Final Article, Uncategorized

NOT MY FAULT

 

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`“Somebody forcing you to do something that you do not want to do, and even when you say no, they continue against your will,” is an issue many people face during their collegiate experience and even throughout life (Behrmann, video). Sexual assault is an issue that is very well known and happens more than people realize. In Greek Life, fraternity and sororities obtain a bad reputation when it comes to sexual assault.

There are many people who have their own stories to tell when it comes to sexual assault. I was able to interview Savannah Behrmann, who is a junior at George Mason University, and a member of GMU’s Greek Life. She shared her personal experience of being sexually assaulted and expressed her ways of coping with her experience.

Savannah’s story begins freshman year here at George Mason University, nearing the end of her final semester of the year. She started dating a guy for about a month who was a very big partier and liked to drink a lot, which lived up to the “stereotype” that fraternity men are drinkers and partiers; that this is all they are concerned about. One weekend, Savannah stayed in her dorm because she was not feeling well. She received a text from her boyfriend asking if he could come check on her, and Savannah said yes. When she went down to let him into her freshman-housing dorm, he reeked of alcohol. Knowing the resident advisors were going to come around and do their rounds soon, she let him up to her dorm room, not wanting him to get in trouble. She helped lay him down on her bed, and because she was in the middle of an assignment, did not join him on the bed, and tried to return to the work she had to get done. Instead of letting her go back to her desk to finish up her assignment, he dragged Savannah back to her bed. The boy, who was a mere 5’6 and so drunk that he could barely speak, proceeded to sexually assault her. Though he was small, Savannah could not push him off, and he did not listen to her, “No’s”. He finally stopped when he started to vomit all over her room from being so drunk. When she finally pushed him off her bed she was hysterically crying, and called one of his brothers. The brother came and helped her clean up her room and asked Savannah why she was so upset. But, she didn’t tell him. From the Center of Disease Control and Prevention website, they discuss people who are sexually assaulted receiving immediate and chronic psychological consequences such as shock, denial, fear, confusion, shame, and guilt. Savannah more than likely was going through some of these emotions right after her assault. When they finally finished cleaning up, it was 5:00 AM. She considered calling the ambulance for her boyfriend, because she thought he might have had alcohol poising.

When he awoke the next morning, he asked her where he was and how he had gotten there. When she tried to explain to him what happened, he asked her about the bruising that had started forming around her shoulder. He said that he didn’t mean to do it and that it wasn’t his fault because he was drunk. Drinking is a very social aspect to college, and people don’t truly realize the negative effects of drinking. According to the Health Line Article, drinking and the consumption of alcohol cause many physical and emotional changes to a person and their body. People may not realize it’s an issue until something bad happens, or it is too late. Savannah, at first, accepted what he did and didn’t break up with him. She tried to burry what happened to her in the back on her mind. She figured that if he didn’t remember doing it or was not in the right mind, then it wasn’t sexual assault. It didn’t get to her until she started talking to her Big sister in her sorority about what happened that night, and why she broke up with him for it to really sink in, and for her to understand what had happened to her. She received pressure from her parents, to go to counseling. When Savannah finally came back to school, she started seeing him around more, especially as they were both active in their Greek organizations. She had to start getting past what had happened and start surviving knowing the horrible incident that took place. She went to counseling and talked about what happened to finally realize what happened. She started having night terrors and did not sleep well for a month. She got support from her family, which was hard being an out of state student from Utah because she couldn’t talk to her mom face-to-face, or even hug her because she was so far away. But at school, she got support from her sorority sisters and friends. Savannah sat with an advisor in her sorority and talked to her about her blog. This blog Savannahs made was a way for her to express herself and her feelings through writing. What helped Savannah was talking about it, and realizing that she wasn’t the victim. That even though he was painting her out to be to his group of friends and to his fraternity, that Savannah was not at fault.

When it comes to knowing about sexual assault on campus, its known, but it isn’t an issue everyone really knows much about. Some actions colleges take to inform people about sexual assault can include taking part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Or even getting grants to be able to produce prevention programs that help inform kids on the issues of sexual assault. George Mason also has a Student Support and Advocacy Center to help kids who have been affected by sexual assault. People need to start focusing more on how sexual assault is actually an issue that needs to be looked at, so victims in situations similar to Savannah’s won’t feel like they cannot tell anyone.

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While talking to Savannah during her interview, she said she knew that sexual assault existed before that it had happened to her. When you come to school, you are told the statistics, and that it is a common occurrence, which is completely heart breaking for somebody who has already gone through it. But not everyone knows about it and how negatively it can impact a person. Savannah said that she could be sitting in a room with a handful of women who have gone through some sort of sexual assault and it wouldn’t even be shocking. Within Greek life she talked about how she knows that for stories like this, fraternity men can get a negative stereotype, but not all-Greek life is like that.

