Rape on the college campus

Many large universities dismiss rape in order to keep their reputations up.  This is exactly what UVA did when it came to reporting their rape cases.  A few years back, a girl

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Spotlight On… UNITE Magazine

UNITE Magazine was launched in March of 2013 as the first magazine to cater to LGBTQI+ community in Nashville. This magazine is a bi-monthly publication that offers the best in arts, music, dining, travel, fitness, and more. This month’s issue pictured LBGT activist, Margaret Ellis, and featured stories and upcoming events catering to the LGBT group specifically. The magazine was created and published by Joey Amato, whom we had the pleasure of talking to and learning more about the publication from.

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Spotlight on…Green Dots!

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Green Dots is an organization on the Vanderbilt University campus that addresses and supports victims of personal violence and why personal violence situations occur. Green Dots are individual choices that meet in a shared vision trying to create a social movement. It is a person’s choice to save or prevent someone from being in a dangerous situation. The organization symbolizes moments where someone can help a person in potential danger and prevent a dangerous situation by going through the training and identifying the signs. These green dots will increase the safety of everyone on campus and in the community and believing in Green Dots could end the perpetration of violence. Through education, outreach, and staff development we can create more green dots around the community to help more people avoid sexual assault. At Vanderbilt, the organization aspires to integrate in all aspects of campus life, increase faculty and staff support, serve diverse populations, and implement the best practices to enhance programmatic efforts. They truly want to make a difference in people’s lives.

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Green Dots even includes the athletic department in their goal of educating the entire campus about how to avoid personal violence and what the signs look like. A majority of the athletic teams went through the training. It was a great way to learn about the signs of a potentially dangerous person and situation. For example, the trainer from Green Dots explained what steps a guy at a party might make to persuade a girl to go home with him for a sexual interaction. Some signs include; buying the girl drinks, encouraging her to drink a lot, complimenting her, engaging in a conversation so it seems like he is very interested in what she is saying, various physical interactions, and finally taking her home. The instructor also gave a booklet about documenting personal experiences. This was a way to reflect and grow from various experiences. We also learned about stories of young women who were victims of personal violence. Going through this training was more than beneficial because it helped to realize how important it is to protect each other when people are drinking or going out. Being sexually assaulted can happen to anyone, so being aware of the people around you is essential.

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Sexual assault has fallen by more than 50% in recent years. Had the 1993 rate held steady, 9.7 million Americans would have been assaulted in the last 20 years. Due to the drastic decline over the last 20 years, the actual number of victims was only 4.2 million people. The decline of these numbers is heavily due to the rising awareness of sexual assault across the nation. To put things into perspective, here are some statistics about sexual abuse: every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted. And each year, there are about 237,868 victims of sexual assault. Organizations, like Green Dot, are working towards ceasing this phenomenon and ending sexual assault. Green Dot parallels many of the ideologies and concepts we’ve discussed in class. Although sexual abuse is a new concept to our classroom discussions, it is not a new occurrence in everyday life. Green Dot isn’t the only organization addressing and supporting victims of personal violence. Lately there has been a huge push against sexual assault on college campuses, and we have read many articles focusing on bystander intervention and the emphasis on the victim never being at fault. A huge problem in today’s society is that many times blame will get put on the victim. “She was asking for it” or “she wasn’t that drunk” or “oh, she was flirting the whole night…” are common excuses we hear after sexual assault takes place. Society continues to misplace blame and shame on survivors, both men and women, on college campuses and everywhere else. Many famous people have been working to end this stigma that often get placed onto a victim. Marisa Hargitay, Law and Order SVU star, is a huge advocate for survivors of abuse—working to make sure they receive the justice they deserve. Many other organizations have been working to promote bystander intervention. Philip J. Hanlon, the president of Dartmouth, has also been working heavily on informing his students of the important of intervening when deemed necessary. Hargitay and Hanlon are just two examples of people that are working towards stopping sexual assault.

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Another concept we discussed in class is the difference between consent and coercion. Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or blatantly says yes to engaging in sexual activity with someone else. Central to the concept of consent is the understanding that every person has a right to control his or her body. Unless clear permission is given, no one else has the right to engage in any sort of activity with another person. Consent is not body language, assumptions, being drunk, marriage or even coercion. Coercion is a tactic that perpetrators use to exert power and control over another person. Coercion typically occurs when a person intimidates or manipulates someone into engaging in sexual activity without the use of physical force. Green Dot is working to ensure consent is given before someone goes off with someone else. It is all about bystander intervention. Green Dot promotes the idea that it is the job of outsiders observing situations to intervene if they feel they must. No one should feel like they can’t step into a situation that just doesn’t seem right.

