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thesis statement for sexual assault essay

Unsubstantiated: An Essay of Sexual Violence

Susan straight on what it really means to believe women.

There is no documentation for these narratives. Call them what you wish. This cannot be fact checked. There are no police reports/medical examinations/official statements/newspaper stories. No proof in the way that you want proof. No paper trail. Only story. That’s what women have had forever. How can we ascertain whether any of this is true? Where did your friend/cousin/sister/teammate tell you this? She told me in the bleachers/near the lockers/in the gym/in my car/in the dorm room/with the candles lit/in the driveway/on the train/in the parking lot.

This is not he said/she said, because we said these things only to each other. Every day, in the southern California city where I was born and still live, I drive past the places where we were attacked. Passing the parking lots where my friends and I were in cars, I remember the silver mushrooms of the door locks. We took rides home from football games and house parties. Gas, grass or ass—no one rides for free. I remember the bumper sticker on vans, cars, trucks. Does this hurt? Does this hurt ? What about that? Not murmured in apology, but in anticipation. We were 14. We did not ride for free. We were told if we walked home, worse could happen to us.

I drive past the bleachers at the park where my brothers played Little League. I worked the snack bar because girls didn’t play baseball. We sold snacks. In the dark storage room behind the bleachers. I was 12. The two boys only a year older. First base and you can go . Do boys still use that term now?

I write this because women asked me to. Last year, I finally put into narrative form some stories of my life and my friends, cousins, relatives. I was told the essays could not be published because they could not be fact checked, and the phrase I learned as a college journalist, even as men were groping and attacking me then, came back like a finger poked against my spine. The details we remember? Insignificant. The events themselves, if we told someone, if we asked for help, would have been deemed insignificant, because we were insignificant as girls, and then women. Now years have passed, so the details cannot be verified. But we told each other. What we remember is rooted in the body and the senses: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remembering her bathing suit, E. Jean Carroll remembering the lace of the underwear she was holding, the young women remembering the exact painting on the wall of the “massage room” of Jeffrey Epstein, and now that he is dead, there is no he said/she said . There is only the bravery that they told someone what happened.

I am 58 years old. Weekly I drive past the parking lot where at a broken cement stop, my 15-year-old friend and I sat side by side, our knees before us in our shorts, as it was summer, while she told me about the boy who’d raped her the night before. He was two years older than we were. He knew exactly what he was doing. He gained her trust over weeks. He talked more than any other boy we knew. She put her forearms on her knees and put her face into that cradle and I remember the back of her neck. That was 1976. I believed rape inevitable, and I didn’t want to have a baby by someone who attacked me, so I went to Planned Parenthood.

In their testified memories, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was 15, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh 17. They spoke quite separately, their sentences braiding together in vividly different threads. They grew up in the same place. They have friends and acquaintances who brought forth their own memories. It seems undeniable that something happened, on that night. The only written record was a calendar kept by a high school boy. Often, men confronted with the memories of sexual violence recalled by women deny them altogether, as if we fabricated not only the hurt but the entire night or series of weeks or months or years. That never happened. I was never there. She is mistaken. Her very existence is called into question. It’s as if two cars collided, both were damaged, but one driver insists he and his vehicle were never even at the scene, though the other car is smashed and dented and sometimes, completely totaled.

What were you wearing/drinking/thinking/expecting/when you went to the party? What did you say to make him think that’s what you wanted/what was he led to believe? We were in the wrong place of our own accord: meaning we entered a structure while alive and expecting nothing. I remember strange details about one house party. New Year’s Eve, 1977. My future husband and I were high school seniors. The house in a neighborhood wealthier than ours, abutting the foothills of our southern California city, more than a hundred people, dancing inside, moving through the kitchen, congregating to drink in the front yard.

A man staggering across the street toward us, maybe 25, older, with black hair in long wings down his face and neck, bellbottom jeans, blood covering his right hand, dripping from a cut. I was the kind of girl who corralled him quickly before he could get in trouble with the athletes, including my boyfriend. We were black, white, Mexican-American, Japanese-American. He was olive skinned, delirious, mumbling. I steered him inside the house, into the bathroom. I remember the beautiful gilt-edged mirror, so 1970s. I propelled him by the elbow toward the sink, and quickly he turned, locked the door, and grabbed my breasts, covering the front of my white sweater, featuring thin gold-thread horizontal stripes, with bloody handprints. (My first thought: Damn, I paid $17.98 for this sweater! Most of my paycheck for the week!) (My second thought: He’s going to rape and kill me.) He broke a perfume bottle on the sink and stood there, daring me to move. I don’t remember what he said, because I didn’t look at his mouth, only at the blood dripping on the white shag rug and the jagged glass thrust toward me.

I remember this distinctly: the music was so loud no one would have heard me scream. After what seemed like hours, the hand holding the glass slanting back and forth like a cobra’s head, boy pounded on the door shouting, “Who the fuck is in there? We gotta drain the lizard! Are you girls in there putting your fuckin makeup on? Open the door!” Then they broke it open with their shoulders. Baseball players. I still see the face of the first baseball player, golden brown, and his curly natural; I still see him now and then in my city. He saved me. They punched the man, dragged him outside and called the police. But none of the officers asked me anything. They took him away without speaking to me. My future husband was angry that I’d been so stupid. Someone gave me a letterman jacket to cover the blood on my breasts, because he said it made him feel sick. But I had to give it back before my future husband took me home. If we were in a car or workplace accident, or military battle, or natural disaster, we would be “in shock.” My teeth chattered in the silence. At home, I washed my sweater that night. Dried blood is hard to get out, but I had three brothers. I was good at bloodstained laundry. I wore that sweater for years.

I remember the places. Sewer pipe on the elementary school playground/back seat of a car/front seat of a car/stairwell in college/dorm room/office of a teaching assistant/lab of a chemical engineer at work. I remember the college-educated chemist 30 years older than me, as I was 20, held the back of my bra as if it were a harness and I a small horse merely trying to get across the room to do my work. He was out to prove I couldn’t leave until he allowed me to. He said, every time, that he was merely checking to make sure I was wearing a bra. That reminded me so vividly of sixth grade I didn’t even know how to react, and then I just refused to go into that workspace and was disciplined. I do not remember the dates, or the floor of the building. I remember the beakers on the counter.

What room of the house/seat of the car/kind of carpet/part of the couch/area of the yard/end of the pool/section of the bleachers/corner of the store/row of the theater/where the alleged assault took place? Was it a twin bed/queen/king? What was the day/week/year/time? What was the make and model of the car/truck/van/camper? The address of the house? Which bedroom? How many bedrooms were there? (Did we girls ask that question the minute we arrived at the party? Did someone give us a tour, so we could identify the master bedroom, the bedspread, the bathroom? Should that be standard?) How many people were there? (Guest lists, also standard?) What time were you taken/forced/carried/or did you voluntarily go into the bedroom/bathroom/garden shed/kitchen/basement/closet/office/laboratory? Who saw you enter that place? Who saw you leave? If you were hurt, how were you able to walk?

Every time I hear the song “Sexual Healing,” by Marvin Gaye, and it is played often, I remember another high school friend in my car, angry and then weeping. The song was new. She reacted violently, telling me to turn it off. She said the lyrics were disgusting. She whispered the words that made her cry. You’re my medicine/Open up and let me in. An adult in her family had forced his way into the place where she slept, and raped her. She was so shaken hearing those words, and I was so shaken when she told me, that I turn the song off, even now.