Something that shocked Savannah was that she always thought that if she were ever going to be sexually assaulted, it would have been a stereotypical situation where she would have been the intoxicated one at a party putting herself in a horrible circumstance. Savannah never thought it would be someone she trusted, nonetheless, someone that she was dating. Another shock to Savannah was that it was in her dorm room, and she wasn’t even at a party dressed seductively; she was in pajamas. There are many different kinds of assaults out there. There is not just one form of it, or one situation or environment where it can happen. It is not just the stereotypical fraternity party where it can occur and people assume that you can only be sexually assault if you are at a party, wearing some trashy outfit and getting drunk. This, of course is not an excuse either, but her story truly exposes how it can happen at anytime, and any place. There is no “right” outfit or place for it to occur. People who have been sexually assaulted are usually victim-blamed and that causes people to not want to speak up, and say what happened to them. That usually causes many other issues for the victim. Sexual assault can come in many forms and affect people physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just because it was not at the typical place and typical scenario does not mean that what happened to her was not sexual assault.

After surviving her assault, she has felt so much stronger. Savannah had to go through some horrible affects, like every time she closed her eyes, she would replay the incident over and over again. Or that she had to rely on her new boyfriend at the time to sleep next to her every night, which made her feel horrible. She did not like to depend on someone as Savannah is a very independent girl. But, what makes Savannah stronger now is that she knows now to not get involved with guys who treat women poorly. There are many warning signs that if people started to notice, could help prevent or help someone who has been, or could potentially be, sexually assaulted. People can help prevent sexual assault if they notice that their friends are getting more distant and that the significant other is pushing them away from their support systems. Or people can help if they notice symptoms of when someone is sexually assaulted. When people are sexually assaulted, they start acting out and having bad nightmares, are depressed, can abuse alcohol, etc. If people noticed and were more aware of the signs of sexual assault they could potentially help so many people who could be or are victims of sexual assault. For Savannah, she realized that she was stronger than any incident that happened to her. Savannah feels like now, she can fight for the women who have gone through sexual assault or are going through it now.

To help Savannah digest what happened to her and to tell her loved ones, Savannah made a blog post to not only tell her friends and family but to also help women who are still hiding and are ashamed of what happened. Savannah’s blog helped her express herself and helped tell her loved ones why she was missing for the first part of her sophomore year. Savannah’s message was: victims are not the ones to blame because often, people say that they are the ones to blame, because they put themselves into the situation for it to happen. But you never know it is going to happen until it is happening to you at that very moment. The victim should never be to blame. People make mistakes all the time, and this is not the victim’s fault. People need to stop victim blaming because it’s a large part of why girls that are sexually assaulted don’t want to open up and tell people what happened.

 

Sources:

George Mason University. (2017). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://si.gmu.edu/greek-life/

 

Carone, A. (2014, October 21). Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem. Retrieved May 02, 2017, from http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/oct/21/fraternities-and-campus-sexual-assault-problem/

(2015, September 22). Being a Statistic: Sexual Assault. Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://savannahbehrmann.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/being-a-statistic-sexual-assault/

 

“Take Back the Night” And How I Took Back Myself. (2016, October 10). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/take-back-the-night-and-how-took-back-myself

One In Four. (2016, January 26). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/one-four

 

Violence Prevention. (2016, June 22). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/consequences.html

How Alcohol Affects the Body. (2014, June 30). Retrieved May 02, 2017, f      rom http://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body

George Mason University. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from http://ssac.gmu.edu/

 

Warning Signs. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://www.rainn.org/articles/warning-signs-college-age-adults

 

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Reading Responses, Uncategorized

The Old to The New

 

After reading “The Read-Write Web” by Dan Gillmor and “ Social News, Citizen Journalism and Democracy” by Luke Goode, there were key components that were similar and also helped relate to the course as well. When talking about citizen journalism it goes back to how people write and share there own opinions or ideas on a certain concept. Going towards the article called “ The Read-Write Web” Gillmor talks and mentions from his article that even “ wikis-sites on which anyone could edit any page also predated weblogs” (Gillmor, 23) that people can write there own ideas and opinions on and basically be citizen journalists. These two articles also relate to how technology is used and how it is changing through many pieces of media.

