A Vanderbilt football game in 2010. Photo by Larry Darling, via Creative Commons.
A rape trial began last week in Tennessee involving members of the Vanderbilt University football team. While our culture's discussion of sexual assault can, at times, recede into vague generalizations and faceless statistics, this case, with its graphic video and photographic evidence, offers a horrifying reminder of the crime's true nature.
Elissa Washuta is white and Native, bipolar, and lost her virginity to rape. Her first book, My Body is a Book of Rules, is a modern coming-of-age memoir that reaches into these tangles of the body and mind through American pop culture. “I didn’t want to create just a rape memoir, or a bipolar memoir, just a memoir of one small segment of my life,” she says. “Everything I have experienced has been so intertwined.”
Why does rape happen? Because a rapist chooses to rape someone. Because someone felt so entitled to sex, they didn’t care whether their selected partner was able or willing to consent. No one is disagreeing there. But why does that choice happen? Where does that sense of entitlement come from?
If you ask RAINN or TIME magazine, they wouldn’t be able to give you an answer.
• Arizona's legisalture passed a bill allowing private businesses to discriminate against people so long as they can justify their discrimination based on "sincere religious beliefs." [NPR]
• Michele Bachmann says the US doesn't have a "pent-up desire" for a female president. She went on to say she thinks people elected Obama out of guilt, but that "people don't hold guilt for a woman." Ack. [Politico]
• Some people had a disturbing reaction the to rape charges against NFL star Darren Sharper: they say he is "too sexy" to rape someone, despite accusations that evidence that he drugged and raped at least seven women. [Jezebel]
The allegations against Woody Allen have often been discussed—Farrow's brother Ronan succinctly pointed out how the abuse was left out of Allen's Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award highlight reel this year—but this is the first time that Farrow has published her story.
• Germany’s new third-gender law that gives an alternative to declaring babies male or female on their birth certificates may seem positive, but it was not written with any input from intersex activists and it may actually put intersex babies in more danger. [The Advocate]
• La Luz, a great female surf band that Bitch reviewed for our next print issue, was in a serious car accident this week, totaling their van, destroying their gear, and causing injuries to the band members. If you want to help them out, they have a Paypal account set up here. [Seattle Weekly]
Happy Friday! It's time for another special edition of our daily roundup, this time of news that is both unsurprising and deeply, thoroughly depressing. Get ready to be simultaneously weary and outaged!
• In related news, Slate's Emily Yoffe really thought she was dropping a truth bomb when she penned this article telling college women not to drink. Women are more likely to experience rape when alcohol is involved? Wow, Emily, you don't say. Hey, here's what else is involved when women are raped: rapists. [Slate, Feministing]
• Overt sexism at a comic con? You don't say! (Added reminder: If you're a nerd who's throughly over this bullshit, you probably already know that this weekend is Geek Girl Con, but I'm going to mention it anyway because it's one of the few cons where entitlement to female bodies isn't billed as a selling point.)
A victim of sexual assault should be able to get a fair investigation without having to plead her case on national media.
But after prosecutors in the Missouri town of Marysville dropped rape and sexual exploitation charges against two locals, a teen girl and her mom are speaking out with the hope that media pressure will lead the state to reopen the case