Every time I enter my kitchen, I remember a woman sitting at the maple table my mother bought when I was three. Eight years ago, both of us grown, she told me how her mother had been assaulted repeatedly by an adult man when she was a girl. Ten years old. Her mother told no one, until one morning the girl couldn’t walk to school. She had advanced syphilis. The woman said, “They never told us who he was! And later same thing happened to me. But I told! I told them!” She told only her mother and grandmother.

Why didn’t you report this? I did. Who did you report it to? My sister/mother/aunt/grandmother/cousin/friend. What did that person do? She listened/cried/hit me/hugged me/washed me/cried/combed my hair/washed sewed dyed dried burned my clothes/cried/shook her head/said she knew/said that couldn’t be true/said she’d kill him/said he’d kill me/said get in the car/said we’ll never tell anyone/said I love you.

We could tell you: the smell/gum/whiskers/one finger/two fingers/three/fingernails/rings/song/engine/bedspread/the smell/carpet like stiff worms/carpet like cement/burns on our shoulders/above our hipbones/our tailbones/astroturf/leather / vinyl/Naugahyde/grooved metal bleachers/asphalt/jeans/zippers/metal teeth drawing blood/human teeth drawing blood/braces/bracelets/dog tags/Irish Spring/cologne/four fingers a solid gate over our mouths/French fries/hot sauce/motor oil/there is no name for the inside of a knuckle pressed hard on our lips.

Last month, I sat with a cousin in the dim light of her living room, 100 degrees outside, security screen door letting in the noise of the street. We talked about house parties. She told me about the night when she was 12, at a house party a few blocks from where we were, and an older boy, maybe 19, bumped and bumped against her while they danced until she was in a hallway and then in a bedroom. Having been raised in Los Angeles during the Black Panther movement, she talked him out of assault by bringing up unity, the violence already done to her school and family by police, and his responsibilities to her as a young black man she called brother. That was 1970.

I told her about the 1977 house party and the sweater. We laughed about the sweater. I told her about the dorm room two years later, where a large athlete lay on top of me, threatening rape, and that I invoked our male cousin, who had an Uzi, and would arrive in the morning to shoot off the athlete’s testicles. If I told. I didn’t tell anyone, because the man removed his forearm from my throat and got up, and I left.

Then I told her about the doctor. He might have been 50. Sixty. I was 13. I remember only: glasses shining like small lakes in the bright reflection of the high-powered light. Does that hurt? Does that? What about that? I am lying on a table. No clothes. Shivering uncontrollably in the frigid air. A tube. He stands in the doorway watching. Maybe he was filming, I realize now. Maybe just watching. My mother is in a waiting room far away. She thinks I have a bladder infection. The bare metal table is swimming with my tears, running into my hair and down my neck. He tortures me for a long time, or for half an hour. Was I restrained—by equipment, or by obedience? I have no details for that.

This is what my cousin did not say. Let’s review/Let’s make sure you have your story straight/Let’s go over this again/Let’s assume you’re not exaggerating/misremembering/dreaming/telling tale tales/being dramatic because you were a teenaged girl/menstruating/hysterical/looking for attention.

I had never told anyone, not my mother or anyone else. But this year, writing about my childhood, I remembered. I have always been afraid to go to doctors, or to the hospital. But at an appointment with a nurse/practitioner, for a possible minor surgery, the first time we’d ever met, I told her why I was afraid of even minor procedures, why I had never spent the night in a hospital since my third daughter was born, in 1995. I had that child 17 minutes after arriving in labor and delivery because I didn’t want to go inside.

I avoided doctors for so long that I got severe anemia, detached retinas, and other illnesses. We sat two feet from each other, our knees companionable. She told me that when she was four, in the rural place where she was raised, a boy had threatened her with a knife and told her to pull down her pants. She told me that when she was 12, in a field across from her house, a man pulled up in a car and asked for directions, opened the door and said things so shocking and dirty that she ran into the fields to hide. She told me that when she was a young nurse, a physician had casually affixed a sticker to her uniformed breast. She protested vehemently. Though she saw him pull other nurses onto his lap, and affix stickers to them, he never approached her again. I cried, just a little, with this woman I had known for 20 minutes. She tended to my physical ailment. I went home, grateful. That night, I picked apricots from my tree and took them to my cousin, and we sat in the heated dark room on her couch for three hours. We told stories of our aunts, our grandmothers, of razors slashing clothes, of guns pulled from coats, of girls who survived and told only each other. We might never tell anyone else. We told someone. We told a woman. We are alive. It is documented in our mouths.


in the country of women

Susan Straight’s memoir,  In the Country of Women   is now available from Catapult. 

Susan Straight

Susan Straight

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thesis statement for sexual assault essay

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4.4 Violence against Women: Rape and Sexual Assault

Learning objectives.

  • Describe the extent of rape and sexual assault.
  • Explain why rape and sexual assault occur.

Susan Griffin (1971, p. 26) began a classic essay on rape in 1971 with this startling statement: “I have never been free of the fear of rape. From a very early age I, like most women, have thought of rape as a part of my natural environment—something to be feared and prayed against like fire or lightning. I never asked why men raped; I simply thought it one of the many mysteries of human nature.”

When we consider interpersonal violence of all kinds—homicide, assault, robbery, and rape and sexual assault—men are more likely than women to be victims of violence. While true, this fact obscures another fact: Women are far more likely than men to be raped and sexually assaulted. They are also much more likely to be portrayed as victims of pornographic violence on the Internet and in videos, magazines, and other outlets. Finally, women are more likely than men to be victims of domestic violence , or violence between spouses and others with intimate relationships. The gendered nature of these acts against women distinguishes them from the violence men suffer. Violence is directed against men not because they are men per se, but because of anger, jealousy, and the sociological reasons discussed in Chapter 8 “Crime and Criminal Justice” ’s treatment of deviance and crime. But rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, and pornographic violence are directed against women precisely because they are women. These acts are thus an extreme manifestation of the gender inequality women face in other areas of life. We discuss rape and sexual assault here but will leave domestic violence for Chapter 10 “The Changing Family” and pornography for Chapter 9 “Sexual Behavior” .

The Extent and Context of Rape and Sexual Assault

Our knowledge about the extent and context of rape and reasons for it comes from three sources: the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), both discussed in Chapter 8 “Crime and Criminal Justice” , and surveys of and interviews with women and men conducted by academic researchers. From these sources we have a fairly good if not perfect idea of how much rape occurs, the context in which it occurs, and the reasons for it. What do we know?

An informational poster about sexual assault awareness month. Throughout the month of April, commands are encouraged to organize activities to raise awareness of sexual assault using the theme,

Up to one-third of US women experience a rape or sexual assault, including attempts, at least once in their lives.

Wikimedia Commons – public domain.