Going to the “ Social News, Citizen Journalism and Democracy” article Goode talks about how “ citizen journalism refers to a range of web-based practices whereby ordinary users engage in journalistic practices (Goode, 1288). In Goode’s article he says, “ for example, Dan Gillmor paints a compelling portrait of citizen journalism as a grassroot movement” (Goode, 1289). Both articles relate back to how technology “ gives them more choices” (Gillmor, 25) on how to “ participate in the news-gathering and dissemination process” (Gillmor, 25) of media.

In “ The Read-Write Web” article Gillmor says, “ the best individual blogs to tend to have in common is voice – they are clearly written by human beings with genuine human passion” (Gillmor, 29). People tend to get information and not know who wrote it, but when looking at blogs it shows how everyone can be a citizen journalist and get there thoughts out there and that its not a hidden source.

The value of technology and what people do with it is very important. People use technology every day and don’t realize where most of the information they see comes from. Technology has evolved through many media sources and people have been figuring out how to deal with it. “ Businesses have joined the conversation because blogs fill a gap. A few years into the commercial internet, companies discovered the value of email for marketing and customer support, not to mention internal communication” (Gillmor, 30). People are starting to adapt to the information and technology changes and are focusing on how to spread more information for people to receive and understand quicker. Also to an extent “ even a business blog can bring information to the audience-internal or external-with more style than we tend to see on business web sites, enterprises will benefit. But what brings people back to personal weblogs is their individualized perspectives” (Gillmor, 30). The way people tend to be more involved in citizen journalist media is because it is more personal and allows people to understand the information from a more human approach, which is why citizen journalism is becoming more used.

These two articles relate to the course because they both help go back to how technology was and how it was received to how it is now and how it is adapting. Before this class I wouldn’t have understood the significance to technology and how it was spread throughout people, but now I understand more how it is spread around and how people insert there information and ideas in media. In class we made a blog and that blog is a way of how citizen journalists share their ideas. Technology will always keep advancing and the more people start realizing that and get on board it will benefit them in the long run.

 

Research Posts, Uncategorized

Beat The Stereotype

 

 

This article is from KPBS by Angela Carone and it is perfect for my research and article topic because it talks about how fraternity and sorority life are always accused for having a bad reputation. It also talks about how they handle the reputation they are given and how they try to get past that reputation by holding events. It also talk about how most people don’t admit and report they have been rape due to what others will think or that they are just not comfortable with what had happened. They also feel like fraternities will retaliate and get the people back if they open up and speak out what had happened to them. Fraternity boys are seen as having too much testosterone and it makes them seem crazy and very aggressive, but not every fraternity guy is like that and they are trying to get past this so called stereotype that they are given. This article helps get an understanding of what Greek like goes through and how they are judged for the stereotype that they are given on a daily basis.

Source:

Carone, A. (n.d.). Fraternity Culture Linked To College       Sexual Assault Problem. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from            http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/oct/21/fraternities-and       campus-sexual-assault-problem/

Research Posts, Uncategorized

ONE VOICE

I’m using this video interview of Savannah Behrmann who is a survivor of sexual assault. Her interview talks about her story and how she was affected by it. It also talks about how she handled her incident and how she survived it. She also made a blog to help show her friends and family what had happened to her and show them that she is fighting and is a strong girl that will survive. She also made her blog because she wants other people who are survivors of sexual assault to know that it isn’t there fault and that they shouldn’t let other people make them feel that way or even just let themselves feel that way. Savannah Behrmann went into her story and talked about how she would of never expected something like sexual assault to happen to her. In her mind she thought that only that could occur if she went out to a party and was drunk but it happened to her by her own boyfriend and in her room after a long night of studying. Sexual assault can come in many forms and she talked about how it doesn’t have to happen at a party for it to be sexual assault. It can happen anywhere and with anyone. She wants people to know that yes it is a hard situation to have gone through but to never feel alone and to never blame the people that have been sexually assaulted because it isn’t there fault at all. This is a very valid source because she is talking about her own story and how she was affected by it. She doesn’t talk about a situation she wasn’t in and she is very open now about her own story that she is able to share and be completely honest with how she felt and handled her particular situation.

