Tufts’ “No-Sex” Policy creates quite a stir

4 10 2009

As most Tufts students already know, Residential Life has established new rules to regulate sexual activity in dorm rooms. As the Tufts Daily reported:

The Office of Residential Life and Learning (ResLife) has added a new stipulation to its guest policy that prohibits any sex act in a dorm room while one’s roommate is present. The stipulation further states that any sexual activity in the room should not interfere with a roommate’s privacy, study habits or sleep.

This has caused a buzz around campus and on lots of news stations. The SAFER blog has a post up containing their thoughts about this. It links to the Tufts University Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault blog which writes:

Hmmm…you know what else is of a sensitive nature and uncomfortable to talk about? SEXUAL ASSAULT. Why is Tufts so willing to take initiative to create policies about consensual sexual activities, but failed for so long to acknowledge that sexual assault is a problem for the students (not just the school’s reputation) and to “take the lead” in addressing it? I’m obviously very invested in sexual assault at Tufts for very unfortunate reasons, but this rule made me think. What goes on behind closed doors during meetings addressing sexual assault? Do these key players think that the assaults are only rare occurrences? Have they always thought that what they do is okay and that they’ve addressed this crisis properly? It is very possible that the administration has merely been ignorant, but ignorance is not an excuse. This is why a good administration would make sure everyone is well-educated and trained to know how to deal with sexual assault.

Saturday Stupidity

6 06 2009

We are back with more Saturday Stupidity.  Here is a compilation of ignorant, offensive comments we’ve heard/received recently.

My friend and I were talking about PETA and he sent me a text message saying:

Nah PETA has naked chicks against fur.  I don’t care if someone supports Hitler, if they look good naked I can excuse it.

We don’t need to go over the many things wrong with PETA again, but this statement evokes a pretty obvious WTF?! response.  It’s also incredibly shallow.  He also later texted me saying:

There are all these girls walking around in tight tanktops and short shorts and dresses, but someone oughta have told them that they’re too fat to go out like that.

What?!!!  If you’re female and it’s hot outside, you’re only allowed to wear summery clothing if you’re skinny and fit our unrealistic and completely absurd standard of beauty?  Fat shaming is all too common in our society especially as summer comes upon us.  I also don’t understand how exactly the sight of a “fat” woman offends, and I don’t get what fat shaming another person does for you.

My friend who switched majors so that she’d be in more male dominated classes also told me:

The office I’m working in is full of women.  I mean, it’s a small office, but everyone is a woman!!!!  I can’t stand it!  Thank god I’m doing Business now so I can be around manly men.

After she told me this, I was just um…lolwut?  First of all, it bothers me that she can’t stand working in her office simply because all of her co-workers are female.  Secondly, not all males studying or working in Business are “manly men”.  And what exactly constitutes a “manly man”?

While trying to figure out how much to tip at a restaurant, I took out my phone to calculate, and my guy friend said:

Of course you have to use a calculator.  Girls can’t do math.

First of all, it wasn’t like he could figure out the tip either.  Secondly, a new study just came out demonstrating that when girls do more poorly in math it’s because of cultural conditioning not because girls are inherently just bad at math.

Then someone else said,

Why do you care about sexual assault?  Were you sexually assaulted?

Like we’ve said before, sexual assault  is an issue that affects the entire community.  One does not need to have been sexually assaulted in order to care about sexual assault.  Furthermore, the statistics show us that we all personally know somebody who is a survivor of some form of sexual assault.

And then:

Oh, there must be a lot of rape up there.  Those Boston people are all crazy and Red Sox.

Huh?  This statement just doesn’t make sense.  Rape and sexual assault are not specific to Boston or Tufts.  Also, being a Red Sox fan does not make you more likely to be a rapist.

Another comment:

Why are you a feminist?  Do you believe in equality for the sexes or do you like want women to take over?

Of course the latter.  Feminism is all about getting women to take over, duh.

Sometimes you just wonder, is it even worth trying to convince people who you know just won’t listen with an open ear and mind anyway?

