Tag Archives: rape

Paxton Smith is My New Hero

When fighting against injustice, superheroes don’t always wear capes or use fantastic weaponry. Some are just brave enough to stand up and speak their truths.

Earlier this months, recent Texas high school graduate Paxton Smith stepped up the microphone to give her valedictorian speech. Instead of reading from the text that was approved by the administration, she used her platform to speak out against the heartbeat bill signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.

The problem with this bill is that it goes into effect before pregnancy is detected, taking away the person’s right to make a decision about their body and their future. The problem with this bill and others like it is that is shortsighted. It does not take into account if the pregnancy comes about via rape, incest, or if it is medically necessary to abort the pregnancy. It also ignores the millions of already existing children who for a variety of reasons, are growing up in less than economically ideal circumstances. Where is the need to help those kids?

We need more young women like Paxton Smith. With future leaders like her, I see a bright future for this country.

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Promising Young Woman Review

We’ve all heard stories about women who after getting drunk, have been raped. When the police start to dig into the facts, the man’s defense is that she was wasted.

Promising Young Woman hit theaters last Christmas. Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was once a medical school student with a bright professional future ahead of her. When her best friend was sexually assaulted, her life turned upside down. Now she works at a coffee shop by day and takes her revenge by night. Hitting different bars, she pretends to have had one too many. Letting the man of the evening take her home, she lets him believe he will be able to take advantage of her. When Cassie reveals that she is sober and questions him, he does not know how to respond. When one of her former classmates, Ryan (Bo Burnham) walks into the coffee shop, he seems to be different. All seems well on the romance track between Cassie and Ryan. I would love to say that there is some version of happily ever after, but alas, there is not.

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell (The Crown), this is one amazing film. This is one of Mulligan’s best roles in years. She is vengeful and angry, but not in an obvious way. Her way of getting revenge is cold, sweet, and thoroughly delicious. The fact that the male characters are unnerved by Cassie’s actions is nothing short of a dream come true. All of this is backed by an amazing soundtrack, led by the Britney Spears song, Toxic.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Promising Young Woman is in theaters and available for streaming on VOD.

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Liar Review

In some cases, the accusation of rape is clear and simple. But in other cases, it is a complicated case of he said vs. she said.

In the television series Liar, both Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) and Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) are at crossroads in their lives. Laura is newly single after a long term relationship has just ended. Andrew is a widower with a teenage son. They meet at the school where Laura teaches and Andrew’s son is a student.

After they go on a date, they go back to her place to hang out and share a bottle of wine. One thing leads to another and they end up in bed. The next morning, Laura cries rape while Andrew claims it was just a one night stand. The consequences of that evening and the questions of what really happened will have far reaching consequences.

I only watched the first couple of episodes and was riveted. Both Froggatt and Gruffudd are superb in their roles. Unlike the open and shut cases is seen on Law & Order and other police dramas, this one is not black and white.

I was also drawn to the show because there was an instant comparison to the rape of Froggatt’s Downton Abbey character, Anna Bates. While Laura is both believed and her reputation is initially intact, Anna is not sot lucky. If she is to retain both her job and her good name, she must pretend that it never happened.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Liar is available for streaming on the Sundance Channel.

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If Tara Reade is Lying….

When I was a senior a college, I heard a rumor of a female classmate who accused a male classmate of rape. When the rape allegations were proved to be a lie, the natural sympathy fell on the male classmate who would be forever tainted with the false allegation.

But about the millions of women who are raped and/or sexually assaulted and don’t go to the police because they are afraid of not being believed?

One of the off shoots of the #MeToo movement was the statement “believe all women“. Unfortunately, the lack of credibility of Tara Reade’s accusations threatens the idea that all women who report being raped are telling the truth.

There will always be people who question when a woman reports that is sexually assaulted. That is an unfortunate fact. I hate to say it, but based on what I have read and heard, I’m not sure that she is telling the 100% truth.

It bothers me to no end, but I have go with my gut. For her sake and for the sake of the women who are accused of lying about their own rapes, I hope that the evidence proves that Ms. Reade is telling the truth.

I fear what may happen if she is not.

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Cry Those Crocodile Tears, Harvey Weinstein

After a millennia of women being viewed merely as sexual beings to be used for men’s pleasure, things are finally starting to change for the better.

