Students organise Queer kiss-in in Cellar

May 3, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgThe Oxford queer community has organised a kiss-in at The Cellar nightclub on Thursday 5th March, in response to homophobic abuse experienced by two gay students at last week’s hip hop night.The two students, who have requested to be identified only by their first names, Sacha and Josh, were reportedly asked to leave by a bouncer, after they were seen kissing on the dancefloor. A man attending the club on the same night head-butted Josh, after yelling homophobic insults at the couple.However, Tim Hopkins, the Venue Manager at The Cellar, denied allegations that a bouncer had asked the students to leave, telling Cherwell, “We are sorry this happened and disgusted at the homophobic man’s verbal abuse and alleged physical actions. We won’t tolerate this sort of attack. The great thing about The Cellar is [that] it’s for everyone.“I would also like to make it clear the security didn’t ask them to leave. They did get the other man to leave. The homophobic incident was from a member of the public and not involving any Cellar staff. Yes, the security had to deal with the incident the best they could, and maybe mistakes were made.”The Queer kiss-in was organised by the Oxford University LGBTQ Society Committee. Rowan Davis, the society’s Trans rep and member of its committee, explained, “Kiss-ins have a long and proud history in queer activism, allowing LGBTQIA people to occupy and control spaces otherwise denied to them. Clubs are a political space for marginalised groups and this event will allow us to stand in solidarity with those affected by anti-queer violence in Oxford.”Davis continued in support of the kiss-in, “This is exactly the sort of participatory, non-violent direct action we should be encouraging, and I hope it sends a message loud and queer that the actions of those that oppress us are not going to stop us from being who we are and where we want to be.”Sacha also spoke in support of the organised kiss-in, saying, “It’s a fun event, which will bring together many different people. It’s also a forceful response, but framed in a very friendly, gentle way. It’s quite ostentatious – but the point is not to hide. ” He continued to praise the wider LGBTQ community’s reaction to the abuse he faced on Thursday 26th February, saying, “The people who responded to my Facebook post [on the LGBTQ reps Facebook group, recounting the homophobia in Cellar] have been extremely supportive. I always felt that my welfare was their priority. The LGBTQ community is made up of very different people, but it really felt very united in that moment.”The incident has been reported to the police, who have documented it as a homophobic crime. They are conducting an investigations into Cellar’s policy, as well as the alleged assaulter. Cellar’s management has also met with the victims, and has stated its commitment to ensuring that both staff and clubbers are aware that The Cellar should be an inclusive space for all.The Cellar has informed Cherwell that “the changes we are making to hopefully make The Cellar feel safe again for gay people” are to “reiterate our policy to all our Bar staff and security team” and to “install a better camera in the side bar”.The Venue Manager further commented, “People are allowed to kiss in The Cellar no matter what sex they are. If anyone is homophobic, they should leave or keep their views to themselves. Staff should keep an eye and an ear out for this sort of abuse.”The kiss-in was held on the same evening as student night Supermarket, co-run by Lu Williams and Annie Teriba. Teriba told Cherwell, “Being somebody who organises club nights at Cellar, I was saddened to hear what happened that evening. The rest of the team share the sentiment. We immediately contacted the manager at Cellar to talk about our future there, and had a meeting with him on Monday. We weren’t happy with the club’s response and stressed that Cellar have a duty to protect LGBTQ+ people from queerphobic abuse.“He had barred the man who attacked the students and is speaking to security staff to make sure that there isn’t a repeat. We will push for Cellar to take up the Good Night Out pilot being put together by the LGBTQ Campaign and WomCam.“Knowing what it feels like to be harassed and attacked for daring to defy what is expected by cis-heteropatriarchal norms, I’m really glad that the LGBTQ Society has organised a kiss-in which we will support in any way we can. [I] think this is a reminder that, while queer clubs are incredibly important for our community, we must continue to fight to make all clubs queer friendly. We will not accept being tucked away in a corner and we will not let our queerness be policed.”The Oxford University LGBTQ Society President, Otamere Guobadia, commeted, “When we came up with this Queer kiss-in we envisioned it as romance meets resistance: a disruption of heteronormative status quo. I think that when we queer spaces like this we reframe the narrative about the presumed normality of straightness. “I think that the incident speaks not only to the necessity of queering straight spaces and opening them up to difference, but to the necessity of queer spaces in general. “We are not in a post-patriarchal world. Minorities are still very much prone to violence, and even in the most liberal of spaces, patriarchy pervades, and masquerades itself as inclusivity and neutrality. Yes, it is a powerful thing to disrupt and challenge heteronormativity in this way, but it is a wonderful thing to feel that ones love and expressions of romance can be depoliticised, that expressions of romance can just be. Queer spaces provide for normalisation of experience, an elimination of the violence and finger pointing, that queer people are not afforded in straight spaces.”last_img read more

