Solidarity and Recognition for Male Victims of Sexual Assault

I would like to start by stating that this piece is in no way meant to ignore, disregard, or otherwise insult female/non-binary/etc victims. My only intention is to provide some information and some support for male victims of sexual assault. This is an action that I find necessary because of how rarely I have heard this specific group of victims discussed. Often, the idea of a male being raped is played as a joke (insert a tasteless prison shower comment here), or is directly disregarded (I have heard people say “Men can’t be raped!” dozens of times).

In light of this situation, here are two very important statistics for you to contemplate. Keep in mind, these are only applicable to America.

1.270 Million and 1.267 Million are not too far away from each other, and I would suspect that there are yet more men who are afraid to come forward. After all, when a man says he was assaulted – especially by a woman – it instantly causes many to question their masculinity. I expect more and more male victims to step forward as we continue to examine the situation and as victims realize that they are not alone.

If you have been the victim of rape or assault, regardless of your gender or the gender of your attacker, you are not alone. There are millions of victims just like you. I encourage you to come forward if you are able and to seek support wherever it may be available to you.

 

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A Roaming Roma: An Interview with a Randolph College Student

 

Whilst there are many people at Randolph, of many different ethnicities and races, one might find it particularly difficult to find a Roma, but there are some around. I was lucky enough to meet a Roma student who was willing to sit down with me and talk about her experiences. Our anonymous interviewee is of mixed race, being part Roma and part white, and for the purposes of this piece we will refer to her as Sue. Her great grandmother was the last member of her family to live in a traditional, all-Roma community.

If you do not recognize the term Roma, then surely you will recognize the term Gypsy. Some consider “Gypsy” to be a pejorative (and perhaps you might want to reconsider using phrases like “gypped” in the future), but Sue doesn’t view it that way. Throughout our interview she used it interchangeably with “Roma” and “Romani,” and she is comfortable with the fact that others use the term, regardless of their heritage.

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Clybourne Park Examines Racism, Suicide, and Class

If any of the topics in the title could potentially upset you, then you might not want to read on. There’s some strong language here, too.

From Friday, April 17th to Sunday, April 19th,  Lynchburg College staged a production of Bruce Norris’ play Clybourne Park. Those familiar with the play will recognize it as the unofficial sequel to the classic play A Raisin in the Sun, taking place both directly after the original play in the first act, and 50 years later in the second act.

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Gender Representation in Ephemeral Horror Stories: An Invitation to Symposium

We’re dealing with horror here, so if you’re squeamish you might not enjoy this.

What you’ve just heard is a relatively new type of horror story:  a creepypasta. These tales are often posted on temporary forums, left to be read by a select few before they are automatically deleted. Some people save the stories and collect them on websites, and some – like the narrator of the video above – like to turn them into little audio dramas.

But, as some of you may know, horror is not a genre that is typically kind to women. But is this new breed of horror different? Do we finally have a picture of equality?

The answer to this question (and for the sake of his senior research project), Randolph’s own Brandon Wood took it upon himself to examine dozens of these stories, and the culmination of his research will be presented at the upcoming Symposium. The results of his research may be surprising to you!

This specific presentation will be given during Session 0a, on Thursday, April 23rd, 4:30 – 5:45 PM, in Nichols Theater. It will be presented alongside several other research project, so please be prepared to stay for the whole session!

Women in Gaming: A Celebration

It seems to me that many people perceive video games to largely sexualize women, and I would like to directly address this perception. I’m not denying the existence of sexualized female characters, but there are countless strong female characters that go completely ignored when people begin to discuss female portrayals in gaming.

I think that we simply have a tendency to focus more on the controversial games – those that have a tendency to sexualize – than we do on the games that get things right. After all, “This game is abhorrent” brings in a larger audience than “This game treats women with respect and the female characters are well developed.” It is the same logic that most news utilizes, and it is for this reason that you are more likely to hear about a tragedy than a good deed when picking up the local paper.

In the spirit of awareness and celebration, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to 10 of my favorite strong, well developed, and non-sexualized female characters. If you’ve grown tired of the apparent sexualization of female characters, then check out…

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Are We Spending Our Money on Worthy Causes?

