The Double Standard Of "Stealthing"
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The Double Standard Of "Stealthing"

Yes, men can be victims, too.

"Stealthing" is a term commonly used to describe a practice of sexual assault in which a man secretly removes the condom during sex, despite agreeing to wear one, without the woman's knowledge or consent. This form of deceptive sexual assault is disgusting, and violates women as well as their trust for their partners. This form of assault can cause serious emotional and physical distress from the victim. "Stealthing" has unfortunately become a revolting trend that targets mainly women.

Stealthing has been condemned by Rape Crisis as a sex crime, and it was recently added to the definition of rape in the state of California. However, there is another form of stealthing that isn't as publicized.

If a man agrees to have intercourse with a woman as long as she is taking birth control methods, and she secretly stops taking them, is that not just another form of stealthing? It violates trust and can also be viewed as a form of sexual assault, because the man did not consent to sex without contraceptives. While not as common as secretly removing a condom, it is still possible for women to attempt to "trap" men by secretly trying to conceive a child.

While stealthing is becoming illegal and prosecutable for men, women who lie about birth control are completely free to do so, as they won't face any consequences for it. Both are deception and both are forms of stealthing, yet only one is considered to be truly illegal.

Another comparison is that both can potentially cause pregnancy. Sabotaging or removing a condom and lying about birth control could both lead to unwanted pregnancy, or at least unwanted on one side of the relationship. If a woman is a victim of stealthing that results in pregnancy, they have the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion or to take an abortion pill.

Male victims, however, do not have the right to decide whether or not the woman should have an abortion. After all, it is her body and her decision. Men can't force their partner into having an abortion for obvious reasons. Men will have to pay child support for their unwanted child that resulted from stealthing, as well as not being able to obtain any real form of justice.

Women can be victims of stealthing. Men can be victims of stealthing. Anyone can be victims of stealthing, and it's about time we started talking about it.

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Rape Culture in College

We can do better than this.

FlockU Presents is a new vertical we've launched for longform pieces about topics you care about - everything from sex and body shaming to the history of beer pong to how terrorism affects you as a college student.

In a growing conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, we often hear the term "rape culture" used to describe the metaphorical "system" of society that allows these horrible crimes to keep happening with seemingly little effort to stop them. You also probably hear the term "rape culture" dismissed as some radical-liberal PC myth. So, what really is a rape culture, and wtf does it mean on a college campus?

What is rape culture?
The term "rape culture" refers to a setting in which sexual violence is normalized, excused, and even accepted as a fact of life, due to assumptions about gender and sexuality. Rape culture does not simply exist. It's created by the ways people think about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, and what sex is and should be.

When people believe that men should be aggressive, dominant, and strong, and that women should be passive, submissive, and weak, we create a certain set of normal or excusable behaviors based on these characteristics. When we believe that sex is something that men want and women give up, and that attitude combines with established norms for men and women's behavior, we normalize, excuse, and accept sexual violence as a simple fact.

Rape culture is ever-present in our lives. Perhaps, most unfortunately, in ways that we do not even notice.

In a rape culture, we start with the assumption that a woman who reports a rape is lying when we easily believe that victims of virtually all other crimes are being honest with their reports.

When students go away to college they assume that everyone just gets drunk and has sex. They assume that it's okay to get someone drunk in order to have sex. That's rape culture.

In a rape culture, a woman who has sex often and with many different people is a slut (or loose, or easy), but a man who has sex often and with many different people is a boss.

A rape culture is one in which violence against women is excused, in many forms. Rape culture is when no one thinks it's a big deal to catcall or grope women on the street, or when NFL players hardly get a slap on the wrist for beating the living hell out of their spouses.

It's also rape culture when a rapist (finally, and rarely) gets punished for the crime, and onlookers lament the rapists' "promising futures," as happened in the Steubenville, Ohio case where high school football players documented their night-long, brutal assault of a female classmate with photos and text messages.

