I think that it is great what president obama is doing, though i wasnt sexually assaulted on campus by a collegue. I was sexually assaulted by a service member in the barracks from what i now know alot of assaults happen. Pressing forward with a court martial doomed to be very difficult i didnt even know where to support it because im a civilian. But it began to consume me and i had to tell someone. My jag officer says that times have changed since the obama adminitration. — Asked by Anonymous Asked by Anonymous portrait

Carrie Shores shares her story of sexual abuse in effort to help others come forward and feel heard (x)

We Can Do Better

I am a PhD student in Higher Education Administration and my focus is on campus rape and sexual assault reporting. I am always disappointed in institutions of higher education that do not act in the best interest of their students who have experienced sexual assault or rape on their campuses. There are a few things that I think can help to fix some of the problems.

First, regular bystander intervention training for all students would be a way to show that the administration takes seriously the role of witnesses and bystanders in helping to prevent or to report sexual assault. This means that training should be ongoing, not a once and done obligation during orientation. Also, students should be encouraged to come forward and act as witnesses or reporters to what they see occur. In doing so, administrations will have to offer immunity for anything that may have been done while the witness was there (i.e. underage drinking, drugs, etc).

Read more

Drinking and Sexual Assault

Penalties for underage drinking should not be enforced for victims/survivors of sexual assault. It makes it less likely for people to come forward, especially in crucial hours where DNA evidence might still be collected. That’s probably the biggest thing I would say.

Why I Didn’t Report

I went to a private university where there were rules about who could or could not be in the dorms.  Although I was encouraged to report, I did not want to get myself in trouble or my RA in trouble for letting me bring the guy into the building.

That, in combination with my fears about being outed as bisexual, was what kept me from reporting what only narrowly avoided becoming a physical sexual assault.  (The verbal had already happened.)  Schools are not adequately prepared to handle male survivors, LGBTQ+ survivors, etc.  At very conservative or religiously-affiliated colleges/universities, this is even more difficult.

There are also a lot of barriers associated with rules, be it who can be in the dorms or school policies on drinking.  It’s just insult to injury when a lot of survivors are afraid of retaliation from their assailant.  Not only is there fear of what the assailant or his/her/their friends might do, there is also fear about being punished by the school.  The potential lack of flexibility on those policies amounts to institutional victim-blaming. 

Even when schools do make it a policy to ignore such infractions in case of sexual assault, most students are not aware of them.  The universities need to develop appropriate policies *and* inform students of them.  If you explicitly say that alcohol use/dorm rule infraction will be ignored in cases of sexual assault, it takes away two of the biggest ways assailants justify and get away with it.

Know Your IX/ED ACT NOW after meeting with the Task Force.

Know Your IX/ED ACT NOW after meeting with the Task Force.

View high resolution

My letter to President Obama’s Task Force, from a concerned University instructor

I will never forget the day a student came up to me after class and broke down crying, explaining that she couldn’t watch a film with a rape scene in it because she was sexually assaulted the year before and was still struggling emotionally. As she told me her story, I realized that my role as an instructor was no longer confined to simply lecturing in a classroom. I became painfully aware of the ways in which an assault can have devastating consequences that can affect a young woman’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being, and that can cost her years of schooling and opportunities. Certainly, not all survivors are women. My heart also broke when I taught a male student who told me he was considering suicide after being harassed by his roommate. But the vast majority of perpetrators are male. As was cited in the Huffington Post article, President Obama Models Men’s Leadership in Halting Sexual Assault, this fact should shape “the design and implementation of prevention strategies.” As students opened up to me it became blatantly clear that because of societal patriarchy that shapes rape culture and male violence, many of my students were not getting the equal opportunity to an education they deserved, which is why Title IX is so important.

