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Old 05-11-2011, 08:21 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
The only way a woman can truly avoid being raped is to avoid being around a rapist.
Yep

I fail to see how being out after 10 at night qualifies as not having "street smarts". Women should get in before it's dark and stay there? You can get sexually assaulted in broad daylight too. Or in your home. So what's the line, what qualifies as being "smart enough"? There isn't one, and nothing qualifies.

You can do everything in your power to try to avoid crime and it can still happen. That's life, I try not to judge people for it. You can look back and question everything that you do, but being in the actual situation is terrifying.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:42 PM   #77
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I wonder if in, a culture where flesh is used to sell cars, makeup, and food, if there is a casualness that creates an atmosphere for certain men to feel like "it's no big deal" to harass a woman on the street, or worse. One wonders if this atmosphere ennobles men who are already prone to harassment to go to the next level -- because hey, what's the big deal? There's an inherent narcissism to unchecked sexual gratification that is more than a little troubling. Much good has come from the sexual revolution, but the negative underbelly is a belief that gratification is a valuable end unto itself that, without some restraint, can become abusive.
I would really love to know what makes any man think that street harassment is ok. It's not enjoyable, it's not flattering. It's nerve wracking, it can be scary, it's degrading, I'm not talking about complimenting someone in a nice, polite way. I'm talking about saying or yelling things on the street or from a car, that sort of thing. I don't think street harassment has anything to do with the sexual revolution. What exactly do you mean by that term? More about sex or more about equality? I'm just sort of confused-because equality and street harassment, that's a dangerous connection to make. Not saying AT ALL that's what you were doing. In fact I'm sure you weren't.

I do think you make a good point about the next level. But no matter how much flesh is used and abused to sell things, we can all strive to maintain a certain level of human decency. Some people just can't or don't want to, I guess.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:48 PM   #78
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As an aside - I really hate it when I know I'm freaking a girl/woman out. Walking home late at night, no-one else around, turn a corner and suddenly I'm 'following' someone, but of course, we're just going in the same direction, and you can quite noticeably see the shift in everything about how she's walking/holding her bag/glancing around/general body language. That sucks.

I think it's great that you have such sensitivity about that. Women do not want to make every male a suspect or an enemy-unfortunately that's the way it has to be because you never know.

What can you do? You can't approach her. So I think just having that sensitivity is enough. Sometimes when I'm out walking a guy will say hi when he passes on a bike or jogging, etc. in a way that kind of lets you know that he's sensitive to that. Or apologize if they are behind and I get startled. I appreciate that. I'm talking about daylight though, late at night is a different dynamic. Even though it can happen any time.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:18 PM   #79
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Self righteous? First of all, you don't know what sort of relationship I have with my friend, nor do you know the tone I would have used when I said it, so you're in no position to make that sort of judgement about me
So I'm assuming you would have said it in a joking way? Oh, well, that makes everything OK then.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:35 PM   #80
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I wonder if in, a culture where flesh is used to sell cars, makeup, and food, if there is a casualness that creates an atmosphere for certain men to feel like "it's no big deal" to harass a woman on the street, or worse. One wonders if this atmosphere ennobles men who are already prone to harassment to go to the next level -- because hey, what's the big deal? There's an inherent narcissism to unchecked sexual gratification that is more than a little troubling. Much good has come from the sexual revolution, but the negative underbelly is a belief that gratification is a valuable end unto itself that, without some restraint, can become abusive.
Men were harassing women long before the sexual revolution.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:25 PM   #81
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Yeah, I gotta say I disagree with Nathan on this one.

Many highly conservative cultures that require women to dress far more conservatively have much more severe issues with sexual harrassment and rape than we do here in the States. As such, while a discuss of the hypersexualization of our culture might be a useful one to have, it's esentially "off-topic" for this discussion. Rape and hypersexualization aren't connected.

I think it's pretty clear that how a woman is dressed won't make a difference one way or the other in deterring or attracting sexual assault. Ironically, I think that also makes the Slutwalk kind of pointless as well in a way. I think the intentions are good, but a bit misguided. As has already been pointed out the civil rights movement wasn't geared around "Nigger Walks." ( I happen to feel as a black man that the word has no place in anyone's vocabulary, black people included. It should be retired not "taken back." I would imagine many women would feel the same about the word slut.)

I want to add that I'm sorry for the experience so many of the women posting here on this forum have had. It's shocking and disturbing how many women have been through situations like this. I appreciate your courage and candor in sharing your stories.
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:18 AM   #82
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BAW, that's awful, I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

But that brings to mind another "you should have" or "why didn't you" that you hear in these situations. There are some people who might ask "Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you shout for help?" Or in a rape/date rape situation, someone might say "Well, didn't you keep fighting back? Did you keep yelling 'no'?"

Everyone reacts to being assaulted differently. Some people might be too frightened of being hurt. Some people might feel paralyzed. And for many people, while you might talk a good game about what you would do if it happened to you, you might react completely differently.

It's still assault or rape even if the woman isn't calling for help or fighting and screaming.
From what I've read in textbooks and gleamed from a long history of listening to Dr. Drew Pinksy dole out staggeringly accurate diagnoses to callers on Loveline, a "freeze up, don't make a noise" reaction during a sexual assault is a big red flag that may indicate prior sexual abuse in the victim's past.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:24 AM   #83
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What can you do? You can't approach her. So I think just having that sensitivity is enough.
I have a friend who will purposely cross the street and walk on the other side if he finds himself inadvertently trailing a woman who is alone very late at night. He says he figures that she feels a lot safer and he feels way less awkward that way.

