If we have any hope of creating a safe world for marginalized communities that’s free of sexual violence, the media must change the way it covers sexual violence. As part of my anti-rape advocacy, I became a freelance writer and have had to face mainstream media’s notoriously frustrating editorial process. I’m often told by journalists with far more experience in the industry than me that “it’s just the way it is,” but let’s face it—“the way it is” no longer cuts it.
Between #MeToo and the onslaught of survivors of sexual violence coming forward about being abused by powerful men, social media has been a nightmare for survivors.
I fell in love with my best friend last year - the first person I'd been vulnerable with since being raped in 2015. He made me relive the exact circumstances of my rape, and then had the nerve to threaten to kill himself when I asked for space. I stayed with him for a year.
Filipino culture holds a heavy stigmatization towards mental health — it is either ignored entirely, or minimized and mocked. Luckily for my parents and for my own mental health, I adopted 2 kittens and changed all of our lives.
Another week, another shitty, entitled white dude in the music industry enjoying success after violating a Black woman. If there’s anything that Amerikkka loves more than a bunch of men fighting over a ball made from animal skin, it’s caping for mediocre white men and shaming women and femmes for their sexuality.
As a Filipina woman and survivor of sexual violence, I was hesitant to engage with Taylor Swift’s countersuit alleging sexual assault, especially given her status as Queen Becky of the White Feminists. From her “girlsquad” of thin, able-bodied, cishetero women, to accusing Nicki Minaj of tearing women (read: Swift) down while Minaj called out racism, Swift only ever cries feminism when it benefits her.
When my friend Amber Discko announced her latest project Aloe, I was so excited to see it grow. As the founder of the Femsplain community, Amber has my full confidence and support. Femsplain came to me when I was at my lowest, it was like a lantern that I found while trying to navigate the darkness of trauma, and it helped me find my path to healing. I expect that many people will find Aloe has the same effect. I talked to Amber about her latest project.
Despite being a diehard stan, I was skeptical about Lana Del Rey's new album at first. Del Rey has often been gratuitous with her creativity at the expense of marginalized groups. One of her most iconic images as an artist is her appropriating an Indigenous headdress in the “Ride” video, and her portrayed herself as a Latina sex worker in “Tropico”. The hallmark of her music, along with a leaked clip filmed by Eli Roth where Del Rey stars in a horrifying visceral rape scene, is how she glamorizes and romanticizes domestic violence. Moreover, she’s made comments about how feminism just isn’t that interesting to her, and that she’d rather discuss our galactic possibilities.
Sexual intercourse with a condom is different from sex without, and there are different risks inherent in both of them. Removing the condom changes the context in which you consented to sexual intercourse. If that context changes, it is imperative that consent is reaffirmed.
Kesha's latest single shows that survivors who speak their truth come from a place of empathy and compassion. We act out of love for ourselves, and love for humanity. After all, if we don't tell our stories, how would we be able to affect the change society so desperately needs?
I could never change the fact that I had been assaulted, or that my heart had been broken. But instead of letting those negative experiences change me for the worse, I pushed myself to channel that energy into creating positive change and into pouring love into my life.
An administrative tribunal in Ontario ruled that they believed my story, and in one of the most gratifying moments of my life, found me to have been a victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the "alleged offender." It took about two months to receive the written decision and cheque in the mail.