Read more

Chat LIVE with White House Sexual Assault Task Force NOW
Students and Survivors Listening Session
February 12, 2014 3pm EST, 2pm CST1pm MST12pm PST
To join this listening session, please click or copy/paste the following link. Note that the session will be unavailable until 15 minutes before its scheduled start time (3pm EST).
We have a limited capacity for this listening session: only 150 people can join the session in a way that lets them speak.  Up to 500 people can join and listen on their computer speakers.  Over 360 people have registered for the listening session. 
We want to use the 150 spaces for people who might want to comment, so if you were only planning to listen in, please join using your computer speakers for audio and not by phone.  (You can still comment in the chat box.) 
If you think you might want to comment but you’re not sure, you should go ahead and join by phone.  Please don’t feel pressured either way. 
These are the two options to join the listening session:
1) If you plan to listen to the session but not to make a comment verbally, please join the session by listening on your computer speakers.  When you enter the listening session, simply close the pop-up box about your phone number.  You will still be able to make comments during the session in the chat box or by sending any comments to ovw.sataskforce@usdoj.gov
2) If you plan to comment verbally, you must both enter the listening session on the computer AND join by phone.  You will only be able to speak if you join by phone.  You can also use the chat box to make comments.  We want (and need) people to make comments, so please do join by phone even if you’re not certain you will comment.
THIS IS IMPORTANTThe best way to be able to speak is to have the system call you.  A box will pop up when you enter the session and ask you how you want to join.  Type in your phone number and the system will immediately call you. 
If you don’t have a direct-dial number (the only way to reach you is via an extension) then you will need to call-in rather than having the system call you.  The pop-up box will provide the phone number and instructions.  Please follow all of the instructions to ensure that we are able to identify your phone line and unmute you when you raise your hand.
If you plan to comment, please keep your remarks brief – 2-3 minutes.  You might want to make a few notes in advance about what you’d like to say.  We absolutely want to hear from you, and from as many other people on the phone as possible.  We will let the listening session run over an hour if people are still queued up to speak.  Remember you can send us longer comments at ovw.sataskforce@usdoj.gov.
The 150 phone lines will be first-come, first-served, so plan to join a little early if you are sure you want to comment. 
If you try to join by phone but you get a message saying that the call is full, just listen in via your computer speakers and comment in the chat box (or join a future listening session or email your comments to ovw.sataskforce@usdoj.gov.
Remember that this is a listening session, not a Q&A.  If you have questions, we will compile them to share with the Task Force or follow up with you later.  We’re here to listen to you, and we want you to have the floor. 
If you experience any issues joining the listening session, please contact our webinar provider, Adobe at 1-800-42-ADOBE (23623) and choose Option 1. 

We look forward to talking with you this afternoon.
Office on Violence Against Women
Petition: Stop Promoting Rape Culture by Firing James Taranto

Supporting rape and rapists is not journalism!

The Wall Street Journal is giving a platform to a rape apologist. James Taranto is supporting men who are perpetrating sexual violence against intimate partners and intoxicated individuals

Rape is Rape is Rape.

While the President of the United States is calling for men and boys to realize that it is never okay to commit violence against women (or frankly, anyone) the Wall Street Journal is telling the nation that victims are to blame if they are drunk. This flies in the face of Dr. Lisak’s research on sex offenders showing predatory use of alcohol to facilitate sexual violence.

Giving a platform for James Taranto to equate “male sexuality" with sexual predation is unacceptable. By giving him a platform the Wall Street Journal is reinforcing rape culture and victim blaming that works only to silence rape victims.

To the Wall Street Journal - FIRE TARANTO and stop contributing to a culture that condones RAPE! 


Also: you can tweet him @jamestaranto or email him at James.Taranto@wsj.com

White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault: Public Listening Sessions

The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault is holding a series of virtual, public listening sessions in February. The Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women, in partnership with the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division will be hosting these sessions, and our colleagues from the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the Agencies serving on the Task Force will also be participating. We want you to join us!

To facilitate conversation, the nine listening sessions are organized by group.

These are listening sessions, not question and answer sessions. The listening sessions are designed to allow as many people as possible to share their stories and input. Listening sessions will use the Adobe Connect webinar service, which allows participants to queue up to make verbal comments. Participants can also type comments in a chat box.

Streaming ASL interpretation is available upon request. When you register for your choice of listening session, just select the ASL box.

We expect a large number of participants. Please plan to keep your remarks brief – about 3 minutes – so more people can have a turn to speak.

If you don’t get the chance to speak or still have more to say, don’t worry – you can submit written comments. Comments can be submitted any time from now until February 28, 2014. If you would like to submit comments, email them to OVW.SATaskForce@usdoj.gov.