Must Reads of 2013: Rape Culture Edition

I read a whole hell of a lot of stuff about rape culture. I know - I'm a real hoot at parties. One of the most popular questions I receive is 'What's a good primer on rape culture? What's a good blog post / article / book that I can share with folks who don't believe me when I say rape culture is a thing that exists?'

Here's my list of best takedowns of rape culture for 2013 (in no particular order).

This is why we need to talk about sexual violence and social media

I wrote a piece about sexual violence and social media.

It seemed a fairly straight forward piece. A piece that barely mentioned the Rehtaeh Parsons case. Read it for yourself; you'll see that her story was but a blip in the entire piece.

It seems that my article made its way to the 'Defend the Boys' camp.

I assume that's what happened, because it's the only explanation for the following two e-mails in my inbox.

WARNING: THIS STUFF IS NASTY, VICTIM-BLAMING 101 CRAP. Please exercise self-care. Seriously. It's awful.

Myths about sexual violence and social media

[This post deals with sexual violence and social media, including explicit descriptions of sexual violence. Please exercise self-care.]

As an feminist in the 21st century and a public educator, I've had to do a lot of thinking about social media and its connections to sexual violence.

What I've learned is that there exists a ton of myths about it. This makes sense when you consider that social media is a really recent phenomenon and therefore, we're grappling with how to deal with it; not simply in its relationship to violence, but how it's shaping our world in a host of new ways we have yet to really understand.

There are few people who are talking about sexual violence and social media and I would argue, there are even fewer people than that who are getting it right.  For an amazing example of people who are getting it right, check out Steph Guthrie and Jessica Spence's piece at WiTOpoli.

This list of myths could easily have been an FAQ because I find myself answering a lot of questions from well intentioned folks who are really at a loss with how to deal.

Buckle your seat belts, kids!

Thank you

Thank you.

I have been awarded the 2013 Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case alongside some incredibly amazing womyn.

I'm incredibly honoured and grateful for all the positive support I've gotten since the announcement was made. It means a great deal to me.

Even Carleton University acknowledged my win!

But I want to thank all the people who have ever supported my work; those who went to bat for me and stood on my side long before it was safe or popular to do so.

I appreciated you then and I appreciate you now.

Keeping it real

I was talking to Rob about the body acceptance movement and in particular, how I don't do much work in that area. He wasn't being a jerk about it (thankfully!) but he was just curious as to why it wasn't one of the issues I get angry about on Twitter. A totally fair question.

I don't do a great deal of work on body acceptance, truth be told. Admittedly, there's a certain element of "I gotta pick my battles". Doing anti-sexual violence work for 90% of my life means that I've had to take issues that I care about and file them under "I'll support other people doing this but I don't have the energy to do it myself". That's certainly part of it.

But it's more than that.

I was sexually assaulted by young boys and this is why we need to talk about it

[TRIGGER WARNING for explicit discussions of sexual assault. Full disclosure: A version of this story was originally published on But the site no longer exists sadly]

Anyone who meets current, 20 something activist me, would probably describe me as crass, outspoken, potty mouthed and abrasive. I talk smack about the patriarchy for a living and am pretty darn good at it. But teenaged me was shy, awkward and determined to remain in her parents’ good books.

 I went to a Catholic school run by nuns and stayed out of trouble by having a long-distance boyfriend. Living in a small town, there were few employment opportunities for high school kids. I was stuck in that “Can’t get a job because I don’t have any experience but I can’t get any experience until someone gives me a job”. So I did what most high school students in my situation did: I did a ton of baby-sitting.

I baby-sat my little cousins, I baby-sat these adorable rich kids down the street and I baby-sat two boys who one day, sexually assaulted me.

I am a goddamn believer

(Warning: This post contains discussions of sexual assault. Practice self-care as needed.)

Nearly 7 years ago, I co-founded a group dedicated to creating a sexual assault centre at Carleton University.

Today, that centre opened.

I am filled with a whole hell of a lot of emotions.

The unintended consequences of being a rape apologist journalist: Upholding Rape Culture for Beginners

[TRIGGER WARNING for discussions of sexual assault. Take care of yourself, y'all.]

I started my weekend off on the wrong foot this morning by reading a truly vile, pedophile-apologizing piece in the Washington Post.

Interestingly, when I posted the piece to my Facebook feed this morning, it was called "Sex between students and teachers should not be a crime". It has since been changed to "The unintended consequences of laws addressing sex between teachers and students". It's clear that I'm not the only one who went ballistic this morning.

Oy! Where to begin?!

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