Former Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday.

He can cry all of the crocodile tears he wants. He knows what he did. He knows that he forced himself on those women, dangling career prospects and make all sorts of threats if they did not give into him.

Cry those crocodile tears all you want, Harvey Weinstein. Your going to rot in jail.

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Throwback Thursday: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

We all want to be in love and most if, not all of us, would like to say “I do” to someone at some point.

In the 1954 movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Adam (Howard Keel) married Milly (Jane Powell) after knowing her for less than a day. When Milly arrives at her new home, she discovers that her husband is the eldest of seven boys. Inspired by their eldest brother, the rest of the Pontipee men are eager to marry.

While watching his wife turn his brothers in gentlemen, Adam is inspired to find wives for them. The method of finding wives comes from the story of the capture of the Sabine women by the Romans.

There are many musicals from this era that are considered to be classics. They are also slightly misogynistic. For its time, this movie musical is fine. But what bothers me is that the screenwriters gloss over the fact that the Sabine women were according to legend, raped, not captured with the intent of marriage.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World Book Review

We all know that for most of human history, women have been at best second class citizens and at worst, property. When it comes to sexual assault and rape, the complaints, if they have been made public have not be received and responded to as they should have.

Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World is a new compilation of essays edited by Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman. In their own words, each writer answers the following question: what if we not only we believed women, we took their claims of rape and sexual assault seriously?

The best thing about this book is the variety of writers. Each writer brings his or her own experience into the essay, answering the question in a way that is both personal and profound. By attaching a human face and a unique story to these very difficult topics, these writers are helping to break down the barriers and start a conversation that should have started a long time ago.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape Book Review

In the eyes of certain people (who shall remain nameless), when a women says no to sex, it does not mean no. It means yes.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape was originally published in 2006. Republished in 2019, the book is a compilation of essays put together by editors Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Open, sometimes hard to read and in your face without being difficult, the book explores how women’s sexuality is treated, especially when rape and/or sexual assault occurs.

This book is brilliant and a must read for anyone, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. It throws off the old ideas of about women and the misconceptions of our sexuality. By throwing off these ideas, it forces readers to take a hard look at how women’s sexuality is viewed and what must be done so rape and sexual assault becomes a thing of the past.

I absolutely recommend it.

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She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement Book Review

Throughout history, there has been an obvious power imbalance between men and women. Especially when it came to sex.

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it forever changed the way that rape and sexual assault are viewed. But bringing that story to the front page was not easy. In the new book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount the months long and difficult process of bringing this story to the public.

For decades, there were whispers within Hollywood about producer Harvey Weinstein. But as soon as reports surfaced of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they were put down as mere rumor. That is until Kantor and Twohey started digging. That digging opened a Pandora’s box of truth, lies and the people who would do almost anything to close that box again.

This book reads like a fictional thriller instead of a real story. It is a heart pounding roller coaster ride until the very end of the book. We know how the story ends, but there were so many blockages for Kantor and Twohey that I started to wonder if justice would finally prevail. When I finally finished the book, I was relieved that Weinstein was finally getting what was coming to him.

The thing that strikes me about this book and this story is that it is universal among women. The women who come forward in this book tell the same story, with minor details changed for their specific narrative. They range from Hollywood A-listers to fast food workers to teenage girls assaulted by their drunk male classmates. If nothing else, I think that this book and others of this nature are a starting point for a conversation that is more than overdue.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Know My Name Book Review

It takes a bold person to step forward in the face of injustice. Especially when the injustice is accepted as part of the culture.

In January of 2015, Chanel Miller attended a frat party at Stanford University. What started out as an average college fraternity party turned into a life changing event for Ms. Miller. She was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, who received a notoriously light sentence for the crime he was accused of.

In her new book, Know My Name, Ms. Miller tells her life story up to the that night and the aftermath that followed. In the book, she tells her story from the night of the party to the agonizing process of being examined at the hospital for the rape kit, identifying her rapist and finally, going through the trial.

I loved this book. If I was to compile a list of top ten books of 2019, Know My Name would be on it. The pain of whole experience is honest, brutal and at moments, hard to read. But it is well worth it, especially when Ms. Miller comes out on the other side not as a victim, but as a woman whose strength outpaces her pain.

I absolutely recommend it.

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