culture (or underage drinking in America) is ignoring the conditions in which a lot of sexual violence occurs. I wish talking about drinking and binge drinking could more peacefully coexist with talking about sexual violence, because it feels very much like you’re on one “side” or the other. [Feministing via Two Thirds Nerd]
Last week, I wrote about Caleb Reynolds’, a houseguest on “Big Brother 16,” and his unrequited romantic obsession with fellow player Amber Borzotra. While the television show has gone out of their way not to draw attention to Caleb’s out of whack fixation on Amber, those fans who subscribe to the 24/7 livefeeds are privy to how this is impacting his game, her game and the entire house. While Amber certainly has many, many supporters who see that she’s done everything she can to reject his clearly advances, there are others who have called Amber a tease. In response, Amber’s brother-in-law — one of the family members manning Amber’s Twitter feed and website while she’s in the “Big Brother” house — posted an articulate and smart response on Amber’s blog that defends Amber, but more importantly calls out a culture of victim-blaming that extends well beyond this reality TV show. With his permission, I’m republishing his piece below. Whether you’re a “Big Brother” fan or not, it’s well worth a read. — Amelia
Before I begin, just to be clear, this post isn’t about Caleb, the “Big Brother” game, or even about any concerns we may or may not have for Amber’s well-being. This is solely about the way the narrative is being portrayed by some observers: people who are not subject to the pressures/paranoia of the house and have the ability to know just about everything that is said and done before forming an opinion.
Specifically, there has been a worrying rise in “BB16″ live feed followers blaming Amber for somehow playing a part in encouraging Caleb’s unrequited feelings for her. Keep reading »
Just a day after columnist George Will wrote about the “privileges” rape victims receive, The Washington Post has seemingly doubled down on the victim-blaming with an article in their (crowd-sourced but still edited) Post Everything section which says women would be safer from domestic violence if they got “hitched to their baby daddies.” Above, the original headline on the bullshit data-filled article written by two conservative (and male) university professors, which has since been altered to be sliiiiightly less loathsome (gone is the racially-charged phrase “baby daddies”). See, the “data” shows that by being around less men, women are less likely to encounter one who will hurt them (and their children), or something. And bonus! According to the two dipshits behind this awful piece, ”marriage also seems to cause men to behave better” so, you know, they’re less likely to beat their wives. I. CANNOT. WITH. THIS. [The Washington Post via Gawker]