okay, we get it…

In an overview of a combined research study performed by Connell, Lorber, Martin and Risman, the authors of “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” propose a series of changes that should be taken to prevent sexual violence in the party scene (Armstrong et al. 481). While the proposed changes could be considered logical with respect to the data provided, the specific circumstances that arose at this “large midwestern university” should not automatically be applied to all schools and probably aren’t the most likely to encourage change. The authors suggest a more integrated approach to campus housing, they encourage more balanced policing of places where students can engage in under age drinking, and the promotion of more socially acceptable non-alcoholic activities (Armstrong et al. 489). Education, of both men and women, is a critical aspect of sexual violence prevention and should begin prior to the arrival of freshmen. As we have learned, often it is the sexual script in which “men… pursue sex and women… play the role of gatekeeper,” (Armstrong et al. 488) that promotes the sort of ignorant view that leads to women blaming themselves or believing there will be stigma associated with coming forward. The truth is that education is not the only approach to this problem that needs an update. When you read between the lines, the authors have a pretty negative opinion about the effect that fraternities currently have on sexual assault.

Here at Emory, we are already a step ahead. We have relatively integrated freshmen dorms. We take alcohol awareness classes and are given sexual assault information before arriving for orientation. Every year they update the data they want incoming freshmen to know because we have the resources to combat and react to these kinds of incidents. The fraternities, while certainly not monitored 100% of the time, are policed very heavily during the most party heavy time of the year and monitored consistently throughout the year, especially in comparison to my freshmen dorm. There are plenty of non-alcoholic events offered and often, people do actually show up to them. Yet, despite all of these significant differences, Emory still has it’s own problems.

In recent news, Emory has had a significant rise in reported incidences of sexual assault and rape (Skibell). These issues obviously have to be addressed. However, it is my belief that the proposed steps lack the specificity to be directly targeted toward the Emory environment. Those proposals are inherently blaming the Greek system. While starting in the Greek system is a fully acceptable way to promote change, targeting this portion of Emory is not going to stop the violence. As noted in the Wheel article, two of seven reported incidents occurred in fraternity housing. I would say ‘only two’, but that would make it seem as though I’m trying to transfer the blame.

Our Greek community includes many campus leaders who participate in sports, community service and student government. Yes, there have been two reported incidents in which Greek men have been accused of sexual assault. And yes, there are more to come, because women are starting to feel more comfortable coming forward. But the more accusations that are reported, the more we are going to see that these incidents are happening all over campus.

The problem as I see it, is in the process of education. Encouraging young women not to drink until they have no self control is a great idea. Keeping in mind that young men are probably drinking as much, if not more, than their female counterparts, encouraging men not to take advantage of women is also a great idea. The problem is, there’s no question. The definition of consensual is simply not promoted in any form between our peers.

According to Emory policy:

“Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity, and consent is given by clear actions or words. It is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone (Campus Life).”

When a friend of mine told me he was being accused of rape, I asked, “did she say she wanted to have sex with you?” His response, “Nah, but she was going with it…” He’s a really nice guy and I would never think him capable of putting a girl through that, but it’s a pretty common story. Plenty of girl’s go out with the full intention of making out on a dance floor and then it just goes too far. It’s not okay and I’m not proposing they are at fault because someone took advantage of them.

In all honesty though, I didn’t really expect him to say yes. After this class, I just know that’s the only way he could have protected himself. In speaking with my peers, I have found the predominant response to the idea of direct consent is disdain. Frequently guys will laugh at the idea of asking and girls will admit no one’s ever asked them.

I believe this one point could change a lot. There might still be sexual violence, but I think changing the approach to consent could transform the dangers of the party scene.


Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura Hamilton and Brian Sweeney. Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel Integrative Approach to Party Rape” 2006

Skibell, Arianna. The Emory Wheel. “Seven Rapes Reported Since August” November 5, 2012

Campus Life. Emory Healthcare Policies and Procedures. Policy 8.2 Sexual Misconduct. August 16, 2012

The Silent Victims of Sexual Violence


Sexual violence against women became a fundamental issue for the new feminist movement that began in the late 1960s, and resulted in the emergence of an anti-rape movement in the United States.  The anti-rape movement was founded on two notions: first, the radical political insight that violence against women is a fundamental component of the social control of women, and second, that women should try to do something to turn victims into survivors (Matthews, xii). The movement started out as a result of the leftist counter culture that wanted increased action by the state and law enforcement.  Many feminists believed that the state was doing little to punish rapists and was focusing little effort on preventing and controlling rape from happening.

It almost seems like the movement emerged by placing blame on the government, not on the rapists themselves.  Feminists believed that remaining inactive was in fact more harmful than the abuse. Skepticism toward the state extended to “careful scrutiny of possible funding sources- early activists often refused money that required too close a relationship with suspect state agencies, particularly law enforcement” (Matthews, xii).  This is extremely ironic because now these groups are heavily reliant on state funding, as the anti-rape campaign has changed from a grassroots movement to a main concentration of professional social service employees.

Solely from the reading this week we can see the transformation that anti-rape awareness has underwent.  The American College Health Association has published an entire manual of how to deal with the issue of sexual violence- providing a prevention tool kit, efforts to spread awareness, and educational links.  It is interesting, though, that the packet is targeted toward a female audience and really only describes ways to prevent against male aggression.  Little is mentioned about males who are victims of sexual violence and how they should become educated or cope with being abused.

In comparison to females, male rape victims are underreported by a very large margin.  Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused in the United States before the age of 16.  This is not a small number that should go unaddressed.  It was just in January of this year that the federal government changed its definition of rape to include a wider range of sexual assaults.  National crime statistics on rape used to only include assaults against women and girls committed by men under a narrow set of circumstances, but now have been expanded to include male victims.  The CDC conducted a recent study that revealed that 1.4% of men in a national survey had been raped at one point in their life.  This number was heighted from historic numbers due to the fact that the CDC expanded its definition of rape to include oral and anal penetration (Rabin).  For men, the subject of rape is harder to discuss because there are few males that have spoken out and have created the image of being a “survivor”.  Society needs to acknowledge that rape is not just confined to females but also affects the male portion of the population.


Matthews, Nancy. Confronting Rape: The Feminist Anti-Rape Movement and the State. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

Rabin, Roni. “Men Struggle for Rape Awareness.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. .

Legislation and HIV AIDS

Emory Report: June 8, 2009

How does our legislation affect an epidemic such as HIV AIDS? Do our voice and votes count towards the spread of this disease or is elimination? I found an interesting article in the Emory Report from 2009 that opened up these questions and further explained how gay marriage bans are linked to the rise in HIV.

Still a hot topic today as in 2009 is the legislative right for gay marriage. [1] Gay marriage has indeed made great strides and as of early November 2012 a total of nine states have approved same sex marriage. Federal law still does not recognize same sex marriage however; steps are being taken to recognize gay marriage. So how can we link marriage to HIV? This article in the Emory Report proposed [2] “A constitutional ban on gay marriage raises the [transmission] rate by four cases per 100,000 people.” So, if the data is clear in that same sex marriage leads to fewer cases of HIV then why won’t legislation make greater strides to grant marriage to gay couples? Understandably, this would mean radical changes to the constitution and it will open up doors for other groups that want change and further still; the deconstruction and reconstruction of our government and nation. How would this tweak in the constitution affect us in the long run?

These economists from Emory have found data that link an epidemic to law making and economics. In what other ways does HIV affect our lives? If we look at condom purchases since the epidemic broke in the United States in 1981, I am sure that we will find a significant increase in the total number of condoms bought. Not only do condoms bring in money to our economy but so do lubrication, and sex toys (for those of us who would rather play it safe). There is huge research being done for better condoms and sex toys for more protection and pleasure. HIV has the potential to improve our economy in these ways. Does federal legislation hold back on change for these reasons? Or as I mentioned before, is it more a matter of what is to come if the constitution is altered?

