And sexual harassment isn’t a problem at Marquette?

Hint:  it’s a problem everywhere and Marquette is no different.  Usually I look at the DPS reports in the Tribune in hopes of reading some incredibly outrageous story that either involves “green leafy substances” or high level’s of stupidity (or both).  While I do catch one or two of those every week, I can’t ignore the at least monthly reports of some sort of sexual harassment or assault. Today was no different.  Except today, there were multiple instances of sexual harassment–one by a student who was “inappropriately touched” (I believe that’s more akin to sexual assault.  Call it what it is.) by a cab driver while paying fare and one report of an 18 year old female student being harassed via email by her ex-boyfriend.  In both these instances, the students declined MPD assistance.  While I could never know one’s personal motivations for doing so, there’s something to be said about the extent to which harassment has almost become normalized in many women’s lives–to the point that it is not an issue to go to the police about, oftentimes out of the fear that law enforcement will not take the claim seriously.  And tis a shame, people.  Tis a real fucking shame.

Self-Defense Classes

In case you don’t check the Marquette news updates, here is something you might be interested in:

The Department of Public Safety will offer free self-defense classes this semester, combining hands-on techniques and national and local crime trends. The course is designed for both female and male audiences and incorporates simple strategies for escaping potentially dangerous situations. The first class will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. in AMU Ballroom A.  Classes will also be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in AMU Ballroom A; March 11, in AMU Ballroom A; and April 1, in AMU Ballroom C. Register by calling Public Safety at 8-6800.

I think self-defense is certainly a good idea and can make people feel safer and more confident.  However, I think it is important to stress that the best way of decreasing violence is to eradicate the reasons and motivations for violence in the first place, rather than relying on everyone knowing how to judo-chop an attacker.  Still, yay judo-chops!

Marquette’s Sexual Assault Policy–the Good, the Bad, the Fugly

In a previous post, we mentioned that Marquette’s Sexual Violence policies are insufficient. In the next few weeks, we at The Word Warrior are going to be exploring the policies at other universities to show what Marquette has done right, and most importantly what Marquette can do better.

Unfortunately, Marquette’s Student Conduct policies are not published on their website. Here is a link to where you can download a pdf version of the Marquette Handbook that contains Marquette’s policies. (Probably not the most helpful way to get the word out to students in need of help, huh?)

Notice that Marquette’s policies on sexual assault are divided into two sections: 9 paragraphs on pages 201-202 and two paragraphs in the “Special Circumstances” section on page 225.11 paragraphs does seem like a lot of information . . . at first. However, in terms of content, Marquette’s published policies are lacking. For example, Marquette outlines what constitutes sexual assault, explains what legal consent entails, mentions date rape specifically, and also talks about stalking and other types of dating violence that might occur. This is all fine. But what is missing?

Continue reading

New Civil Rights Bill of 2008: holding schools accountable for responding to sexual harassment

new civil rights bill was introduced in congress last week that provides students with protection from harassment in schools that receive federal funds:

It gives students the same protection from unlawful harassment in our schools as adults have on the job.  Currently, schools that receive federal funds cannot be held accountable if a teacher or classmate harasses a child unless the school had actual notice of the abuse and did virtually nothing to correct the problem.  This is true even if the school has turned a blind eye to clear signs of harassment.  

From SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape), described as “a national non-profit organization committed to empowering students to hold colleges accountable for sexual assault in their on- and off-campus communities”:

The bill would make it easier for students to sue schools (K-12 and colleges) at which they were sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted if the school did not reasonably responded to their concerns. As the law currently stands, students have fewer protections than employees and so schools have less incentive than workplaces to curb their employees and educate against hostile environments. 

SAFER is encouraging folks to call their congresspeople to urge support for this bill and to specifically mention the student sexual harassment provisions. 

 Check to see if your Representative and Senators are sponsors (Senate sponsors) (House sponsors) to the bill, and if not, call and ask that they sign on. Mention the student sexual harassment provisions specifically – our elected officials need to know that we care and that we’re paying attention. If this bill were to pass, it could be a powerful tool for fighting administrations that turn a blind eye to sexual assaults and rape culture on their campuses. (emphasis mine) 

  

  

The Womyn Before

Hey y’all, Anyone who likes spoken-word poetry should take a look at this video of Alix Olson talking about what has inspired her to get involved in activism:Anyone want to share their own inspirations? Here are some of mine:Virginia Woolf, Katharine Hepburn, Betty Friedan (I started digging her after my history teacher in high school wouldn’t stop talking about how ugly she was–how great are our schools, huh?), bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, Judith Butler

‘Iranian women crucial in Majlis election’

From BBC:

Two powerful coalitions formed by reformists and moderate conservatives are seeking to change the balance of power and undermine Mr Ahmadinejad’s chances of being re-elected in 2009.   

Women voters could be crucial in tilting the balance against the president…. Continue reading

Breaking: Edwards dropping out

It is expected today that John Edwards will officially drop out of the presidential race today in a speech in New Orleans around 12 pm central time.  Although this wasn’t unexpected by any means, it’s still kind of sad to me.  Edwards main platform was working on issues of poverty and the working class.  There are reports that Edwards has called both Obama and Clinton asking them to take up this fight.  The question now is where Edwards’ votes will go.  We’ll see on super de duper Tuesday! ahhhh. p.s. McCain needs to stop winning.  Go Huckabee!