The Uncommon Man

January 15, 2009

TAASA: 27th Annual Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Conference

The 27th Annual Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Conference will provide the tools needed to continue work in a way that is "rooted in social justice." In addition to offering specialized studies for diversity, sexual assault nurse examiners and volunteer management, this year's conference features social justice workshops aimed at providing tools and analyses to help attendees make connections between sexual violence and other social justice issues, as well as engage in efforts to impact social injustices in their own communities. Traditional workshops for first responders and service providers such as law enforcement, victim advocates and counselors will also be available.

Early conference registration and the hotel room block both end on February 12, so please register soon!
To register, visit:

Posted by Aaron Buford at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2008

A Crisis of Gender Violence

Video: Stephen Lewis | A Crisis of Gender Violence
via Tides

07.21.2008 | 21:46 minutes

Synopsis:A forceful and moving indictment of violence against women. Former U.N. Ambassador Stephen Lewis delivers a rallying cry to stop the systemic use of rape and abuse against girls and women across the globe.

Bio: Stephen Lewis is a U.S. based Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, an advocacy organization that works to promote more urgent and more effective responses to HIV/AIDS. Amongst several senior UN roles that spanned more than two decades, Lewis has served as the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations. He holds 28 honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest honor for lifetime achievement. In 2007, the Kingdom of Lesotho invested Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe, the country's highest honor. Lewis is currently a Professor in Global Health at McMaster University, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and chairs the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada.

Posted by Daniel at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

International Women's Day

Saturday, March 8 is International Women's Day, a day of global celebration for the political, social, and economic achievements of women. But women's achievements are constrained every day by violence, which is suffered daily by girls and women all over the world.

In fact, every day a war is being waged against women and girls, taking millions of lives and causing terrible suffering. Violence against women -- whether abuse by spouses or partners in the home, rape as a weapon during wartime, dowry deaths, or "honor killings" -- claims one of every three women or girls in the world as victims.

Their suffering is a leading contributor to poverty, preventing women from taking full advantage of economic and educational opportunities that would help create better lives for themselves and their families.

Now, the United States is poised to make a difference to end this epidemic of violence. Members of Congress from both parties have introduced legislation that will use the power of U.S. diplomacy and international aid to address physical and sexual violence against women and girls overseas.

The International Violence Against Women Act will provide $1 billion over five years in U.S. foreign assistance for long-term prevention, programs to change public attitudes and social norms and legal and health reforms, and economic development for women -- all intended to end violence against women worldwide.

On International Women's Day on Saturday, let's all contact our representative and senators to ask them to support this groundbreaking legislation. For more information visit the Family Violence Prevention Fund online, Amnesty International or Women Thrive Worldwide.

Posted by Daniel at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006

Kenya's new rape laws

Here's a story Steven Botkin spotted on the Feminist Daily News Wire about a recent update to Kenya's laws dealing with sex crimes. Note the disturbing clause that levies the same punishment to false accusers as to convicted rapists.

July 24, 2006

Kenya Toughens Law on Sexual Predators

A new law in Kenya has created stricter punishments for rapists and sexual predators, but has failed to criminalize marital rape and female genital mutilation. The bill, which President Mwai Kibaki approved on July 14, was the first legal recognition of many sex crimes, including gang rape, sexual harassment, and child trafficking. The legislation also outlaws the deliberate transmission of the HIV virus.

The bill comes as a reaction to the rising number of rapes and sexual assaults committed in Kenya. While it is estimated that women are raped every half hour in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Kenya's legal code on sexual crimes has not been significantly changed since 1930.

One of the most contentious issues is a provision in the law that imposes the same sentence on rapists and those who falsely accuse someone of rape. This clause may "deter women from coming forward [and has] shifted the burden of proof in rape cases from the accuser to the accused," according to a statement from the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General. Kenyan women's rights activists are especially angered by this provision of the legislation. Says Anne Njogu, director of the Centre for Women's Rights Education and Awareness, according to, "It is the same chauvinistic, paternalistic, very, very parochial attitudes towards women."

Many are skeptical about how effective this new legislation will be in combating the rising incidences of rape. "For many rural women, it will take much more than a new law to change deeply entrenched traditions, where culturally, women have little power," said Jack Nyagaya, a counselor who deals with cases of rape, according to

Posted by Daniel at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2006

A Substantial Decrease in Rapes?