University will not rename Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum scholarship after #FreeLatifa campaign expresses concerns

May 3, 2021 0 Comments

first_img“Is it right to take money from someone that has been found to have consistently broken laws around the world, the very worst type of laws, and as we speak holding his daughter hostage such that […] people have had to speak up?” David Haigh of the #FreeLatifa campaign told Cherwell:  “In Latifa’s particular case, one of the things that she wanted to do was study. […] That was denied to her, essentially, by her family. How do you explain to Latifa, watching this, that she, having spent 2 decades of her life trying to get basic things like freedom, being able to go to university, [she] isn’t allowed that?” Marcus Essabri, cousin of Princess Latifa, told Cherwell: “I think what’s important is highlighting that his own daughters want to have an education. It doesn’t make sense.” A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said: “The agreement between the University and MBRF was signed in 2016 and we have no plans to review or change the scholarship at this time.’’ The Oxford-Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Graduate Scholarships are available to applicants that are nationals of a range of countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and the UAE, amongst others. They are available to applicants for all full-time Master’s and DPhil courses, excluding MBAs, and the highest preference for the scholarship is given to nationals of the UAE applying to Master’s and DPhil courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions. The scholarship was founded in 2016. center_img The University of Oxford will be retaining its Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Graduate Scholarship after new allegations have been made against the ruler. The Sheikh was initially accused of kidnapping and detaining his daughter, Princess Latifa, in 2018 when she tried to leave Dubai. New footage obtained by the BBC shows Princess Latifa claiming that she has been held hostage since her failed escape in 2018. The UN has since requested proof from the UAE that Princess Latifa is alive.  The scholarships are jointly funded by the University of Oxford and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2007, and aims “to empower future generations and enable them to devise sustainable solutions to facilitate the process of knowledge and research in the Arab World.”  The Media Office for the Government of Dubai has been contacted for comment.last_img read more

Kellogg in snacks deal

April 21, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgUS-based Kellogg Company, in Michigan, is expanding its capacity, after acquiring the assets of IndyBake Products LLC and Brownie Products, a privately- held contract manufacturing business.IndyBake and Brownie Products produce cracker, cookie and frozen dough items at two manufacturing sites, located in Seelyville, Indiana and Gardner, Illinois. These sites will now be integrated in Kellogg’s US Snacks manufacturing network. David Mackay, president and chief executive officer, Kellogg Company said: “This acquisition will help us expand our capacity to manufacture our snack products as well as enable new product innovations.”IndyBake Products and Brownie Products saw combined revenues of approximately $50 million in 2007.last_img read more

Did you know? Greggs has been quietly giving away cake in Scotland since 2016

April 20, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgFor more than a year, 20 Scottish Greggs stores have been offering free cakes to people who host a tea party for lonely OAPs.The scheme, which started in January last year, is run by Contact the Elderly, which invites the public to host a tea party for pensioners in their home on a Sunday afternoon.Twenty stores across Scotland provide yum yums, pineapple tarts and other sweet treats.Contact the Elderly has 123 groups in Scotland that aim to provide “a lifeline of friendship” to old people who live alone, according to the charity.The regular format is a tea party held in a volunteer host’s home for a group of between six and eight people on a Sunday afternoon. A volunteer driver collects one or two older people and accompanies them to the party. A host welcomes a group once or twice a year.Research by the charity showed that 95% of guests say the parties give them something to look forward to and 77% feel happier because of them, while 76% of guests find Sunday a particularly lonely day.A spokeswoman for Greggs told British Baker: “As a business, Greggs believes in supporting the local communities in which it operates and Greggs is proud to work with Contact the Elderly.“A number of Greggs shops in Scotland have committed to providing cakes for the guests to enjoy at the monthly get-togethers.”Greggs currently only provides free cakes, but told British Baker this might be extended to sandwiches in the future.Morna O’May, head of service – Scotland at Contact the Elderly, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Greggs for the ongoing support its bakeries provide for our tea parties.“The value of enjoying a shared afternoon of cakes and company is immeasurable.”last_img read more