If legislation does decide to grant same sex marriage in all states and federally then, will the number of cases of HIV go down? Will we begin to see an end to this epidemic if couples become less promiscuous and commit to marriage? With regular doctor visits and safe sex practices is this all we need to accomplish to see an end to AIDS? For the individuals affected with HIV through drug use, what can we do to eliminate AIDS in this way? Significant research is being done here at Emory and around the world to find the cure that can once and for all end AIDS but until then, will measures such as same sex marriage and safe sex practices better protect the population from AIDS?

[2] “Intolerance is deadly. Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more                    gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk.”



[1] “Nov. 8 2012: States.” Freedomtomarry.org. Freedomtomarry, 2003. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

[2] Carol Clark. “Gay marriage bans lined to rise in HIV.” Emory Report 8 June, 2009. Print.

Men Preventing Rape

In this past week’s reading entitled “Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence,” the American College Health Association (ACHA) created a “toolkit” that spoke about ways to help prevent sexual violence from occurring. One particular section of the toolkit seemed of particular interest to me which dealt with “10 Ways Young Men Can Prevent Sexual Violence” [1].  This section became a strong focus for me considering that I am a man; and I am one who has seen the effects of sexual violence, and the trauma it can inflict on someone.

Incidentally, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article on November 18, 2012, called “Sexual Assaults on College Campuses a Problem Nationwide.”  The article was primarily in response to the Emory event “Take Back the Night.” In the article, Laura Diamond and Bo Emerson reported that there have been at least seven rapes this fall semester [2].

Looking back to the ACHA toolkit, the 10 things a man can do to help prevent such incidents were listed as the following:

  1. Define your own manhood.
  2. Take it over.
  3. Understand the ability to consent.
  4. Get a woman’s perspective.
  5. Ask guys.
  6. Be aware of pop culture’s messages.
  7. Choose words carefully.
  8. Speak out.
  9. Get involved.
  10. Show your strength. [1].

Initially looking at this, it seems to be a pretty comprehensive list, and one that I could agree with being potentially useful, but after a couple months of delving into observing sexuality more, there are a few points I would like to draw attention to, particularly, numbers 1 and 10 – define your own manhood and show your own strength.

As a heterosexual male that aligns my gender identity along the “norms” of society, there does not seem to be any difficulty for me relating to this, but like I said previously, this class has added a new perspective when observing these two. Now, I can understand that this toolkit is more than likely aiming to target heterosexual people. What if I were a biological male who wanted to help prevent rape but I identify more as a female though? This seems to be a bit more difficult to comprehend at that point. OK, so I am a third party providing what possibly could be considered an overly critical point, but nonetheless, point number 6 says I should be aware of pop culture messages. This may seem a bit extreme, but what if this toolkit went viral, and I were the later  person that I described? There would certainly be an expectation set upon me as a guy to make sure I defined my manhood. Since this is a blog post and maybe there are some readers out there who do not know who I am, they would say who cares; it is not that big of a deal. But in reality there is a certain expectation of masculinity that goes along with someone of my stature, and I feel this would be particularly unfair to someone who may be more feminine than myself yet is built similarly to me. This of course directly ties into point number 10, showing your strength.

The toolkit says, “Don’t ever have sex with anyone against their will. Make a pledge to be a man whose strength is used for respect, not hurting.” Again, a well-written and intended statement, but in this case it is not what is said, it is what lies underneath the statement. In number 10, this is assuming some form of agency is to be taken by a person. I realize I am potentially speaking about a very extreme case that may only apply to a small amount of people, but it is those few people who are the ones that often go over looked. So again, here could potentially lay another issue for a guy whom is above average in size. This statement also indirectly implies that I would be using my strength at all. The way in which the toolkit is laid out, “a man whose strength is used for respect” would insinuate that my strength is used almost as some form of protector.