According to the UCR, which are compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from police reports, 88,767 reported rapes (including attempts, and defined as forced sexual intercourse) occurred in the United States in 2010 (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011). Because women often do not tell police they were raped, the NCVS, which involves survey interviews of thousands of people nationwide, probably yields a better estimate of rape; the NCVS also measures sexual assaults in addition to rape, while the UCR measures only rape. According to the NCVS, 188,380 rapes and sexual assaults occurred in 2010 (Truman, 2011). Other research indicates that up to one-third of US women will experience a rape or sexual assault, including attempts, at least once in their lives (Barkan, 2012). A study of a random sample of 420 Toronto women involving intensive interviews yielded an even higher figure: Two-thirds said they had experienced at least one rape or sexual assault, including attempts. The researchers, Melanie Randall and Lori Haskell (1995, p. 22), concluded that “it is more common than not for a woman to have an experience of sexual assault during their lifetime.”

Studies of college students also find a high amount of rape and sexual assault. About 20–30 percent of women students in anonymous surveys report being raped or sexually assaulted (including attempts), usually by a male student they knew beforehand (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; Gross, Winslett, Roberts, & Gohm, 2006). Thus at a campus of 10,000 students of whom 5,000 are women, about 1,000–1,500 women will be raped or sexually assaulted over a period of four years, or about 10 per week in a four-year academic calendar. The Note 4.33 “People Making a Difference” box describes what one group of college students did to help reduce rape and sexual assault at their campus.

People Making a Difference

College Students Protest against Sexual Violence

Dickinson College is a small liberal-arts campus in the small town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. But in the fight against sexual violence, it loomed huge in March 2011, when up to 150 students conducted a nonviolent occupation of the college’s administrative building for three days to protest rape and sexual assault on their campus. While they read, ate, and slept inside the building, more than 250 other students held rallies outside, with the total number of protesters easily exceeding one-tenth of Dickinson’s student enrollment. The protesters held signs that said “Stop the silence, our safety is more important than your reputation” and “I value my body, you should value my rights.” One student told a reporter, “This is a pervasive problem. Almost every student will tell you they know somebody who’s experienced sexual violence or have experienced it themselves.”

Feeling that college officials had not done enough to help protect Dickinson’s women students, the students occupying the administrative building called on the college to set up an improved emergency system for reporting sexual assaults, to revamp its judicial system’s treatment of sexual assault cases, to create a sexual violence prevention program, and to develop a new sexual misconduct policy.

Rather than having police or security guards take the students from the administrative building and even arrest them, Dickinson officials negotiated with the students and finally agreed to their demands. Upon hearing this good news, the occupying students left the building on a Saturday morning, suffering from a lack of sleep and showers but cheered that they had won their demands. A college public relations official applauded the protesters, saying they “have indelibly left their mark on the college. We’re all very proud of them.” On this small campus in a small town in Pennsylvania, a few hundred college students had made a difference.

Sources: Jerving, 2011; Pitz, 2011

The public image of rape is of the proverbial stranger attacking a woman in an alleyway. While such rapes do occur, most rapes actually happen between people who know each other. A wide body of research finds that 60–80 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults are committed by someone the woman knows, including husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends, and only 20–35 percent by strangers (Barkan, 2012). A woman is thus two to four times more likely to be raped by someone she knows than by a stranger.

In 2011, sexual assaults of hotel housekeepers made major headlines after the head of the International Monetary Fund was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper in New York City; the charges were later dropped because the prosecution worried about the housekeeper’s credibility despite forensic evidence supporting her claim. Still, in the wake of the arrest, news stories reported that hotel housekeepers sometimes encounter male guests who commit sexual assault, make explicit comments, or expose themselves. A hotel security expert said in one news story, “These problems happen with some regularity. They’re not rare, but they’re not common either.” A housekeeper recalled in the same story an incident when she was vacuuming when a male guest appeared: “[He] reached to try to kiss me behind my ear. I dropped my vacuum, and then he grabbed my body at the waist, and he was holding me close. It was very scary.” She ran out of the room when the guest let her leave but did not call the police. A hotel workers union official said housekeepers often refused to report sexual assault and other incidents to the police because they were afraid they would not be believed or that they would get fired if they did so (Greenhouse, 2011, p. B1).

Explaining Rape and Sexual Assault

Sociological explanations of rape fall into cultural and structural categories similar to those presented earlier for sexual harassment. Various “rape myths” in our culture support the absurd notion that women somehow enjoy being raped, want to be raped, or are “asking for it” (Franiuk, Seefelt, & Vandello, 2008). One of the most famous scenes in movie history occurs in the classic film Gone with the Wind , when Rhett Butler carries a struggling Scarlett O’Hara up the stairs. She is struggling because she does not want to have sex with him. The next scene shows Scarlett waking up the next morning with a satisfied, loving look on her face. The not-so-subtle message is that she enjoyed being raped (or, to be more charitable to the film, was just playing hard to get).

A related cultural belief is that women somehow ask or deserve to be raped by the way they dress or behave. If she dresses attractively or walks into a bar by herself, she wants to have sex, and if a rape occurs, well, then, what did she expect? In the award-winning film The Accused , based on a true story, actress Jodie Foster plays a woman who was raped by several men on top of a pool table in a bar. The film recounts how members of the public questioned why she was in the bar by herself if she did not want to have sex and blamed her for being raped.

A third cultural belief is that a man who is sexually active with a lot of women is a stud and thus someone admired by his male peers. Although this belief is less common in this day of AIDS and other STDs, it is still with us. A man with multiple sex partners continues to be the source of envy among many of his peers. At a minimum, men are still the ones who have to “make the first move” and then continue making more moves. There is a thin line between being sexually assertive and sexually aggressive (Kassing, Beesley, & Frey, 2005).

These three cultural beliefs—that women enjoy being forced to have sex, that they ask or deserve to be raped, and that men should be sexually assertive or even aggressive—combine to produce a cultural recipe for rape. Although most men do not rape, the cultural beliefs and myths just described help account for the rapes that do occur. Recognizing this, the contemporary women’s movement began attacking these myths back in the 1970s, and the public is much more conscious of the true nature of rape than a generation ago. That said, much of the public still accepts these cultural beliefs and myths, and prosecutors continue to find it difficult to win jury convictions in rape trials unless the woman who was raped had suffered visible injuries, had not known the man who raped her, and/or was not dressed attractively (Levine, 2006).

Structural explanations for rape emphasize the power differences between women and men similar to those outlined earlier for sexual harassment. In societies that are male dominated, rape and other violence against women is a likely outcome, as they allow men to demonstrate and maintain their power over women. Supporting this view, studies of preindustrial societies and of the fifty states of the United States find that rape is more common in societies where women have less economic and political power (Baron & Straus, 1989; Sanday, 1981). Poverty is also a predictor of rape; although rape in the United States transcends social class boundaries, it does seem more common among poorer segments of the population than among wealthier segments, as is true for other types of violence (Truman & Rand, 2010). Scholars think the higher rape rates among the poor stem from poor men trying to prove their “masculinity” by taking out their economic frustration on women (Martin, Vieraitis, & Britto, 2006).

Key Takeaways

  • Up to one-third of US women experience a rape or sexual assault, including attempts, in their lifetime.
  • Rape and sexual assault result from a combination of structural and cultural factors. In states and nations where women are more unequal, rape rates tend to be higher.

For Your Review

  • What evidence and reasoning indicate that rape and sexual assault are not just the result of psychological problems affecting the men who engage in these crimes?
  • Write a brief essay in which you critically evaluate the cultural beliefs that contribute to rape and sexual assault.

Barkan, S. E. (2012). Criminology: A sociological understanding (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Baron, L., & Straus, M. A. (1989). Four theories of rape in American society: A state-level analysis . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2011). Crime in the United States, 2010 . Washington, DC: Author.

Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women . Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

Franiuk, R., Seefelt, J., & Vandello, J. (2008). Prevalence of rape myths in headlines and their effects on attitudes toward rape. Sex Roles, 58 (11/12), 790–801.

Greenhouse, S. (2011, May 21). Sexual affronts a known hotel hazard. New York Times , p. B1.

Griffin, S. (1971, September). Rape: The all-American crime. Ramparts, 10 , 26–35.

Gross, A. M., Winslett, A., Roberts, M., & Gohm, C. L. (2006). An examination of sexual violence against college women. Violence Against Women, 12 , 288–300.

Jerving, S. (2011, March 4). Pennsylvania students protest against sexual violence and administrators respond. The Nation . Retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/blog/159037/pennsylvania-students-protests-against-sexual-violence-and-administrators-respond .

Kassing, L. R., Beesley, D., & Frey, L. L. (2005). Gender role conflict, homophobia, age, and education as predictors of male rape myth acceptance. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 27 (4), 311–328.

Levine, K. L. (2006). The intimacy discount: Prosecutorial discretion, privacy, and equality in the statuory rape caseload. Emory Law Journal, 55 (4), 691–749.

Martin, K., Vieraitis, L. M., & Britto, S. (2006). Gender equality and women’s absolute status: A test of the feminist models of rape. Violence Against Women, 12 , 321–339.

Pitz, M. (2011, March 6). Dickinson College to change sexual assault policy after sit-in. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11065/1130102-1130454.stm .

Randall, M., & Haskell, L. (1995). Sexual violence in women’s lives: Findings from the women’s safety project, a community-based survey. Violence Against Women, 1 , 6–31.

Sanday, P. R. (1981). The Socio-Cultural Context of Rape: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Social Issues, 37 , 5–27.

Truman, J. L., & Rand, M. R. (2010). Criminal victimization, 2009 . Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Social Problems Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Laurell Sinai

Laurell Sinai

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Research-Based Argument Essay

Sexual assault and rape are serious social issues in the United States. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or sexual orientation; However, women are most commonly the victims of sexual assault. Many students in colleges don’t know the true meaning behind sexual assault, which increases the rates of college rape. Sexual assault is “any unwanted sexual act against a person or without a person’s consent—any sexual, physical verbal or visual act that forces a person against their will to have unwanted sexual contact or attention” (“Sexual Assault and Rape”). Many colleges disregard campus rapes in order to keep their reputation intact. Caroline Heldman discusses in her article how “no college in the U.S. has come up with a plan to effectively shift rape culture on their campus”. People need to start understanding that if this shift does not occur soon, we are putting girls all over the world in danger.

Rape is known to be the most common violent crime on American college campuses today. Rana Sampson goes into further detail in her article on how college years are the most vulnerable for women since “women ages 16 to 24 experience rape at rates four times higher than the assault rate of all women”. College women are more at risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women the same age, but not in college. Sampson state that it is estimated that almost 25 percent of college women have been victims of rape or attempted rape since the age of 14. Many students in college experience rape but decide not to report it. Many victims think that their college will not do anything about it. Jed Rubenfeld explains that “because of low arrest and conviction rates, lack of confidentiality, and fear they won’t be believed, only a minuscule percentage of college women who are raped — perhaps only 5 percent or less — report the assault to the police. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men — possibly as few as 4 percent — who rape repeatedly, averaging six victims each. Yet, these serial rapists overwhelmingly remain at large, escaping serious punishment”. This raises the question of why should women feel confident enough to come forward about their sexual assault without reassurance that the state and college will correctly handle the situation?

One college that has been convicted of continuous mishandlings of sexual assault is Vanderbilt. Even though, Vanderbilt is known to be one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States. Recently, there was an ugly rape case involving their football team that just can’t get worse. On the second floor of the Gillette House dorm at Vanderbilt, there was a broken door that has been knocked off. When school officials checked the security cameras, they found one of their highly rated football players who just transferred, Brandon Vandenburg. Bobby Allyn published in 2013, only a few months after the initial assault and stated that “hat officials eventually discovered about the events of that night would lead to the indictment of four football players for rape and another for alleged involvement in a cover-up”. On a Saturday night in June, Vandenburg went out with a 21-year-old student from Oklahoma who he had been casually dating. When they both returned to Vandenburg’s dorm after a long night of drinking, the girl was seen to be completely unconscious. Vandenburg called down three of his teammates, Cory, Brandon, and JaBorian, to help him bring the girl into his room. Some time after, 4 football players entered the room; different objects were used to penetrate the victim. Vandenburg took pictures and videos on his phone, and sent the others the footage. This was used as the main component of evidence during the trial. Even though there is such a graphic video, the coach of the football team claims, that “people always speculate and gossip. There is no truth to that accusation whatsoever. It’s inflammatory” (Allyn). Vanderbilt has kept quiet about these accusations until further notice. They will do whatever they can in order to keep this story under wraps. Situations like this is exactly why women do not usually come forward.

Similarly, Emerson College’s handling of a student’s sexual assault case caused so much stress that the victim ended up in the hospital and eventually dropped out of school, a new lawsuit contends (Kingkade). In April 2012, Jillian Doherty had consensual sex with a male student, but declined when he requested anal sex, it was then that he choked her and forcibly penetrated her. Doherty reported the assault in March 2013, and concluded with a final hearing in May. At the hearing, Tyler Kingkade writes that “the accused ‘was allowed to present new evidence, a letter of character, from a fellow Emerson student, who had no involvement with the hearing, assault, or the investigation’, the suit claimed.” According to Doherty, she was not given an opportunity to view the letter. The suspect was found not responsible because both he and the victim admitted to have been drinking before the incident and the court ruled her statement “inconsistent”. As a result of the first hearing, Doherty told Huffington Post “It was just the worst feeling in the world knowing you’re telling the truth and no one believes you.” Doherty was granted an appeal in the summer of 2013, and a new hearing took place in October. After the second hearing, the accused was found responsible for the assault and was expelled from school. By the time the hearing was over, the damage has already been done. Doherty’s grades dropped she had chronic depression and PTSD. She began “an outpatient treatment program at Arbor Hospital to address the emotional distress from reporting her assault” (Kingkade). According to the lawsuit, she was not granted academic accommodations to do her class work from home during that time, and unfortunately had to leave Emerson in Spring 2014, which was her dream school. The suit against Emerson claims that they violated the campus safety law, the Clery Act, by underreporting the sexual assault. This further proves, that even with laws against sexual assault are in tact, colleges and the government are still not handling these situations correctly. All in all, Walt Bogdanich explains that “school disciplinary panels are a world unto themselves, operating in secret with scant accountability and limited protections for the accuser or the accused.”

The difference in the amount of people who do and do not report their sexual assault is overwhelming.About 80 percent of campus rapes are not reported to police, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report on sexual assault. Julia Glum states that “researchers found that 26 percent of students and 23 percent of non-students chose not to report their rapes because it was too personal to tell police. More non-students than students said they didn’t report the crime because, they believed, the police could not or would not do anything to help.” Victims most of the times feel like they do not have a voice after being sexually assaulted. Society needs to seem more open and understanding when a situation like rape arises. Many victims of rape blame themselves for what has happened to them. They usually put the blame on what they were wearing, what they drank, where they were, and the time of day etc. These victims have to understand that no one is perfect and they were in a situation that they could not have controlled. Rebecca Nagle, co-director of the Baltimore-based activist group FORCE, told International Business Times earlier this week “We live in a culture where survivors are taught … to doubt your experiences, We need to build a culture of support for survivors”. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. You deserve to feel safe and supported. From the perspective of a university administrator who is mostly concerned with his school’s reputation, a rape that goes unreported is a rape that never actually happened (Kitchener). This shows exactly why women do not report their assault, because of the clear mindset of a highly respected school administrator.

