Home Education Panel discusses sexual violence issues from around the globe

Panel discusses sexual violence issues from around the globe

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In an Empowering Women of Ohio Week event, an expert panel of residential and visiting faculty held an open discussion Monday on international protest movements against various forms of sexual violence.

Moderated by Haley Duschinski, director of the Center for Law Justice and Culture, the panel featured insight from three academics: associate professor Pashmina Murthy of Kenyon College, associate professor Ashley Currier of the University of Cincinnati and Soros Fellow Nihal Said of Ohio University. The presenters focused on instances of public outcry against sexual violence in India, South Africa, and Egypt, respectively.

First to speak was Murthy, who compared Delhi’s brutal December 2012 gang rape, which resulted in death for the victim and rekindled widespread discussion of sexual violence in India, to the more recent rape case that engulfed Steubenville, Ohio in August of the same year.

Murthy analyzed the narratives of the two events and their following protests. She then offered insightful questions after analyzing the interesting dichotomy of gang rape being viewed as both simultaneously repetitive and singular in nature.

“In the description of sexual violence into the everyday [life], what gets suspended from the criterion?” said Murthy. “Gang rapes? Gang rapes across class lines?… And a second question…As sexual violence is related to power and dominance…is there a way how male. .. desire can be increasingly articulated primarily through violence?”

Said described her research in street and sexual harassment in Egypt and how harassment can be combated with different initiatives. One, known as the Bossi Project, involved a group of actors who put on demonstrations of sexual harassment in city to gauge public attitudes on sexual harassment and victim blaming. After different experiments having different genders take on varying roles of victim and harasser, the group found intriguing results.

“In the three incidents, they found that the public usually sides with the perpetrator,” said Said.

Currier’s focus was on the anti-lesbian violence and rape of South African black lesbians and their mobilization to organize and physically protect themselves from various acts of sexual violence . Even though South Africa has many progressive laws to ensure LGBT rights, rape and assault on black lesbians is incredibly prevalent due corrective rape, a term invented by activists that describes how men seek out known lesbians to punish them for acting against gender norms. Anti-lesbian rape is hard to categorize and label and fight effectively due to the fact many in South African men see all things attractive to women as male, including lesbians, which leads to criminal justice system running ineffectively, Currier said.

After the presentations were finished, the speakers took questions from the crowd of OU students and faculty.

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