1 is 2 Many

Have you seen the new White House PSA on sexual assault? If not you must watch it now! The idea is that men MUST play a role in ending this issue. It is loaded with male celebs and has a great message that all people, especially all men, should hear. The message is simple and so important, “If she doesn’t consent — or can’t consent — it’s a crime. And if you see it happening, help her, don’t blame her, speak up.” However, this video does ignore male victims of sexual assault, which although are less in number, cannot be left out. But I do think this is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing sexual assault in the US. Watch it. Share it.


Written by Soraya Chemaly, an inspiring and always educating feminist author I had the chance to meet in D.C., this article shares the FACTS of rape. She explains the old tradition of men with power defining what rape is and when it happens to women. We continue to hear them in the news, and they continue to be appalling comments that are never based on fact. So Chemaly shares these facts and says, “Steeping our selves in denial or happy oblivion is hurting too many people and has the potential to hurt a lot more.” A few of the shocking facts are listed below but be sure to read more from her article in the Huffington Post.  

  • CDC estimate of women raped per year could be as high as 1.3 million
  • A woman’s chance of being raped in the US: 1 in 5
  • Number of US women impregnated against their will each year from rape: 32,000
  • Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation: 31
  • Rank of US in the world for rape: 13th
  • Number of rape kits untested in Detroit: 11,303
  • Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims: 50%
  • Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims: 2-8%
  • Pentagon’s estimated percentage percentage of military assaults not reported: 80-90%
  • Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict: 60,000+
  • Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
  • Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan 
  • Chances that a woman in the US is raped versus gets breast cancer: 2 to 1
  • State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant 10 year old incest rape survivor: Kansas
  • Country where major party’s vice-presidential candidate wants to criminalize all abortions including rape-related ones, because rape is just “another method of conception”: US

I had a hard time narrowing down this list because all were equally alarming. I don’t want this blog to be a constant sharer of bad news but instead I hope it guides people to see the rape culture that exists in the US and around the world is allowing endless harm. 

Upcoming events in Lincoln

Lincoln has a lot to offer! Check out these other upcoming events: 

Mom Baby God – This play at the Haymarket Theater offers an outsider’s perspective of the pro-life movement based off her insider’s view she gained after following pro-life conferences, undercover, for two years. Tickets for students are $10 and the show starts this Friday.

Earthstock Music Festival – This concert is an event of UNL’s Earth Day and features AZPA Ferocious Jungle Cat, and THIRST THINGS FIRST as they promote living sustainably in the community with the celebration of great music. 

Women on the Run 2014 – Another great event sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of Lincoln and Lancaster County on April 24th to meet, celebrate and support Democratic women in this election. This is at Zen’s Lounge and $5 for students. 


Women in the Workplace…Register Now!


Did you know that women make up 19% of highest level executives, 24% of Senior Vice Presidents, 27% of Vice Presidents, 35% of Directors and only 49% of Managers? As college students you have likely already had experience in the workforce and will so even more in coming years. For these reasons you should consider attending the Women in the Workplace Conference on Saturday April 26th from 8:30-12:00 at NWU. There will be workshops, speakers, and important networking with professionals. Breakfast is included. 

AND the NWU Gender Studies Department will give our scholarships to cover the $10 registration fee for students. Registration ends April 22 so email Gerise Herndon to get signed up! 


Sexual Abuse, Consent, and Culture

If you have not yet heard of Hank Green, watch this, and change that ASAP. He is a wonderful nerd (and half of the Vlog Brothers) who discusses so many important topics in fun and easily understood ways. This video is Green explaining what sexual abuse and consent are, and why in our culture we really seem to have some problems with these.

Women in the Workplace

After reading this NYT book review of ‘What Works for Women at Work,’ by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey, this book has been pushed to the top of my post-graduation reading list. Mother and daughter, Williams and Dempsey, detail four patterns as the major problems women face in the male dominated work force and how to overcome them. These include:

1. “Prove-It-Again!,” a descriptive bias that requires women to constantly demonstrate their competence

2. “The Tightrope,” a prescriptive bias that forces women to find a balance between the competing poles of masculinity and femininity

3. “The Maternal Wall,” which pushes working mothers to be at home rather than in the workplace

4.“The Tug of War,” which compels women to defend their own coping strategies and condemn those of others

APRIL 11, 2014)

According to The White House, shared on this week’s National Equal Pay Day, women still earn 77 cents to the male dollar. Also as Millennials we face an unemployment rate that is over that of the national average. So as young people, and especially as young women, there is a lot to consider when entering the workforce.

