After being downloaded 55,000 times in 26 countries across the world, Circle of 6 is now available in its first localized form! Circle of 6 - New Delhi has the same basic functions as Circle of 6. The free app lets you:
- Choose six trusted friends to connect to immediately and discretely in risky or uncomfortable situations
- Send quick, easy SMS messages asking for an interruption
- Send your exact GPS coordinates with your circle and ask them to come pick you up
- Get information on healthy relationships and two-tap access to hotlines and other emergency resources
Here’s what’s new: Circle of 6 - New Delhi is available in both English and Hindi and comes pre-programmed with local helplines, including the newly formed 24/7 women’s hotline of New Delhi and the Jagori advocacy helpline. As a suggested third number, the user is directed to the Lawyer’s Collective if calling the police feels unsafe, which for many people it does. The GPS function has been tested on-the-ground in New Delhi to be sure it works as accurately and quickly as it does in the US. The language of the app remains gender neutral, and the app will continue to speak to users of all genders and sexual orientations.
Creating a relationship between alcohol, sex, and the commodification of the female body is very dangerous. These ads take sexualization to a new level when they literally turn a woman’s body into a bottle of beer for a man’s consumption. As if my body being associated with a product for sale were not bad enough, let’s add booze into the mix. Even if I were able to overcome the idea that my body is not a bottle of alcohol to be consumed by men, other drunken individuals are still seeing me this way.
It’s time to take a more serious look at sexual assault on college campuses, and maybe the place to start is by looking at the media’s influence. We cannot keep allowing girls and boys to internalize and normalize the images that we see in alcohol advertisements. The alcohol industry clearly has an invested interest in young people. However, the advertisements that they are currently producing are not acceptable in that they are creating a dangerous environments for the young people who they are targeting. They are creating a dangerous relationship between alcohol and sex, one that feeds directly into strengthening rape culture. We cannot let the alcohol industry define how kids grow up perceiving themselves and perceiving their lives after high school, particularly when such notions of what is “normal” for college students are leading to such serious consequences as sexual assault. (via)
What if your workplace turned into a brothel? Would you adapt to it, fight it, or quit?
License to Pimp tells the story of three women who are grappling with that decision. Lola is a 16 year old who started stripping to support her family—because of her age her story has been animated to protect her identify. Daisy Anarchy has been in the business for over 2 decades and is taking the fight to court, and Miriko Passion wants to be able to keep all of the money she makes without having to do things she’s uncomfortable with. SPARK’s Crystal Ogar sat down with Hima B., the filmmaker and also a former stripper, about labor conditions in clubs, what led her to make this film, and how we can help.
Crystal Ogar: What’s the premise of the film and why is it important to you?
Hima B: It’s basically about the labor changes that have happened over the last two decades in the strip clubs, not only in San Francisco, but across the USA. Very specifically, the strip clubs (if there were any) that were paying workers as employees stopped that practice and started calling these workers independent contractors. What resulted is that the workers were made to think that they have all this independence and freedom, when in fact it’s really kind of a camouflage and not the actual case. There’s way more power in being an employee, which is why they want to strip it away from the dancers. Unfortunately a lot of the women bought into it, in the sense that they want freedom. Especially when you’re doing something like sexual labor, which is different from regular labor, you want to have more control over your body because it’s YOUR body that’s actually doing the work. The reality is that the way the women want their freedom is they want the ability to be able to schedule when they want to come in to work, which is one of the upsides. It could be given to the employees if they employer wanted to, they could run it like a temp agency and dancers could say “I wanna work through the next week or I don’t wanna work tomorrow,” and the clubs could schedule it that way, but they choose not to. What they’ve decided to do is say, “look, if I have to be your employer I’m going to totally screw you over and I’m going to own your lap dances/the tips that you earn.” Stage fees such as those are completely illegal.
My premise in the film is about these illegal policies and practices that effectively create the situation where the club is now operating as an underground brothel. They’re charging these super inflated fees, which are essentially pimp fees. $200-600 a shift for 8 hrs or less and you pool this money even before you walk in the door, so you have to be creative in terms of how to come up with this money, especially if you’re in competition with 30 other dancers. So a lot of these women turn to prostitution. There are private rooms (sometimes called VIP or champagne rooms) that provide a cover for the prostitution to happen.The film is not saying we hate prositutes, it’s saying that strip clubs are not the appropriate place for prostitution to be happening. A lot of strippers come into the industry expecting NOT to have sex. So it becomes a dilemma that a lot of women face and they realize that that’s what they need to do in order to keep their jobs.
