When I hear the word "rape," especially when it is used out of context, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. It can make me feel unsafe -- either physically or emotionally -- in the company of the people who've said it. It is painful; it makes me feel ashamed, used, and violated all over again.
I say nothing. I am in the passenger seat of the car of a rapist. I am wearing my seatbelt. I am firmly affixed to his car. I wonder if he moved 3,000 miles away from the divorce or his victim?
Most importantly, the results from these surveys would provide the Holy Grail of rape-related data -- some real sense for the percentage of unreported assaults. We would finally have access to the experiences of those raped women and men who are unwilling to come forward due to legitimate fear of dismissal and shaming.
I was born down South, and had heard the word "gentleman" a thousand times, but never as a descriptor for a rapist. I marveled as she spoke. It was her composure and perfect makeup that wowed me.
Ending sexual assault is not a "women's issue," and until we change our thinking to include everyone in the effort, we won't begin to see a significant decline in this form of violence. This move toward a more inclusive community approach has gained traction in the last decade, a trend I've noticed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Even as the chorus of voices decrying that college campuses have not done enough to both address and prevent sexual violence continues to crescendo, there still somehow is this universal sense that college officials are going out of their way to turn a blind eye to these issues on our campuses.
A young woman was sexually assaulted at my school and came forward in the most visible and public way possible. She revealed her full name and face to...
Last week saw two media flare-ups related to how we think and talk about rape. The first erupted over a statement made by Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) to the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault.
Maybe he had never interviewed someone who said she was raped by a guy who was really good looking, really rich, really smart and really talented.
I, too, went to Harvard, and years later (when I least expected it), I was raped. Ever since that day in April 2008 -- when I was pushed into the mud by a violent 15-year-old boy -- I've been thinking a lot about how our society handles the problem of rape.
Many colleges and universities focus on programs or campaigns that attempt to deal with the issue of rape and sexual assault through the mantra "no means no." This platitude, which often serves as the starting point in our discussions about sexual assault, all too often also serves as the ending point of those conversations.
I believe this form of victim-blaming, in which intoxicated individuals are deemed responsible for what happens to them, enables sexual assault of drunk and, especially, unconscious victims, to occur.
Let us take a hard look at the social environment we create that permits -- consciously or subconsciously -- assaults like the one on my campus last week to occur.
I said the words. I may have not said the words when he started kissing me, but I definitely said them when he pulled down my pants, when his arms twisted through mine and his feet spread my legs open, when I tried to push him off of me, when he ripped down my underwear.
I was the first case in the department's history to have blood evidence of being drugged with date-rape drugs, yet nothing came of it. Not only was I betrayed by someone I trusted, but I felt betrayed by the justice system, too. Despite this, I refuse to give up and stay silent.
The person you were in high school now lives in a journal under your bed back home. Starting college is like being handed a beautiful blank slate. Any doubts you have about yourself, your abilities -- every negative thing you believe, even the good stuff -- throw it all out.