Getting to know the lab

March 1, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgBefore a Harvard crowd of 50 — faculty members, graduate students, and scientists — Sam Ingersoll demonstrated the soft robotics manta ray wing he developed using 3-D design.“Soft robotics have become extremely prevalent in the last few years because 3-D printing is so available,” he said. “Manta rays are ideal for study because they’re incredibly efficient. So one of the goals for this project was to make an underwater hydraulic implementation of a manta ray’s wing.”Not bad for a high school senior.“It was definitely the steepest learning curve I’ve ever had,” said CRLS senior Eleanor McCartney, who will attend Smith College in the fall. McCartney presented findings on two separate projects, both for the lab of Colleen Cavanaugh, the Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology.Ingersoll and four of his peers, all students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), were at the Harvard BioLabs Lecture Hall in late May to present the work they had completed as participants in the CRLS Marine Science Internship program at Harvard.Ingersoll partnered with Donal Holland, a visiting lecturer at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), while his peers worked on different projects at other labs across the University. By pairing them with Harvard labs, the internship program gives students firsthand experience of how science works, and even a role in research.CRLS senior Eleanor McCartney presented findings on two separate projects, both for the lab of Colleen Cavanaugh, the Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology. In the first project, she studied endosymbiont infection in the bivalve Solemya velum (or, how outside agents infect a clam), while the other focused on bacterial symbiosis in protist Arcella (how bacteria and amoebae live in harmony). Like her peers, McCartney came to work in the Harvard lab Monday through Thursday in the spring semester.“It was definitely the steepest learning curve I’ve ever had,” said McCartney, who will attend Smith College in the fall. “But I would absolutely do it again. I know I want to study science in college, and it can be difficult for undergraduate students to get access to research labs. So to be in the lab, not washing dishes but really contributing to the research and the science, was amazing.”McCartney will continue her research in the Cavanaugh lab this summer.Professor John Wakeley, chair of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB), was impressed with how much the students learned.“I know a lot of these kids, and their presentations were wonderful,” he said. “The relationship between high schools and Harvard is crucial. The least we can do, as an institution, is support the community and help train students, show them how science actually works at the ground level. I think a lot of the research we saw presented today will end up on published papers with the students’ names on them.”In fact, the interns’ work will be featured in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, which was founded by Harvard graduate students to publish original research in the biological and physical sciences by middle and high school students.Paul McGuinness, who teaches marine biology at CRLS, has worked closely with Peter Girguis, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and an adjunct research engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, to establish the internship program at Harvard. For McGuinness, the presentation reflected both the hard work the students did in the lab, and how the labs benefited from the real science the students created.“It’s a great model in terms of the intensity and expectations for students ― it’s completely different from any other experience they can have as high school students,” he said. “The impetus and onus is on them. They get support from me, and from the mentor in their lab, but it’s an amazing opportunity for students to get experiencing doing real research in a real lab.”His hope, he added, is to give as many students as many opportunities as possible. But the marine science internship program “is the capstone project. It lets them show what they’re capable of, and there’s nothing else like it.”last_img read more