As I said before, I realize I am being a bit over critical here, but I have experienced certain challenges being associated with having to maintain a level of masculinity and expectations merely because of my size. Have I completely minded these challenges? No. I have grown to embrace some of them, but I understand this may not be the case for every person. Therefore, it could create issues for other young men as they grow, develop and search to find themselves. Overall, I believe the toolkit to be something that everyone should read, even if is not flawless of every politically correct issue. I have had close friends who have been raped and even girlfriends who have been raped in the past, and if I had read this prior to being exposed to these instances with them, I certainly would have felt more prepared on how to handle it. For those who only skimmed through ACHA reading, go back and read it again because these situations are always closer than you may think.


[1] https://classes.emory.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1642099-dt-content-rid-262289_2/courses/FA12_AMST_385_DTROKA_Combined/ACHA_PSV_toolkit.pdf

[2] http://www.ajc.com/news/news/sexual-assaults-on-college-campuses-a-problem-nati/nS8TT/



Preventing Sexual Violence

The American College Health Association (ACHA) does see sexual violence as a serious issue on university campuses [1]. Prevention is key, and there are different levels of prevention. University campuses across the nation need to made these issues of sexual violence well known amongst all students so they can take the necessary precautions. It all starts with primary prevention, which is population based using broader environmental and system level strategies to attempt to prevent initial sexual violence before it gets worse. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students must play a key role in creating this ideal environment on campus [1].

At Emory, people have definitely began trying to prevent sexual violence for a long time. In 1984, the Training Center and Hospital Educations decides to take action and held a self defense program teaching techniques and scenarios involving rapists, purse snatchers, obscene telephone callers and more. This program was set in hopes of changing a national attitude toward crime from one of fear to rational assessment of a crime situation. During this time period, people are aware of crime going on and take precautionary measures to deal with the situation at hand. In 2002, as stated in the Emory Report, members of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women review sexual harassment policy at Emory. The shift towards prevention is definitely taking place.
In the Emory Wheel on October 7, 2005, it is stated that Emory sees a 9.5% drop in crime rate. But forcible sex charge had almost a 0% change in crime rate. Sexual violence still occurs everyday. In 2005, a rape survivor shares her story. Kelly is a 24 year old women who teaches first grade and was raped by a 18 year old rape her. She said that she “would never have a sense of normalcy again… and [her] world had crashed around [her]”. The effects that the victims go through hurt their whole outlook on life. To acknowledge this incident, there was a self-defence clinic event at Emory and different-colored shirts were hung on a clothesline in front of Candler Library, which symbolized difference forms of sexual assault. It’s good that Emory at least makes everyone aware of what could happen and teaches people how to prevent such incidences.
Alongside of this prevention with sexual violence, in 2005 lawmakers crack down on virtual sex, violence. It seems that certain video games specifically “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” has a hidden sex game where a player can press a command over and over while two virtual characters go at it. Even other games that have been considered to being safe and kid friendly such as “The Sims 2” has also come under fire for sexual content. It seems like these sexual references are everywhere in the world and they can maybe encourage such behaviors and actions and make it seem ok.
It seems like references to sexual violence is everywhere but it’s good to know that at least Emory has been trying to implement programs in order to spread awareness of the crime that goes on and provides solutions to prevent them.

[1] Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence

Rape Among Men

I read Disclosure by Michael Crichton at a pretty young age (it is beyond me how my parents let a 10 year old read that), and it made me familiar with the connotations men deal with when discussing rape or sexual coercion. Quick overview: male character either has sexual relations with his female boss or risks losing his job. When he does reveal that he is being sexually harassed, his female boss counters by suggesting that he assaulted her. The book showed popular perception because the male was at risk for his job while everyone sided with the female.

The book touched on parts of what “The Effects of Rape on Men” discussed more deeply. The main flaw in my thinking was after reading Crichton’s book; I never really factored homosexual rape- the more prominent one. Walken’s et al. article definitely gave me more insight to the effects of rape on men.

The initial survey was shocking; estimating that rate of sexual assault amongst gay and bisexual men was 27.6%. Additionally, previous studies showed that current or ex-partners committed 65% of the sexual assaults. I extrapolated the data and took it to mean that 1/5 gay or bisexual men will be raped by someone they previously dated. These numbers are ridiculously high, but gay and bisexual men are at a higher risk because of homophobic sexual assaults as a means of emasculation.