Rape culture is also when we teach kids that teasing, and hurting, and being mean to one another are signs of "love." Like when a boy beat up a little girl, and a nurse at the hospital told her that he must just like her. Rape culture teaches us that sometimes the people who love us show it by beating us up. That teaches kids that violence is ok, and those kids grow up to feel they deserve their abuse: "he only punched me because I wouldn't listen," or "he wouldn't have raped me if I just said yes."

I knew I was living in a certified rape culture when a friend of mine mentioned to a group of us, very casually, that she was raped. She even called it that, but then immediately dismissed the incident:

"Yeah dude Matt is a douche. Like, he's hot, but scary.""Wait what are you talking about?"

"No, I've told you guys this before. I blacked out and woke up naked and clearly he fucked me and I was like uhh, what the fuck?"

"Holy shit, Linds."

"It's really whatever. I literally have sex with anyone so can you really like, even rape me?"

"Can you really even rape me?" Laughing ensued. It is only in a rape culture that a woman can be violated in the most intimate way possible, and yet explain it away herself.

We live in a world where approximately 1 in 5 women and about 1 in 71 men in the United States have survived an attempted or completed sexual assault (National Violence Against Women Survey; CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey). And yet we live in a world where rape and sexual assault aren't discussed. Despite the staggering statistics that show that sexual assault is an important and prominent issue for girls, young women, boys, and young men, only 21% of children receive sexual assault education in school, while 55% receiving bullying education (Finklehor 2014).

A rape culture allows sexual violence to continue without serious opposition or efforts to fight it. For the pervasive violation of women to truly end, our society has to change its attitudes about men, women, and sex.

This is our problem to change
You don't have to stand idly by and accept that you live in a world where 1 in 5 women survive a sexual assault. Each of us, everyday, can take action in both big and small ways to start to change the rape culture around us. In smaller communities, like college campuses, these concerted actions can have a combined impact that truly changes things.

To stop trivializing rape, we need to stop laughing at or brushing off rape jokes.
Rape is a seriously damaging crime, and that's nothing to have a chuckle at. On top of that, you never know if someone around you has survived a sexual assault. You could be giving them a flashback to the worst moment in their life, and that's nothing to make light of.

If or when someone tells you they've been assaulted, be understanding, supportive, and believe them.
You wouldn't start questioning the reliability of a friend's story about having their wallet stolen, so don't question their reliability here. You can read more about how to be supportive of someone who's been assaulted here.

It is possible to interfere in potentially dangerous situations in a non-aggressive way.
If you see a situation that looks like it could end up in a sexual assault, you can separate the people in a number of ways. Join in the conversation and be, (excuse the crude term), a cock block. Tell one of the people their friend is looking for them in another place, make sure someone gets walked home safely, or ask someone else to interfere in another way. It may not be the most comfortable thing for you to do at a party, but you could truly save someone. That is priceless.

Don't hold people to bullshit standards.
It's time we stop putting expectations on other people. Don't give your guy friends shit for being "soft" or "a pussy" or "whipped." Don't call other women "sluts." This language can seem harmless, but it contributes to our expectations of what people should and shouldn't be, and creates an environment in what rape is excusable.

Sexual assault is a serious epidemic on college campuses, and sadly, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere in a hurry. I don't want to allow these crimes to continue happening in the places we love. It is up to you, to me, to the people who make these campuses what they are: vibrant, exciting, and challenging. It's up to us to come together to make them better, safer, more accepting places. It is not impossible, and it can happen sooner than any of us might expect.

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Arkansas's New Abortion Law Is An Outrage

An outrage, disturbing, medieval, misogynistic, the list goes on...

A recently passed Arkansas law would require rape survivors to notify their rapists before getting an abortion.

This law, HB 1566, or the Tissue Disposal Mandate, is linked to the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009 which requires a fetus to be treated as a deceased family member and that disposal of the fetus requires the consent of both "parents."

