Tag Archives: sexual assault and culture

Solidarity against rape culture at Vanderbilt

The editor of the Vanderbilt student newspaper wrote a nice opinion piece about the visibility of rape culture on a fraternity message board.  After summarizing the toxic discussion, Andre Rouillard shares his conclusion and noted that he had saved the message board discussion and posted it for posterity:

If all of this isn’t rape culture made manifest, then I don’t know what is. I’m not going to waste my limited word count railing against the enabling power of anonymous message boards and social media, the insularity and cliquey-ness of Greek life, or other favorite targets of those who write on this subject but who don’t pay witness to it. This single, 44-post thread is a glimpse into a rape culture that is alive and well here at Vanderbilt. It’s alive in dorm rooms, Greek houses, classrooms and public spaces. It is a culture that commits rape and then comes together to shut down its victim.

“Consider yourself lucky if no one finds this thread,” warns one user. Well, now no one can: The thread was deleted from the website yesterday after 8 p.m. However, you’ll be able to find the entire thread saved here, with the name redacted.

It is plain now that there are groups of individuals at this prestigious, beautiful, diverse institution darkening its classrooms and hallways and making it a less safe and accepting place for the women in attendance. After all of the steps forward that Vanderbilt has taken in my four years here, this thread represents one hundred steps backward. I am deeply ashamed to share classrooms, professors and the name on my soon-to-be-printed diploma with the students represented in this cesspool of destructive gossip and self-serving intimidation. I’d like to think we at Vanderbilt, the lucky few, are better than this — but now, I’m not so sure.

via ROUILLARD: The girl that ratted – InsideVandy: Opinion.

In a badass moment of solidarity, another student has written a shared letter declaring that she is the ‘girl who ratted.’  Sharing risk and making the threats of retaliation visible are both smart responses to the incident.  Julia Ordog explained her strategic thinking:

“I wanted to just do something to make my thoughts on it heard in a concrete way,” she added. Ordog also wanted to demonstrate her support for the alleged victim.

“I came up with this idea of ‘I am the Girl That Ratted’ because in my head, I was thinking about how it really could have been anyone, and how even though I haven’t been a victim myself, it’s something that I feel very passionately about,” she said. “I wanted it to be an ally statement, but also more powerful than that.”

She only circulated the letter to about 60 people initially, who she says were students she had talked to about the online postings, students who she knew were passionate about the issues involved, and close friends. The message spread throughout campus during the course of the day, with Ordog being contacted by several students requesting permission to forward her email along to others.

via ‘I am the girl that ratted’: Collegiate ACB thread sparks viral solidarity movement – News – Inside Vandy.

Small numbers, smart organizing and strategic thinking change culture.

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Filed under feminism, representation, resistance, rhetoric, sexual assault

Law and Order: rape and culture

Salute to the well-argued piece about Law and Order: SVU from the perspective of a survivor of sexual assault.  From Stacey Mae Fowles:

Any rape survivor who has watched her rapist live out his life in relative bliss, while hers is a wreckage of fear and mistrust, will tell you that justice is a fiction we all consent to. While she struggles through the slow tedium of recovery others live in willful ignorance, believing that some sort of redemption is possible. The survivor lives a life redefined by the actions of another—every victory against him, every loss endured in his shadow.

via “The Truth Is Embarrassing”: Olivia Benson and the Timeline of Trauma.

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Run the jewels and rape culture

It ain’t my fault.  I’m too critical.

If you like rap music, then El-P and Killer Mike’s Run the Jewels is the best thing of 2013.  Kanye?  Jay-Z?  J. Cole?  Naw.

If you like your rap head-nodding with great verses, then get this album.


One premise of life of refinement is that purity is foolish.  Understand that you can simultaneously enjoy something and wish it were different.  Watching that TV show and enjoying it 99% until the anti-gay joke?   Live in both places — that you like the show and you dislike the joke.

It seems easy, but a lot of people get it twisted.  The idea that if you don’t like one iota of a piece of media that you have to pick teams and persecute the makers is rampant.


So I LOVE this tape.  Love it like fried tofu.  Love it like summer days.  Love it like sleeping late.  Love it and played it a dozen times since it came out.

Then there is a “twin back hype,” laced with spoken word from ‘Chest Rockwell’ AKA Prince Paul.  The line that sticks in my craw is sleaze ball stereotype rape culture shit.

Prince Paul/Chest Rockwell:  “How you feeling now, sweetheart, a little more relaxed?  Maybe it’s the half a molly I put in your Mountain Dew.  Yeah, works like a charm.  Just chill out for a second.  Relax.  Relax!  I got it under control.  I got you a glass of Beefeater, I got a brand new deck of Uno Cards.  Oh yeah, baby, tonight’s just getting started.  Okay, how ’bout I come over tonight pick you up in my brand new Segue?  We can go over to Long John Silver’s and get a fish platter.  You can take me home and massage me with butter all on my neck.  I love you.”

What?  My interpretation of this little vignette is that Prince Paul is making fun of Rick Ross who recently was dropped by Reebok because of his lyrics suggesting that he drugged his sex partners.  (“Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it” — U.N.E.O.)

I think the mockery is evident if you consider the Uno cards, Segue, Long John Silvers stuff etc.  Of course, Chest Rockwell seems to announce his drugging unlike Rick Ross.  And Chest Rockwell is the character from Boogie Nights suggested as a porno name, taken by a great rap producer for his Handsome Boy Modeling School character.  This is parody within parody.

But it doesn’t mean shit to people listening.  Intention and even humor are irrelevant to the choice of symbols presented.  I bet there is a kid listening to the El-P and Killer Mike song who not only get to model some great rhyming AND that drugging people for sex is funny or okay.


I don’t think the politics have to be perfect in rap music.  But you make fun of raping someone I’m going to call it out.  You might call it splitting hairs to say that I like the album, bump the album AND think people need to talk more about this skit in order to explain rape culture.

Frankly, given how much rape is part of our media saturated existence, then the explanation of why that line is messed up requires more thoughtfulness than to just suggest that you not listen to the album.  I think that everyone who is a conscious ethical being should be ready to bust up rape culture whenever they see it.  Even if it comes on the best album of 2013.

Get the album at Fools Gold.   Listen to it with your nephew or niece and talk about rape and why that skit isn’t funny.

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Filed under communication, hip hop, music, representation, sexual assault