Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

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“Too Poor to Parent?”

It was not until I read this article, “Too Poor to Parent?”, that I changed the way I view adoption and the ability of the state to take children from parents who abuse or neglect their children.  While I still believe that there are many situations where the best solution for a child is to be taken away completely from their parents due to physical, sexual, or mental abuse, I now question the state’s reasoning for removing children so quickly from homes.  This article explains how most children who end up in foster care have been taken from parents who suffer poverty, and not suffering some type of harsh abuse.  I find this unfair and confusing.  I would like to think that the state would encourage families to stick together, especially through hard times rather than splitting them up.  I agree with Gaylnn Burroughs that the state should place more emphasis in assisting these poor parents to provide good living conditions for their children rather than placing more concern on adoption.  Although I do believe adoption is wonderful and should be of equal importance!


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Rape in Our Society

While a read out of the book Women’s Voices: Feminist Visions, in chapter 10, I read about rape and sexual violence against women. I am filled with hurt and disgust to see statistics of women and men being raped in America. What is even more incredible is the amount of people that do not report rape at all. Over 75 percent of rapes happen between people who have met them at some point in their lives, whether that is a friend, an acquaintance, family member, or husband.  What is crazy to me is the amount of rapes that go unreported; a study showing that less than 5% of women who are raped, or experience an attempted rape in their lives are never reported to the authorities.

There could be many reasons that women and men chose not to report any sexual violence inflicted on them. One reason could be they know them personally and cared for them, such as a family member, and do not want the family turmoil it would cause on the family. Another reason is the fact they are scared of these men taking revenge on them or someone they care about. Finally I think many women are in denial about rape, and what it actually means to be sexually assaulted. They convince themselves that it was not rape under the circumstances. The sickening fact is that many men are getting away with this awful offence, or not getting the punishment they deserve when accused.

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Violence towards women

In class on Tuesday we discussed rape, sexual violence and in general, any type of violence towards women. These issues are something I feel very strongly about and in the future I definitely want to dedicate my life to helping the victims of such violent ordeals as these, as well as getting involved with projects such as “A Thousand Sisters” to combat this terrible violence. There definitely needs to be increased support and an increased accessibility of help for victims. Also, the awareness of society as a whole needs to be improved to emphasize how serious an issue violence towards women has become and how vital it is that we do whatsoever we can to prevent it!

We touched on pornography as well in class and in my opinion it only contributes further to the negative attitudes in society towards women and ultimately the violence towards them.  When violence is eroticized it almost makes it seem desirable and this can influence the audience, especially males, to become more aggressive and to think that it is okay to exhibit sexual violence towards a woman.

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Violence Against Women.

             In chapter 10 the topic of rape is brought up. It is something that every woman knows about and should know how to prevent such things from happeneing to herself and to others. I was surprised at the statistics of rapes each year in the United States alone and the fact that some of my fellow classmates have been affected in some way of such violence. It brings pain to my heart and soul seeing that women and girls are treated this way everyday of their lives, and some are violated by multiple men. After watching the documentary called “Half the Sky” really opened my eyes to the violence around the world and how many women are sold into sex trafficking. It inspired me to stand up for these women, and to find ways to raise awareness of the violence. The thought of losing my family or being disowned from being raped breaks my heart. I hope that every woman knows that she is loved by fellow women.

Women and young girls need to be aware of these acts so they too will prevent and stop the violence. This is why I belive in sexual education in all school systems and the freedom for a womans right.

Just another insight on the matter, I could go on about this topic for days.

Keep the peace, know your limits and where you stand.

Positive Vibes,


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One of the issues talked about in Chapter 10 was rape and the feelings associated with violence towards women. I actually tensed up a bit when the statistic that at least two women in our classroom might have dealt with rape previously. I have firsthand experience with the feelings of male entitlement and coping with the repercussions of such. A few years ago, I found myself caught in an oddball courtship with a guy—his only hang-up being that he was in a relationship with a mutual friend. I chose to avoid the clearly marked signals telling me this wasn’t a healthy friendship. We weren’t seeing each other in a similar light. We pursued a casual flirtation via text messaging and the occasional casual dinner.