CO: Was it difficult for you to film any of the scenes for the movie at all?
HB:Oh yeah, definitely. There were a lot of obstacle courses in my path. Like club owners, it was difficult trying to get interviews with them, but fortunately I was able to manage that with a few peopl—one was with Meta Jane Mitchell who runs the Mitchell Brothers, with her brother. She was awesome actually, really tried to be transparent about why she was running the club the way she was. We went over the new policy they were going to implement, because they lost a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit where they had to reimburse dancers all of these stage fees they charged. It wasn’t by choice, they were mandated and they lost millions of dollars.
I talked to some of the workers on the premises, but you know, it’s like any workers you talk to on the premises of their work site.
CO: Like, are going to say what they have to say in front of work?
HB: Exactly, no one wants to get fired from their jobs for giving an interview and going public about what’s happening,
I interviewed one of the dancers there who said that when Jim Mitchell was running the club, he would demand dancers to have more sex and keep the customers happy, full on pimping the girls. It stops being consensual. Some people might argue that women are making the choice by going back to work, but when you become dependent on a job it doesn’t feel like you have that many options. These women could leave, but the stage fees are happening in every club, you can’t escape that unless you completely exit the industry.
CO: Do you think this film with help with the stigma that’s involved around sex workers and sex work?
I think one of the things is creating more visibility about what the labor conditions are. People are going to stigmatize sex workers and that’s really unfortunate because it really deprives them of their rights. So hopefully what the film will do is show that this body of workers (strippers) are actually employees and they do deserve the same protections. If you are an employee and you are in this country, you’re guaranteed basic rights. Some of those are you get paid minimum wages, you don’t have to pay to work, and that if you’re in a job where there’s tips involved, that those are the employee’s NOT the employer’s. And that’s really important and I want to underscore that part of it. You have way more power as an employee rather than an independent contractor and the club owners have done a very effective job in covering that up and unfortunately a lot of the women go along with it.
HB: What can the people who see this film/are interested do to help?
Supporting the film of course! And hopefully the Kickstarter campaign is creating a lot more awareness. There need to be places in the sex industry where women can work and not have sex. And I think that that concept is really hard for a lot of people, even for sex workers to get. Many think that that’s anti-sex worker, but I think their statement that I HAVE to work in a place where sex is happening is actually anti-sex worker.
The Kickstarter campaign for License to Pimp ends on July 18th, and Hima is $20,000 away from her goal. Please share & support this campaign and help further this incredibly important conversation!
There’s a common assumption about men who commit sexual assault on a college campus: That they made a one-time, bad decision. But psychologist David Lisak says this assumption is wrong —-and dangerously so.
Lisak started with a simple observation. Most of what we know about men who commit rape comes from studying the ones who are in prison. But most rapes are never reported or prosecuted. So Lisak, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, set out to find and interview men he calls “undetected rapists.” Those are men who’ve committed sexual assault, but have never been charged or convicted.
He found them by, over a 20-year period, asking some 2,000 men in college questions like this: “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated [on alcohol or drugs] to resist your sexual advances?”
Or: “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used physical force [twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.] if they didn’t cooperate?”
About 1 in 16 men answered “yes” to these or similar questions.
TW RAPE: One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape, according to the Justice Department. Their rate of sexual assault is more than twice the national average. And no place, women’s advocates say, is more dangerous than Alaska’s isolated villages, where there are no roads in or out, and where people are further cut off by undependable telephone, electrical and Internet service.
The issue of sexual assaults on American Indian women has become one of the major sources of discord in the current debate between the White House and the House of Representatives over the latest reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
A Senate version, passed with broad bipartisan support, would grant new powers to tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians suspected of sexually assaulting their Indian spouses or domestic partners. But House Republicans, and some Senate Republicans, oppose the provision as a dangerous expansion of the tribal courts’ authority, and it was excluded from the version that the House passed last Wednesday. The House and Senate are seeking to negotiate a compromise.
Here in Emmonak, the overmatched police have failed to keep statistics related to rape. A national study mandated by Congress in 2004 to examine the extent of sexual violence on tribal lands remains unfinished because, the Justice Department says, the $2 million allocation is insufficient.
But according a survey by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the rate of sexual violence in rural villages like Emmonak is as much as 12 times the national rate. And interviews with Native American women here and across the nation’s tribal reservations suggest an even grimmer reality: They say few, if any, female relatives or close friends have escaped sexual violence.