There are a couple of things we know for sure about rape on college campuses, but here are two: It happens, and universities lie about it (Stern). Many colleges decide to keep their rape victims in the shadow and will decide not to tell state police of what has happened. “’When it comes to sexual assault and rape, the norm for universities and colleges is to downplay the situation and the numbers’, researcher Corey Rayburn Yung, a law professor at the University of Kansas, said in a release ’ (Timm). In 2006, Fox News reported that administrators at Eastern Michigan University covered up a rape and murder of a student, 22-year-old Laura Dickson, all while letting her parents think that she died of natural causes. Joseph Shapiro explains that, “despite federal laws created to protect students, colleges and universities have failed to protect women from this epidemic of sexual assault.” Colleges have a lot to lose when they admit to having a rape problem on campus. College codes and procedures were designed to punish for plagiarism and underage drinking, not to prove the crime of sexual assault. Many administrators use that excuse to justify them keeping the rape a secret. Many women face interrogations by administrators who do not seem to know what a rape exam is.

Many colleges will try to resolve the problem on their own. But, instead of making it better, they only make it worse. Last year, Bridgewater State University withheld the names of two men charged with rape on campus and did not notify any students or faculty about the incident. The school didn’t notify its 11-member board of trustees. Maria Papadopoulos quoted when Richard M. Freeland said, “Students and parents have a right to be concerned if they learn about such activity from the media, rather than from campus officials.” “O’Neill said withholding the names of accused rapists from a college community and the public is ‘ridiculous’ – and it shows that university officials are reluctant to be transparent about crimes reported on campus.”

In 2012 at Grinnell College, Emily Barlett received text messages from a guy “if you ever tell anyone God help you”, only ten minutes after he left her dorm room. That night, she told an advocate on campus that she was sexually assaulted. A few days later she went to campus security to file an official report. College administrators decided to set up a meditation session between the rapist and the victim, a practice the U.S. Department of Education prohibited a year before. The meditation was a failure because it re-traumatized the victim and didn’t bring a resolution to her case (Kingkade). She later took the case to a college court, where they found the accused not responsible for sexual misconduct, despite the photos of deep bruising on her body and the text message he sent the victim-threatening her if she told anyone about what had happened. “He was deemed responsible for “disorderly misconduct” and “psychological harm” and punished with a year of probation” (Kingkade). The accused was still allowed to play baseball and take the same courses as the victim. At Grinnell College, students were forced to attend class with men the school knew have sexually assaulted them. The college made the offenders write short apology letters to the victim.

Some women started to struggle in their classes due to stress related to their assaults, they say, the college decided to push them off campus. In many cases, the victim would be placed on academic suspension while the offender would be allowed to return to campus. When one of the professors at Grinnell told the administration office that a victim was placed right next to her offender, the college said there was nothing they could do about it. During one case at Grinell, the attacker landed an on campus job as the head of security, just after being accused. The way Grinell has handled their sexual assaults has driven two victims away from their dream school and caused daily anxiety for the third, who decided to stay on campus. The college constantly places the blame of them not doing anything about the accusations on the fact that it is a small campus. They believe that also because Grinell, Iowa is a small city, there isn’t any way for the victim and the attacker not to run into each other, so things at school cannot be any different than the two running into each other on the street. In 2013, almost a year after the assault, Emily Barlett decided to transfer to the University of Missouri. In 2014, Grinell sent Barlett a letter asking her to reconsider returning to the college, and had the indecency to ask her why she left. Another high profile case that occurred at Grinell, only a few months after Barletts initial assault. India Vannoy was assaulted by a classmate in her scholarship program. She filed school conduct charges against the male student, as did another women who was assaulted by the same man. The hearing occurred 5 months after the assault. Grinell found him to be responsible for psychological trauma in Vannoy’s case. He was suspended for a short 3 semesters before returning to campus. Vannoy was clinically diagnosed with PTSD and took the spring 2013 semester to recover. She returned in the fall, but landed on academic probation. Grinell promised to do anything to help her out during the ordeal, but Vannoy said that she did not receive any assistance. Instead, an administrator told her she was “mentally unstable” and suggested, “she take time off to get over it”. She was later placed on academic suspension, banning her from returning to campus; meaning that the attacker is allowed back on campus, but Vannoy is not.

The mishandling of sexual assaults led to a Senate report, it was found that 41% of schools conducted no investigation in the past 5 years, even though there were numerous complaints made by female students. Many women keep an assault a secret to prevent embarrassment, shame and the trauma of reliving the nightmare during legal proceedings. Some administrators care less about the victim, and more about their own image. Schools are terrified of the result if the world hears that such an awful crime has been committed on their campus. Colleges fear that any negative publicity will ruin their sterling reputations, which will result in diminished enrollment applications (Jarrett). Colleges need to step out of their own alternative world, and step back into reality. Gregg Gregg Jarrett explains that “these cases reveal an unsettling fact: many colleges are dilatory or derelict in failing to prevent attacks. Once they do occur, campus investigations have proven to be scant, shoddy and incompetent. All too often, complaints are brushed aside; local police are kept in the dark, survivors are encouraged to drop it and crimes are covered up. The alleged victim is victimized all over again.” Colleges will not change their course of action unless they are forced to do so. Until then, not much will be done about correctly handling a campus rape.

Since all of these mishandlings of sexual assault cases, the government was forced to make laws in order to prevent colleges from mishandling rape. A few of them are: “Yes Means Yes”, “Title IX”, and “It’s On Us”. “Governor Jerry Brown of California signed Senate Bill 967, nationally known as the “Yes Means Yes” bill, into action on September 28” (Hwang). The “Yes Means Yes” bill aims to provide help for victims of sexual assault on college campuses. This bill requires colleges to define affirmative consent as a clear “yes” rather than the absence of a verbal “no”. Additionally, the bill mandates that colleges educate their students on consent and sexual assault in order to prevent further rapes (Hwang). Senator Kevin de Leon of California said in a speech “our sisters, our daughters, our nieces — every woman deserves the right to pursue the dream of higher education without being threatened by the nightmare of violence and sexual abuse.” The bill also provides multiple resources funded by the state in which victims can use to assist them in the legal process of reporting, investigating and finalizing the case. Unfortunately, as of now the bill has only been passed in California. Officials are working to pursue this bill across America. Even “President Obama decided to join Vice President Biden and American people across the country to launch the “It’s On Us” initiative- an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assaults on college campuses” (Somanader). “It’s On Us” asks everyone, both men and women to make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be a part of the mission to end the epidemic of college rape. This bill sends guidance to every school that receives federal funding on their legal obligations to prevent and to deal with sexual assaults that occur on their campuses. Adding onto the bill, Obama created the “White House task force” to protect students from sexual assault to work with colleges on developing the best practices on how to prevent and deal with sexual assault. “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding” (“What is Title IX”). Even a single instance of rape or sexual assault by another student or staff member could meet the standards of getting the victim justice.