A recent Washington Post article reports that the reports of rape have decreased 85% percent since the 70's. Given that one of the problems with the issue of rape is the barriers to reporting in the first place, Men Can Stop Rape wrote a letter in response. You can read it below:

via Men Can Stop Rape - MCSR Submits Letter in Response to "Post" Article

Posted by Russell at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2006

FBI Behavioral Scientist on Men Who Rape

Over at Real Men Are Not is a good post about an interview with an FBI behavioral expert and he talks about rapists. Luke does a good job of addressing the tone - which is more focused on serial rapists (the minority) and not those who date-rape (the majority). The brief excerpts on the post are intriguing enough that I am going to read the whole interview over the weekend.

via Real Men Are Not - Men Who Rape: An Interesting Interview with an FBI Behavioral Science Guy

Posted by Russell at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2006

Thoughts on the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

I haven't posted anything from Hugo Schwyzer in a while. But he recently posted some great thoughts on masculinity and rape. His thoughts were sparked by a post at another regular link here, Alas, A Blog, which is sparked by a news piece from another site (and now I am posting about all of it here - welcome to the internet). The orginal piece had this quote:"Masculinity is something that has to be proven", she said. "It is not innate or natural. It’s something young men have to establish, and they have to establish it publicly". Hugo follows this by examining the impact of masculinity and the concept of "proving it". He ends with this final thought which is quite sobering:

(Many men)derive more lasting pleasure from sharing with other men their conquest narrative than they do from the sexual experience itself! That's one of the most universal -- and ugliest -- aspects of modern American masculinity.

via Hugo Schwyzer - Some Thoughts on Gang Bangs and "Proving It"

Posted by Russell at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2006

Why Men Rape?

One result of the Duke Lacrosse rape allegations is that there has been a number of discussions in the blogosphere about rape: why it happens, how to prosecute it, how to talk about it, how to prevent it, etc. Over at Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty is a great brief post that asks a simple but provactive question: Why do men have sex with women who don't want to have sex with them? It is well worth reading the post, the comments that follow, and to consider the question yourself.

via Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty - A Follow-Up of Sorts

Posted by Russell at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Anti-Misogyny Means More Than Saying It

The Duke University Lacrosse rape accusation case continues on. Today's New York Times reports that DNA tests failed to link the players to the rape. But the district attorney plans to continue to pursue the case.

Below is a brief post at Alas, A Blog - highlighting how a claim that you are against rape, does not mean that you truly are:

via Alas, A Blog - Student Who Wrote Woman-Hating Email Attended Take Back The Night Rally

Posted by Russell at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2006

When Yes Means No

Sorry I didn't post something yesterday - I wasn't near a computer all day...
Below is a link to a columinist for the Chicago-Sun Times, speculating on the messages that we give to young people about sex and rape. This piece comes on the heels of a young man acquitted for rape, in a situation that involved alcohol and the "consent" from a young woman who was drunk. The message that columnist, Mark Brown, proposes we add to "'no' means 'no'" is "sometimes, 'yes' means 'no'".

via Chicago-Sun Times - Booze and Sex: No Means No, And Sometimes, So Does Yes

Posted by Russell at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2006

U.K. Rape Ads Aimed At Men

There is a U.K. anti-rape ad campaign that focuses on men. It even uses the word "consent" and focuses on the idea that if a woman is drunk, she can't give consent. This is great. Below is a link to the news-piece on the campaign. And then, a post at Alas, (a blog) that offers some critique of the announcement.

via BBC News - Sex Consent Campaign Targets Men

via Alas, (a blog) - Anti-Rape Ads Aimed At Men

Posted by Russell at 07:09 PM | Comments (3)

March 02, 2006

Masculinity, Patriarchy, and Rape

It has been awhile since I've read a description of how our culture - one that is still, at heart, patriarchal - encourages men to rape. At the weblog, Den of the Biting Beaver, is as good a description of this as I've ever read.

via Den of the Biting Beaver - Rape As Control

Posted by Russell at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2006

Rape: False Accusations

When a false report of a rape is revealed, it is often used to justify the new myth that all a woman has to do is cry "rape" and a man will be convicted. In her blog post below, Cathy Young, offers a response to this situation.

via The Y Files - Rape, Lies and Videotape

Posted by Russell at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2005

Sleep Sex

In Ontario, Canada, a judge aquited a man of a sexual assault charge based on a rare disorder called "sexsomnia". Sexsomnia involves having sex while sleeping - thus being unconscious of what you are doing. Yet, another hurdle for victims of sexual assault and a potential excuse for rape.