Have you ever experienced “manspreading” (when men sit with their legs spread far apart, sometimes taking up multiple seats in the process)? Have you ever walked into class, gotten onto a bus, or sat down in the dining hall to see a guy taking up more space than you feel appropriate? Has it made you uncomfortable, or do you think it inconsequential? Do you think it’s an issue worth spending $77,000 on? Well, some people certainly do, as an anti-manspreading ad campaign in New York City cost nearly $77,000 of taxpayer money.

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A Different Kind of Rap Music

A heads up:  this post – and the song above – features some strong language.

Elsewhere on Randolph Riot, we have articles critiquing certain songs for their less-than-stellar lyrics. As many have observed before me, a lot of popular rap music seems to be focused on “bitches-and-hoes.” Many of these songs are demeaning towards women. It would be forgivable if someone thought that all rap was like this, but they would be thankfully wrong. Rap can still  be about a person’s struggles, and about more aspects of their life than their income or their sexuality.

I present to you Open Mike Eagle, and his passionate, internet-era lyrics. At the top of this post you’ll see his song “Qualifiers.” I’d like to invite you to give it a listen so that we can talk about the lyrics.

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Better Understanding the Wage Gap, both Nationally and Locally

I know for a fact that female professors at Randolph College do not always earn what male professors earn, even if they have similar credentials and experience. While it is not possible to dive into specifics for Randolph due to a variety of reasons, one can see similar trends at many public Virginia colleges. The difference is often small – a few hundred dollars, or maybe a thousand – but it’s there.

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The wage gap is something that we hear about constantly from everyone. People – including the President himself – like to say that women only earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn. This isn’t quite right, though. In reality, the 77 cent figure doesn’t give us the entire picture. The 77 cent figure was calculated by taking the median (the middle value in a data set when the entries are lined up in order of quantity) income of men and weighing it against the median income of women. This figure does not control for countless variables, including profession, education, age, or relationship status. It is just lumping everyone together by gender and looking at the middle values.

Better studies exist that help shed light on things. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) conducted a study in which they found that when controlling for a few important factors, such as education, chosen major, and profession, the wage gap shrinks to 6.6 cents. This is still not perfect, but it is far better than a 23 cent gap, and it shows that we are not as far from equality as we once thought.

What’s more is that this same study made a few mistakes that – if corrected – might see that gap shrinking to an even smaller figure. The biggest mistake made might be that they placed a huge range of professions into a single “other” category, which included farmers, coaches, medical technicians, athletes, and military specialists. This is in addition to their “other blue collar” category which has a similar range that includes both lawyers and librarians. Clearly, if you compare the salaries of two drastically different professions, then things are going to be different. Worse than that is the fact that no profession has a perfect gender split and if there are more men in one profession, and said profession makes more money than a female dominated profession, then the gaps between the two of them will be even larger.

So why do people parade the 77 cent figure? Well, most likely haven’t looked too deeply into the studies they’re citing. This is a problem that we need to confront:  over-trust in statistics. We must always remember that statistical data is malleable and it can be presented in dozens of ways to draw different conclusions. I would like to encourage you to look closely at any studies you read in the future – as we have done with the AAUW study above – to see if you would draw their conclusions from the presented data.

Though, this gets away from the real issue:  the 77 cent figure may not be accurate, but there is still a wage gap. Be it a cultural problem, or a systematic one, it’s still a problem. So what do we do about it? Pass laws? Stage protests? Demand better wages? Is this something that we can solve by raising the next generation differently, or by encouraging transparency amongst businesses so that we have a better idea of where the inequalities are? Should we focus on making the climates in male dominated professions more welcoming for women than they currently are?

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I have no idea. This is, as they say, out of my pay grade.

What I do know is that this is a complicated issue that needs honest, transparent public discourse, and we can start such a discourse by looking more closely at the available statistics and drawing our own conclusions.

So what do you think, rioters? Do you have a solution in mind? Does the data here surprise you? When and where will we find the solution that many of us so desperately want?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photo Credits: ThinkProgress, Veooz