Reading Responses, Uncategorized

Hiding Behind A Screen

When it comes to free labor and how people perceive it through work, media, etc. both Free labor: Producing Culture for The Digital Economy by Tiziana Terranova, and New images on Instagram by Eddy Borges-Ray articles are able to challenge the audience and help inform them on the issues that come with the topic that people still aren’t able to fully understand even today.
In New Images on Instagram by Eddy Borges-Ray the article talks about how there is a paradox, and that images are hyperulterd through filters and enhancements. While using the internet people tend to take picture but try to make is more aesthetically pleasing for the eyes of others so that they would like it more, make them have a feeling of emotion toward it or even just look better than the original. In the article the author talks about “ where the act of following, commenting, liking and geotagging images can be seen as a form of interaction” (Borges-Ray, 587). By liking, commenting and even sharing anything it helps the organization, or author of the picture or item and helps them get there product or item out to the world. That helps with the case of free labor and how people can either know that they are helping getting other peoples items out there or by not even knowing what they are doing.
In Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy by Tiziana Terranova, the article goes into how she perceives free labor and how people can be blinded by it and or not fully able to understand the topic. The concerns that free labor has are “the free stuff offered around the Net, he argued, is either a product that gets you hooked on to another or makes you just consume more time on the net” (Terranova, 50) to help the site or organization. The issues of free labor and how it can sneak up on you without even seeing it coming blind people nowadays. This article challenges and informs the audience about the concept of free labor and how it may be used in an everyday life and how people can use it in a life situation.
These two reading relate to aspects of the course because in the previous class discussion people talked about there stories of free labor and how before this class they didn’t know what it meant or how people could be used for free labor. Free labor and social media are challenging topics to relate but they both go together very well because they compliment each other. When an organization wants to post a picture of Nike on there website and someone shares there website or link that helps get the organizations item out there and gives them free labor and support that people wouldn’t of expected that they were doing.
Overall both articles have key information on how free labor is perceived in the eyes of the people through social media. Being able to understand and figure out how free labor works will never be solvable because free labor can come in many ways. They can either be very out there and known or manipulated and messed around with so that you have no idea that you are even doing it.
Sources:
Terranova, T. (2000). Terranova_Free Labor.pdf. Retrieved March
23, 2017, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4_F8lxpywuFWlY0dlpJekFncjA/view

Borges-Rey, E. (2015, April 30). News Images on Instagram.pdf.
Retrieved March 23, 2017, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4_F8lxpywuFQlowb1pHd1lUQWM/view

Research Posts, Uncategorized

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT

Another article I am using is an article from the Odyssey called “ Take Back The Night, And How I Took Back Myself”. This article is about how the girl I am interviewing named Savannah Behrmann dealt with her sexual assault and how she stands up for the many that need a guiding light. From her article “according to The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, one in five college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career and every 21 hours there is a rape on an American college campus” (Behrmann, 2016). This shows how so many people are affected by sexual assault and how it needs to be showed as a more serious issue. She talks about how there are many events that help people with the issues they face daily. She also talks about how she knows that it is hard to speak up and people in the situation that need to tell someone what happened usually feel like they will be judged or made out to be the problem when they aren’t. She speaks out and tries to help people who have been affected by sexual assault and give them a voice. She tells them not to be afraid and to be open and take back the night. She said “I learned to love myself again, and realize worth.” She no longer stayed silent. This article really relates to my article because I am interviewing Savannah berhmann and hearing her life story and how she dealt with sexual assault and show survivors of sexual assault that it will be ok and they don’t need to stay silent any longer.

Behrmann, S. (2016, October 10). “Take Back the Night” And How I Took Back Myself. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/take-back-the-night-and-how-took-back-myself

Research Posts, Uncategorized

WHY ME?

The next article I am using is a Word Press Blog Post by Savannah Behrmann. Savannah Behrmann is a student at George Mason University and is one of my sorority sisters who was a victim of sexual assault. Her blog post is about how she thought something so vulgar as sexual assault couldn’t happen to her. Everyone talks about sexual assault and goes about there day and thinks to themselves that sexual assault wouldn’t happen to them, and that they are the exception but that’s not always the case. A part in the article that truly stood out to me was when she said, “ I’m not one of them. I escaped being one of the statistics…. If only” (). She is such a raw writer and a powering woman and something so degrading and horrible shouldn’t have happened to a woman like her. She talks about her story and how she handled it. Many women don’t accept the fact that they are sexually assaulted and push it to the back of there minds. Too many women do it. She talks about how people need to start thinking of sexual assault as a crime and it shouldn’t be happening on college campuses or anywhere else for a matter of fact. This cause is being more normalized every day because people don’t step up and make their cause known. Savannah Behrmann is a survivor of sexual assault and shows the world that through her blog. She says“ I am no longer ashamed of what happened to me, nor do I make excuses anymore. Its time that we acknowledge this as a crime, and stop making excuses…. Making the victims feel as if they have to stay silent” (). This article is perfect for my topic because I am interviewing Savannah Behrmann in my research and I’m hearing her story and how she handled it. This was a brief understanding of what kind of woman she is and how she isn’t afraid to step out and have her story heard. There are many women in the world that go through this horrible problem but she is apart of the few that will actually have her voice heard and not stand behind the dark cloud which is sexual assault.

