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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.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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