Julia Dieperink: “What to Do if Someone You Know Sexually Assaults Someone Else”

Link to "What To Do If Someone You Know Sexually Assaults Someone Else"

Link to “What To Do If Someone You Know Sexually Assaults Someone Else”

Julia writes (full article linked above):

What do you do if someone you know assaults or rapes someone?

What do you do if it’s someone that you care about who is perpetrating these heinous acts?

And while hopefully you don’t have someone in your life who is a perpetrator, particularly since most assaults and rapes are committed by the same small percentage of people, it’s still an important question to ask. It’s an important situation to ponder.

Because I thought I knew that answer to that. I thought I knew how I would react.

But now I’m not sure.

I have two very instinctual, and unfortunately contradictory, reactions to learning of sexual assaults:

1) Take no prisoners. Whoever the assailant or rapist was, they committed a violent crime that is designed to oppress and silence. They deserve the consequences [victims do not ruin the lives of the person who raped them].

2) There has to be a way to save everyone. Extreme offenders aside, surely rehabilitation is possible. Therapy is wonderful and there has to be something worth redeeming in most people. At least, I like to believe so.

But these two extremes that are happening internally don’t necessarily have a place in many people’s realities.

Because the reality is: Most assaults aren’t reported.

And even the ones that are have a depressingly small chance of being resolved in the just manner that all of us wish for.

So, given the complications inherent in a situation like this, what are some concrete steps that you can take?

Domestic Violence: an Exit Plan

Link to "An Exit Action Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship"

Link to “An Exit Action Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship”

Approximately 1 in 4 women are abused by their partners.

Why don’t they just leave?

There is an endless list of reasons, all valid and varied based on the situation.

Some must stay because they are financially dependent upon their partner. How will they be able to take care of themselves, their children?

Other stay because they have no where else to go. Abusers tend to isolate their victims, limit their resources and freedom.

Some stay hoping things will get better.

Others stay because they know that a woman is at greatest risk of being killed when she is escaping or just after escaping. They rightly fear violent, possibly deadly, retaliation.

Some stay because they’ve been told by people they trust that being abused is better than getting a divorce.

Others stay because they fear no one will believe them. Who will they be able to trust?

Some stay because they love their partner. Many abusers threaten to commit suicide if their victim leaves.

Domestic violence is about power and control. Leaving is not always an option.

Link to "Shades of Blue", a nurse's reflections on Domestic Violence

Link to “Shades of Blue”, a nurse’s reflections on Domestic Violence

When a woman (or man) does decide to leave, it may be a decision made with seconds to spare. Others may find help to get away. Either way, it’s wise to have a safety plan, an exit strategy. Domestic homicide is a stark reality and your safety (and possible that of your children) is a very legitimate concern.

In the links shared above and below, you will find emergency checklists – things you should have on hand in case you need to make a quick escape – and safety tips and precautions for when you leave and after you leave. Global contacts are also provided here.

Related Posts:

Domestic Violence Emergency Checklist

9 Domestic Violence Safety Tips

10 Answers to the Question, “Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?”

Katie’s Story: “A Letter to Women in Abusive Relationships”

How to Stay Safe After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

PSA: Human Trafficking in Your Neighborhood

Link to: "Chilling PSA Reminds Us that Human Trafficking Victims are Exploited in Our Neighborhoods"

Link to: “Chilling PSA Reminds Us that Human Trafficking Victims are Exploited in Our Neighborhoods”

For more on human trafficking, visit the Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor archive.

Kerry Washington on Financial Abuse

Link to "Kerry Washington Sheds Light on an Invisible Kind of Domestic Violence"

Link to “Kerry Washington Sheds Light on an Invisible Kind of Domestic Violence”

Melissa Jeltsen of the Huffington Post writes (full article linked above):

Financial abuse is a tactic often used by abusers to control and isolate their partners. It takes many forms: Abusers may drastically limit their victims’ access to cash so they have no money of their own if they want to flee. They may sabotage their victims’ ability to work, or pile up debt under their victims’ names. Experts cite financial abuse as one of the top reasons why many victims are unable to escape abusive relationships.