Also consider attending the Women in the Workplace Conference at NWU on April 26th. This is being put on by the Women’s Foundation of Lincoln and Lancaster County. It will include workshops on these issues and great opportunities to network with Lincoln’s engaged women. 

The Young Women’s Circles Program

I wanted to take a minute to share my latest project with all of you, one I am very proud of. My friend Alex and I, along with the YWCA are creating a new group called the Young Women’s Circles Program. This program will focus on the empowerment of young women, specifically those in the 8th grade as they make the often uncertain transition into high school. The YWCP will take place over five weeks and we will meet with the small group of women and discuss the happy, scary, uncertain, and exciting parts of life by focusing on self-reflection, leadership skills, goal setting and lots and lots of dialogue. We hope that every woman can be happy being themselves and that is why we decided to start this program. With larger issues of gender inequality and violence against women on the tip of our tongues, we believe the way to lessen these issues us by empowering one young woman at a time. Alex and I will host our first session soon so please follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


Nebraskans take a stand

I hope all of you have already heard about this and have already taken action. But if you have not, today the Nebraska School Activities Association banned Michael Barth from sharing his award-winning poem on  NET’s Best of the Best. After winning a statewide speech contest, the NSAA “read through it and they declined it because the executive director of the NSAA believes that it was advocating transgender rights and that demographic of people,” Barth told The Huffington Post Wednesday.  Quickly after this happened, word spread. Really quickly. Thankfully NSAA has released a statement allowing Michael to share his poem on the Best of the Best. Although I am proud of Nebraskans for their quick action on this discrimination and violation of freedom of speech, I remain alarmed that a group that supports students would do this. Michael’s beautiful poem was about being yourself and how as a man you do not need to adhere to “masculinity” as it has been taught to us. His poem was about defying typical and harmful gender stereotypes. I hope this reminds us all to continue speaking out against discrimination towards gender and sexual orientation in Nebraska. 

Visionary Women

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the pretty terrible conditions that exist in our world from representations of women to poverty. These things are serious and I am glad I go to a university that educates us on them and encourages us to get involved. These are also the topics that I tend to write about a lot. So now I want to share with you this list from CNN about ten visionary women making the world a better place for other women. I have copied one story below, one that blew me away, and I hope it makes you want to read about the other nine. This article is perfect now that we end a great Women’s History Month. We should all recognize the gains of all the activists that came before us, but also continue to address what still needs to be done. 

As a product design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Veronika Scott developed a heavy-duty, lightweight coat that turned into a sleeping bag, as part of a class project. It seemed like the perfect product to help homeless people, until a woman in a shelter shouted at Scott one day: “We don’t need coats; we need jobs.” In January 2012, a month after graduation, Scott launched the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit that employs homeless women and teaches them to sew by making the coat. With stable, paying jobs, they’re empowered to decide what kind of job they want next, “to decide what kind of person they want to become,” she said. It wasn’t easy for Scott: She was an art student, not a businesswoman, and her family wanted her to find a more traditional job. “I didn’t think I was the right person,” she said. “But I recognized at that moment that I was, because nobody else was going to do it.” Skeptics said homeless women wouldn’t be solid employees. It wasn’t a problem, Scott says: She found many women hungry for good jobs. But they didn’t always understand that it was OK to fail, so long as they learned to fix their mistakes. Few women she hires know how to sew, Scott says, but within a few months, they can create a coat in hours. Since launching in a homeless shelter closet with just a few people, the Empowerment Plan now employs 20 people. Every month, they make 550 coats, which are distributed for free to homeless people in Detroit and through outreach programs across the country. Production is limited only by space, but that is set to change soon: The Empowerment Project is expanding beyond its 3,000 square feet inside Ponyride, a creative workspace in a Detroit warehouse. This year, The Empowerment Plan expects to launch a “buy one, give one” program that will make it sustainable beyond the donations and sponsorships that keep it running now. Hunters and backpackers who’ve asked to buy the coat will be able to do so, and the Empowerment Plan will still create coats for homeless people who need them. More important, Scott says, the Empowerment Plan will be hiring.