Notre Dame women react to new Pangborn transfer policies

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgGuarded by concrete lions, filled with the Manorites of Morrissey and crammed between Fisher Hall and the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium, Pangborn Hall seems to some to offer little in the way of attraction. But as Pangborn prepares to house the community for the new women’s residence hall being built on East Quad — scheduled to open in the fall of 2020 — the Office of Residential Life is trying to sweeten the deal.The Office of Residential Life announced Monday that students who elect to transfer halls into Pangborn will receive special housing benefits, among them guaranteed singles, extra community spaces and select singles as doubles. The policy has generated buzz in female dorm communities as students ponder the future of their residence life.Sophomore Elisabeth Lasecki said she was not in favor of making the move due to her commitment to her own dorm: Farley. “I’ve created a good sense of community in my own hall and I wouldn’t want to give that up, especially being off campus for my freshman year,” Lasecki said. “So I would just love to continue building up the community I’ve already built rather than all of a sudden changing it up.”Echoing Lasecki’s words, senior Brookelyn Bacchus said it would be difficult to be a founder for an entire new dorm.“I think it’s really hard to create a new community in a situation like that, but I also think it’s a great opportunity to expand a network of people and meet new people,” Bracchus said.Director of Residential Life Breyan Tornifolio said in an interview with The Observer on Feb. 7, there will be plenty of hall spirit for the women making the move to Pangborn, as they will have the chance to build a community from the ground up.“There will be welcome weekend, there will be hall council — it will function as a hall,” Tornifolio said. “So, women who might be looking for a fresh start, who want to take some leadership roles, this is their opportunity.”The idea of being a trailblazer for Pangborn didn’t seem to impress sophomore Allysa Dunnigan much either. Dunnigan said Pangborn would be a “terrible living situation for a year.”Although not personally excited by the idea, Dunnigan said she thought it was a great opportunity for other Notre Dame women.  “It’s a cool opportunity if you want to do leadership and be an RA because the chances are higher,” Dunnigan said. Sophomore Marielle Corbett agreed that moving to Pangborn could be rewarding.  “Pangborn is a good dorm and it seems like a good deal,” Corbett. “Especially with the $500 waiver for the fees — that makes a big difference and so I would definitely consider it if I didn’t already love Lewis.” Other women explained although the plan interested them initially, the overall transition would be inconvenient. “If I could get a single I would consider it, but I’m a science major and my main thing would be if I could get closer to Jordan [Hall of Science],” sophomore Caroline Langley said. “Pangborn is not any closer than where I already live so I wouldn’t consider [moving], probably not.“Or perhaps it’s simply a stubbornness to give up the dorm life so many Notre Dame women cherish.  Lasecki said she feels moving out of the dorm she was placed in would be in opposition to how she understands Notre Dame dorm culture.“I understand the purpose of it, it seems to be transitional … but it seems to be antithetical to this Notre Dame structure which is your freshman year you’re placed into a community,” she said. “Then all of a sudden, to just uproot that seems kind of against what the Notre Dame dorm is meant to be.”Tags: new women’s hall, Office of Residential Life, Pangborn Halllast_img read more

Odds & Ends: Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss Wants to Play Norma Desmond & More

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_img Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss Wants to Play Norma Desmond Although we will hopefully soon see Elisabeth Moss in a revival of The Heidi Chronicles on the Great White Way, there’s another theatrical role the Mad Men star has her eye on: Norma Desmond. Moss revealed to Gotham Magazine that after seeing Sunset Boulevard on stage “I basically lived out my life waiting to get old enough to play that part.” Has she got the vocal chops for the role? “I can hold a note. I can sing on key, but I feel I need to get a bigger voice,” admitted Moss. Not a problem—since she’s got until about 2044 before she’s the right age to play Norma, Moss has plenty of time to get that vocal training in! Stephen Sondheim’s Dancing App We’re not entirely sure what this is, but it sounds like it could be musical theater geek heaven, so it definitely perked our interest. On September 1 a free app, Dancing Sondheim, will be made available. Apparently it will consist of seven short dance movies set to the music of Stephen Sondheim, including classics from Sunday in the Park With George, A Little Night Music and Into the Woods. We’re sure your roomate won’t mind if you spend next month belting out the numbers and trying to copy the dance moves. Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. View Comments London Cast Set for U.K. Premiere of Off-Broadway Hit Our Town We now know who will be treading the Almedia Theatre’s boards for the previously reported London transfer of the hit off-Broadway show Our Town. David Cromer will direct and perform in this intimate version of Thornton Wilder’s classic play. Michael Ajao, Paul Bigley, Arthur Byrne, Sidney Cole, Kate Dickie, Laura Elsworthy, Anna Francolini, Matthew Jacobs-Morgan, Daniel Kendrick, Simon Lennon, Jessica Lester, Richard Lumsden, Annette McLaughlin, Christopher Staines, Rhashan Stone and David Walmsley will also appear in the production. The show will play a limited engagement October 10 through November 29, with opening night set for October 17.last_img read more

