Disclaimer: The Vidette Voice blogs are meant to be a forum where ISU students can express their opinions and views on a myriad of subjects. While some posts are meant to be humorous or satirical, and others reflect the real opinions of the author, none of the posts to the blog necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Daily Vidette as a whole. However, the Daily Vidette does support free speech and encourages students to voice their opinions.
Voice Sex & Dating

On Rape Culture and the Steubenville Trials

Written by: Julian Rose - Vidette blogger & ISU student

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Trigger warning: rape and sexual abuse

Over spring break, my father and I were walking to brunch and happened to pass a film crew in our neighborhood. As usual, we smiled and said hello to everyone. It’s the polite thing to do. One of them said hi back to my father, who was a few paces ahead with the dog, and when I followed suit and greeted him, he replied, “Oh wow, hello, you’re absolutely beautiful, damn.” And it made me uncomfortable. And my dad didn’t understand why.

“You told me you’re about to go make out with strangers on St Patrick’s Day and have people buy you drinks, but you’re not okay with some guy calling you beautiful?”

For a moment, I almost felt like I was actually in the wrong for feeling uncomfortable. That it was silly of me to avoid the same film set while walking to catch the bus to my friends, and that I didn’t need to explain to him WHY I automatically wanted to walk faster after the random man had said those things to me. But then I realized that no, it’s not that I was too quick to jump to conclusions. He doesn’t understand why it made me uncomfortable, and he never will, because it doesn’t happen to him. And that’s what hurts the most — that my father, who claims to always be there for me, may never fully understand why his daughter never feels safe, simply because she is a woman, especially because she is a small woman.

Don’t get me wrong — my father is a wonderful man, and my best friend. He is a self-proclaimed feminist, and has been a great supporter and advocate to the cause since marrying his wife, a well-known gynecological surgeon and public health figure. And yet, he didn’t understand how a random man commenting on my appearance, unprompted, could make me uncomfortable.

The worst part of all of this was that it happened right as the Steubenville rape trial was occurring. In fact, this happened the day before the verdict was delivered.

For those unfamiliar, this trial surrounded two boys in Steubenville, Ohio, who were convicted of raping and kidnapping a 16-year-old girl. The girl was drugged, kidnapped, and gang raped by two high school football players of the same age, who then described the acts in a 12 minute video. This video was obtained by the hacktivist group Anonymous and then distributed online, causing rightful outrage against the two boys and sparking the local police force to charge them. As the nation watched these two boys stand trial for what they did, the world was buzzing with support; unfortunately, not all of it was for the victim, who still remains nameless and protected by the law.

On news stations, news websites, and even all over Facebook and Twitter, there were cries of outrage as the boys were convicted of the crimes and sentenced to 1-2 years. People didn’t understand why they were being punished for this. Even on CNN, which is usually one of the more self-aware news channels, reporters were focusing on the formerly promising lives of the two football players, and how their futures had been shattered. There were blatant threats to the victim, named Jane Doe due to her anonymity, and arrests were made for some of the more serious threats. One of the boys’ attorneys even went on Piers Morgan to say that he was going to file for an appeal, stating that his client’s brain isn’t fully formed and therefore he is unable to fully comprehend his actions and their consequences.

I hope you had to do the same double-take at that statement that I had to while I was watching that segment. Yes, the attorney, a grown-ass man who practices law and has won cases, believes his client, although guilty, should not be charged and should not have to serve his measly sentencing of a year in a juvenile detention center, because his brain is not functional enough to know that touching a woman who is not able to say “no” or “stop”, is not okay. What sort of logic is that? Its not that his brain isn’t fully formed; its that no one has begun to teach men that it is not okay to rape, and that silence is not a form of consent.

Here’s the thing: with all of the people who are still standing behind these two boys, it is clear that this message is not being said. If you are not aware, this is the core of rape culture. Rape culture is defined as an environment where rape and sexual violence is common, accepted, and normalized. Rape culture is continued through misogynistic and degrading language towards women, objectification and hyper-sexualization of women’s bodies, and glorification of sexual violence. All of these components create a society that casts aside women’s safety and rights, and continues to hold women in a lower position.