Understanding what Green Dots can truly change your life. You gain a better understanding of how to protect yourself and others, as well as preventing a potentially dangerous situation. If you would like to learn more, you can visit their website at: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/greendot/ or email greendot@vanderbilt.edu. It is partnered with Project Safe so you can also contact Cara Tuttle Bell, Director of the Project Safe Center, at cara.tuttle.bell@vanderbilt.edu with any questions. 

By Amanda Lockwood, Kayla Peterson, Liam Sabino

(A)sexual

We live in a country today that is obsessed with putting people into groups and bases everything on things found in media to determine their culture. This movie looks at many different people who identify as asexual. What exactly is asexual/asexuality? The actual definition of asexuality is “the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the four variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality). My own definition of this term after watching the film would be that there are people who are not interested in having sexual intercourse or acts with people of the same or even opposite sex.

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Asexuality

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The documentary Asexual was a great source of information to understand what being asexual really means. Before this documentary, I didn’t really understand what it meant or how common it was because it is not discussed in schools or in the media. I feel like it is not well- known, even in the LGBTQ community, which was shocking. When a group of people that were asexual went to the Pride Parade, people at the parade did not understand what it meant to be asexual. The show The View, had David Jay (the main character in the documentary) on the show to discuss his experience as being asexual. He explained what it meant to not be attracted to either sex or sexual intercourse and also discussed the lack of community that he has as support. The hosts of the show started asking questions by trying to get a general understanding of what the term even means. In my opinion, these questions were helpful because a vast majority of society do not know what it means to be asexual. One of the hosts asked; “Is it a problem?” which is a valid question for someone that has a hard time understanding, but is definitely not polite toward someone that is asexual. On the show, they joked about being asexual and not wanting to have sex because to most, that’s impossible to feel. She then jokingly asked; “Then why do you have to organize?” Because it is such a foreign concept to people, they don’t understand why people are that asexual and why they are calling attention to it.

The same host that asked the above questions also asked if he was repressed or if he was afraid to face sexuality. I was also wondering this because what if it takes the right person to feel that sexual drive and desire with? Throughout the documentary, many asexuals described their experiences of having sex and not having sex. Their stories are astonishing because it is such a different concept. Can you think of anyone that doesn’t want to have sex at some point in the life? I thought that this documentary was very necessary to fully understand what asexual meant and the importance for others to understand and spread the word. There is over three million people that are asexual, according to the documentary, so it is necessary that those people do have a community to turn too.

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In the clip, you can see how important it is for asexuals to have an outlook or a community to explore their questions about their sexualities, especially when they first realize it. The hosts of the show ask the questions that I believe are the questions that everyone wants to know and David Jay does a great job explaining what its like. It sounded like he was describing his “coming out” in a similar sense as if someone was gay, lesbian, queer, or transgendered. I even found it interesting how he described that he can still have a normal relationship with someone just without the sexual part. As in, he still has to build a connection with someone just like any type of relationship, the only thing that is different is the sexual attraction. He finds personalities more attractive than looks or bodies. David Jay also explained in response to one of the hosts of The View that being asexual is an orientation even though they can choose whether or not they have sex. What do you think? Do you think asexuals have a choice in how they feel or is it an orientation? David Jay compared having sex with someone as an asexual is like a gay man having sex with a woman before he comes out. He really put into perspective how difficult it can be living as an asexual person but also explained the importance for people to understand how they feel. However, by the end of the documentary, he explained how hard it is to have a relationship without sex and realized that he would have to give in some times. He discussed how this is how to maintain a strong relationship with someone and that for him to get what he wants, he is going to give what his partner wants. Do you agree with this? Do you think David Jay and other asexuals should succumb to the pressures of sex just so that they can have a healthy relationship? I think it would be very interesting to see how well someone could fake this act, to do something that is not so desirable for them, but just to make someone else happy. It also still shocks me that the LGBTQ community rejected the asexual group at the Pride Parade in the documentary, because it would seem as if they would accept anyone. What do you think about this?

Purity, Pollution, and TRAP Laws

Morality: the principles discerning good behavior from bad, from what is right and wrong. For many, morality is centered around discourses in the church, within the family unit, or within other social institutions. Typically seen as a positive thing, shared moral values helps create a norm among a community, and allows it to run more efficiently (socially, at least). However, what happens when morality from individual to individual differs? When it comes to morality, particularly sexual morality, some groups of people get put on a pedestal, while others are shamed and humiliated for their sexual “deviances”. Recently, discourses of sexual morality have made their way into legislation and, subsequently, into the courtroom where debates over abortion and contraception, among other topics, have erupted. Continue reading

Sex, or lack thereof

Sex. How do you have it? Does it involve intimacy? How might you categorize it? Are all parties involved interested in having it? For some people, sexual desire and sexual intercourse are not appealing and do not factor into romantic relationships, if they have them. Continue reading