“I think people just aren’t as aware of financial abuse,” Washington told HuffPost. “If a woman isn’t even aware of the dynamics of financial abuse — what it looks like, what it is — she may not even know that that’s part of the tools being used to control her and manipulate her and keep her trapped. When there is more information around it, people can begin to identify it and then get the help they need…Finances are almost always a weapon of choice. Taking away access to cash, destroying credit, jeopardizing jobs — financial abuse leaves invisible bruises that can take decades to heal.”

#ImNotLooking: Sexual Assault in the Form of Exploited Nudity

Link to "The Sexual Violence of Non-Consensual Nudity"

Link to “The Sexual Violence of Non-Consensual Nudity”

Sexual violence meets the camera. “Leaked nudes”, also known as a crime called revenge porn – the non-consensual distribution of a sexually explicit or nude photograph of an individual – occurred long before anyone was tweeting tweets or sharing their lunches on Instagram. What belongs to one person suddenly becomes common property. Bodies, meant to be shared with only those whom they choose, are dissected into soulless parts to be enjoyed by strangers who cannot discern between sexual beings and sexual objects. It’s not a phenomenon limited to the women who choose – and excel at – careers which lead them into the limelight. Whether the “leaked” [stolen] image came from the privacy of a celebrity or a nonentity, the crime is just as heinous.

If the common woman’s body is free for the conquering how much more the body of a woman who dares to make a name for herself? You’ve likely read it dozens of times this week alone…the classic “She deserved it”. Victim blaming at its finest.

Until all women are treated as fully human, deserving absolute respect and privacy regardless of who they are and possessing autonomy over their own person, there will always be stolen nude images floating across iPhone screens.

In their piece entitled ‘Yes’ Is Better Than ‘No’, a NY Times article written in response to the recent passing of the “yes means yes” law ( Senate Bill 967 ) in California, Michael Kimmel and Gloria Steinem write:

Invading bodies has been taken less seriously by the law than invading private property, even though body-invasion is far more traumatic. This has remained an unspoken bias of patriarchal law. After all, women were property until very recently. In some countries, they still are.

Regarding the latest theft of private, intimate celebrity images, Jenny Trout writes:

Victim blaming runs thick in situations such as these. “If she didn’t want those pictures on the Internet, she shouldn’t have taken them.” In other words, the price of these women’s private expressions of sexuality and joyous celebration of their bodies is public humiliation. Very little is said about the people stealing and releasing these photos, beyond the occasional words of gratitude to them for serving up what we are presumably owed.

“Don’t send nudes,” we tell our daughters, rather than telling our sons, “Don’t violate the privacy of a woman who trusted you enough to share herself with you in a playfully sexual context.” We don’t teach our children not to revel in revenge porn, we teach them to put boundaries on their sexual expression, to hide their bodies away, because that’s where the real shame is. Baring another human on a public stage for ridicule and critique is an excusable, even understandable, action.

We don’t tell our sons, “Don’t send people photos of your penis to someone if they haven’t told you they’re OK with it.” It has become commonplace for men to send photos of their genitals in misguided attempts to woo potential partners, or to retaliate against some perceived wrong a woman has inflicted upon them. Why these men see romance and spite as two scenarios deserving of the same response is never examined. In fact, many men seem utterly baffled when their advances aren’t welcomed. “What do you mean you don’t want to see my penis? What are you, some kind of uptight feminist? Some kind of lesbian?”

Perhaps the most offensive aspect of our conflicting attitudes toward nudity and the importance of consent is that while women are derided for their own exploitation, the actions of a man forcing images of his genitals upon his victims are utterly erased when the tables are turned and his behavior is exposed.

Link to "The Celebrity Photo Hacker's Message to All Women"

Link to “The Celebrity Photo Hacker’s Message to All Women”

One woman named Jo bravely shared the story of her own assault by stolen images from nearly ten years ago on Human Parts, a collection of essays from Medium:

I didn’t know it was possible to feel so naked until that moment. I didn’t know that being objectified feels a lot like pins and needles, like chilblains. The dawning of my vulnerability left me feeling dizzy, shaky, not fully real; definitely not respected or dignified or beautiful. I felt like a snail with a crushed shell—a fleshy smear on the pavement, exposed and homeless (by Jo Harrison).