There are a lot of parallels reading between sexual assault among men and women. I learned that men experience a lot of the same emotional and physical anguish that females go through. For instance, men feel very vulnerable after the rape, overcompensating for their safety. This can lead to a change in life style when a person becomes obsessed and paranoid about their safety. Men who have been sexually assaulted also blame themselves for the incident or feel embarrassed which can hinder the emotional recovery process.

                    As  Eunice Owiny explains, “The man has been raped, the woman has been                       raped. Disclosure is easy for the woman. She gets the medical treatment, she                     gets the attention, she’s supported by so many organisations. But the man is                       inside, dying.” (Will Storr, 2011)

It seems like there is a double standard when it comes to rape. People are not completely understanding of a male being raped. Owiny, a male rape victim described his predicament as “Everybody has heard the women’s stories. But nobody has heard the men’s”. In East Africa, rape can be used as a political tool (I originally thought that rape was used as a political tool against females in my previous blogs) used as a means of power. There are some horrific stories in which male captives would be raped 11 times a day, and wouldn’t say a word about it after release for fear of being thought as vulnerable and weak. They would lose family support because the wife assumes if the man can’t protect himself, how is he supposed to protect her? The brother will say, “Now, my brother is not a man”.


Ending Sexual Assault on Campus

Talks with S


The discussion that I wish to delve in today’s blog is something that although I do not have first hand experience on, is nevertheless very close to my heart. Anything I comment hereafter is my personal opinion, and I do not intend to hurt or disrespect anyone’s feelings.

The Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, in About Sexual Assault, states, “Sexual assault is any sexual activity that is against another person’s will including: rape (attempted rape), sodomy/aggravated sodomy, child molestation, fondling, sexual harassment, indecent exposure, stalking, peeping toms, sexual battery.” This issue of sexual assault or sexual violence is a serious campus and public health issue (ACHA Guidelines 5). The ACHA in Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence talks about how student’s academic success and health can be impacted, and how victimized students can feel disempowered and alienated, if college campuses are unable to provide an atmosphere where students can feel safe (5).

When I came to the U.S from India to attend college, I was unfortunately very well versed with the notion of rape. Every morning when I would open the newspapers in India, there were at least a few articles on how girls were raped in the city the day or night before. My hometown- Delhi, the national capital of India, is known to be an unsafe city for women. Often students from other cities of India studying at Emory joke, “you come from the city of rape”, when I mention which city I am from. Since this was reality, and nothing concrete was being done about it, women all over Delhi took personal precautions to safeguard themselves. We all lived life as normal as any other individual in any other city, however, additionally took certain steps to ensure our safety. This included girls returning to their homes before it got too dark, girls wearing clothing that was considered “appropriate” and not something that would expose too much skin, and also never to take public transport alone, etc. The government’s take on such issues was that girls should follow the above steps, as they should “respect” themselves and avoid situations to tempt men. Women were victimized and it was taken for granted that “men will be men,” and thus we as women took the appropriate steps to take care of ourselves. Therefore, prevention never included the involvement of men back home. Traditionally, even in the U.S, men were never included in the efforts to combat the problems of sexual assault. The ACHA Guidelines encourage the involvement of men in every step to combat the issue of sexual assault. “Most guys don’t commit rape, but every guy can play a role in ending sexual and dating violence” (ACHA Guidelines 14). It encourages men to define their own “manhood” and thereby build a strong character that respects women. This guideline also encourages men to “speak up” and not let their peers joke about rape. It is believed that this can change male’s perception of social norms of “masculinity”, as “men [are said to] have powerful influences on male peers” (ACHA Guidelines 14 & 16).