The law also states that a person has to be 18 to have final say over the disposal of the fetus, so if a rape survivor is under 18, they would not be able to have the final say in the decision of an abortion. If their rapist is over 18, then the rapist would have the final say over the disposal of the fetus.

The ACLU has already filed a lawsuit against this law, as well as three other anti-abortion laws, and filed a motion to stop enforcement of this law while their case is pending.

This law is medieval through and through.

A rape survivor should not have to confront their rapist again in the chance that she gets pregnant. Rape is about power and the fact that Arkansas is giving rapists even more power over their victims in the decision about a pregnancy is horrible.

And, if a rape survivor is under 18, and a rapist is over 18, the rapist technically gets final say in the abortion. So teenage rape victims, after not having bodily autonomy during their rape, won't have bodily autonomy over a pregnancy; their rapist will.

This law would also devastate a woman's privacy and right to her own body. A woman shouldn't be forced to notify the other "parent" in getting an abortion. If the other "parent" is their rapist or an abuser they've gotten away from, notifying them will only serve to harm the woman mentally and possibly physically.

The law also says the physicians can't perform abortions without "reasonable effort" in contacting the "parent." This is a huge violation of doctor-patient confidentiality and the privacy a woman should expect with her doctor.

"He was there at conception so he ought to be there through the whole process," the sponsor of the law, Kim Hammer, told Bustle. "I think that all life, from conception through birth and right up through death by natural causes, needs to be treated with dignity, respect, and also a unified approach to deal with the remains."

Just because a man was there for conception doesn't mean he should be there through the whole process. A domestic abuser should not be there through the whole process nor should a rapist.

This bill provides exceptions for neither.

Life does deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, but so do women. Men don't trust women enough to make their own decisions and that's why bills like these exist. It's oppressive in the most abhorrent way because women don't have the autonomy to make decisions about their own body.

Laws like these are the reason we need more women in state legislatures and Congress. And laws like these will probably never stop showing up in legislatures. But that doesn't mean we stop fighting asinine laws like these, or stop fighting for women's health.

"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don't let the bastards grind you down." - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

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Here's Some Rape Math in Light of the Stanford Case

If you're looking for a trigger warning, this is it.

FlockU Presents is a new vertical we've launched for longform pieces about topics you care about - everything from sex and body shaming to the history of beer pong to how terrorism affects you as a college student.

If you ask a college student if they know a rapist, don't be surprised when they say yes.

"I am positive that most college students know a rapist," a fellow, recent University of Michigan grad told me, "Even if they aren't aware. There are MULTIPLE people who even I am not totally sure if they are rapists [or not]. Like, I've heard stories, and I can't even really decide what to think. It's everywhere."

When we got into a conversation about the Stanford rapist case he told me, "I am scared to think what would have happened to this case if they were found in a bedroom. He was caught IN THE ACT in the back of a building behind a dumpster, and was given six months, possibly weeks, with good behavior."

I personally know three rapists - one of them being my own - all graduates of the University of Michigan.

I personally know a dozen survivors, and this is just a matter of people who have chosen to confide in me.

Those are personal statistics. These are the University of Michigan's. In June 2015 it was estimated that, "more than 20 percent of University of Michigan female students have been sexually assaulted on campus."

Ready for some math?

43,625 students attend the University of Michigan.49.1 percent of U of M students are women.21,420 students at U of M are women.20 percent of those women have been assaulted.

That's 4,284 assaulted women in one year at U of M alone.

I can't even name 4,284 people.

"Unlike the very black and white crime of shooting someone or robbing a bank, there are ways for them to avoid that classification in their own heads with these lame justifications of 'I was sure. It was blurry. It was a misunderstanding.' Assault is one of the only crimes that the assailant, even when faced with evidence, can claim total ignorance of," my friend scoffed.

Could you imagine if 4,284 women were murdered at U of M each year? It'd probably decrease the assault stats because there would be less women around because, you know, they'd be murdered.

This past year U of M's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) released 97 balloons, each representing 50 survivors assaulted at U of M this year. (Oh, and here's the math on SAPAC's site of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report for 2007).

