Safe sexting: Risk reduction vs. Expectations of respect

The following piece was written by Mary Helen Cagle, an Advocacy intern at STAR. As part of her internship, Mary Helen wrote this essay on revenge porn to change the conversation about sexting. We loved it so much, we had to feature it on our blog (with Mary Helen’s permission, of course). We hope you… Read More

Sex Workers and Sexual Trauma

When one imagines a “perfect” rape victim (meaning the type of victim commonly viewed as credible and undeserving of harm, and therefore most likely to receive community support), we imagine a young, virginal, white woman who is submissive, is dressed modestly, and is being ladylike at the time of her assault. While it’s true that… Read More

The Intersection: Men Matter

Men’s silence is deafening and deadly. James Brown of CBS Sports said this in a commentary on the NFL and domestic violence, in which he calls attention to the importance of ceasing to use sexist language and makes recommendations for the NFL to institute prevention education and bystander intervention programming. I showed the clip to a youth… Read More

Introduction to “The Intersection”

STAR’s vision is to build a community free from oppression and sexual trauma. You may be wondering, why include “oppression” as something we seek to eliminate? Why not just sexual trauma? Recently at STAR, we instituted “issue of the day” discussions at our weekly staff briefings concerning current events and social issues being covered in the… Read More

Confronting our Blind Spots

It’s time to recognize that predators groom entire communities, not just their “targets.” “Predator” is both a useful and problematic label. On the one hand, it dehumanizes perpetrators of violence in a way that makes it difficult for people to consider that their loved one may be guilty of committing violence. On the other hand,… Read More

Sex is Great! Consent is the presence of a yes, not the absence of a no

In our first Consent Campaign post, we explored how those who commit rape often use alcohol as a tool to incapacitate and control their victims. In our second post, we tackled the connection between alcohol and unhealthy norms of sexual interaction. With this post, we are building a vision of healthy sexuality and want to… Read More

Alcohol ≠ Foreplay: Shouldn’t the attraction be intoxicating enough?

In our first Consent Campaign essay, we explored how those who commit rape often use alcohol as a tool to incapacitate and control their victims. In this essay, we’re tackling the connection between alcohol and unhealthy norms of sexual interaction. Being sexually immature means wanting to do it, but not wanting to talk about it. –Mike… Read More

“Drunk Yet?” Alcohol is the #1 date rape drug

Trigger Warning: This essay contains a scenario of acquaintance rape. Education Warning: This essay contains information that may change the way you think about the connection between alcohol and rape. Because it is legal and can be found pretty much anywhere, many people fail to recognize alcohol as a drug. Yet it is a drug, and… Read More

The Scarlett “R” – Stigma, Shame and Speaking Out

“When I returned to work [after I was raped] and was on the elevator with people I knew—I felt like I had a scarlet ‘R’ in the middle of my forehead. I felt branded by my assault and was confident that my scarlet R was all they saw.” (Source: Putting the Focus on Victims) Stigma,… Read More

The Sexy Rapist

Former Saints player Darren Sharper was arrested in January following an investigation into two charges of rape. More women have now come forward with similar allegations. Many people watching coverage of Sharper’s arrest and of the allegations are left scratching their heads, no doubt because one of the most persistent myths about rape and sexual… Read More