sexual violence | WAMC

sexual violence

Award-winning writer and public health executive Michelle Bowdler's new memoir, "Is Rape a Crime?," indicts how sexual violence has been addressed for decades in our society, asking whether rape is a crime given that it is the least reported major felony, least successfully prosecuted, and fewer than 3% of reported rapes result in conviction. Cases are closed before they are investigated and DNA evidence sits for years untested and disregarded

Rape in this country is not treated as a crime of brutal violence but often as a question of he said / she said. Bowdler says given all this, it seems fair to ask whether rape is actually a crime.

Michelle Bowdler is the Executive Director of Health & Wellness at Tufts University and, after graduating from the Harvard School of Public Health, has worked on social justice issues related to rape for over a decade. "Is Rape a Crime?" is her first book.

Raised by powerful women in a restrictive, sheltered Christian community in New England, Ryan Dostie never imagined herself on the front lines of a war halfway around the world. But then a conversation with an Army recruiter in her high-school cafeteria changed the course of her life. Hired as a linguist, she quickly had to find a space for herself in the testosterone-filled world of the Army barracks, and had been holding her own until the unthinkable happened: she was raped by a fellow soldier.

Struggling with PTSD and commanders who didn’t trust her story, Dostie found herself fighting through the isolation of trauma amid the challenges of an unexpected war. Dostie tells her story in the new book, Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line.

Donna Freitas lectures at universities across the United States on her work about college students. She is the author of "Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America's College Campuses" and "The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost," and has written for publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Freitas is currently a non-resident research associate at the Center for Religion and Society at Notre Dame.

A 2015 survey of twenty-seven elite colleges found that twenty-three percent of respondents reported personal experiences of sexual misconduct on their campuses. That figure has not changed since the 1980s, when people first began collecting data on sexual violence. What has changed is the level of attention that the American public is paying to these statistics. Reports of sexual abuse repeatedly make headlines, and universities are scrambling to address the crisis.

Their current strategy, Donna Freitas argues, is wholly inadequate. She writes about it in her new book, "

Consent on Campus: A Manifesto."

www.nationofchange.org

The Massachusetts Senate passed legislation last week to help curb sexual violence on college campuses. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with State Senator Adam Hinds, a Pittsfield Democrat, who says the bill will help encourage the reporting of sexual violence, and connect victims with counseling, medical and academic advising services. 

Lisa Wade is an associate professor of sociology at Occidental College. Her newest book, American Hookup is about the emergence and character of the culture of sex that dominates college campuses today.

American Hookup situates hookup culture within the history of sexuality, the evolution of higher education, and the unfinished feminist revolution. With new research, Wade maps out a punishing emotional landscape marked by unequal pleasures, competition for status, and sexual violence. She discovers that privileged students tend to enjoy it the most, and considers its effects on racial and sexual minorities, students who “opt out,” and those who participate ambivalently.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Albany County is taking a leadership role in addressing domestic violence — the subject of weeks of handwringing nationally after high-profile cases.

"We have recently seen this veil of secrecy ripped open by very public events within the NFL. It's a sad fact that true action only takes place after tragedy or public shame."

Crime Victims Caseworker Amanda Petrie, speaking Friday at the Albany County Office Building, where officials gathered for the unveiling of a cutting-edge Domestic Violence Awareness program. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Facebook: Elizabeth Freeman Center

An annual event in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has added significance this year.