Tag Archives: activist

The repetitiveness of #1in5 women

Standard

In 2016 there has been a number of politicians, activists and film stars claiming that ‘1 in 5’ women will be raped when on a college campus. This statistic has been repeated by third-wave feminists, Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and women activists alike, creating the claim that we live in a ‘Rape Culture’ (coined by feminists from the 1970s). Rape culture being that today’s society blames rape victims and normalizes male sexual violence (Wavaw, 2014).

American President Barrack Obama repeated this 1 in 5 statistic at the Grammy’s in 2015, when speaking about his “It’s On Us” campaign, which is about ending sexual assault on college campuses. Current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated it on her campaign trail at Iowa University in her campaign “Hillary for Women”. Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke from the television show ‘Girls’ star in a video campaign quoting the statistic 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted and urging people, especially women to ‘support, listen [and] take action’. The message is clear in each case that we hear, that there is a problem with male sexual violence against women and it needs to be dealt with. However, there has been plenty of information regarding, that this repetitive chant of rape culture and 1 in 5 statistic is misleading.

When dealing with such a significant and traumatic issue such as rape there is plenty of research provided that proves that this claim 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted on campuses is false and the references used to support this claim are not reliant. One reference comes from Westat with their Campus Climate Survey (found here), their own research found that not enough responses were made to adequately justify this claim of 1 in 5, also their term of ‘sexual assault’ is too broad, one could perceive an unwanted kiss on the same severity as forcible rape (Schow 2016).

To classify rape in the area of sexual assault is to put what ‘rape’ is on a spectrum, on one end is the differing examples of sexual assault all the way up to rape. Though this should not be, as rape is specific in its definition – the Oxford Dictionary defines rape as the “(typically of a man) force (another person) to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will” (2016). When public figures clump sexual assault and rape together there is blur on the message that is sent to the public. So there needs to be some clarity on the issue of the 1 in 5 statistic. Bretz claims that to talk properly about the issue of rape in classrooms is to talk to a class divided. Divided by thought and gendered assumptions based on experiences that may or may not have even happened. Feminists declare rape culture a problem on our campuses, the media and public figures repeat this issue, how can there be a meaningful discussion to clear the issue up when sides have already been drawn with a divided and divisive audience.

Sources:

2014, What is Rape Culture?, Women against violence against women, viewed 9/08/2016, http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

2016, Rape, Oxford Dictionaries, viewed 9/08/2016 http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/rape

Bretz, A 2014, ‘Making an Impact?: Feminist Pedadogy and Rape Culture on University Campuses’, English Studies in Canada, vol. 40, no. 4, pp 17-20

Schow, A 2016, New sexual assault survey suffers same problems as other, Washington Examiner, viewed 9/08/2016 http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/new-sexual-assault-survey-suffers-same-problems-as-others/article/2572532

Advertisements

An activist who “likes” is no activist indeed

Standard

Social media has allowed for the greater discussion of global issues all around the world. The stories and issues that would be untold or changed by governments is no longer the case, the turmoils and oppression people face from those in power can be shared, questioned and fixed. In a time where social media is a part of everyday life what does it mean to rise-up and do something – to be an activist.

One aspect of social media – particularly seen on Facebook we are greeted by dozens of emotionally triggering images or sayings that promote a cause and “allows” for an action. These pictures allow for an individual to show support – by “liking” the photo and this “like” is seen as a form of respect or a prayer, or seen as a trade-off for a supposed dollar donation. This participation in supporting a cause is limited, what is accomplished from liking a picture? What happens after someone likes one of these images – a sense of contribution and accomplishment for the like, knowing that you made an effort and the world is a little-bit better.

When it comes to issues of racism, abuse, poverty and sustainability, social media allows for these issues to be shared, though the effort of getting people to do something more than just liking a photo is needed. Social media is the medium to get the message across though the effort people are going-to-go-to to accomplish a change deals with more than the liking of a photo on social media.

Evgeny Morozov, in this article proclaims that social media is just a tool to get information and awareness of issues across. The awareness that social media can bring deals with a mass audience, but to get that mass audience to do something, deals with much more than just the awareness social media allows. The example in the article is the issue that happened in the Middle East called on social media as “Arab Springs”. Arab Springs dealt with the oppression from the government and the uprising of the public to overthrow the government. The start and success of the Arab Springs was sought to be because of social media, though the dedication, emotion and government oppression was felt by a vast amount of people that would lead to a change.

When it comes to social media – the intent of starting a protest is something to be desired. When issues are brought to mass attention a lot of people will just be a slacktivist and disregard any idea of creating change. There is something more than just spreading word of an issue to rally up the troops and topple governments. Social media is the tool to get messages across but not the entire reason why change occurs.