When I was in first year of law school, we read a case where a female grad student was walking home from the library late at night on a quiet street. Apparently she had dropped something on the ground and didn't realize it and a guy walking behind her picked it up. So he hurried up to catch up with her and when he got very close and said "Excuse me" she turned around and maced him in the face. Unbeknownst to him she had been raped the year before (and the assailant was actually jailed), and so was obviously hypersensitive. It was a case about civil damages and whether she owed him anything, but I just thought of it now.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #84
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I have a friend who will purposely cross the street and walk on the other side if he finds himself inadvertently trailing a woman who is alone very late at night. He says he figures that she feels a lot safer and he feels way less awkward that way.

When I was in first year of law school, we read a case where a female grad student was walking home from the library late at night on a quiet street. Apparently she had dropped something on the ground and didn't realize it and a guy walking behind her picked it up. So he hurried up to catch up with her and when he got very close and said "Excuse me" she turned around and maced him in the face. Unbeknownst to him she had been raped the year before (and the assailant was actually jailed), and so was obviously hypersensitive. It was a case about civil damages and whether she owed him anything, but I just thought of it now.
I suppose you could cross-but what if the same situation happens on the other side? I don't know..it is sad that it has to be that way.

I can completely understand that woman's hypersensitivity-did she owe him anything, how did it work out?
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:04 AM   #85
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They also had to make a volunteer "training" video in which they had to talk about what they did "wrong" and how they could have "prevented" the rapes.


WASHINGTON -- Jessica Smochek told members of Congress on Wednesday that, after being brutally gang-raped in Bangladesh in 2004, a Peace Corps medical officer refused to give her a proper physical examination. Instead, the medic confiscated the former English teacher's cellphone so that she could not alert her fellow volunteers and instructed her to tell anyone who asked about her sudden departure from the program that she was returning to the U.S. to get her wisdom teeth out. When Smochek arrived in Washington, D.C., a Peace Corps official asked her to write down everything she had done to provoke the attack.

"Shortly after I left, the country director -- who never attempted to contact me after I was raped -- called a meeting of several women in my former volunteer group and told them, without my permission, what had happened to me," she said. "Then, he told them that rape was a woman’s fault and that I had caused what happened to me by being out alone after 5:00 PM. As for the other women in the group, who had been very vocal about being constantly stalked and afraid, he threatened them with administrative separation."

Smochek was one of a growing number of former Peace Corps volunteers who are speaking out about the sexual assaults they endured while serving abroad. Their stories have sparked Congressional hearings, as well as pledges for institutional reform.

Since it was founded in 1961, the Peace Corps has sent 200,000 volunteers to 139 countries. Between 2000 and 2009, an average of 22 women each year report being victims of rape or attempted rape, the agency told HuffPost Wednesday. There have been more than 1,000 sexual assaults and 221 rapes or attempted rapes in that time. Since sexual crimes often go unreported, experts note the numbers may be significantly higher.

At a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, lawmakers heard from three former Peace Corps volunteers about their experiences as victims of violence and sexual assault while serving overseas, as well as from Lois Puzey, whose daughter, Kate Puzey, was murdered while serving in Benin in 2009. The hearing, led by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), highlighted not only the perils volunteers faced while abroad, but the agency's lack of support for victims of abuse.

"The social support that a victim receives in the hour after the assault occurs is the key factor in assuring whether the victim will have long-term mental health problems," said Karestan Koenen, a Peace Corps rape victim who now teaches psychology at Columbia and Harvard. "We question ourselves and question our behavior. Blaming the victim just adds to the questioning of your own behavior -- you end up internalizing that blame and it can stop you from seeking help that you need because you are afraid that other people will respond the same way."

Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams apologized on Wednesday for the agency's failure to respond compassionately or offer assistance to the Peace Corps' victims of sexual assault and violence. Williams signaled that he is ready and willing to work with Congress to craft legislation aimed at institutional reform.


“The health, safety, and support of every member of our Peace Corps family is my number one priority,” said Williams in a prepared statement. “The Peace Corps of today takes the issue of sexual assault prevention and response seriously and we are dedicated to providing compassionate victim-centered care. Since I became Director, the Peace Corps has put in place new policies to reduce the risks faced by volunteers and to ensure they receive our full support when a tragedy occurs.”

But some victims emphasized that apologies are not enough.

"Apologies without actions are useless," said Carol Marie Clark, a former Peace Corps volunteer who was raped by her boss. "Soon after I began working, my supervisor, the Nepalese Peace Corps program director, began telling the female volunteers that we would have to have sex with him in order to receive our living supplement checks. Volunteers told our country director about this, but he did nothing."

"I have had an apology from the Peace Corps," Clark said at the hearing, "but I haven’t seen them take action."
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:31 AM   #86
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What the F*ck??? She had to write down everything that provoked the attack??? That makes me sick!
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:00 AM   #87
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When you read more about it it gets even worse. They were often basically accused of joining the Peace Corps in order to go out and get drunk and have sex with men. Those sluts
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:27 AM   #88
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I can completely understand that woman's hypersensitivity-did she owe him anything, how did it work out?
She had a very reasonable judge - I can't remember exactly but she owed him for his actual (medical expenses and I think a ruined shirt?) but no additional punitive damages, etc.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:54 AM   #89
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When you read more about it it gets even worse. They were often basically accused of joining the Peace Corps in order to go out and get drunk and have sex with men. Those sluts
People wonder why so many are afraid to report when something happens to them. This is exactly why.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:20 PM   #90
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So I'm assuming you would have said it in a joking way? Oh, well, that makes everything OK then.
The point is you have no idea what sort of dynamic my friend and I have, so calling me self righteous is uniformed and ironically, pretty god damn self righteous
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