The Clothesline Project at Tufts

26 04 2009

I’m a bit late on posting this, but the Clothesline Project happened at Tufts earlier this month, from April 14th to April 16th.  A lot of Tufts students decorated t-shirts, and the display was incredibly moving and powerful.   People walking by would either stop and read the t-shirts and talk about it to whoever they were with, or they would just take one glance and realize what the t-shirts said and just walk straight through without another glance.  Although not too many people decorated t-shirts, a lot of people stopped by and asked what we were doing and what this was all about, so it definitely sparked a lot of conversation.  Here are some of the t-shirts Tufts students made:

"Time will Pass, Seasons Will Change, And I have grown, But what you did to me that night will always stay the same."

"Time will Pass, Seasons Will Change, And I have grown, But what you did to me that night will always stay the same."

Read the rest of this entry »

Does Tufts routinely violate Title IX?

23 04 2009

There is a great op-ed in today’s Tufts Daily called “Campus has weak sexual assault policy”.   This is precisely what we will be talking with the administration about tonight at the Sexual Violence Community Forum (7 pm in the Metcalf Lounge).

Their statements were so outrageous that they begged disbelief. The students told me that Tufts routinely sends alleged rape victims and their attackers into mediation instead of investigating the crime. Students said the university’s sexual assault policy is so vague that it doesn’t even define sexual assault. One victim told me how the Judicial Affairs Committee drilled her on what she was wearing the night she was attacked.

Here? At Tufts? How could this be possible? I just completed my master’s thesis on violence against women in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco. I’ve been designing policies to protect destitute and marginalized women from harm in faraway countries. How could I fail to notice that my own university has been placing me in danger all along?

Yes, Tufts is obligated to protect women. It’s called Title IX, and it was promulgated to assure women equal access to education. Rape victims are disproportionately women; college campuses are, by default, more dangerous for women than men. Being afraid of rape or being a victim of sexual violence prevents women from fully benefiting from their education. One student said to me, “After I was raped, I stopped going to classes because I was too afraid to leave my apartment.” She failed out that semester and is still recovering. Title IX requires that schools mitigate the hostile environment by establishing strong sexual assault policies.

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Sexual Violence Community Forum TOMORROW

22 04 2009



Caught with drugs?                                                                                                                                                                                       Expelled

Caught cheating?                                                                                                                                                                                                         Expelled



Sexually Assaulted Your Classmate?


Here’s Your Diploma.




Sexual violence is an issue that affects all members of the Tufts community.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this community forum with members of the Tufts administration.  Feel free to come with your own questions or suggestions or come and just listen and learn about what’s going on at Tufts.



Where?                                         Metcalf Hall Lounge

When?                                          7:00 PM, Thurs., April 23, 2009

I’ve heard way too many assinine comments and am ENRAGED!

19 04 2009

As most of you hopefully already know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and there’s been much happening on campus (the Clothesline Project was this week, PACT’s Green Light District party was last night, the Sexual Violence Community Forum and Take Back the Night are both next week) to raise awareness about sexual violence and bring it out in the open.  Over this past week especially, I have been confronted with and insulted by the ignorance about sexual violence and the pervasive rape myths that have colonized people’s minds.

I have heard ridiculously ignorant and insensitive comments uttered from the words of Tufts students that once again, remind me that I am very lucky and spoiled to be surrounded by like-minded people who are educated, aware of, and passionate about  issues around sexual violence.  I’m reminded again that there are lots of minds to be changed, even in a liberal school all about “active citizenship”.

Sexual violence continues to be something swept under the rug.  However it is something that touches the lives of many people.  1 out of 6 American women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.  College women are four times more likely than the rest of the population to be sexually assaulted or raped.  1 in 33 men have been the victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. (Statistics from RAINN).

Most people who are involved in sexual violence activism tend to be survivors themselves or have had a loved one who is a survivor.  Many other people fail to see it as an important and a necessary topic to engage in because it doesn’t personally affect them, or as one man told us “I’ve never been raped and I’m not a rapist”.  When sexual violence is such a personal issue that affects the lives of so many people, more people than we may think, I am insulted and upset by widespread ignorance about sexual violence and insensitive comments that people drop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feministing’s Fuck Yeah for Women’s and Gender Studies

19 04 2009

This is last Friday’s Feministing Fuck Yeah for Women’s and Gender Studies:

Amen.  As a Women’s Studies major here at Tufts I am grateful for all of the fantastic Women’s Studies classes I’ve taken, the professors I’ve had, and the awesome community of Women’s Studies majors/minors.