Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-22-12

Activists Project "Rape Is Rape" onto US Capitol Sunday

Stories of sexual violence, punctuated by the words "RAPE IS RAPE," were projected onto the U.S. Capitol building last night in Washington, D.C. Activist groups Luminous Intervention and FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture organized the action with the intent of drawing attention to the discourse around rape culture, noting that "American culture is uncomfortable to the point of being incapable of recognizing the reality of rape in this country...the culture of rape will not improve until a more difficult conversation is had."

The activists noted that only 14% of rape fits the definition of "forcible," and so chose to highlights stories that fall outside of this category. The stories illuminated onto the Capitol included the following:

As a young girl I was raped by a group of teenage boys. They put money on the bed afterward. I was convinced it was my fault.

I was drugged and raped by a man I met while traveling in Greece. He offered to show me around and then put sleeping pills in my food. It was broad daylight. Since my rape was not "violent," the Greek courts did not charge my rapist.

I can't even count the number of times I have had sex against my will. Some of the times I was pressured and other times I was drunk. I've never been able to call these situations rape.


In a press release, the organizers stated, "The origins of 'legitimate rape' or 'women who rape easy' are deeper than anti-abortion legislation, conservative views, or a few politically incorrect statements. The problems in the public conversations about rape are bigger than election year politics. The image of forcible rape is the only publicly recognized image of sexual violence in America, and it is not realistic. Rapists do not only use physical violence. Rape is not only committed by a few sick criminals. Rape is not a rare occurrence. Rape is much more complicated and much more common. If sexual violence is going to end, Americans need to drop the story of 'forcible rape' and face reality. These stories are here to force the issue."

The language of forcible rape has come to the forefront in the past year, as a campaign led by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine alongside a massive grassroots campaign succeeded in urging the FBI to change its definition of rape. Prior to the change last December, the 82-year-old definition had limited what was legally considered rape to an act that was "forced" and only enacted on a woman, excluding the majority of sexual assaults and leading to major underreporting and a lack of adequate response.

Also last year, Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) partnered with Rep. Todd Akin (MO) to redefine rape under the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act so that only those deemed "forcible" could receive Medicaid funding for abortions.

Media Resources: FORCE/Luminous Intervention Press Release 10/21/12; Think Progress 8/19/12; Feminist Daily News 12/7/11


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/31/2014 Massachusetts Enacts New Law to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Facilities - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed into law yesterday a bill to help protect access to reproductive health care facilities in the state. The law, entitled An Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities, enables a law enforcement official to order the "immediate dispersal of a gathering that substantially impedes access to or departure from an entrance or a driveway to a reproductive health care facility." The order would "remain in place for 8 hours or until the close of business of the reproductive health facility, whichever is earlier," and make noncompliance punishable with a fine or jail time. . . .
 
7/31/2014 First World Day Against Human Trafficking Encourages International Action - The first World Day against Trafficking in Persons took place Wednesday in an effort by the United Nations to bring attention to the continuing need for international support to help trafficking victims and end impunity for perpetrators. Millions of people are still trafficked every year, sold to work in brothels, fields, and sweatshops. . . .
 
7/30/2014 Fifth Circuit Court Rules In Favor Of Mississippi's Last Clinic - Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic will remain open after a the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against HB 1390, the Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals. Had the court not upheld the lower federal's court's injunction, HB 1390 would have shuttered Jackson Women's Health Organization (JWHO), the state's only comprehensive reproductive health center. . . .