One night, we were both at his apartment, and things took a turn for the worse. It began innocently enough, playing video games and eating pizza. Then, he comes onto me physically. I liked him, and was invested in the thought that he had a deeper interest in me, so I allowed things to progress. At the time, I had been with one guy and had just ended said relationship (badly, If I may add). My self-esteem had more than nose-dived. Playful kissing turned into below-the-belt touching, and here I am, down to my underwear and tee shirt on his couch. To be clear, I had never made any action towards sleeping with him, and after years of unabashed foreplay, I assumed the ground rules were clear.  They weren’t. Quicker than I could comprehend what was happening, I’m on top of him, and he’s fully inside of me. I stammer out a, “–No, N-We’re no—We shouldn’t! What about—You—No.” I’m in a panic because he’s condomless and I am in no position to be having unprotected sex, and I’m shocked because he hadn’t asked. We had never clarified. We had never even officially been on a real date. Then he blurts, “Just–one—mo–It’s okay. I’m finished.”


And there I am in my tee shirt, ejaculation from a guy I don’t even truly know running down my legs. And there IT is, the hard reality that I’ve now been with TWO guys. That I now could be pregnant. That I need my first Plan B pill. So, I began to cover it up the best way I knew how. I tried to pick up the pieces. I tried to keep him around. I tried to justify. “Oh, I liked him…it would have happened anyways.” I slept with him once more, this time prepared. The justification didn’t work. I was repulsed. The sex was terrible, he was inconsiderate, I didn’t like him at all, and I regretted having put myself in a pants-less situation with a man who would take such advantage of me. The truth is, I felt so guilty. Like I deserved it. After all, didn’t I give him the wrong impression? I let him grope me and explore with his hands–would it not be the assumption that I was setting up the stage for sex? I thought not, but maybe he thought yes. I made excuse after excuse for him. And maybe that’s why rape is so prevalent. Because we’re too busy feeling guilty and making excuses for men to take action. One bad guy doesn’t make all guys bad. One bad guy shouldn’t ruin ALL guys. But we’re letting them, because we’re neglecting to root out the good from the bad. We’re neglecting to eliminate the bad–To make it NOT OKAY to do those things. We need to stop sweeping these things under the rug because we’re embarrassed, or we’re afraid, or because we feel that we put ourselves in a compromising position. I made a bad decision that night. But so did he. And my bad decision had no hold on his actions. We can’t keep taking responsibility for actions that we don’t allow. 


Once again, 


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Women Keeping Quiet

There have been and continue to be a lot of women who have been raped and do not say anything about it at all or for years to come as we have learned in chapter 10.  Women have many reasons why they do not go to someone for help.  One reason is because a lot are in shock and they think that if they don’t think about it hardly at all that it will simply go away.  Another reason is guilt.  A lot of women who are raped feel like it’s their fault because they didn’t do something to stop it and if they would have done maybe just one thing different they wouldn’t have been in the situation.  They may even feel shameful and even though they didn’t do something to deserve it, they could feel like they did.  All three of those reasons are the sad truth why some women don’t seek medical attention for being raped.  It isn’t the person who got raped fault and it’s terrifying to know something so bad has made them think they actually deserved it.

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Myths About Violence

I sometimes find myself thinking about and believing in a couple of the social myths involving rape that were mentioned in chapter 10.  The main one that I catch myself thinking is “well, she probably did something to deserve it like dressing slutty or leading him on.”  I know this is not true, but I instantly think it anyways.  I have to stop and make myself realize that this is not usually the case.  I have to put myself in a situation like that and say, “By dressing this way, am I really ‘asking for it’?”

I think that these myths could be a direct result from people’s laziness to actually think about things.  In social psychology, we have been talking about how humans like to conserve their mental energy, so most of the time we use our unconscious automatic thinking processes.  Our automatic thinking process is made up of many heuristics, or mental shortcuts, about everything in our world.  A lot of the time, the beliefs associated with our heuristics are false ideas that we have come to believe are facts, either because we have heard them so many times or they just seem to be true.  I think that these myths surrounding rape victims have become popular heuristics about rape victims’ situations, when in reality, we have no idea about the victims’ situations.  If we would just step back and think for a minute (using our conscious controlled thinking), we would realize that these are just myths and they do not pertain to the majority of rape victims.  The perpetuation of these myths, I believe, is caused by our natural psychological processes mixed with the common beliefs of our culture.  If we all realize this, however, we can overcome these myths.