Even though you may not be a direct victim of sexual violence, every woman is affected by rape culture. By allowing the language to continue, trivializing sexual assault, allowing sexual harassment to happen or sexually harassing women yourself, making jokes about sexual violence or assault, or defining manhood as being “dominant” or “assertive”, saying that silence or unconsciousness is a form of consent, and blaming the victim (including using their actions or what they were wearing as a reason for their rape), you are allowing rape culture to continue. By doing any of these things, you are allowing rape to be normalized, to be accepted as something that is common and tolerable in this society. By teaching women to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape, you are letting the cycle of rape culture continue. This is not a safe world for anyone.

I’ve told you all in a previous post that I’m a statistics nerd, so here are a few for you from RAINN (Rape, Abust, & Incest National Network):

• One out of every six women in the US has been the victim of rape

• Every two minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted

• 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to police or any authoritative figure

• 97% of rapists never are convicted, and never spend a day in jail

And while not all men rape and not all women have been raped, that is not an excuse to tolerate these behaviors. Sexual assault is a serious matter, and trivializing it or standing up for those who do it is not okay. By doing this, you are telling sexual assault victims that their life-ruining experience is not valid. No one has the right to dictate that. No one has the right to tell someone their experience with sexual violence is not legitimate, and that they need to “suck it up” or “get over it”. It is not that simple. It is never that simple. If you still don’t understand why this trial is so important, or why rape culture needs to end, I encourage you to look at the testimonies of sexual assault victims.

Although I am fortunate enough to have never been raped, I have many friends who have been, and I empathize with them and support them in any way I can. I have, however, been the victim of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Because of my experiences, I don’t feel safe walking through the streets of Chicago, my home, at night. I spend money I don’t have on cabs because I remember some of the more terrifying experiences I’ve had on public transit. I only walk in well-lit areas, and I have my mace in my clenched fist, ready to use. I’ve learned to bite my tongue when I am catcalled on the street, and to bite it even harder when I am then called “cold” or “bitch” (among much nastier names) when I do not respond. I have taken martial arts classes to learn how to defend myself and my friends, and I have educated the males in my life as to why all of this is necessary because of the society we live in. Rape culture affects everyone, not just the victim of sexual assault. So please, please, PLEASE, do your part to make this world safer for everyone you know.

No means no. Silence means no. Inability to speak means no. Anything but a verbal “yes” means no, and that is final.


On Online Dating and Finding Real World Love

Written by: Julian Rose - Vidette blogger & ISU student

I started my adventures in online dating in 2009, when I first joined OKCupid. I only kept

my account for a few weeks, and then deleted it due to impatience and a general high quantity of creepy messages. It became sort of a yearly thing, where I would re-activate my account for a week or so at a time, whenever I needed a boost of self-esteem or wanted to find some new friends. I would just be on for a few weeks, and wouldn’t think of it after de-activating my account…until about 10 months later, when I would get sick of my social circle, and would start the cycle again.

Fast forward to the end of last summer. I figured I would re-activate my account, since the guy I had been seeing and I had broken up (over Batman, actually — but thats another story). And then, I just kept it open. I met some really cool people on it, actually. I’m still friends with some of them, and I’m grateful for those friendships. Unfortunately, this isn’t about those friendships.

Peter (name changed to protect a really fantastic guy) messaged me a few weeks ago. I responded to his message, since he was everything I was looking for. Smart! Cute! Funny! Lived in the area and had a great job! And then, after his message, I saw his age. He was 19! That may not seem too different than 21, but to me, it made a huge difference. He responded in a timely manner, and I left him hanging. It took two more messages from him for me to tell him that his age was off-putting for me. Well, then he went ahead and used an SAT word in a sentence, and I lost it. Gave him my number on the spot. I’ll admit it, I have a thing for a good vocabulary. It became clear that he was a really great guy once we started texting, and I was really excited to have made a connection.

The only downside to this whole thing was that he lived back home in Chicago. I’m still in Normal while I wrap up school, however I do come home for the weekend frequently. I was coming home that upcoming weekend, and we decided to meet up, even though a friend of mine was coming to town. It was tricky, but we managed to get lunch (with my friend being not so much a “third wheel” as a great ice breaker, which I am eternally grateful for). I kept texting him throughout the weekend, so excited to see him again on Monday after my friend went back home.

You’re probably thinking that this is a great story so far. And you know what, you’re right. It almost had a great ending. Except of course, nothing ever seems to go as planned in my dating life.

A bit of back story: while I was dating a girl back in the fall, I met a friend of hers who I immediately had a connection with. We’ve kept in touch, and even went on a date over winter break. While I’ve always had a bit of a crush on him, I didn’t think anything of it. He never asked me on a second date after the first one, so I pushed the feelings for him to the back of my mind. Until today, when we got together for coffee. I was late (as always), and I apologized profusely for being so. He shrugged it off, not seeming to care, and we jumped right into the fun banter we always have. We always laugh endlessly, and especially did so today when I was elaborating on how a guy at a bar last night kept petting my face and forgetting my name.

When I brought up that I was going on a date that night, he seemed a bit surprised. Maybe that was just my interpretation of it, but he was almost upset when I talked about it. He made some comments later about being single forever, and I laughed and reminded him that we went on a coffee date just a few months before. More laughs, more jokes.

The time came where we had to part ways. The hug lasted a little longer, and it felt different to me. We jokingly slapped each others butts, and promised that next time we’d hang out for longer than an hour. And as I walked to my car and watched him ride off on his bike, I realized that I didn’t just have a crush on him; I was crazy about him.

What a terrible time for that realization.

I dreaded getting ready for this date. What would I say to Peter? How would I tell him that I did care about him, and I wanted to be friends? Thankfully, he handled it gracefully at dinner, although he did send some very angry text messages later. Which, I will admit, I deserve them. I was a jerk to him, and the whole situation was super unfair to him. I told him, in short, that I messed up, that I was sorry, and that I hope we can still be friends, and I meant it. He became less angry, and then ended the conversation by going to sleep and wishing me a safe drive home.

There is a point to this story, I swear. What I’m trying to say throughout this whole thing is that there is a point where following your heart is necessary, even if it means momentarily hurting someone. If you need to do something for yourself, do it. Put yourself first. If that means going on an online dating website to make some strangers boost your self esteem and ask you on dates, do it. If that means telling someone truly incredible that you can’t be with them because of your own stuff, do it. If that means eating a lot of ice cream as a form of self-care, do it. If that means going to someone’s apartment while its raining and calling them, telling them to come outside so you can tell them how much you care about them, do it. Do what you need to in the moment. Follow your heart, while respecting boundaries and being accountable for your actions.

Let me know how the movie of your love life turns out, and make sure to invite me to the wedding.


Written by: Julian Rose - Vidette blogger & ISU student

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means you might have already experienced the eye rolls and exasperated sighs of those not in relationships. While I personally don’t have anyone to be gushy and romantic with, I will be making valentines and cookies for my friends and attending a Galentine’s Day party that my friend is hosting. After all, just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to be alone on the Hallmark holiday of love. And when I’m done celebrating my friends, I’m going to take some time to give myself some love. Why not do some things for yourself, as well?

 

Here’s a list of things I will be doing for, and by myself on Valentine’s Day:

 

1.     buy myself some flowers because you know what self, you deserve them

2.     take myself out to dinner, because I know how much I love to eat

3.     make myself some healthy dessert because even though I work hard for this body, you gotta eat some of that sweet stuff once in a while

4.     wear a pretty outfit because damn self, you look good in anything you wear, but I just wanna high five you when you look like that

5.     get some good wine from Binny’s (upgrading from Budget Liquors, y’all!) because I know you like that, self

6.     look in the mirror and smile because dang self you got nice eyes

7.     four words: long-ass bubble bath (sorry in advance, roommate)

8.     read an entire book in one sitting, because bedsores ain’t no thang

9.     take myself on a movie date and get as much butter on my popcorn as I want

10.  call my dad and thank him for being such a great strong male figure (while still being feminine) in my life and making me have high-as-hell standards for myself and for my future partner

11.  hug myself because it is really great that I exist

 

Go forth and treat yourself, fellow single-ites. And if you have a shawty in your life, I hope you’re celebrating the day in a way that makes both of you happy.

 

Enjoy the 24 hours of elevated romance!


Can We Play House? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Written by: Ariana M. Taylor - Vidette features editor, blogger & ISU student

When people fall in love, the first thing they want to do is play house and shack up. Sometimes it comes naturally … one night you sleep over and then the next month you realize that your underwear is somehow mixed into his laundry. Sleeping over allows couples to become more comfortable with one another, however, when one gets too comfortable fights over insignificant things can arise.

Personally, I believe that couples shouldn’t live together until marriage. Although many feel that living together enables couples to see what they’re getting themselves into, in my eyes it’s supposed to be a surprise. When young adults decide to live together solely based off emotions, things can go from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds. Someone didn’t flush the toilet, someone left toothpaste on the sink, someone came home late, and a plate from last week’s dinner is still sitting on the dining room table. Too much, too soon! If a couple is not married then why should they have to deal with the inconveniences of a lover/roommate?

Staying with your significant other for a couple of days can give you a sense of how living with your partner would be like. There’s no need to go around experimenting and trying to move in with your boyfriend/girlfriend, unless you are absolutely homeless. Save some things for marriage, for we know that many things are no longer left sacred. Avoid the trouble of losing your significant other due to petty arguments over spoiled milk, literally, and stay in your personal spaces until the time is right.


Single Is Not A Sin

Written by: Julian Rose - Vidette blogger and ISU student

How are you single?! I don’t understand! Anyone would be lucky to have you! You’re the whole package!” And you are seriously offensive. 

I’ve had this thought so many times while people have asked me why or how I am single. They think it’s a compliment. I mean, they’re just innocently wondering how someone can be without a significant other, and how I haven’t allowed a suitor to call me their own.

 The thing is, its not a compliment. By asking that question, however innocent the intentions, you’re implying that something is wrong because I am not in a relationship. Its as if you’re asking, “what could be wrong with you that I don’t see?”

Just because someone is not in a relationship, conventional or not, does not mean there is something wrong with them. I am not damaged goods. I am choosing to be single. In fact, everyone who is not in a relationship is choosing to be single. They are choosing to not allow themselves to be with someone who isn’t right for them. They are waiting to be with someone who is the best option, instead of the only option. And that is something to be proud of.

 So next time you’re looking to pay a single person a compliment, please think again. Compliment their excellent dart throwing ability, or their vast knowledge of all things hockey. Commend them on their wonderful singing voice, or their impressive collection of stamps. Praise them on their athletic abilities that have won them trophies. Admire them aloud for their passions, their dreams, their accomplishments and maybe their good looks. But don’t insult them by asking why they are single. Leave that to the overbearing elderly family members.

Or, if they’re the gender you prefer, you could just, you know, ask them out.


Skip being on the “down low,” be honest

Written by: Ariana M. Taylor - Vidette features editor, blogger, & ISU student

Many of you may think being on the “down low” simply means to be cheating and secretive. This is somewhat true, however, when people are on the down low they are pretending to be heterosexual while they are pursuing their homosexual fantasies or desires.

Now, in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. Nonetheless, it is unquestionably wrong to play with someone’s emotions and mislead them as a cover-up to one’s own insecurities. When a person is deeply emotionally and physically attracted to a person of the same sex, they may try to avoid naming themselves as a homosexual or bisexual in fear that they will be judged … which they will be simply because this world is full of close-minded people. But, trying to hide homosexual desires, or pursuing a person of the same sex, while being with a heterosexual is inconsiderate, heartless and just plain wrong.

First and foremost, one should never play with their significant other’s emotions. Moreover, cheating and dishonesty is never acceptable. With this being said, coming out of closet and being honest about your sexuality may be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do and people will judge you, but this is your life and you should live it the way you want to without ruining someone else’s life. Be honest and be you, and you’ll be the perfect guy/girl for anyone.


Introduction Post

julian

Hi there! My name is Julian Rose, and I’m a new Sex and Dating blogger for the Vidette. I am a junior who transferred from art school in Chicago last spring. When I’m not talking about sex and dating to anyone who will listen, I enjoy running; reading; watching quality television on my computer; learning about nutrition and fitness; looking at clothing I can’t afford and piecing together the perfect outfit; dreaming about traveling; and cooking and baking for everyone who is nice to me.

You’re probably wondering what qualifications I have to be writing about this subject. That’s a great question! I’m glad you asked. I didn’t mention it above, but I also like lists, so I’ll incorporate that into my answer.

1.    Similar to Wu-Tang Clan’s world revolving around cash, my life revolves around sex. From my home life to my work life, and even looking into the future, it really rules everything around me. My stepmother is a gynecological surgeon; all of my sisters have worked at a family friend’s sex shop; one of my stepsisters runs a blog filled with terrible dating stories; my full sister works at another sex shop and is one of my favorite people to have frank conversations with about sexuality; I am a sociology major looking to eventually work in public/sexual health; and I am completely open with my sex life. Which leads me to point two…

2.    I am an open book. While my personal blog may be a bit more anonymous than this particular outlet, I am always honest about my experiences. I go on a lot of dates (not a humblebrag, just a statement) with both men and women, and have learned a lot about myself and the “dating world” during this time. I have no reservations talking about any of my experiences, because I believe laying it all out on the table is what makes me a good writer.

3.    I am always listening or speaking. Whether my friends like it or not (they usually don’t), I am very outspoken and am not afraid to speak my opinion. I pride myself in being a go-to person for dating and sex advice. I’m always here for you, too!

4.    I am a statistics nerd. This comes in handy when talking about all subjects. For instance, did you know that in a recent HerCampus.com survey, 76% of the 2,500 female respondents believe the male should carry condoms with them at all times, but only 28.1% of the male respondents actually do this? What a statistic like this means is a subject for another time, but interpreting facts is important in deciding why humans act a certain way, especially when it comes to sexuality.

5.    I am empathetic. I understand how painful it can be to go through something traumatic, like sexual abuse in a relationship, and be reminded of those debilitating emotions when you are surprised by that topic in something you are casually reading. Sometimes, serious topics will come up in this blog. I will always put a trigger warning if there is something that could affect a reader. It is never my intention to hurt, so if I do, please let me know. Of course, not everything is serious, which is why its important that…

6.    I am funny. Yes, being funny is important when writing about sex and dating. I mean, you have to laugh at some of the things that happen to you. I have some great stories about embarrassing things that have happened on dates, or things going terribly wrong during sexy time. I may have cringed then, but now I make jokes about it. Face it, farting during sex is hilarious. I don’t care who you are, it is.

Simply enough: in my life, sex is everything. But I don’t just mean the physical act of sex. I’m also referring to how sex affects you mentally, emotionally, and socially. Sex is something that, when practiced in a consensual and safe environment, makes people feel incredible. Dating someone who is compatible with you does the same thing. Both of these things boost your confidence, improve brain function, alter your brain chemistry, and can even physically change you (ever heard of the post-coitus glow?). When I say that sex rules everything around me, I mean that I’m driven by a desire to ensure everyone gets that happy feeling they deserve. In my everyday life and in my career, I strive to ensure people feel safe and free to explore; that people feel empowered enough to take control of their sexuality and be proud of it. A huge part of my life is dedicated to de-stigmatizing sexuality, especially women’s and non-heteronormative/non-binary sexuality. I want to make sure people know that whatever they prefer in their dating life, be it monogamous, with multiple people, casual, formal, whatever: it is absolutely okay. So long as you go about it in a healthy and safe manner, your life is just that: yours. You date the way you want. You have sex the way you want. If it works for you and those involved, high fives all around.

Dating and sex, especially in the hormone-crazed world of college, can be a very tricky road to navigate. Who better to help you than a fellow student? I have enough knowledge to write about important subjects and enough humility to research something when I don’t. If you have any article suggestions, comments, complaints, or questions, feel free to share with me. My inbox is always opened, and I am always here to lend an ear.

I’m not claiming to know it all, by any means. But what I do know, I look forward to sharing with you.

Julian Rose

julian.rose@me.com


“You Can’t Date Him/Her, We Used to Date”

Written by: Ariana M. Taylor - Vidette Features Editor, Blogger, & ISU student

dating
           

There’s nothing worse than running into someone who catches your interest, to soon find out that he/her has once dated your friend. Well, there’s actually a thousand things worse than that, but really… it sucks. The problem is, friends don’t always have your interest at heart. So if your friend comes out of nowhere and says, “Hey, you can’t talk to him. We used to date,” find out what their idea of “dating” is. Some girls will take a compliment as dating. For instance, girls say, “He said I had the prettiest eyes he’d ever seen and I told him that I was taken.” GIRLS! A compliment simply means that someone wants to compliment you, it doesn’t mean that they want to take you to the nearest jewelry store and propose to you.

When it comes to dating a girl/guy that once dated your friend, the first thing to do is find out how serious was their little relationship. If they went out once or twice and decided that it just wasn’t going to work out, there’s nothing wrong with dating that person. Sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Don’t miss out on a good person just because they had something with your friend that didn’t work.

Now, if sex is involved, on the other hand, that’s another story. Sex should be an emotional experience, however, there are people that can just experience the physical and keep moving on with no regrets. If a friend has had sex with a person you intend to date, I recommend that you do not date that person. First off, your friend will know how talented, or talentless, your partner is in bed. HOW AWKWARD! To add, you never know which one of them is still reminiscing about that experience and if it left them emotionally hurt.

All in all, sometimes it’s okay to date someone your friend once dated. Nonetheless, it is important that you do your research so that there won’t be a cat fight in the future.


Love Has No Color

couple    

  Unfortunately, everybody could not be born with the same skin complexion, features, and cultural values. Nonetheless, the fact that someone looks or act different than you does not mean that they are inhumane, or unfit to be in a relationship with.

            It’s 2012, get over yourself if you think you can’t date outside of your race. I am a 21-year-old African-American woman, and although I am happily in a relationship with a black man, I see nothing wrong with adding a little milk in your coffee. Being in an interracial relationship allows for different cultures to blend together and steers away from dumb ideologies that were passed down from our ancestors.

            Now cultural differences may be an issue, seeing that many different ethnicities practice customs that foreigners of that culture may not be accustomed to. However, learning about other cultures could be fascinating and easy to become familiarized with.

            Love is love, and one cannot help who they become attracted to – Big, little, short, tall, black, white, Asian … whatever! Don’t miss out on a good man or woman simply because they’re of another ethnicity.

Written by: Ariana M. Taylor - Daily Vidette Features Editor, Columnist, Blogger & ISU Student


Moving On is Difficult, But Worth It

moving on

            Unless you’re extremely lucky, everyone will experience a bad break-up or will have tried dating someone where it just didn’t work out. So what! Get over it … and move on. Well actually, I wish it were that simple; nonetheless, how does one expect to date again if they’re holding onto the past?

            Sometimes men and women are complete idiots when they’re in a relationship— they’re immature and unable to please their significant other because their heads are too stuck up their own butts, or they merely just don’t understand the expectations of a relationship. However, every person in the world is not out to get you and there are some people who genuinely know how to treat someone they’re dating.

            If you’ve just got out of a bad relationship, don’t go directly into another with all your baggage. Take time to focus on yourself and if you’re fortunate enough to encounter someone worth dating, don’t overwhelm them with your past, sad love stories, Start fresh be open-minded, and be sure not to expect the worst.

            Although the bible says, “Seek and ye shall find” … don’t spend all your time seeking out a dream man or woman. Focus on yourself first and foremost, and do not dwell on your past. You cannot expect to move forward if you’re always looking in your rearview.

Written by: Ariana M. Taylor - Daily Vidette Features Editor, Blogger, & ISU student