The “Yes Means Yes”, “Title IX”, and “It’s On Us” bills do not implement a transfer of power between the victim and the rapist, as they aim to give victims a fighting chance (Hwang). Sarah Yang said, “It takes a lot of strength to report in the first place, and having to deal with an administrator that doesn’t understand the whole situation is very difficult.” Many of these bills will continue to arise due to this continuously rising problem of sexual assault, giving the universities more incentive and pressure to find more evidence in reports where there is none.

College rape has been and will continue to be a huge problem around the world if people do not make an effort to put an end to it. Many colleges have experienced handling huge rape cases such as: Vanderbilt, Emerson and Grinnell. College Rape is an important topic to be educated on because many students reading this will soon be attending or are already attending college and need to know about the different ways you could get help if you are sexually assaulted. Since this is such a huge problem in many colleges today it is important for everyone to know what you could do in order to help prevent future campus rapes.

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A woman who accused Trevor Bauer of sex assault is now charged with defrauding ex-MLB player

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona woman who accused former major league pitcher Trevor Bauer of sexual assault has been charged with defrauding the baseball player.

An indictment unsealed Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court charges the woman with fraud and theft by extortion, both felonies, but doesn't provide specific details about the alleged crimes. It says Bauer and one other person were defrauded in a scheme that potentially spanned several years.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly.

The woman sued Bauer in December 2022, accusing him of rape two years earlier that she said resulted in pregnancy in late 2020.

Court records on Tuesday afternoon didn’t list an attorney for the woman in the fraud case, and the lawyer representing her in her lawsuit didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking additional comment.

Bauer was never arrested or charged. He countersued, saying he had one consensual sexual encounter with the woman in 2020 and then accused her of faking the pregnancy to extort money from him.

His attorneys have said that the woman made several million-dollar demands against him.

Bauer said he ultimately paid $8,761 for expenses he believed to be related to the woman’s reported pregnancy and its subsequent termination.

The woman later said that she ultimately decided not to terminate the pregnancy, but had a miscarriage.

She is scheduled to be arraigned on the criminal charges next Friday.

In a recorded video statement released Tuesday, Bauer said he is innocent.

“What else do I have to do to prove that this entire situation has been a massive lie? This is insane,” he said. “At what point do I get to go back to work and continue earning a living?”

Bauer has been trying to revive his major league career after serving a suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. He was suspended after another woman accused him of beating and sexually abusing her — an accusation the pitcher also denied.

He was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2023 and played last year with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s Pacific League. He signed a deal this spring to pitch five games for Mexico’s Diablos Rojos and made his first appearance in a spring exhibition against the New York Yankees.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Bill Cosby’s Attorneys Urge Dismissal of Woman’s 1969 Rape Claim

A judge Tuesday took under submission a motion by Bill Cosby’s attorneys to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former Playboy Playmate who alleges he drugged and raped her in 1969, but the judge issued a tentative ruling before the hearing saying he was inclined to deny the defense motion.

Plaintiff Victoria Valentino, also known as Victoria Carbe-Chen, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in her Beverly Hills Superior Court complaint filed last June 5, alleging sexual assault and battery.

But during Tuesday’s hearing, Cosby’s attorneys told Judge Edward B. Moreton Jr. that claims must be dismissed in lawsuits when the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act violates the Special Law Clause of the California constitution. AB2777 went into effect a year ago and gives some adult survivors more time to file lawsuits in cases with expired statutes of limitations.

The California constitution forbids the use of the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act where it singles out a single class — namely victims of sexual assault — and provides them with special privileges, according to Cosby’s attorneys’ court papers, which further state that the act violates Cosby’s rights under both the state and federal constitutions by taking away a statute of limitations defense previously available to him.

In addition, Valentino does not claim to have been a minor at the time of the assault and so the viability of her claims hinges on the limitations rules set out in a part of the state Code of Civil Procedure, Cosby’s attorneys argue in their court papers.

The CCP section at issue states that a civil action to recover such damages must be filed within 10 years from the date of the last act or within three years of the plaintiff discovering her damages, whichever is later, according to Cosby’s lawyers court papers.

“The alleged assault in this case took place more than 50 years ago,” Cosby’s lawyers maintain in their court papers. “Furthermore, plaintiff makes no claim that she only recently discovered within the past three years the injury that resulted from the 1969 assault.”

Valentino also does not allege that Cosby tried to hide evidence through the use of nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements, Cosby’s lawyers further state in their court papers.

But in his tentative ruling, the judge said the Legislature “sought to strike a balance between abuse victims’ interest in seeking redress and the burden on defendants of being required to defend against claims for a relatively indefinite period in the future when it enacted the statute.”

In her lawsuit, Valentino says she met Cosby, now 86, in 1969 while auditioning for an acting role and showed him a photo of her late 6-year-old son, who had drowned.

“This case is about a prominent actor and comedian who used his notoriety and status to sexually assault an up-and-coming female artist,” Valentino’s suit states.

Valentino and Cosby met again along with a friend of the plaintiff later that year at Sneaky Pete’s, a Sunset Strip steakhouse, where Cosby put a pill next to the still emotionally distraught Valentino’s glass, saying, “It will make us all feel better,” the suit states.

Valentino ingested the pill as well as a second Cosby put in her mouth, and he also provided one to her friend, the court papers state. He took the two women by car to an office, where both became unconscious, the plaintiff’s court papers state.

When the drowsy plaintiff partially awoke and believed Cosby was about to sexually assault her friend, she tried to distract him and was assaulted by the comedian herself, the court papers allege.

The two women later ran out of the office and went to Valentino’s home via a cab, the court papers state.

Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition that he used quaaludes on young women with whom he desired sex, the suit alleges.

“Bill Cosby exploited me when I was at my lowest point and was consumed by grief,” Valentino said in a previous statement. “Not only did he assault me, but the trauma caused my career in the performing arts to completely derail. The trauma he inflicted upon me affects not only me, but my children and grandchildren.”

Valentino further said that breaking her silence serves as her legacy to her family and shows those survivors who have yet to find their voices that hope and healing are possible.


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Philharmonic Sidelines 2 Players It Tried to Fire for Misconduct

The New York Philharmonic said the musicians would not perform for now, after a magazine article brought new attention to allegations of misconduct. They have denied wrongdoing.

A close-up of a man playing the trumpet next to a close-up of a man playing the oboe.

By Javier C. Hernández

The New York Philharmonic said on Monday that two players it had tried to fire in 2018 — but was forced to rehire after the musicians’ union challenged their dismissal — would not take part in rehearsals or performances for the time being after a magazine article detailed the allegations of misconduct that had been made against them.

The Philharmonic said that the players — the principal oboist, Liang Wang, and the associate principal trumpet, Matthew Muckey — would not appear as the orchestra deals with the fallout from a New York magazine article published on Friday.

In the article Cara Kizer, a former Philharmonic horn player, came forward for the first time to publicly discuss an encounter that occurred when she was on tour with the Philharmonic in Vail, Colo., in 2010. She told the Vail Police Department then that she had been sexually assaulted after spending the evening with the two players and was given a drink she came to believe was drugged, according to police records.

No charges were filed against the men and both have denied wrongdoing; their lawyers said they expect to return to the ensemble soon.

In 2018 the Philharmonic moved to dismiss Mr. Wang and Mr. Muckey , who both joined the orchestra in 2006. It said at the time that it had received reports that the two players had “engaged in misconduct,” which it declined to describe, and that it had decided to fire them after commissioning an investigation. But the players’ union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, challenged their dismissals.

The orchestra was forced to reinstate them in 2020 after an independent arbitrator found that they had been terminated without just cause.

Gary Ginstling, the Philharmonic’s current president and chief executive, said in an interview on Monday that the New York magazine report had “prompted a lot of strong feelings” and confirmed that Mr. Muckey and Mr. Wang were not playing with the orchestra at the moment.

Mr. Ginstling declined to say when they might rejoin the ensemble, or whether the orchestra would once again seek their termination. But he noted that the Philharmonic faced constraints because of the 2020 ruling, which the orchestra criticized at the time.

“The determination was through binding arbitration,” Mr. Ginstling said. “Binding is the key word.”

The orchestra committee, which represents players, said in a statement that it is “the overwhelming sentiment from the orchestra that we believe Cara” and that “we don’t believe these are isolated incidents involving Matt Muckey and Liang Wang.” The committee added that the orchestra has a culture of “not taking musician complaints seriously so musicians often do not feel safe in raising accusations of sexual harassment and assault” and called on management to take action to provide a safe workplace.

Sara Cutler, the president and executive director of Local 802, who took office last year, struck a different tone than her predecessors. She said in a statement on Monday that the decision to keep Mr. Wang and Mr. Muckey offstage for the time being “are good first steps but they can’t be the last.”

“As a woman, a musician and a new union president,” she said, “I am horrified by what was in the story and we are committing the full resources of Local 802 to erase the culture of complicity that has raged at the N.Y. Philharmonic for too long.”

Ms. Kizer had not been granted tenure with the orchestra when the encounter occurred; she wound up leaving the orchestra but did not discuss the process with New York magazine.

She said in a statement on Monday that since the article appeared she had been “receiving an influx of emails from survivors everywhere, and finding even more that mine isn’t an isolated experience in our industry.”

“I’m grateful for this outpouring of support, knowing that I’m not alone,” she said.

Alan S. Lewis, a lawyer representing Mr. Wang, disputed the idea that his client had done anything wrong, pointing to the arbitrator’s ruling.

“The Philharmonic decided that it would be best for Liang and the other musician to take a couple of weeks off while the Philharmonic manages the firestorm that the distorted article ignited,” Mr. Lewis said in a statement. “Liang loves the Philharmonic as well as his colleagues, who he holds in high regard and has always treated with respect and dignity. He looks forward to soon returning to the Philharmonic stage.”

Steven J. Hyman, a lawyer for Mr. Muckey, said that the report “should not be the basis of any adverse actions” by the Philharmonic.

“We expect that Mr. Muckey will be able to resume his position as associate principal trumpet and the matter once and for all put to rest,” he said.

The orchestra’s musicians posted a statement on social media on Saturday calling on the orchestra’s players and its management to help ensure a safe environment.

“We wholeheartedly denounce and find abhorrent all conduct that violates and degrades the women in our orchestra,” the statement said. “Such conduct is an affront to women everywhere. It must never be tolerated.”

Javier C. Hernández is a culture reporter, covering the world of classical music and dance in New York City and beyond. He joined The Times in 2008 and previously worked as a correspondent in Beijing and New York. More about Javier C. Hernández

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USM’s Karnes Center Announces Summer 2024 Programming

Tue, 04/16/2024 - 03:24pm | By: David Tisdale

The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will again host summer programming on its Hattiesburg campus throughout June. This year, the Center’s staff encourages students to “carry the torch” and run their educational race with perseverance, as each program is designed to engage students with the potential to change their world in positive ways.

“We invite gifted, talented, and high-ability students to make the beautiful USM Hattiesburg Campus their home this summer as they explore new ideas, make new friends, and expand their horizons,’ said Karnes Center Director Dr. Heather Houston. 

Programming details are as follow:

DAY PROGRAMS: 8:30 a.m. – Noon

  • Young Gifted Students*: Grades PK-3, June 10-14       
  • Summer In the Middle (SIM)*: Grades 4-6, June 10-14


  • Summer Gifted Studies*: Grades 4-8, June 17-22
  • Leadership Studies**: Grades 6-11, June 24-29
  • Summer Program for Academically or Artistically Talented Youth (SPAATY)† June 17-29

Eligibility for these programs is based on IQ or Nationally Normed Achievement Test Scores at or above the 90 th percentile; Leadership Studies is open to all students who are interested in shaping their community and write an essay explaining their goals.

† SPAATY is open to students who have scored at the 90 th percentile on nationally normed tests of academic ability or in ranges on the ACT or SAT commensurate with those appropriate for collegiate studies.

Tuition costs for day programs include all materials and limited accident insurance. Tuition costs for residential programs include room, board, recreational and cultural activities, and limited accident insurance. Need-based financial aid is available for residential programs on a limited basis. USM affiliated families and military affiliated families are also encouraged to apply. The application deadline for these programs is April 25. For additional information, call 601.266.5236, or e-mail giftedstudiesFREEMississippi . Course descriptions and applications are available at usm.edu/gifted .

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Usm's karnes center announces summer 2024 programming, southern miss medallion winner, keats award recipients recognized at kaigler book festival, usm contingent captures awards at mississippi academy of nutrition and dietetics conference.

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NPR suspends veteran editor as it grapples with his public criticism

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thesis statement for sexual assault essay

NPR suspended senior editor Uri Berliner for five days without pay after he wrote an essay accusing the network of losing the public's trust and appeared on a podcast to explain his argument. Uri Berliner hide caption

NPR suspended senior editor Uri Berliner for five days without pay after he wrote an essay accusing the network of losing the public's trust and appeared on a podcast to explain his argument.

NPR has formally punished Uri Berliner, the senior editor who publicly argued a week ago that the network had "lost America's trust" by approaching news stories with a rigidly progressive mindset.

Berliner's five-day suspension without pay, which began last Friday, has not been previously reported.

Yet the public radio network is grappling in other ways with the fallout from Berliner's essay for the online news site The Free Press . It angered many of his colleagues, led NPR leaders to announce monthly internal reviews of the network's coverage, and gave fresh ammunition to conservative and partisan Republican critics of NPR, including former President Donald Trump.

Conservative activist Christopher Rufo is among those now targeting NPR's new chief executive, Katherine Maher, for messages she posted to social media years before joining the network. Among others, those posts include a 2020 tweet that called Trump racist and another that appeared to minimize rioting during social justice protests that year. Maher took the job at NPR last month — her first at a news organization .

In a statement Monday about the messages she had posted, Maher praised the integrity of NPR's journalists and underscored the independence of their reporting.

"In America everyone is entitled to free speech as a private citizen," she said. "What matters is NPR's work and my commitment as its CEO: public service, editorial independence, and the mission to serve all of the American public. NPR is independent, beholden to no party, and without commercial interests."

The network noted that "the CEO is not involved in editorial decisions."

In an interview with me later on Monday, Berliner said the social media posts demonstrated Maher was all but incapable of being the person best poised to direct the organization.