Give plants

January 17, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgFlowers are University of Georgia horticulturist Paul Thomas’sspecialty. And, for holiday plant suggestions, they’re his toppick. But when asked, “What was the best plant you’ve ever gottenfor Christmas?” his answer is: “A ming aralia that I got from mymother-in-law. It’s strictly a foliage plant, and it looks like abonsai. It’s really awesome.”Ming aralias, specifically polyscias fruticosa ‘elegans’, havecarrot-like foliage and woody stems as they get older. A mingaralia was “the plant for kings and queens to have,” he said. “Itgrows slowly and beautifully.”While they are beautiful and do make good gifts, they’re also achallenge, he said. The biggest danger is overwatering andover-fertilizing. They only need a tiny bit of diluted fertilizerevery few months.When it comes to buying gift plants, the best place to purchasethem is at a local florist’s shop. “They have the best quality,and they’re grown by specialists for the highest quality,” he said.Thomas likes to give flowering plants as gifts. A deep basketfilled with a few pots of colored calla lilies or a basket with acluster of cyclamen topped with white or silver grass “makes astunning gift,” he said.For gift giving, Thomas suggests:• Calceolaria. The flowers look like a pocketbook, which gives itits common name of ‘pocketbook plant.’ “It’s just cool andunusual,” he said. Flower colors range from yellow to bright redwith polka dots. The flowers are delicate, so handle it carefully.The plants must be kept moist but not flooded with water. Theylike sunny windowsills that are cool but not freezing. There,they’ll last about a month. They can’t be saved and plantedoutside in Georgia, because they will die of plant diseases.• Cinerarias. These plants look like daisies, but their colorsare more intense, or, as Thomas puts it, they have “five timesthe impact” of daisy flowers. The blossom colors range frompurple to yellow.Like calceolaria, they need sunlight and water. “Don’t let eitherof these plants dry out ever,” he said. “I put them on my coffeetable during the day and on the windowsill at night.” They willlive about six weeks.• Cyclamen. These plants bloom white, pink or bright red. Theycan be found in grocery stores, aren’t expensive and are a greatsubstitute for poinsettias if someone is allergic to latex, whichis found in poinsettia plants. Kept cool and moist, cyclamenblooms will last three to four months. “Buy five or six plantsand put them in a big basket with white or silver grass, like thekind they sell at Easter,” Thomas said. “It makes a really niceChristmas gift.”They’re also a good gift plant if the holiday you celebrate isn’tChristmas. Because they are native in Israel, they are a goodchoice as a Hanukkah plant, he said.• Miniature roses. These tiny blooming beauties can do doubleduty as both a holiday plant and a garden attraction come spring.They prefer cool spots inside until all chance of frost haspassed. Then plant them near the foundation or in anotherprotected area of the yard.• Calla lilies. “Normally, people would buy bouquets of callalilies, but sometimes florists will sell calla lily bulbs inpots,” Thomas said. When growing calla lilies, their bulbs shouldbe kept moist and their flowers dry. The stems also need to bestaked so they won’t fall over and break.“Three to four pots in a deep basket are a really nice gift,” hesaid. “They’ll last a long time.”Before visiting a local florist, give them a call, Thomas said,especially if you have one type of plant you might want to giveto several different people. “Get your orders in now to get thebest quality for the Christmas season,” he said.last_img read more