Despite the thousands of articles, blog posts (this one included), and rightly irate tweets which have surfaced this week, those photographs can be neither un-seen nor un-stolen. It is a disturbing truth for celebrities and non-celebrities alike who have been victims of stolen nude images.

I wish it were that easy. I wish everyone, from Jennifer Lawrence to Jo, could settle into their beds tonight, resting peacefully in the knowledge that what has been stolen and exploited has been erased from the minds and computer hard drives of the public, as if the theft never occurred. As if their privacy had never been invaded.

But since that can’t happen, do those women a favor. It’s the least of what they deserve. Treat stolen images of naked bodies the way they ought to be treated: absolutely private.

And teach your sons to do the same.

None of us are entitled to see them, to scrutinize them, to compare yourself to them, or to (cringe) get off on them.

Because a woman’s body – and the authority to decide what happens to it – belongs to no one but herself.

NCADV Announces the Launch of a New Domestic Violence Resource

Link to DomesticShelters.org

Link to DomesticShelters.org

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (USA) has just announced the launch of a new online resource for victims of domestic violence. DomesticShelters.org is designed to assist abuse victims in finding nearby shelters and domestic violence crisis centers. The site allows an individual to search by their zip code and provides results within a 20 mile radius. Other resources are also provided, such as online forums, articles related to domestic and sexual violence, information on national and global organizations and state coalitions, and FAQs.

DomesticShelters.org describes its services:

“We make finding the right shelter and information about domestic violence easier. Instead of searching the Internet, it is all right here. We’ve painstaking verified information on shelters in LA to shelters in NY, and every shelter in between. If you or a friend is suffering from physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse or verbal abuse, this free service can help. Select domestic violence shelters based on location, service and language needs. Find 24-hour hotlines in your area, service listings, and helpful articles on domestic violence statistics, signs and cycles of abuse, housing services, emergency services, legal and financial services, support groups for women, children and families, and more.”

Users can also find information related to internet safety (how to delete browsing history, etc.). “If you are using personal devices to visit doemsticshelters.org, clicking on the ‘Leave Site’ button in the upper right hand corner will redirect you to weather.com, in the event you’re surprised by someone and need to quickly change what you’re viewing” (Domestic Shelters).

Follow Domestic Shelters on Twitter! @domesticshelter

Kirsty Hopley: “Through a Child’s Eyes”

Photo Credit: Child's Eyes

Link to “Through a Child’s Eyes”

In her guest post for the Let Toys Be Toys campaign (linked above), Kirsty Hopley, co-founder of Child’s Eyes, connects the gender-specific toys, books and media which children see and receive, often from birth, and the heavily sexualized media they ingest. Boys and girls are forced into damaging stereotypes – for example, boys are to be strong and girls are to be sweet – and the sex-saturated messages they receive only reinforce these dangerous, short-sighted representations of what it means to be male and female.

Speaking on the media’s influence on a child’s perception of men and women, Kirsty writes (linked above):

…children see women portrayed on the front of magazines, in music videos, on TV being admired or judged for the way they look. They see men in the same media dressed in clothes being admired or judged for what they do.

Children see media in supermarkets and newsagents screaming gender segregation in the same way as toy and book marketing, yet in a sexual way. Scantily-clad women next to clothed men on most widely circulated tabloids. ‘Big Boob special’ in the men’s section but visible to children, rape on all of the prominent women’s mags and body shaming on the rest.

Men’s media and tabloids contain an abundance of women for sexual pleasure and popular women’s media portrays women as items to be fixed or sensationally reports on the myriad of ways in which women are sexually abused by men.

What we end up with if we, as a society, allow commercialism to dictate gender roles so stringently, is a norm where each gender ‘others’ the other. In ‘other’ words, each side does not view each other as the same type of human with the same feelings. Different, not equal.

Related Posts:

Baby Dolls and Basketballs: the Connection Between Children’s Toys and Violence Against Women

Fighting Sexism in the Toy Department 

When Sexy is All that Matters

Princesses vs. Heroines: Preparing Girls for Real Womanhood

Tough and Tender: Preparing Boys for Real Manhood

A Pornography Society

Pornography and Rape in Primary School

Talking to Your Kids about Sexual Abuse