Their estimate was closer to 4,850 women, so just slap an extra 500+ assaulted women on my math for 2016.

You know what? I'm terrible at math. I'm not even 100 percent sure that I did that math correctly. I probably didn't. Let's say I screwed it up. Let's say I'm off by a hundred - hell, let's say I'm off by a thousand. Let's just go easy and say at least 3,000 women are assaulted every year at the University of Michigan.Good, just 3,000. The relief I feel... there's just so much of it.

By now we've all seen this, this, and this article about one of the rapists at Stanford (I promise you there are more), and this deserving, powerful letter from the survivor. Everyone has been appropriately freaking out because of his slap-on-the-wrist sentence, and the way he's been treated in headlines. I'm not going to sit here and recap them all, you can read them for yourself.

If a case with as clear of evidence as this has failed to see appropriate justice, what hope do the rest of us survivors have coming forward?

In her letter she states, "I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt." Irreversible means there's no going back. This is not something that happened. Rape is something that is happening. That's present progressive tense people. Rape lives on through PTSD. It does not leave you. It's irreversibility is what makes it truly horrifying. Being raped is contracting a sexually transmitted mental disease.

Let's do some more math, yeah? Let's do some Stanford math.

Stanford's math is a little trickier. They released this delightfully descriptive campus climate survey in Oct. 2015 (the same time U of M's). They filled their results with fancy, narrow definitions.

According to Stanford:

Sexual assault "[includes] a nonconsensual sexual act - involving intercourse, digital penetration, oral sex or penetration with a foreign object - accomplished by use of force, violence, duress, menace, inducement of incapacitation or knowingly taking advantage of an incapacitated person."

Sexual misconduct "includes nonconsensual penetration or oral sex that occurs without the condition of force, violence, duress, menace or incapacitation that is involved in a sexual assault under state law and Stanford policy. Sexual misconduct also includes acts of sexual touching without consent and some acts of clothing removal without consent."

I'm going to go ahead and say both of those definitions are describing sex crimes, even though Stanford ran around being like, "Look at all the rapists we don't have cause we chopped up the statistics!"

Here's the breakdown:

16,136 students attend Stanford.1.9 percent of students (male & female) reported sexual assault.14.2 percent have additionally reported some other form of sexual misconduct.That's 1.9 percent sexual assault + 14.2 percent sexual misconduct = 16.1 percent of students have been assaulted (by my calculation after digging through their bullshit.)

That's 2,533 sexually assaulted students in one year at Stanford.

There are conflicting statistics out there too, that think these numbers are wildly inaccurate. Wait, here's some more.

That's not even all the math that's out there. This is just a math appetizer, or a mathetizer per say.

This is math without the other math. The other math that includes every student - not just the ones who took the surveys - the math we'll never get that includes all the survivors out there who will not speak up - especially on a school-administered survey - and the math that doesn't accurately include male survivors.

I wish if you were a criminal and committed sex crimes you'd immediately turn blue. I wish that survivors never had to tell their stories in the pursuit of justice and progress, so that we would never be humiliated and shamed. As a society we'd just have to say, "look that guy turned blue, get him boys!" and a couple of British cops from the 30s would pop out of nowhere singing in four-part harmony. Then, with wooden police batons, they'd bonk the blue people on the head and haul em' off to prison forever and ever.

But rapists aren't going to turn blue, and we're going to have to keep speaking up.

I'm so tired. I'm exhausted. I don't have an answer today. Today I just have math (math, and some terrific imagery of British cops).

If you're looking for more information, please visit http://www.seeactstop.org/act/ or your school's sexual assault prevention center.

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Why Would Bill Cosby Be Educating Anybody On Sexual Assault?

Waaaaaait a minute.

After the highly publicized trial of Bill Cosby for allegations of sexual assault (in which multiple women came forward and Cosby himself admitted to drugging women), his spokespeople and wife appeared on Good Day Alabama and discussed their plans to hold a series of town hall meetings to educate the public about sexual assault.