Help stop the $23 million road to nowhere in Rocky Fork

December 30, 2020 0 Comments

first_img Rocky Fork State Park is Tennessee’s wildest state park—and one of the wildest spots in all of Southern Appalachia. Located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border just south of Erwin, the park was created to provide a primitive, minimally developed experience. It is accessed via a narrow one-lane paved road, tightly wedged between the gorgeous Rocky Fork Creek on one side and steep-sloping embankments on the other. The $23 million road to nowhere in Rocky Fork If this isn’t what you want to see in Rocky Fork, local activists John Beaudet and Frances Figart suggest a letter to the new Commissioner of TDEC, David Slayers ([email protected]) and/or the interim Deputy Commissioner of State Parks, Anne Marshall ([email protected]), asking that these plans, developed by the previous administration, be re-visited and public input sought to arrive at a better plan that the public supports. Last November, after three years of relative silence, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation finally presented to the public their plans for the first stage of “improvements” in what was to be a “minimally developed” state park. The centerpiece of the plan is a steep 24-foot-wide, two-lane, paved road that would begin with a bridge over Rocky Fork Creek and extend ¾ mile to a campground and scenic overlook on Flint Mountain. center_img The accompanying photo shows the approximate route of the proposed road, now estimated by TDOT to be a $23 million dollar project, designed so as to be able to accommodate RVs and 4,000 to 8,000 vehicles per day. Due to the rugged and steep terrain, extensive use of retaining walls, massive road cuts, and metal reinforcement bolted into rock would be required, leaving an ugly scar on Rocky Fork and permanently damaging one of the most pristine watersheds remaining in Appalachia. Stay in the loop about the development issue and learn more about this special place by following RockyForkJournal.com and the Rocky Fork Watershed Almanac on Facebook. The 2,076-acre park provides the best point of entry for everyone who enjoys the entire 10,000-acre Fork Rocky Watershed tract, which adjoins Cherokee National Forest, the Bald Mountain Roadless Area, the Appalachian Trail corridor, and the recently enlarged Sampson Mountain Wilderness, Rocky Fork is part of the largest swath of undeveloped land between Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah. last_img read more

