Friday, August 15, 2014

Why I don't feel bad for men falsely accused of rape

During college, I took a class on domestic violence. The class was filled with mostly Crime, Law, and Justice majors and a few Women's Studies students. Most of the time, there was a lot of victim-blaming which essentially silenced the Women's Studies students out of frustration.

During one particularly difficult class, I made a statement that caused my classmates to explode.

I said I didn't feel bad for men accused of rape. 

The class discussion that day was about devil-women falsely accusing men of rape. As in many other classes, students claimed to know a friend of a friend of a friend whose life was ruined by some attention-seeking girl.

As the class discussion escalated due to my comment, I felt targeted and frustrated, and I couldn't articulate my thoughts as well as I wanted to.

I don't feel bad for men accused of rape because it diverts the conversation away from the real problem-- rapists-- and demonizes women as a whole.

Not sure what I mean?

Let me be clear: no one should falsely accuse anyone of a crime. It just should not happen. Sadly, it does happen in a minuscule amount of cases-- only 2% of reported rapes.

Men's rights groups insist that women "cry rape" to make excuses for their "bad decisions." This is destructive because it weakens the validity of rape accusations and demonizes women who do come forward.

People who insist on talking about false rape accusations fail to consider other circumstances that go along with rape accusations. The truth is, it is difficult for women to come forward with their rape story in the first place, so the isolation and stigma they face is enough to recant. Just because a woman retracts her story does not mean an assault didn't happen. It's not permission to discredit her character and story.

In turn, the same people who insist on talking about false rape accusations create a hostile environment for women to come forward at all. Who is to say that a truthful survivor won't face the same despicable criticism? This thinking literally silences women and perpetuates rape culture.

People who insist on talking about false rape accusations are literally pushing us backward in history. This thinking helps no one. Instead, choose to stand with survivors so that rape becomes a thing of the past, and so that we no longer even have to worry about false rape accusations... because rape won't happen in the first place.

Do not be mistaken. My point is that concentrating on false rape accusations does not educate anyone on rape, unless it is followed by this sentence: less than 2% of men accused of rape are falsely accused.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ni hao mao mi!

On Tuesday, we visited the Hello Kitty Cafe! Because it was so rainy outside, we spent most of the day indoors, shopping or eating. Becky had the Golden Chocolate dessert with a peach lemon soda and Michelle had ice cream and apples with sweet bread. This cafe is so adorable and is definitely a must-see for Taipei. (Though we still need to see the Barbie cafe and Lego cafe, too!)

It seemed like a good idea last night...

Today we visited SOGO
because being outside was a no go
We shopped all around
and stickers we found
they all but ripped off Disney’s logo

There are never too many pieces
for Mich of Disney’s two meeses
puzzle shopping we went
and lots of money we spent
this puzzle so small it has tweezes

Beard Papa’s cream puffs we ate
we ordered two but could have had eight
Becky had one
Michelle had some
and Bettina thought they were great.

This part of the trip we said hello
to a cat that was not but mellow
Michelle ate ice cream
Becky’s tart was a dream
Andy’s mango dessert was yellow

Dad’s side of the family did go
to dinner, we ate kinda slow
over dinner and drank
that tofu did stank
And Andy’s face was aglow

Our time left here is but bleak
more fun in Taiwan we do seek
we’ve tried lots of food
seen weird pants on some dude
no worries see ya’ll in a week!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gong xi! Congratulations!

 On Sunday, we had the privilege of going to a traditional Chinese engagement ceremony and wedding. After leaving our hotel room (complete with a heated toilet seat and bidet!) at 6:45am, we went to the bride's house for a tea ceremony.

We drank fertility soup (red bean soup with rice balls), wishing the bride and groom a firstborn son. The groom's family of the bride and groom drank tea the bride's family offered to them.  Then there was a lot of picture taking!

The bride wore four dresses throughout the day. The first one, a gorgeous red dress, was specifically for the tea ceremony. And she got to wear A LOT of jewelry.

Dat ring.
We also ate a traditional sesame wedding cake, chocolate from Spain, and green tea cakes.

Onto the reception! We ate, and ate, and ate a 10 course meal in the swankiest place in Taiwan. Seriously, it was gorgeous. The bride and groom spent the afternoon changing dresses, greeting guests, and barely eating (!!). We watched THE SWEETEST videos of Claire and Wei Wei.

Fun fact: Brides here rent their dresses!

Best of luck to Claire and Wei Wei!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Time Travelers

Today we traveled to Taiwan! Because of the drastic 12-hour time change, it felt like we were time traveling. We left on Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Taipei Thursday evening.

One of the people on the plane stood up to get something from his carry-on. He pulled out fresh strawberries and proceeded to put them inside the pouch of his red sweatshirt. Lint, anyone? High point of our 12-hour flight. It was like a weird cross between the Willard Preacher and Napoleon Dynamite.

We've decided that all Asian babies are cute. Ke ai!

Today we experienced something totally new! On the plane from SFO to TPE, the passengers on our plane were served a ham and cheddar sandwich and GELATO as a snack. They must've known we were coming.

We had a conversation in Chinese! It was mostly by accident, but it still counts. Michelle has been teaching me some phrases and words, so our conversation went like this:
"I am Becky."
"Very good."
"Thank you."

We're staying at Michelle's grandma's place and had some delicious fruit! Fruit here is much more flavorful. Bananas, watermelon, honeydew

We watched Phineas and Ferb in Chinese.

Tomorrow, we explore Taipei!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I'm going to Taiwan!

Hi friends,

It's been awhile since I've written on this blog, but there are a few HUGE developments in my life.

First of all, I'm leaving on Wednesday for Taiwan. My best friend's family is from Taipei, and we'll be blogging through our two-week adventure here.

Next, I just graduated from Penn State with two degrees! I can't adequately sum up my four years, so I'm not going to try, but it was a really wild, wonderful ride.

Finally, I'm spending the next year volunteering abroad in the UK. Those adventures will definitely be chronicled here, and if you'd like to join my listserv (it's part of my service), please click here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sex column is not sex positive

The Daily Collegian at Penn State has a history of winning awards but also being kind of... off. I've been quoted in the paper at least once a year since freshman year, and they've always misquoted me.

They've tried to write a sex column a few times. After a few controversial and off-putting pieces, the column was shut down around the same time the Sandusky Scandal broke. They've started it again, and it's called "Let's Talk About Sex." The goal is to feature a female and male writer, aptly named Dick and Jane, to show both sides of the story. Or so their editor says.

I started reading the columns. Besides the fact that both Dick and Jane seem to be heavily gendered, they are extremely heteronormative. ("The importance lies in the company you share your first time with, not the end result, because the end result will more than likely be a satisfied male and a less-than-satisfied female laying together watching “Friends” until someone passes out or parents are on their way home.") Gay students also lose their virginity (though virginity is a very complicated topic, however), so shouldn't their experiences be represented too? Will gay columnists debut a column in the future?

Furthermore, Dick seems to be totally okay with mediocre experiences... shouldn't we be helping students figure out how to have positive, healthy relationships rather than telling them to settle?

I was infuriated after reading Dick's column. He explains the high probability that alcohol will be present in the sexual encounters of college students at Penn State, and that you'll be "often too drunk to really feel anything." He ends with this gem: "...if you decide to drink heavily in college, don’t be surprised if your first time doesn’t go as you always dreamed."

Wait a sec. That's it? The whole article mentioned alcohol but not one sentence mentioned sexual assault or rape? On college campuses, 1 in 4 women will be assaulted. 50% of those will involve alcohol.

Dick failed to mention one really big, glaring fact: IF YOU ARE DRUNK, YOU CANNOT GIVE CONSENT.

This is problematic! It's an issue that "Let's Talk About Sex", which as far as I can tell is trying to be sex positive, is missing this huge part of information. The goal is to inform readers about "topics we never talk about," right? So why aren't we educating them about rape and sexual assault when it's so prevalent on college campuses?

Our school newspaper is normalizing situations that end in rape and sexual assault.