Beyond the act of physical and sexual violence, post traumatic rape syndrome, as well as the refusal of many rape victims to report when they have been assaulted can be attributed to a prevailing rape culture on America’s college campuses. Rape culture is a term used to describe the way rape, sexual violence, and sexual abuse are linked to the culture of society. Essentially sexual violence and speech against women is normalized and excused in media and pop culture. Thus, male sexual aggression is in a number of ways encouraged and supported in society. Here, violence and sexuality are interchangeable. Violence is seen as sexy, and sexuality is seen as violent. Music fills the airwaves telling women that “I know you want it” and “I’ll BEAT the pussy up” and if you are familiar with soca music from the Caribbean, you may have heard the song “Kick In She Back Door”, which is literally about breaking into a woman’s home (and her body) through anal penetration if she refuses a man’s sexual advances.
This rape culture simply takes its cue from or is steeped in patriarchy; which is the general structure of privilege in society, where heterosexual men have more power and influence over other members of society.
Women make up the majority of tipped workers, and are 70% of servers. Nearly 37% of all sexual harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) come from the restaurant industry — that’s more than 5 times the rate for the general female workforce .
What’s living off tips got to do with sexual harassment? Everything.
“It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining, just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook,” Facebook told the BBC in a statement.
Naked headless women golf tees, it’s all a bit of a laugh, eh? Adding, according to Dunlop, “a little humour to your game” or “the perfect gift for someone who takes the sport a little too seriously.” Bend down and stick the nice bit of pink plastic tits and arse in the ground, balance your golf ball head, swing and “thwack”. Hilarious.
But what about those of us who aren’t laughing?
I grew up in a village in Yorkshire with a pub called The Silent Woman. The pub sign was a picture of a woman carrying her head in her hands. To be silent a woman had to be headless. A misogynistic leap of association, dragging in the nagging wife, the fishwife, the gossip: to be silent a woman must be headless. Is there a feminist on social media who hasn’t experienced attempts at silencing when she expresses her opinions? I’ve lost count of the number of men who have told me “Don’t start with ….”, “Shut up,” or called me variations of screeching, bleating feminazi. The Silent Woman in Slaithwaite did not have a unique pub name, there are several across the UK, with The Headless Woman as a variation. Sometimes the name appears with the couplet: “Here is a woman who has lost her head, She’s quiet now—you see she’s dead” (Author unknown) just in case the inference from name alone isn’t clear enough. Carl Jung talked about cultural archetypes. Cross cultural , universal concepts that he believed indicated a collective unconscious. Unconscious forces that are expressed in images, religion, stories and mythology as they enter consciousness and shape our interactions in society. The silent woman, synonymous with headless woman is a patriarchal archetype. It reflects sexist misogynistic cultural values.
The tech industry — both startups and big companies like Google and Yahoo — have struggled with gender inclusion and its overall “brogrammer” culture. Men in tech outnumber women seven to three and make up an overwhelming majority of leadership positions. That disparity has been shown to shut women out for not “fitting the culture” or because they are considered unqualified. Once hired, women in tech frequently face sexual harassment and discriminatory policies that ignore gender-based harassment in the workplace. This kind of culture has also been blamed for the droves of women leaving science and technology jobs much sooner than their male counterparts.
The tech industry’s homogeneous culture has also been attributed to cultivating bad policies that alienate female customers by painting them as technologically challenged or excluding them altogether. Assassin’s Creed video game developer Ubisoft recently angered fans for refusing to add a lead female character to its newest game because it “too much work,” ignoring the fact that half of all gamers are women. Microsoft also fended off backlash earlier this year after it released a controversial commercial implying that women only use computers for wedding planning and checking Pinterest. Google faced similar allegations after airing a Gmail tutorial that suggested a woman could use the email service’s new format to easily confirm dates and shop for shoes. Since then, the company has launched new initiatives to get more young girls and women interested in tech and improve diversity.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts buffer zone law violates the First Amendment; the justices were unanimous in the ruling. In case you weren’t up to speed on the case, here are the basics: Fourteen years ago, the high court upheld a Colorado law that created an 8-foot “bubble zone” around patients entering or exiting clinics. But Massachusetts’ buffer zone law prohibited demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of the facility, a length the justices seemed dubious of from the start. Walking that length — the size of a school bus — takes approximately seven seconds.
A lot can happen in those seven seconds. A lot can happen when protesters are allowed to enter clinics, physically confront patients or block doors. Massachusetts passed its law in response to aggressive and dangerous conduct from protesters stationed directly outside clinics, including an incident in 1994 where a gunman opened fire at two abortion clinics, killing two people and injuring five others. In its defense of the measure, the state argued before the justices that the buffer law is not a prohibition on speech, but a practical measure to keep access to these facilities “open and clear of all but essential foot traffic, in light of more than two decades of compromised facility access and public safety.”
Oftentimes, the so-called “political” or “trouble-making” behavior they engage in is simply doing what Title IX laws require them to in order to keep their students safe. Every professor I spoke to described a remarkably similar pattern of behavior on the administration’s part: when faculty object to the desultory, ineffective sexual assault and rape policies offered up by universities, they’re ignored; when they persist in their criticism, they’re labeled “hysterical” or “troublemakers” who are acting out of a “personal agenda,” and they’re put under increasing pressure to keep quiet. In some cases that pressure is insidious. In others, it’s bafflingly blatant: for instance, I spoke to two women who were denied tenure after helping students report sexual harassment (which, again, is their legal responsibility under Title IX).
The crux of the issue here is that colleges see the campus rape crisis primarily as an image problem. They put their illustrious reputations before their students’ safety, and, in doing so, they actively harm survivors. Because 1 in 5 women will be raped in college, a spotless sexual assault record simply isn’t possible. When college administrations strive to make it seem as though sexual assault and harassment are wildly uncommon, what they’re really doing is demanding that sexual assault survivors stay quiet about their experiences. Plainly put, low reporting numbers don’t reflect a dearth of sexual violence. They’re indicative of the fact that survivors are afraid of coming forward. But many college administrations seem not to care about this distinction.