Conversations with Loriliai Biernacki – The Power of Restraint: Hinduism & Masculinity, America & Rape Culture

by Julia Woods, student staff

 

Sexual assaults are a hot topic on the CU Boulder campus, lately.

Outside of social-justice-minded circles, you don’t really hear much discussion about rape culture. But even if the words aren’t explicitly stated—even if it’s easy to turn a blind eye—we can’t deny that as a society, many of our dominant U.S. values support the domination of other people—and in doing so, we normalize sexual assault.

Rape culture is so alive and well that we do not expend any time or energy on the rapists themselves—after all, boys will be boys. Women make up the vast majority of sexual assault victims and only a tiny fraction of the perpetrators—and yet for some reason, we see fit to funnel our disdainful warnings upon women, and not the men who actually commit sexual assaults. As women, the message we get is always the same—“Rape is an inevitable danger, so don’t put yourself at risk. No one is going to protect you but you—don’t dress ‘provocatively,’ don’t walk by yourself late at night, stay sober, keep pepper spray in your purse, and invest in a self-defense class.”  Rarely do we ever hear, “Men, do not rape women. It is your responsibility to prevent yourself from sexually assaulting other people. If you rape someone, these are the legal and social consequences that will befall you.” Because, if we’re being honest, there aren’t too many legal or social consequences… we just accept rape as an awful thing that men do to women from time to time.

As a woman-identified student, this is extremely frustrating. Why is it that rape is so engrained in the booze and bass of college party life—and in life in the US, as a whole? I feel like I’m trapped in twisted time-warp universe, where our attitudes about sex and gender fail to discourage sexual violence—instead they endorse it. It’s 2013—why does our culture still insist on operating under that formula that man equals dominator, woman equals dominated? And what if we changed this paradigm—how would that affect rape culture?

The God Rama exemplifies the ideal of Hindu masculinity

The God Rama exemplifies the ideal of Hindu masculinity

Continue reading

Advertisements

My Adventures at a Crisis Pregnancy Center Part II: In the Belly of the Beast

-by Julia Woods, student staff

No one tried to perform an exorcism on me.

“All of our services are free and confidential. We’re not a medical clinic, but we do use tests from a facility that’s 97-99% accurate.” I was certainly not expecting to hear that from an employee in a Crisis Pregnancy Center—nor was I expecting to hear the words, “The decision [to get an abortion] is up to you,” or, “It’s your body, and you have a choice.” I entered the office bracing myself for blatant judgment, preaching, and condemnation—but that wasn’t how it unfolded.

Continue reading

My Adventures at a Crisis Pregnancy Center Part I: Scouting out the Ironically Named Real Choices CPC

-By Julia Woods, student staff

You’ve probably seen it before: “Pregnant? Scared? Alone? We can help.” These are ads for Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC’s), and they are everywhere—inside busses, tacked to bulletin boards on campus, taped to the inside stalls of public bathrooms, even inside the coupon booklets that they give out at the CU Bookstore—almost as ubiquitous as the CPC’s themselves. For every abortion clinic in the United States, there are five CPC’s—drive around the city and you can spot them tucked inside strip malls and office buildings, operating quietly beside hardware stores and Chinese restaurants.

Continue reading

Mounting Threats to Women’s Healthcare Rights Create Anti-Woman Political Climate

-By Julia Woods, student staff

So far in 2012, our country has put women’s rights on trial. On the national level, conservative policy has shifted to restrict women’s access to health care, from demonizing everything abortion to birth control. Local Colorado politics have followed suit: some of our most basic liberties, such as the right to receive adequate healthcare, the right of each woman to her own individual sexuality, and the right to do as we choose with our own bodies, are all very much on the chopping block.

Continue reading