In 2007, Annie Kendzior received exciting news. As a high-school junior and one of the best soccer players in the country, she had netted an offer of an early appointment to the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Congressman Kenny Marchand, who represents Kendzior’s hometown of Southlake, Texas, said the Naval Academy had asked him to give Kendzior the news a whole year early so that they could ensure she didn’t accept another college offer. It was the only time in Marchand’s eight years of giving out nominations that his office has ever received such a request. The news was a big deal in Southlake—the local paper ran Kendzior’s photograph alongside an article that brimmed with small-town pride. Her father, Russell, an accident-prevention expert and the founder of the National Floor Safety Institute, told the paper that his daughter had received offers from 32 other schools. But Kendzior had chosen the USNA because she wanted the opportunity to serve the nation. “Here is a 17-year-old girl wanting to go off and serve her country,” he said. “And we are at war.”
Four years later, Kendzior was receiving a very different kind of news from the Naval Academy. In July 2011, she was brought before an academic committee, where she heard testimony that military medical staff had diagnosed her with a “long-standing disorder of character and behavior” and that she had been deemed “unsuitable for continued military service.” The committee unanimously agreed that Kendzior possessed “insufficient aptitude to become a commissioned officer” and recommended her for “disenrollment.” She was honorably discharged.
How, in that short span of time, had Annie Kendzior gone from star athlete and honor student to expulsion? According to the Naval Academy, she had a “borderline personality disorder” and thereby not only unfit for service, but also in need of long-term treatment the military couldn’t provide. According to Kendzior and her father, it’s because she reported her rape.
According to Department of Defense estimates, over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010 alone. Over the past 5 decades, more than 500,000 U.S. Soldiers have been assaulted.
Even worse, unlike the civilian world where rape victims can turn to an impartial police force and justice system for help, in the military, rape victims can only appeal to their command—a move that is all too often met with foot-dragging at best, and harsh reprisals at worse. As a result, only eight percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted, and far less result in significant prison time.
We, as a society, can no longer allow this criminal epidemic to continue unabated. We are losing too many good soldiers to an unjust system.
Please join us in asking the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Howard “Buck” McKeon and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Carl Levin and the leadership of the House and Senate to support the STOP Act and the Holley Lynn James Act in 2012.
These two bills would be the first steps in attempting to alleviate the suffering of military sexual trauma survivors and your overwhelming support of this legislature will send a clear message to the Department of Defense that it needs to take immediate measures to take the decision to investigate and prosecute rape crimes out of the hands of commanders.
Putting this on our blog again (we tried to reblog ourselves but Tumblr ate the post, but we know you know that feel) to say that this issue is STILL ALIVE AND IMPORTANT. Just yesterday, a SECOND lawsuit was filed against the US Military for allowing rampant, unchecked sexual assault and for creating a culture of retaliation that puts all of us—not just service members, not just women, but all of us—at risk. Please sign and share this petition and put pressure on military and political leaders to support legislation that will get MST survivors the help they need AND lay the groundwork for true prevention.
Public Statement: “We Are the 44%” Coalition Challenges Sexual Violence Against Black and Latina Teens
TW for sexual assault
Last week popular hip-hop magazine XXL posted a video on its website (XXL.com) from Too $hort, a 45-year old rapper who came to prominence in the late 80’s for his raunchy lyrics and videos. In what was called his “fatherly advice” video, the rapper instructed 12, 13, and 14-year-old boys on how to “turn out” their female classmates. In a transcript from the video, he said: “A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls; we’re going way past that. I’m taking you to the hole. …You push her up against the wall. You take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens.”
As a response, a coalition of outraged Black and Latina activists, artists, and writers – all of whom have a long history in social justice activism – have come together to ensure that this does not happen again and have named themselves the We Are the 44% coalition. The coalition’s name aims to give voice to the many teen survivors of sexual assault. Too $hort’s video specifically targeted adolescent students. This group is consistent with the appalling statistic that 44% of sexual assault survivors are under 18 years old (visit the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network website: www.rainn.org/statistics). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that 1 out 5 women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime (www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/sexualviolence/index.html). Because Too $hort’s video blatantly promoted sexual violence against girls, and because boys are also being advised to develop irresponsible, abusive and ultimately criminal behavior compelled, the all-women coalition decided to take pointed actions (see demands listed below).
The coalition recognizes this video—and the fact that XXL gave it a platform — as part of the larger issue of sexual assault against our women and children, particularly Black and Latina girls. The coalition also recognizes that the aforementioned statistics do not reflect the countless abuses that go unreported, including that of teenage boys who are often the unrecognized survivors of sexual assault. And most importantly, the coalition recognizes the urgent need to create heightened awareness and broad, uncategorized support for the eradication of sexual violence against children.