There is a traditional myth that women are mostly raped by strangers or unknown individuals. The ACHA in Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence, states, “friends and acquaintances commit between 80[%] and 90% of the sexual assaults against women on college campuses” (16).  Thus, the involvement of not only women, but also men can have a significant impact in reduction of friend (or acquaintance) rape by encouraging both women and men to attend primary prevention education sessions. These education programs aim to “prevent first-time perpetration or victimization by improving knowledge and attitudes that correspond to the origins of sexual violence (such as adherence to social norms, male superiority, male sexual entitlement), build skills for respectful interactions, and empower participants to become agents of change (ACHA Guidelines 7 & 8).

Although when back home in India, I had heard of women and children getting raped, I had never heard of men getting raped. When I came to Emory, my perception of rape and sexual assault (and all the notions surrounding it) gradually changed. The mandatory PE 101 Health class that I had to take as a freshman, and then joining SAPA- Sexual Assault Peer Advocates, to support it’s founder and president Anushka Kapoor, were instrumental in the inclusion of the ideology that “men also get raped.” Ms. Kapoor in her interview with Her Campus Emory, states, “National statistics tell us that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted by the end of their college careers.” Other statistics state,“10-20 percent of all males will be sexually violated at some point in their lifetimes” (MSCASA). The question then that came to my mind was that why did I never hear of a male getting assaulted in India, and why have I heard of extremely rare cases of males getting assaulted in the U.S as well? According to Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault,

“They [male victims of sexual assault] fear being ignored, laughed at, disbelieved, shamed, accused of weakness, or questioned about being gay. Perhaps worst of all, men fear being blamed for the assault because they were not “man enough” to protect themselves in the face of an attack. For all these reasons, many male survivors remain silent and alone rather than risk further violation by those around them.”

 I then begin to wonder why this extremely comprehensive and useful guide by the American College Health Association is written only from the point of view of a “heterosexual” sexual assault scenario -a male assaulting a female- in college. What about males assaulting other males, females assaulting males, and females assaulting other females? Guidelines need to be specifically designed to include different actions that can be taken for different scenarios.

At the end of the day, any kind of sexual activity- involving any individual of any sexual identity, gender or sexual orientation- requires “consent” and at every level of sexual intimacy. Consent is a “voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement. Consent is an active agreement; Consent cannot be coerced” (ACHA Guidelines 15).  This consent needs to be “acquired” from one’s sexual partner before every sexual action, even if the sexual act has been performed before. In addition, this “approval” needs to be attained without incapacitation of alcohol or other drugs, pressure, force, threat or intimidation, and an “implied yes” is not acceptable (ACHA Guidelines 5 & 15). The ACHA in Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence, states, “Approximately 50-70% of all sexual assaults involve alcohol” (19). Friends (or acquaintances) and “assaulters” blame the act of sexual assault on alcohol. While friends may blame the victim as “having asked for it”, offenders use it as a justification. This has lead to the occurrence of the “unwanted”, “pressured” and “regretted” type of sexual activities to exist on campus (ACHA Guidelines 19). To avoid such unintended scenarios, the domains of influence of potential victims, perpetrators and bystanders should be included in sexual violence prevention activities (ACHA Guidelines 5).

The ACHA Guideline is an essential tool kit that should be a required reading material for every entering freshman at college. This guideline talks about several recommended actions that can be taken by the faculty, staff, administrators, and students in the creation of a safe campus culture (ACHA Guidelines 5). It also talks about bystanders who act as catalysts to address, prevent and intervene in the fight to end sexual violence on college campuses. The Emory Student Health Department officials, Ms. Lauren Bernstein (Coordinator of Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention Education and Response at Emory), SAPA trained peer advocates, and ASAP students, provide useful on- campus support  services to victims and friends or acquaintances of victims. These resources should be availed if needed. Spread the word.