"We're looking for a leader right now who's going to be unifying and bring more people into the tent and have a broader perspective on, sort of, what America is all about," Berliner said. "And this seems to be the opposite of that."

thesis statement for sexual assault essay

Conservative critics of NPR are now targeting its new chief executive, Katherine Maher, for messages she posted to social media years before joining the public radio network last month. Stephen Voss/Stephen Voss hide caption

Conservative critics of NPR are now targeting its new chief executive, Katherine Maher, for messages she posted to social media years before joining the public radio network last month.

He said that he tried repeatedly to make his concerns over NPR's coverage known to news leaders and to Maher's predecessor as chief executive before publishing his essay.

Berliner has singled out coverage of several issues dominating the 2020s for criticism, including trans rights, the Israel-Hamas war and COVID. Berliner says he sees the same problems at other news organizations, but argues NPR, as a mission-driven institution, has a greater obligation to fairness.

"I love NPR and feel it's a national trust," Berliner says. "We have great journalists here. If they shed their opinions and did the great journalism they're capable of, this would be a much more interesting and fulfilling organization for our listeners."

A "final warning"

The circumstances surrounding the interview were singular.

Berliner provided me with a copy of the formal rebuke to review. NPR did not confirm or comment upon his suspension for this article.

In presenting Berliner's suspension Thursday afternoon, the organization told the editor he had failed to secure its approval for outside work for other news outlets, as is required of NPR journalists. It called the letter a "final warning," saying Berliner would be fired if he violated NPR's policy again. Berliner is a dues-paying member of NPR's newsroom union but says he is not appealing the punishment.

The Free Press is a site that has become a haven for journalists who believe that mainstream media outlets have become too liberal. In addition to his essay, Berliner appeared in an episode of its podcast Honestly with Bari Weiss.

A few hours after the essay appeared online, NPR chief business editor Pallavi Gogoi reminded Berliner of the requirement that he secure approval before appearing in outside press, according to a copy of the note provided by Berliner.

In its formal rebuke, NPR did not cite Berliner's appearance on Chris Cuomo's NewsNation program last Tuesday night, for which NPR gave him the green light. (NPR's chief communications officer told Berliner to focus on his own experience and not share proprietary information.) The NPR letter also did not cite his remarks to The New York Times , which ran its article mid-afternoon Thursday, shortly before the reprimand was sent. Berliner says he did not seek approval before talking with the Times .

NPR defends its journalism after senior editor says it has lost the public's trust

NPR defends its journalism after senior editor says it has lost the public's trust

Berliner says he did not get permission from NPR to speak with me for this story but that he was not worried about the consequences: "Talking to an NPR journalist and being fired for that would be extraordinary, I think."

Berliner is a member of NPR's business desk, as am I, and he has helped to edit many of my stories. He had no involvement in the preparation of this article and did not see it before it was posted publicly.

In rebuking Berliner, NPR said he had also publicly released proprietary information about audience demographics, which it considers confidential. He said those figures "were essentially marketing material. If they had been really good, they probably would have distributed them and sent them out to the world."

Feelings of anger and betrayal inside the newsroom

His essay and subsequent public remarks stirred deep anger and dismay within NPR. Colleagues contend Berliner cherry-picked examples to fit his arguments and challenge the accuracy of his accounts. They also note he did not seek comment from the journalists involved in the work he cited.

Morning Edition host Michel Martin told me some colleagues at the network share Berliner's concerns that coverage is frequently presented through an ideological or idealistic prism that can alienate listeners.

"The way to address that is through training and mentorship," says Martin, herself a veteran of nearly two decades at the network who has also reported for The Wall Street Journal and ABC News. "It's not by blowing the place up, by trashing your colleagues, in full view of people who don't really care about it anyway."

Several NPR journalists told me they are no longer willing to work with Berliner as they no longer have confidence that he will keep private their internal musings about stories as they work through coverage.

"Newsrooms run on trust," NPR political correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben tweeted last week, without mentioning Berliner by name. "If you violate everyone's trust by going to another outlet and sh--ing on your colleagues (while doing a bad job journalistically, for that matter), I don't know how you do your job now."

Berliner rejected that critique, saying nothing in his essay or subsequent remarks betrayed private observations or arguments about coverage.

Other newsrooms are also grappling with questions over news judgment and confidentiality. On Monday, New York Times Executive Editor Joseph Kahn announced to his staff that the newspaper's inquiry into who leaked internal dissent over a planned episode of its podcast The Daily to another news outlet proved inconclusive. The episode was to focus on a December report on the use of sexual assault as part of the Hamas attack on Israel in October. Audio staffers aired doubts over how well the reporting stood up to scrutiny.

"We work together with trust and collegiality everyday on everything we produce, and I have every expectation that this incident will prove to be a singular exception to an important rule," Kahn wrote to Times staffers.

At NPR, some of Berliner's colleagues have weighed in online against his claim that the network has focused on diversifying its workforce without a concomitant commitment to diversity of viewpoint. Recently retired Chief Executive John Lansing has referred to this pursuit of diversity within NPR's workforce as its " North Star ," a moral imperative and chief business strategy.

In his essay, Berliner tagged the strategy as a failure, citing the drop in NPR's broadcast audiences and its struggle to attract more Black and Latino listeners in particular.

"During most of my tenure here, an open-minded, curious culture prevailed. We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding," Berliner writes. "In recent years, however, that has changed."

Berliner writes, "For NPR, which purports to consider all things, it's devastating both for its journalism and its business model."

NPR investigative reporter Chiara Eisner wrote in a comment for this story: "Minorities do not all think the same and do not report the same. Good reporters and editors should know that by now. It's embarrassing to me as a reporter at NPR that a senior editor here missed that point in 2024."

Some colleagues drafted a letter to Maher and NPR's chief news executive, Edith Chapin, seeking greater clarity on NPR's standards for its coverage and the behavior of its journalists — clearly pointed at Berliner.

A plan for "healthy discussion"

On Friday, CEO Maher stood up for the network's mission and the journalism, taking issue with Berliner's critique, though never mentioning him by name. Among her chief issues, she said Berliner's essay offered "a criticism of our people on the basis of who we are."

Berliner took great exception to that, saying she had denigrated him. He said that he supported diversifying NPR's workforce to look more like the U.S. population at large. She did not address that in a subsequent private exchange he shared with me for this story. (An NPR spokesperson declined further comment.)

Late Monday afternoon, Chapin announced to the newsroom that Executive Editor Eva Rodriguez would lead monthly meetings to review coverage.

"Among the questions we'll ask of ourselves each month: Did we capture the diversity of this country — racial, ethnic, religious, economic, political geographic, etc — in all of its complexity and in a way that helped listeners and readers recognize themselves and their communities?" Chapin wrote in the memo. "Did we offer coverage that helped them understand — even if just a bit better — those neighbors with whom they share little in common?"

Berliner said he welcomed the announcement but would withhold judgment until those meetings played out.

In a text for this story, Chapin said such sessions had been discussed since Lansing unified the news and programming divisions under her acting leadership last year.

"Now seemed [the] time to deliver if we were going to do it," Chapin said. "Healthy discussion is something we need more of."

Disclosure: This story was reported and written by NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik and edited by Deputy Business Editor Emily Kopp and Managing Editor Gerry Holmes. Under NPR's protocol for reporting on itself, no NPR corporate official or news executive reviewed this story before it was posted publicly.

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