From Delhi to Steubenville:
Fighting Rape Culture and Sexual Violence
Featuring Tithi Bhattacharya
April 11, 2013, 3:30pm
UMass Boston, McCormack Hall 2nd Floor, Room 0116
A public forum hosted by the UMass Boston International Socialist Organization & Sponsored by the Women's Studies Department
While most sexual violence committed against women is hidden in silence, two recent cases have become very public and have forced a national discussion about rape culture and sexual violence against women. A movement against sexual violence exploded in cities across India following the violent gang rape of a 23 year old women in Delhi that resulted in her death. Another attack that was brought to light because people spoke out was the rape of the 16 year old woman in Steubenville, Ohio. Two men raped the young woman after a night of drinking and she didn't even know what happened until seeing pictures on the internet the next day.
Both cases are all too familiar for women around the world but the fact that people decided to stand up and say enough is enough is something new and refreshing. The public outrage has pushed many people to ask the tough questions. Questions like, why is there so much violence against women? How has rape become so normalized in our society? And most importantly, what can we do to change this? In response to violence against women we all too often hear things like, “she was too drunk” or “she was dressed slutty” or “was it really rape?” It is clear that there is an urgent need for movement that can unapologetically fight for a society that doesn't encourage sexism but one that actively fights sexism.
With the decline of the women's liberation movement that fought to combat sexist ideas in society and fought for better conditions for women, we continue to see the rollback of it's gains. Sexual education that promotes consent and sexual health is absent from our schools, the advertising industry heavily relies on photographs of highly sexualized women to sell products and most women have very little access, if at all, to health services such as birth control, abortion and other services that allow women to control their own lives. The attack on women is only getting worse and will continue to as long as there isn't a mass movement of women and men that demand for something better.
Join the discussion April 11th at 3:30 where we can talk about where sexual violence against women comes from, what sexism looks like today, and what we can do in the here and now to fight it.
Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History at Purdue University. Her first book, "The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal" on the political economy of nineteenth century Bengal and class formation was published by Oxford University Press in 2005. She is currently working on her second book on the Indian Maoist movement. Her essay on this issue is in the current International Socialist Review. Professor Bhattacharya is also working on a smaller project on social reproduction theory and its particular relevance at a time of capitalist crisis. This talk is part of that project.
RSVP on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/events/451694051577935