Sexual Assault & Rape

Recent posts

Helping PTSD With Your Phone

I recently read about a brand new app called PTSD Coach and even downloaded it for myself. While PTSD Coach is offered (for free!) from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, I can see it being helpful for anyone dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including survivors of sexual assault. As the app notes, it is not meant to replace professional care, so if you think you are dealing with PTSD, I encourage you to seek help. I do like that you can use the app any time that you have your phone with you (which if you’re me, it might as well be attached to you). That flexibility ensures that anyone who uses it isn’t limited to an appointment time. Continue Reading →

Text A Warning

While it’s not the most uplifting or fun topic, one of my areas of interest is sexual assault (if you ever want to kill someone’s interest in you, I find that telling them this is what I study is a great way to have them quickly exit the conversation). A lot of people don’t seem to know that if a person is under the influence of anything they cannot legally consent. This doesn’t mean that a person has to be blacking out, but even a single drink can impair a person’s judgement. It’s important to note that in many parts of the world (including America), the most common date rape drug is actually alcohol. In light of this, I was interested to read that Scotland Yard police will be sending text messages to people in bars warning them of the risks of sexual assault. Continue Reading →

Sadly, We Still Need A “Violence Against Women Act”

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that funds domestic abuse shelters and increases federal penalties for domestic violence is up for renewal… but is meeting resistance from, unsurprisingly, a number of Republicans. Apparently the fact that the bill requires nondiscrimination against LGBTQ recipients of aid and would grant more visas to abused immigrant women is problematic. I’m floored that a) we still need to federally discourage violence against women, and b) there are people who don’t want to extend that kind of help and resources to, um, everyone. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Sex And Human Rights: Opposing Protests

I’ve seen this question posed all over Twitter, and in this article from The Nation: why are student protesters at Penn State allowed to run amok over the firing of a football coach who protected a child rapist, while student (and faculty) protesters at Berkeley are beaten and arrested for peacefully protesting? It seems to me that human rights are being valued differently in each instance, with the former elevating sports over the integrity of young people’s bodies, and the latter punishing young people for insisting on their basic rights to assemble peacefully. In both cases, young people are being assaulted. Something to think about. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Locate Sex Offenders With Facebook

While there are several web sites that can help with locating sex offenders, I was interested when I stumbled upon a Facebook application that locates sex offenders in New York state. I found the new app easy to use – you can search by last name, zip code, or county. The last name is helpful if you know who you’re looking for, but I found the zip code or county searches to be most helpful. A friend of mine used a similar site recently to see how many sex offenders are located near houses she is looking at purchasing. Said friend is a mother of young children, and is not thrilled about the fact that there are dozens of sex offenders located within a few blocks of her current house. Continue Reading →

FBI To Redefine Rape

As detailed here on the FBI’s advisory policy board website, the advisory branch of the FBI is convening to vote on the current definition of rape, which is “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” (as you might imagine, this is entirely too vague and thus inadequate). The new definition is to be: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” To be honest, when I first saw it, I thought, that’s a terrible definition, it’s totally vague, and not all rape involves penetration, though I guess the new law at least covers consent. And then I saw the prior definition, which certainly exceeds this definition in terribleness. I mean, how do you prove that “carnal knowledge” has occurred? Continue Reading →

The Problem With “Well, Why Didn’t You…?” And Sexual Assault

Through some combination of luck and living a sheltered life, I have not encountered much sexual violence or harassment. My friends, both male and female, have, which enrages and saddens me to no end. However, my exposure to harassment changed recently, when I moved to a Baltic country, Estonia (where, I am told, conditions are still pretty patriarchal). I live in a university town and feel safe most of the time. I walk by myself on well-lit roads at night, always passing enough people that I am within eyesight of someone the whole time. Continue Reading →

Worldwide Sexual Violence Against Men

This 25-minute news story film documents rape and sexual violence that occurs against men, focusing on wartime activities ranging from sexual humiliation, anal penetration, forced masturbation, gang rape, and other scenarios that exemplify the brutal acts that men have used to torture other men. While alternately depressing and infuriating, I recommend the video because it is an illuminating survey of an important current topic (for instance, this happens all over the world–not just in Africa), and it makes the excellent point that while sexual violence against women happens disproportionately more, sexual violence against men is still a significant problem. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →