We Heart: Students Fighting Victim-Blaming With #MyAntiRapeFace

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 11.56.38 AMHere’s one way to offend students (and, you know, women who reside on planet Earth): Tell them their facial expressions cause sexual assault.

That’s exactly what one violence-prevention advocate did recently at Ramapo College in New Jersey. According to campus newspaper The Ramapo News, Cory Rosenkranz, a psychological counselor at the school, put the responsibility for preventing sexual assault squarely on victims’ shoulders during a a training session for peer counselors.

One student who attended, Brandon Molina, explained to The Ramapo News:

[Rosenkranz] started the presentation by talking about preventative measures … but then it became kind of peculiar, the extent she was taking it to. She was saying that women need to watch their body language and that women should practice how they articulate their face [in a social setting] by practicing in the mirror.

Ramapo’s students aren’t taking the advice lightly: They’re sharing photos of themselves with the hashtag #MyAntiRapeFace as a way to talk back to victim-blamers and use humor to cut down the notion that survivors should take responsibility for being raped.

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Rosenkranz responded to the outcry in a statement, saying she’s given the same or a similar version of the presentation numerous times and has never been questioned. She continued:

I have never blamed the victim of sexual assault. I have devoted my career to prevent such instances and to heal those affected by these crimes.

In my August presentation on alcohol awareness, I did address briefly body language and facial expressions in response to a question. It was not the focus of my address nor did I discuss the topic of dress. The point was to emphasize how alcohol consumption affects judgment of the individuals involved.

It pains me that some may have interpreted my August presentation to the peer facilitators in a different manner. That was certainly not my intention, and I regret any misinterpretation or harm that it may have caused.

Hmm, it doesn’t really sound like Rosenkranz got the point. We think Ramapo student Molina summed it up pretty nicely: “My thought [during the presentation] was maybe women shouldn’t practice how long they’re blinking, men should just not rape people.”

How’s that for some sound advice?

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Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.