The state is an enabler of sexual violence. So what hope for the victims? (The Guardian)

What does a perpetrator of violence against women look like? For many, the question still evokes images of shadowy strangers pouncing in the dark or thuggish drunken husbands stumbling home from football matches – stereotypes challenged tirelessly by women’s organisations and campaigners, especially throughout the current 16 days of action against gender-based violence.

In reality, women are statistically most likely to be assaulted by someone known to them, and domestic abuse can be, and is, also perpetrated by handsome middle-class professionals. Busting myths is therefore a crucial tool in the fight against a culture which relies on them. But for all these vital and urgent conversations about the true face of perpetrators, there is one that remains largely invisible in spite of both ubiquity and power: the state itself. … Read More

Yes, social media shines a light on rape culture – but it helps us fight back, too (Gadgette)

Be a woman with opinions on the internet, goes the saying, and prepare to trade in your comfort, safety and self-esteem for an endless drip feed of abuse, threats and insights into the innermost thoughts of misogynists and mansplainers alike. While this very blatant assertion of power against women who dare to challenge a sexist status quo is nothing new, being reduced to a bubbling, mascara-stained mess over the words of a faceless egg might be – but only because their words feel all too real against the backdrop of a society where 1 in 4 women will be victims of sexual violence and where 2 a week will be killed by men (statistics from Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid).

Why I’d rather be a funge than a frapist

I have a theory that you can measure how bizarre or morally dubious something is by trying to explain it to a small child, or a proper grown-up, and monitoring their reaction. Really, parliamentary debates and campaign videos in support of equal marriage should probably just be waived in favour of a close-up shot of a four-year-old, wide-eyed, eyebrows furled, wailing “but what do you MEAN people who love each other can”t get married?”. My theory was tested again the other day when I found myself trying to explain the term “frape” to my dissertation supervisor, who incidentally hadn’t heard of UniLad either until she agreed to help me. Sorry supervisor. … Read More

Why Rihanna is just like the rest of us

Rihanna’s in the news again. Better avert any precious pre-teen eyes before they catch her contagious sexuality and transform into writhing sluts before our very eyes. She predates teen sex, revealing clothing and domestic abuse after all. It’s all her fault. The middle-class mums raising their eyebrows over their mid-morning coffees certainly think so.

Well I, luckily enough, am not a middle-class mum and I’m hardly ever up early enough to meet for mid-morning coffee, so I guess it’s okay that I love Rihanna for all her controversies and contradictions and mistakes and successes. … Read More

One Billion Rising while another one falls: Media treatment of Reeva Steenkamp

Thursday 14th February marked V-Day (or ‘One Billion Rising’), the celebration of a global movement designed to challenge the fact that 1 in 3 women will in their lifetimes be the victims of violence, many in their own homes or at the hands of someone close to them. It also marked a day, sadly like any other, when many women lost their lives as a result of such violence – one every 6 hours in South Africa alone, including Reeva Steenkamp, shot to death in her partner’s home.

Given that to cover every instance of violence against women in the world news would eclipse the coverage of anything else, it’s only natural that this particular case has been given prominence, owing to the alleged male perpetrator’s status as a famous Paralympian and Olympian. But my defence of the media’s coverage of this story ends here I’m afraid, because I certainly can’t get on board with what seems to be at best domestic violence apologism, and at worst victim porn. … Read More