Recent posts

Domestic Violence Statistics: A Reminder

Marissa Alexander, a mother who was given 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, is an example of how fighting back against domestic violence often jeopardizes women’s safety. This fact sheet about domestic violence, assembled by a group advocating for Alexander’s freedom, is a sobering reminder about the many ways that social norms and the legal system fail women. For example:

85-90% of women in prison have a history of being victims of violence prior to their incarceration, including domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. A study of women incarcerated in New York’s Rikers Island found that most of the domestic violence survivors interviewed reported engaging in illegal activity in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by a male partner. Each year, 324,000 pregnant women are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner. Continue Reading →

There Is Life After Sexual Assault

After the Steubenville rape case, there have been numerous blog posts (including mine) dissecting aspects of rape culture. Writer Elizabeth Bear makes an excellent point in her blog: when people say that the survivor had her whole life ahead of her, they fail to see that she still does. Bear writes: “Surviving sexual assault is not the end of a life. Rape culture includes this pervasive idea that the person who is raped is ruined forever, that ‘she’ll never be the same,’ that she’s soiled and broken. Guess what? Hundreds and hundreds of rape survivors go on to lead productive, fulfilling lives! Yes, it’s an act of violence. Continue Reading →

Wife-Beating Here And There

In a stunning reminder that misogyny is everywhere, televangelist Pat Robertson advises a Christian man to convert to Islam so that he can beat his disobedient wife. Which is not so far removed from an Egyptian cleric’s advice to husbands to beat their wives to keep them obedient. It would be nice if leaders (both religious and secular) everywhere spoke out against domestic abuse rather than condoning it. Or maybe they should consult us sex educators/researchers first so we can confirm for them that relationships based on abuse and fear are neither healthy nor desirable. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. 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 →