American College Health Association (ACHA Guidelines). “Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence”

Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA). “About Sexual Assault”http://gnesa.org/about-sexual-assault

Her Campus Emory. “Anushka Kapoor’13 SAPA President” 14th November 2012. http://www.hercampus.com/school/emory/anushka-kapoor-13-sapa-president

Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MSCASA) “Male Sexual Assault” http://www.mscasa.org/what-we-do/male-sexual-assault/

Student Health Emory. “Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention”  http://studenthealth.emory.edu/hp/get_involved/asap.html

Student Health Emory. “Sexual Assault Peer Advocates” http://studenthealth.emory.edu/hp/get_involved/sapa.html

Rape Victims are not Gender Specific

In Effects of Rape on Men: A Descriptive Analysis by Walker et al., the authors discuss a study they performed to look into the lives of men who have been sexually assaulted. The results were not surprising to me. On the first page, which the page number could not be seen clearly, states “the help and support for male victims of rape is more than 20 years behind that of a female victims.” Seeing that there is really nothing in the media for males that have been raped, nor a lot of research, the everyday crimes of male rape still goes on. On this same page it says “gay and bisexual men are more likely to report sexual assault by other men than heterosexual men.” It goes on to explain two reasons behind this:they are at risk of being raped by dates or while in relationships with men, and th occurrence of sexual assault. This is supported where the article says that ex sexual partner had to do with 65% of assaults in the study o gay and bisexual men. The other reason was homophobic sexual assault, essentially hate crimes against homosexual men.

The article goes on to say on the same first page that “very few male rape victims report their assault to the police because they think that thy will experience negative treatment, be disbelieved, or blamed for their assault.” These types of feelings are actually very similar to women’s experiences of rape. The fear of negative reactions also prevents men from looking towards medical treatment. This, in turn, could lead to victims not knowing if they contracted an STD from the traumatic event. Those that did go to the hospital had much more severe injuries than women usually do. This can be explained in the way that men do not go to the hospital after their assaults unless they are severely injured.

On page 496, it starts to explain the emotions of men after the incident. “Male victims reported significantly more hostility, anger, and depression than females did.” The article explained that this is because “anger is a more ‘masculine’ way to deal with trauma.”

This can go back to the Vulnerability Paradigm discussed in Rethinking Gender, Heterosexual Men, and Women’s Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS by Higgins et al. The article discussed how women can have reduced agency making them more vulnerable to diseases contracted from sexual intercourse. Men can be put in their own vulnerability paradigm when it comes to sexual assault. Their need to maintain their masculinity can in turn put them in danger of not being tested for sexually transmitted disease after the trauma of a rape. Also, in many situations, one could say that some homosexual men lose their agency in the homophobic person’s perspective. This can make them more vulnerable to sexual assault.

On page 500, victims discuss what they believe male victims of rape need in order to make steps to ending this type of trauma. They suggest eliminate homophobia within professional services, police specially trained for male rape victims, support groups in major towns, 24 hour help lines, and more easily available therapy services. We need to take heed to these requests and start to make a better, safer world, for those men affected and could be affected by sexual assault. On our own campus we have “Take Back the Night,” I do not believe we have anything that highlights the plight of male victims. For our own campus, I believe that would be a great step in the right direction.