Behrmann, S. (2015, September 22). Being a Statistic: Sexual Assault. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://savannahbehrmann.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/being-a-statistic-sexual-assault/

Research Posts, Uncategorized

LEADING THE CHARGE

I am using an article from USA Today written by Avery Powell about how George Mason University has made a task force to help stop sexual assault on college campuses. President Cabrera of George Mason University made a task force made up of faculty and student leaders that meet every month to discuss the issues on sexual assault. Their task is to give ideas on ways for kids to feel safe in a college environment again after what happened at University of Virginia. Like Cabrera said, “no one should live in fear, especially not on a college campus”(Powell, 2015). After the Rolling Stone issue at University of Virginia, fraternities and sororities got a bad rep when it came to sexual assault. Since then the fraternities and sororities started a task force to try to stop sexual assault and show everyone that they aren’t that bad. “ Members of Greek Life often feel like they’re charged at and made out to be awful people,” says Crush “and we have the opportunity to be leading the charge against something that truly is awful, to show people that we’re not, but be the leaders against it.”(Powell, 2015). Savannah Behrmann, the girl that I am also going to interview made an appearance in this article and talked about how the past incident at University of Virginia brought the Mason Greek community closer and helped them raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault. This article is perfect for the topic I am researching because it talks about the issues of sexual assault, and how people at George Mason are trying to help resolve it. But it also talks about the sorority and fraternity aspect to it and how they always seem to get the bad rep because of other school and incidents, but how they come together and try to stop the issue that is taking place.

Powell, A. (2015, January 14). Task force works to end sexual violence at George Mason University. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from http://college.usatoday.com/2015/01/14/task-force-works-to-end-sexual-violence-at-george-mason-university/

Reading Responses, Uncategorized

Keep Up Or Fall Down

In situations of unequal power or authority when information needs to be exchanged, there also needs to be a mechanism to communicate that information to both the more powerful entity and the lesser entity. This is demonstrated in Its Complicated because kids are seen to have the more powerful position “because teens grew up in a world in which the Internet has always existed” (Boyd 176). Older generations are at a perceived disadvantage because of a lack of information they need to compete. This concept can be taken from New German Critique because it talked about competition and how it created the necessity of the public sphere. In competition between two units there needs to be some sort of mediating mechanism or concept in order to establish compromise. “ The public sphere as a sphere which mediates between society and state, in which the public organizes itself as the bearer or public opinion” (Habermas 50). What lacks is a way for both adults and kids to work together to reach a common goal. A way to alleviate this problem can be derived from New German Critique with the application of a form of the public sphere, which mediates between the government and the individuals.

In New German Critique, the reason the public sphere was created was due to the unfair representation of individuals in the ruling bodies and governments as competition increased in a free market world. As more problems arose the necessity again for this public sphere increased. This relates back to Its Complicated because people who are advantaged and disadvantaged can have a mechanism put into place like the public sphere to alleviate tension and complications between two groups. When it comes to technology, not everyone has the means to access the technology they may need. In Its Complicated, a girl was asked to search something on her web browser on her phone. When she did it she said “ that it was possible to surf the web on her phone, but it was time consuming and frustrating, so she rarely bothered. She preferred to look things up on the computer at school, but she rarely had that type of access” (Boyd 194). People aren’t born with “natural-born knowledge” (Boyd 178). Adults fear this so called born knowledge and are called “digital immigrants” (Boyd 176) because they have “supposedly less knowledge about technology and are less capable at developing these skills” (Boyd 176). So now adults are at a disadvantage in the world because they weren’t born with that so called gift.

The way to solve this perceived technology knowledge crisis is implementation of a technological public sphere in which both groups are able to communicate. After that is achieved a new basis is established. This is similar to the suggestion established in New German Critique, which calls for “reorganization of social and political power under the mutual control of rival organizations committed to the public sphere in their internal structure as well as in their relations with the state and each other” (Habermas 55). The very last paragraph talks about how this dynamic between people and the government has been evolving, but as it evolves, the necessity for a public sphere increases. Thus, new forms of government need to be created in order to satisfy both public and private interest. This is related to Its Complicated because technology is always evolving and we need new ways to keep up with it. Learning and keeping up is a life long process.

Sources:

Habermas, Jurgen. “The Public Sphere:an Encyclopedia Article.” New German Critique. Duke University Press, 07 Sept. 2016. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Boyd, Danah. “Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives?” It’s Complicated. Yale University Press, 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.