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How Many Ways Did The Media Fail Rape Victims In 2014? Here Are 5 Of Them.

We can do better. So, so much better.Trigger warning: Some graphic discussion of sexual assault.

How Many Ways Did The Media Fail Rape Victims In 2014? Here Are 5 Of Them.

1. When Rolling Stone said they "misplaced trust" in their source, who gave an account of rape.

It's one thing to write an editor's note explaining that simple fact-checking didn't take place. It's another to fully place the blame on the source, a woman who gives a harrowing account of her rape, and to say that the discrepancies in her story mean the trust in her was "misplaced."

Also, as Marina points out above, "discrepancies" in a rape survivor's story don't automatically point to falsehood — in fact, science says it might be hard for a survivor to remember all the details.


2. That time Don Lemon asked a rape accuser a ridiculous question.

When it comes to investigating a rape claim, questions such as "What happened?" and "What did the person look like?" are totally reasonable. "What could you have done differently?" just isn't OK. Let's focus on the person who actually should have done something differently: the perpetrator.

3. When Fox News contributor George Will said people wanted "victim status."

We're not sure how being a rape victim is a "status" that anyone wants. But most of all, we're not really sure what sort of "status" Will is talking about. Stigmatization of rape victims is painfully real, and rape survivors face enormous hurdles when they open up about their experiences.

4. When the Washington Post published an article suggesting getting married would stop women from violence.

The statistics that the Washington Post article presented really don't add up. After all, marrying a man doesn't mean that he cannot rape or assault you. Intimate-partner violence still happens in marriages!

5. Time magazine allowed an op-ed claiming "rape culture hysteria" is a thing.

To quote the article:

"Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense."

Fortunately, Zerlina Maxwell had an epic response, which Time also published. Here are our favorite parts:

"Rape culture is when women who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing. Rape culture is when survivors who come forward are asked, 'Were you drinking?' Rape culture is when people say, 'she was asking for it.' Rape culture is when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape."

Our only response to the unfortunate events in this list:

Let's hope that 2015 will be a less victim-blaming year for all sexual assault survivors.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter sharing the story of how a white woman had his back during a recent traffic stop.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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