Derby Days

This week the archival research led me to a full-page article dedicated to Sigma Chi’s Derby Days. This article from the 1973 Emory Wheel used a sarcastic tone to describe the event. The Wheel dons pictures of promiscuously dressed young women accompanied by the words “The Sexist World of Derby Day … What Would or Wouldn’t You Do for This Trophy”. Other captions include “Derby Day is a rite of passage from puberty into infantile sexuality” and comparisons to “that airline commercial where a sexy stewardess says, ‘I’m Debbie, fly me’”.
A Sigma Chi tradition started in 1922, Derby Days is supposed to be a weeklong philanthropy event. The Wheel also notes its attempts to be involved in raising spirit. Current day Emory Sigma Chi Derby Days include events such as a powderpuff flag football tournament, trips to the Children’s Hospital, and the sale of baked goods and tickets to social events in which the profits are donated to charity. The event most reminiscent of the Wheel article is the Sorority Talent Show. It was banned by Emory IFC a couple of years ago but it used to consist of choreographed dances by each sorority and one by the brothers of Sigma Chi. The winning sorority gets some form of a prize.
As a brother of Sigma Chi I feel I can comment on the nature of this event. There are no forced decisions to participate or to act in a certain way. Sorority members choose their own dance and perform it by their own will. Any behavior suggested from the Wheel may occur, but it does not go remarkably beyond anything that is witnessed at any other fraternity’s average party. Anyone who has an issue with something like this should then have issues with the framework of American Greek life in general. All criticisms of Greek life are valid; it creates a strict social scene prone to many types of liabilities in young, boisterous college students. Reading the American College Health Association’s Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence shed some light onto the environment that gives rise to sexual violence. There are similarities to Greek life, namely the abundance and abuse of drugs and alcohol as well as large social pressures.
My beliefs about Greek life at Emory, and they may certainly be misguided, are that the type of school Emory is changes susceptibility to these things. Within such a small social circle within a relatively small school like Emory, most of the people you hang out with already know one another. Because most everyone knows each other, I think this causes the frequency of sketchy sexual situations to go down. Also, Emory has smarter kids than your average state school and so people better understand the risks associated with activities in Greek life. Again, I could be naïve in my thinking, but in my fraternity and my friend group, I have never heard of any sexual assaults of any kind even under the definition provided by the ACHA.
Something such as the 1973 Derby Days would have never been allowed with the current day college administration. Across the country, schools are trying to more strictly control Greek life, as there have been many liability cases. I understand the reasoning behind the change but I do not think it is going to affect that much. College kids will continue to drink, do drugs, and act with more sexual freedom regardless of the presence of fraternities. It is something that makes college unique and I cannot realistically see it going away. Working with these organizations to educate both men and women about the risks associated with such actions would be a much more productive way to ensure that stuff like this happens less.


According to the ACHA (American College Health Association), 50-70% of all sexual assaults in college campuses involve alcohol. In today’s society, sex and alcohol are frequently linked. There is a stereotype that men drink to feel more powerful, sexual, and aggressive. This stereotype also believes that these men go out on a Friday night, and expect sex by the end of the night. This expectation can lead to misinterpreting a woman’s signals (nonverbal cues) to fit their expectations.

I can’t help but notice there is a double standard when it comes to alcohol consumption. Abbey states in Perception of Sexual Intent: The Role of Gender, Alcohol Consumption, and Rape Supportive Attitudes, “Traditional stereotypes convey a double standard regarding alcohol consumption: drinking men tend to be viewed more positively than drinking women. Women who drink alcohol are often perceived as being sexually promiscuous.” (Abbey 2) This stereotype can lead a man to think that a woman under the influence is more likely to respond (sexually) to his advances than a sober woman. Alcohol consumption leads to impaired judgment. Based on this statement, are women that were under the influence when raped somewhat (partially) responsible for what happened? This question has been used by lawyers time and time again to cast doubt on rape victims’ claims. In my opinion, regardless of involvement of alcohol, the full responsibility falls upon the rapist.

In Rana Sampson’s Acquaintance Rape of College Students she states, “Women ages 16 to 24 experience rape at four times higher than the assault rate of all women”. That would make the high school and college years the most vulnerable to women. Sampson also mentioned how college women are more prone to rape/sexual violence than women at the same age that are not enrolled in college. One in Four college women report surviving rape (15 percent) or attempted rape (12 percent) since their fourteenth birthday. The incidence of rape recording may be under representative of the actual number of rapes that occur. There are many factors that contribute to under-reporting. There might be different social costs for reporting rape at various universities, making comparisons between schools difficult. For example, Georgia State’s student body consists 22,587 undergraduates, while Emory only has around 5,500 undergraduates. When only referring to the students that “go out”, the 5,500 gets even smaller. With a small group of students such as this, there is a social cost that comes with a woman reporting a sexual assault. For instance, rumors about that woman can spread rapidly around campus, leaving people in her social bubble to judge and label her.

Abbey, A. “Perception of Sexual Intent: The Role of Gender, Alcohol Consumption, and Rape Supportive Attitudes.” Springer Netherlands, 05 Apr. 2002. Web.

Sampson, Rana. “Acquaintance Rape of College Students.” University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 01 Aug. 2003. Web.

Warsaw, R. I Never Called it Rape. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.