News Story via Boston Globe - Ontario Mulls Appeal in Canadian Sexsomnia Case

News Story via CNews - It's Ruled Sleep Sex

Posted by Russell at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005

Rape and A Reasonable Doubt

A disturbing court case in Oregon may provide another psychic hurdle for women to report being raped. A young woman reported being gang-raped by four men. The case was dropped because the stories amongst the five involved were so different it would be hard to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution and the defense agreed on this. The disturbing part is that the defense has now turned around and sued the victim for filing a false statement. She was convicted and fined. If both sides agreed to drop the case because it was difficult to determine the truth of the situation, why would the prosecution sue and why would the judge convict?

via Washington Monthly - Standard of Proof

Posted by Russell at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2005

Rape Victims and Blame

Earlier this month I posted on juries in the United Kingdom not believing rape victims. A study published yesterday underlines some of the reasons for this. It seems that one-third of people in the U.K. believe that if a woman acts flirtatiously, she is at least partially to blame for being raped.

via Amnesty International U.K. - UK: New poll finds...

Posted by Russell at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Spousal Attack Is Still Rape

Yesterday, Mexico's supreme court delcared that forced sex within a marriage is rape. This is law in most countries but Mexico has only recently addressed this. India and Malaysia are examples of other countries that still don't recognize spousal rape in their laws. A significant statistic from the article below is from a government survey. They found "47 percent of all women report being the victims of either physical, emotional, sexual or economic violence...But 84 percent of those who are victims of domestic violence remain silent." Another interesting note from this article is that this decision was made with little debate, showing that attitudes are changing.

via New York Times (free registration required) - Mexican Court Says Sex Attack By a Husband Is Still a Rape

Posted by Russell at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2005

On Rape

Over at the weblog Feministe, there is a good collection of links to other women's weblog-thoughts on rape. It is sad to read that many of the old myths about rape still exist (namely that she encouraged it, and thus that men cannot control themselves). But one of the things I love about the internet and about the weblog medium is the fact that all of these "essays" can be collected together in one place. And, the comment section that follows is an example of a great dialogue on this issue that probably only happened, pre-weblogging, at conferences, at women's centers, or in small private groups. Now, anyone can read it.

Women Speak On Rape

Posted by Russell at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

Juries Still Don't Believe Rape Victims

Below is an article about the issue of rape in the U.K. The number of rapes, it seems, has increased over the years but the number of convictions has decreased. Even after a documentary in the 1980's took a scathing look at how the police and court systems dealt with rape cases, and the issue was brought to the forefront, the underlying biases are still present.

via The Mirror - Why Won't Juries At Rape Trials Believe Women?

Posted by Russell at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

Men and Women As Sexual Assault Survivors

Last month I posted a link to an article about Laveranues Coles of the New York Jets and his coming out as a survivor of sexual abuse. Today The Uncommon Man received a comment to that article that is a heartfelt response to Laveranues from a woman. She admits to having harbored a prejudice toward men who have been the victim of rape. She also reveals that after seeing Laveranues on Oprah, she has more understanding and empathy for men who have been assaulted. I encourage you to check out her commment here

This comment has me thinking about the power of empathy. It is obviously the key-link to working with any kind of victim. If you are going to talk to or work with a victim of sexual assault, you need to have empathy (and understanding) of her/his situation. It is also a key-link to working with any type of perpetrator - whether it is sexual assault, domestic violence, or violence in general. If there is any hope of getting a perpetrator to stop their behavior, they need to gain empathy for their potential victim.

It can also be a key motivator toward getting folks to become activists. In my work with men, most men I've had as colleagues have come to pro-feminist men's work because of their relationships with women who have been raped or assaulted.

Today, I learned of a college program that builds on this empathy that many men have and uses this to turn them into sexual assault peer-education leaders. It is a program that started at William and Mary and has been used at many other colleges. You can read more about it at the link below:

One in Four

Posted by Russell at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2005

Rape - Post Katrina

Some of you have probably read or heard about the incidents of rape following Hurricane Katrina. The link below is to a blog entry (at a very cool blog - Alas(A Blog). The post is brief, but the comments that follow are an interesting discussion from a diversity of voice about this serious issue.

via Alas (A Blog) - Rape in Wake of Katrina

Posted by Russell at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2005

Anti-Rape Condom

A controversial way to end the week. In South Africa a "anti-rape condom" has been created. Supposedly as a way to deter rape and transmission of diseases. The obvious concern by critics is the potential for further violence from a perpetrator.

South African Anti-Rape Condoms Aims to Stop Attacks

Posted by Russell at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

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