Rape is an Economic Crime: The Case for Mental Health Restitution

On TV, the plot looks something like this: a woman is raped or abused. She is a sympathetic character, traumatized yet brave. She reports the crime to the police, who perform a detailed forensic investigation and arrest the perpetrator. A trial ensues, and the survivor steps forward to tell her story. She wins over theContinue reading “Rape is an Economic Crime: The Case for Mental Health Restitution”

How to Reclaim Your Sexuality After Trauma

Ending an abusive relationship felt like being reborn: slowly, painfully, sharp as shattered glass. My body had been rearranged, Mr. Potato Head-style, into something new, simultaneously more sensitive and blunter, more empathic but liable to shut down unexpectedly—on the sidewalk, in the bedroom, in the grocery store. Many of us, especially women and queer people, have survived someContinue reading “How to Reclaim Your Sexuality After Trauma”

Why Bisexual Women Are at a Higher Risk for Violence

It feels strange to admit this, but when I first read that bisexual women are more vulnerable to sexual and intimate partner violence than people of other orientations, I felt relieved. It wasn’t the butterfly-winged relief of good news. It was the lightness of finally being able to breathe. Or perhaps, of feeling that I still couldn’tContinue reading “Why Bisexual Women Are at a Higher Risk for Violence”

A Low-Grade Fever: On Aziz Ansari’s Comeback Netflix Special

Maybe it was his nice-guy image or the fact that Master of None was so endearing. Maybe it was because the scene of mounting sexual pressure “Grace” described was, unlike the outsized horror of the Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby allegations, so disturbingly familiar. Whatever it was, for women across the internet, the sexual assault accusations against Aziz Ansari, detailed onContinue reading “A Low-Grade Fever: On Aziz Ansari’s Comeback Netflix Special”

The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale

ON MAY 20, 1895, 16-YEAR-OLD Susie Johnson, wearing nothing but gauze and haloed by a flock of live canaries, burst through the crust of a giant pie. It was polo player John Ellliot Cowdin’s 10th wedding anniversary, and the dinner was lavish: 16 courses from clams to coffee, each punctuated by champagne. Two models entertained theContinue reading “The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale”

Dealing with Complicated Feelings Around Abusers

Recently, a man I know was outed as a serial sexual harasser. I say “know” in a rather unfortunate sense: I’d been approached online by, went on a date with, and even kissed the guy a couple years ago. His too-forward sexual advances had always left a bad taste in my mouth. When the revelationsContinue reading “Dealing with Complicated Feelings Around Abusers”

One Year After #MeToo

The day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before congress about her experience of sexual violence in relation to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) received the highest number of calls in its 24-year history. More than 3,000 people connected with the network on September 28, part of a record-breaking increase inContinue reading “One Year After #MeToo”

Harsher Punishments Won’t Keep Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse: The Death Penalty in India

When rape makes the headlines in India, talk of hanging begins. Commentators blare from news screens; politicians pledge death. These stories of brutal crime and brutal punishment, all in the name of protecting women and girls, tell us something  important about contemporary Indian responses to rape. They also tell us about a fundamental flaw inContinue reading “Harsher Punishments Won’t Keep Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse: The Death Penalty in India”

Chokhri, a New Sexual Health Project, Maps Marital Rape and Abortion in India

There’s a scene about birth control in the questionably feminist 2017 Hindi flick Lipstick Under My Burqa that stuck with me. Shireen, whose abusive husband rapes her and refuses to use condoms, goes to the gynecologist for another abortion. The gynecologist tells her she can’t keep having abortions and using the morning after pill, and the only other form of available birth controlContinue reading “Chokhri, a New Sexual Health Project, Maps Marital Rape and Abortion in India”