Defamation Lawsuits: Another Tactic to Silence Survivors

Due to a culture of stigmatization and shame, fueled by deficient laws and a criminal justice system that rarely takes victims of sexual abuse seriously, survivors are often reluctant to come forward with their experiences. Recently, a worrying trend has further raised the stakes for survivors who choose to speak out: the weaponization of defamation lawsuits. This happens when the person accused of sexual violence attempts to use the courts to punish the survivor for having spoken out about the abuse she allegedly experienced—even, in some cases, after an official confirmation of the abuse has been made.

Subject: Man. Object: Woman. Verb? Control.

It is not simply or only “hatred” that motivates the sexists of the world, but the very desire to define and therefore to control. 

It’s then easy to see how attacks on reproductive rights are connected with the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment: Because if women are fully self-determined—can determine when and if they have children, when and with whom they have sex—then they cannot be there, fully, inevitably, without their own desire, for you. For a man. 

High School Youth Create Social Media Space to Share Stories of Sexual Violence: “Like an Unearthing Moment”

When Sarah created the Piedmont Protectors Instagram account in July 2020, the Bay Area high school student wanted a platform for students to share their stories of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in their community.

Though Piedmont High School only has 840 students, the account gained over 1,500 within the first week. After three days of being live, there were already over 90 posts anonymously reporting and documenting sexual assault, harassment and rape in the Piedmont Unified School District student community. 

To Better Understand Sexual Violence on College Campuses, Congress Members Demand Education Department Changes

Up to 25 percent of undergraduate women will become victims of sexual violence—but because existing mechanisms for capturing and measuring this impact fail to capture the full scope of the issue, this number may be even higher. On Monday, members of Congress formally called this to the attention of the Biden administration.

In a letter signed by 77 members of Congress, signatories called on the Department of Education to update Campus Climate surveys, which assess campus culture including sexual violence.

The Danger of Plea Deals in Sexual Assault Cases

An excerpt from Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal by Carissa Byrne Hessick on the danger plea deals pose in sexual assault cases:

Jeffrey Epstein’s power translated to favorable treatment as he worked his way through the U.S. justice system—but you don’t have to have millions of dollars or be friends with a president and a prince. You just have to convince a prosecutor that it isn’t worth the time or the effort.