Tag Archives: Sexual assault

Video: Franchesca Ramsey’s Powerful ‘How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming’

By Arturo R. García

Screenshot from Franchesca Ramsey’s video “How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming.”

Late last week, Franchesca Ramsey shared her immensely intimate and painful story regarding sexual assault as part of a critique of a video by comedian Jenna Marbles. The video and a transcript are under the cut, but be advised that it carries a heavy TRIGGER WARNING due to the subject matter.
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Nafissatou Diallo, Dominique Strauss Kahn, Race, Immigration, and Power

Newsweek DSK Maid CoverI haven’t had much time to write this week, but I wanted to quickly take a look at the unfolding DSK sexual assault case.

The framing of cases is so important, as it shifts judgements in the court of public opinion. Since Diallo has chosen to step forward as the accuser (perhaps in response to the media backlash around her life and reputation), news outlets have clamored to get the scoop. Newsweek published an exclusive interview a few days ago, with some telling language:

“Nafi” Diallo is not glamorous. Her light-brown skin is pitted with what look like faint acne scars, and her dark hair is hennaed, straightened, and worn flat to her head, but she has a womanly, statuesque figure. When her face is in repose, there is an opaque melancholy to it. Working at the Sofitel for the last three years, with its security and stability, was clearly the best job she’d ever hoped to have, after years braiding hair and working in a friend’s store in the Bronx as a newcomer from Guinea in 2003.

Only in cases involving rape or assault is how the victim appears a subject for commentary. This is part of rape culture, the idea that we have to evaluate the attractiveness of a person alleging assault along with the other facts in the case. Melissa McEwan so succinctly put it, rape is not a compliment. Neither is sexual assault. Yet time and time again, we see people accused of sexual assault, abuse, or rape try to weasel out of it by saying that they weren’t attracted to the person in the first place. (We see you, Albert Haynesworth.) It’s disturbing to see reporters play into the same idea. This is why feminists continually stress that rape is a crime of power, not desire. Rape is not related to the attractiveness of the victim. Rape occurs because one party does not consent to a sexual encounter, but they are forced into it anyway.

Also, that first discussion of “clearly the best job she’d ever hoped to have?” It sets the stage for more prejudical plays on class, race, and immigration status later in the piece. Continue reading

El acoso callejero

By Guest Contributor Elizabeth Mendez Berry, originally posted at El Diario

Editor’s Note: An English-language version of this piece is available under the cut

Fui acosada por primera vez a los 13 años de edad. Dos hombres me siguieron en su camioneta por varias cuadras, vociferando unas vulgaridades de lo que me querían hacer. A los 18, un “piropeador” corrió tras de mí y trató de entrar a mi apartamento a la fuerza.

Mi experiencia no es única: el acoso callejero es un problema diario pero raramente reconocido. Según varias investigaciones citadas por Holly Kearl, autora del importante libro Stop Street Harassment, entre el 80 y 99 porciento de las mujeres han sido objeto de atencion agresiva y no deseada en la calle. Ella encontró que el 75% de mujeres habían sido perseguidas por hombres desconocidos y que el 57% habían sido manoseadas de forma sexual en la calle, algunas cuando tenían tan sólo 10 años de edad.

Esta epidemia tiene consecuencias graves. Investigadores de la Universidad de Connecticut encontraron que “la experiencia del acoso callejero está directamente relacionada con una mayor preocupación acerca de la aparencia física y la vergüenza corporal, y está relacionada indirectamente con un miedo elevado de la violación”. En un país donde una de cada tres mujeres es víctima del asalto sexual, estos temores no son infundados.

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