Posts Tagged: sexual assault
The question of what posture to take toward our own pain is unexpectedly complicated. How do we understand our own suffering—with what words and to what ends?
For the New York Times Magazine, Parul Sehgal questions the terminology we use when talking about sexual assault: from “victim” to “survivor,” either term a kind of interpellation unto itself, possibly infringing on personhood—and all the facets “person” might mean....more
We can’t change our community, and ourselves, if we don’t foster a dialogue about how power is abused within it, and the only way to do that is to empower survivors to speak.
Following recently forced awareness, Muriel Leung, editor of Apogee, collects fourteen responses from various writers to the sexual violence perpetrated in our literary community....more
Jezebel’s Jia Tolentino discusses “the end of the era of the important, inappropriate literary man” in context of the sexual abuse allegations against Iowa Workshop visiting professor Thomas Sayer Ellis. She posits that social media is allowing victims more visibility and power as they speak out against their abusers who have previously been protected by universities and other institutions....more
Some fiction leaves you sad, some happy; some draws out a bittersweet tear or makes your heart pump faster with thrills. But the best stories are often the ones that leave you conflicted, that complicate your feelings and perspectives on topics you previously thought settled—the ones that make you twist in your seat, uncomfortable....more
Sexual assault has been at the forefront of the news this week, most recently in the discussion of Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens to You” at the Oscars, a song in support of survivors of sexual assault that challenges dismissive attitudes toward the pain caused by such an attack....more
Emma Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University yesterday. She might have gone unnoticed had she not also been carrying around a mattress.
In her sophomore year at Columbia, Sulkowicz was raped. Like many rape victims, Sulkowicz considered her attacker a friend, and he was someone she had slept with twice before....more
Fraternities do not have a monopoly on rapists: not at UVA, not at any frat, not even the deep Southern ones where upwards of 100 guys live in the house. (The plumbing; one shudders.) But: what the fraternity system does collect together is a group of male teenagers who enter their organization through rites of interpersonal physical violence, and who, military-style, reproduce this violence onto each other’s bodies.
We couldn’t remember his name.
We couldn’t remember what he looked like.
We couldn’t remember how many there were.
We changed our story as we began to remember more details.
We changed our story into something we could live with.
As Rolling Stone’s article about rape at the University of Virginia continues to be torn apart, Rumpus Essays Editor Emeritus Roxane Gay writes about the problem of expecting survivors of sexual assault to be models of excellence, to get all the facts right, to have fought hard enough, to be, as she terms it, “good victims.”...more
The problem with unreliable narrators — and the thing that makes them so delightful to read in fiction — is that by design, you never quite know when they are telling the truth. Which makes it a stunningly poor choice of conventions to employ when writing about sexual assault, a crime that victims are often accused of fabricating, either wholesale or in parts.
The defenders always ask the same questions: How old is 14, really? Why didn’t they tell anyone sooner if they were so innocent? Why didn’t they say anything at all?
Using the recent publicity about decades of allegations against R. Kelly as a springboard, Rumpus contributor Ashley Ford writes about the reasons young girls stay silent when sexually assaulted....more
For Slate, Amanda Hess examines yet another first-person confessional: sexual assault victim Jenny Kutner’s essay “The Other Side of the Story,” published in Texas Monthly.
The power of Kutner’s story is that it lends insight into a particular type of victimization—the kind that happens when the victim doesn’t see herself as one.