Ummmm, what?

One spokesperson explained that the meetings are "to talk to young people because this is bigger than Bill Cosby". He added, "This issue can affect any young person, especially young athletes of today. And they need to know what they're facing when they're hanging out and partying, when they're doing certain things that they shouldn't be doing -- and it also affects married men."

The host of the show responded that this sounds like a "do as I say, not as I do" discussion, to which another spokesperson said that "the laws are changing" and that "the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended" (by the way, North Carolina just legalized rape -- how out of touch could you be to say something like that?).

They then went on to explain that "anything at this point can be considered sexual assault and it's a good thing to be educated about the laws".

This sounds like it will most likely be discussions on how to avoid catching sexual assault charges than about not sexually assaulting somebody. As far as I'm concerned -- no, as far as anybody is concerned, Cosby and his spokespeople have absolutely no place holding town hall meetings on the topic if this is the approach they're going to take.

There's still so much firm belief that sexual assault allegations are always fake and so much discrediting of victims, so for this awful man and his spokespeople to essentially come out and say, "We're gonna teach these people how to get away with it" is such a slap in the face to people -- especially victims.

I can honestly only imagine that the people who would be attending these town hall meetings would be people who do similar things and want to understand how they can maneuver around the laws and get away with it. With so many people, particularly women, who have to live in fear and constantly be on edge, constantly worry over being slipped drugs or trying to reject pushy male advancement without becoming a victim of violence, this is beyond messed up. Like, beyond messed up.

Just because Cosby's trial ended up as a mistrial doesn't mean that he's innocent, or that he or anybody involved with him have any place speaking on this topic.

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North Carolina: The Worst State To Be A Woman

Where "no" does not mean "no."

The United States of America has a problem, and it has nothing to do with leadership.

The problem this article addresses is the problem of consent, or rather, withdrawn consent by women in the state of North Carolina. The state of North Carolina determined in the 1979 trial State v. Way that initial consent cannot be withdrawn for a singular act of intercourse.

Women in North Carolina have the right to consent to sex. Women in North Carolina have the right to withdraw consent to continuing a sexual relationship. However, women in North Carolina do not have the right to withdraw consent in the middle of a sexual act. North Carolina is the only state to hold this kind of law.

For a sexual act that started with initial consent to be considered rape or sexual assault, there has to be "evidence of more than one act of intercourse," states a court document of the State v. Way trial.

This means that a woman can say no in the middle of intercourse, but the man is under no legal obligation to stop simply because the court of law does not allow women the chance to rescind consent. This law also allows some room for some interpretation because some sources state that even when things get violent, a woman cannot rescind consent while other sources say that she can.

The United States of America already has a problem with rape victims/survivors not being believed.

Since 1979, women's rights in North Carolina in regards to sexual assault were lowered exponentially. In every other state, a woman has to fight to get her rape story believed; in North Carolina, women have to fight to get the law to say that they were raped.

Senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat representing the 37th District of North Carolina, has tried to amend the law with SB 553. While the proposed bill seems great, and as if women in North Carolina will finally get the rights to their bodies that they deserve, the proposed bill has a serious flaw.

SB 553 specifically states that "a person may withdraw consent to engage in vaginal intercourse in the middle of the intercourse." This means that the proposed Senate bill does not give women the right to rescind consent to oral or anal sex.

While technically anal sex is illegal in the state of North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against these laws in 2003, which means that these anti-sodomy laws cannot be enforced. The anti-sodomy laws make the Senate bill unable to address this kind of sex.

To correct this fundamental error in the bill, and give women the right to rescind to all types of sex, an age-old law in North Carolina has to be taken off the books, which seems unlikely since they have had 14 years to do just that since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional.

Women in North Carolina have a large political mountain to climb if they want to have all of the rights to their own body. A right that is as basic as control over your own body should not be something that anyone should have to fight for, but here people are, trying to have the right to say "no."