American Rape Culture

December 18, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Rape culture killed Lizzy Seeberg. It’s why the media chose to focus not on the horrific crime she endured but instead to defend her alleged perpetrator, a precedent set in Steubenville when they decided to lament the loss of two young men’s futures after they raped a girl and posted pictures of themselves on Instagram holding her limp body by the wrist and ankles. Rape culture is the reason why, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 60 percent of sexual assaults are not reported and 97 percent of rapists never see a day in jail.Rape culture is a harsh, ugly term appropriate for the harsh, ugly phenomenon that pervades the darkest corners of our society, bleeds into the minds of our children, and spews forth from the mouths of ignorant congressmen, pious college deans, and deified football coaches. In our “first world country” rape is excused, brushed aside or even expected due to the ideologies of our society—the same ideologies that brush women aside, put them in binders, blame them for our eviction from Eden and marginalize their thoughts, actions, and bodies.Take the Steubenville rape case, where two 16-year-old boys were accused, tried, and found guilty of sexually assaulting and digitally raping a 16-year-old girl while she was intoxicated and unconscious. CNN, in all its veritable news source glory, chose the perplexing stance of universal sympathy for both the perpetrators and the victims. While the newscasters were criticized for their concern over the wellbeing of the aggressors, one can’t help but want to put their fist through a wall when reading the backwards quotes that spewed from Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow’s mouths, which included lamentations on how “difficult” it was “for anyone in [the courtroom] to watch those boys break down” (Huffington Post). Here is where the baffling rape culture phenomena prevailed yet again—two female news anchors pitied the boys who raped an incapacitated girl, worried about their futures, and continuously aired footage of their families begging for forgiveness.Rape culture is why Lizzy Seeberg (the religious college freshman from a family of Notre Dame supporters) was deemed the aggressor in a sexually-charged encounter with an ND football player that left her reeling and seeking support. And the barrage of threatening text messages she received afterwards warning her not to “mess with Notre Dame football” was solely because she was the girl who cried rape after feeling shameful of her sexual promiscuity, right? And of course Lizzy killed herself because of her temptress tendencies, not because a man with a history of violent behavior put his hands on her in a way that made her uncomfortable, right? And certainly not because he got away with it, right? The accused (who later publicly revealed himself as Prince Shembo, noted Notre Dame football star and a “complete gentleman” according to his lawyer), was not interviewed by campus police until five days after Lizzy Seeberg’s body was found cold (thedailybeast.com). His stance on the entire affair: “I didn’t do anything. I’m, pretty much, I’m the one who ended it and pretty much told the girl that we should stop, that we shouldn’t be doing this and that’s what happened. So, I don’t know” (ESPN.com).But why is an issue that pervades every corner of our society rarely spoken of?Some, to whom I refer as narrow-minded idiots, will say it’s because rape culture doesn’t exist—that it’s just a bunch of sluts who got hopped up on frat-boy punch and are embarrassed that they let someone stick it in their butt, that they need to throw around the rape card to save their dignity, that it’s not a proven set of statistics; it’s women being irresponsible, it’s short skirts, it’s an unclear “no,” it’s “boys being boys.” This widespread ideology is why, in 2005, only 40 percent of colleges surveyed by the National Institute of Justice offered sexual assault training. It’s why only one-third of schools are fully compliant, according to the Clery Act, which requires on-campus crimes to be reported to federal education officials (rainn.org). According to a CDC-issued pamphlet, one in five women experience rape at some point in their lives, and 37.4 percent of women are first raped in their college years, between the ages of 18 and 24. And yet we as a political society preoccupy ourselves with presidential birth certificates and sexual orientation.Rape culture isn’t being discussed at presidential debates or in the pages of your local newspapers because it has become normalized. It has seeped into our culture and rests in a clandestine, rotting portion of the nation’s subconscious and gushes forth like acidic vomit from the mouths of idiots. Of course those Steubenville boys (Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond) should be pitied for raping an intoxicated 16-year-old, because it’s a classic case of boys being boys, right? And if she really didn’t want to get raped, perhaps she shouldn’t have gotten so drunk, right?The pictures below include screenshots of the Tweets posted by one of the young men who was present during Mays’ and Richmond’s assault, as well as a picture that was posted on Instagram by another witness depicting the accused holding the obviously incapacitated victim by her wrists and ankles:(Photo courtesy of: xojane.com)This ambivalence towards the assault of a young woman, the glorification of sexual assault and the jocular tone adopted by young men in reference to what should be considered a heinous, despicable act are the main contributors to the horrific reality that is the American rape culture. But wait—maybe those little anecdotes have yet to convince you. Maybe the oversexualization of the female body across all forms of media (television, rap music, video games, gossip rags, college blogs, etc.) hasn’t already proven to you that women have been reduced to objects that are up for grabs and subject to the seemingly never-ending male gaze.Let’s look at how the word “rape” has evolved in today’s society—plug in your Xbox 360 headset and put in the latest incarnation of Call of Duty and you’ll hear a chorus of “We’re gonna rape” and “I got raped” and “You just got raped” raining down in a torrent of ignorance. But rape is not a word used to describe your dominance over someone in a popular video game. It has a dark, evil meaning and should never be used capriciously—and yet it is. Sitcoms drop rape jokes that are met with laugh tracks instead of cringing—in the rape-joke filled and criminally unfunny CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, Kat Denning’s character Max mocks an annoying girl with this gem: “Somebody date-raped me and I didn’t think I’d live through it, but I did, but now I am stronger, and I’m still needy.” HILARIOUS. Comedians throw around the word “rape” like ignorant hand grenades, and the genuine laughter of a live audience cradles them in their arms. Two years ago at The Laugh Factory, infamously crude comedian Daniel Tosh was heckled by a female audience member who didn’t find his rape jokes funny and responded with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now?” Yes, Daniel, that would be the funniest thing ever, and I bet you would air it on Tosh.0, too, and provide us all with your biting wit during a video breakdown of it, as well.Thumbs up for creativity, Tosh. We have managed to take a direct assault on the human body, an invasion of a foreign object, an ignorance of a human being’s free will and the complete marginalization of women as equal members of society and turned it into a joke thrown around at frat parties and shouted over headsets during video games.Rape culture is not a joke. The only way to combat such stupidity is by changing the way our society looks at women and changing how we handle violent masculinity. No more victim blaming, no more shrugging of shoulders and chalking it up to testosterone. Zero tolerance for harassment. Boycott sexually explicit jokes.The tragedy of Lizzy Seeberg and the assault of the young woman from Steubenville are not unrelated, isolated incidents. They are connected by a thread that represents the very fabric of the gigantic, messed up quilt that is American rape culture.last_img read more