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WMC News: Rocky Rivera, Suicide Prevention, Safe Spaces, Burkini Ban, & more!

September 7, 2016

School Sexual Harassment: Underreported and Ignored

By Erin Siegal McIntyre | September 6, 2016

Getty Imges/Photodisc/Jetta Productions Last July, the years-long struggle of a girl in New Jersey’s Williamstown Middle School came to light in a lawsuit filed against the school district.

The suit claimed that starting in 2012, when the girl was in sixth grade, a classmate had badgered her repeatedly: asking her to perform oral sex, spreading rumors that she performed oral sex for money, calling her names including "whore," "slut," and "sixth-grade slut."

The harassment allegedly lasted for years, escalating to physical harassment. Finally, the girl dropped out of school.

She's not alone. Experts say that the scope of the problem of harassment in public K-12 classrooms is large, but a dearth of research exists on the topic. That's in part because of confidentiality rules that surround both investigations and their findings.

But the consequences are serious. "Quite frankly, everything can get called bullying," said Nan Stein, senior research scientist at the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center at Wellesley College. "It's such a large category that you can drive a truck through it. Schools just love to call everything bullying, because it moves them away from the discourse of rights and it de-genders the issue. There's not enough attention paid to what gets cast as normative conduct that is really sexual harassment."

Yet it's not a new issue. More>>

Image description: Sad girl leaning against locker (Credit: Getty Imges/Photodisc/Jetta Productions)



Rocky Rivera Is “Gonna Turn You Into a Feminist”

By Emily Wilson | August 31, 2016

Rocky Rivera in the video for 'Turn You'

In her video “Turn You,” Oakland emcee Rocky Rivera rides a San Francisco MUNI bus while she raps, “I’m liberated, ain’t nothing you can do about it,” “My fate is greater than the gender you assign to me,” and “Rather be a pirate in a red dress with a treasure chest—fuck a diamond ring.” The chorus of the song goes, “I’m gonna turn you into a feminist,” and at one point, Rivera sits in the back of the bus, reading professor, writer, and cultural critic Roxane Gay’s book of essays, Bad Feminist.

The song was part of Rivera’s 2015 album, Nom de Guerre. Rivera made the video recently, though, after encouragement from her neighbor and friend, hip-hop journalist Dave “Davey D” Cook, who hosts the popular show “Hard Knock Radio” on KPFA, a Pacifica station. He told Rivera that whenever he played “Turn You,” it got a big reaction, and he felt it needed a video. When Rivera went to speak at his class on hip-hop and politics at San Francisco State, three film students volunteered to make the video with her. They shot it on the MUNI with Rivera’s brother’s best friend, a driver, who let her and the students ride with him as he drove from downtown San Francisco out to the beach and back on the late shift. More>>

Image description: Rocky Rivera in the video for "Turn You"


Combating Inequality In Mental Health Care

We need to talk about unequal access to mental healthcare.By Gabby Catalano | September 7, 2016

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.”

These words, originally written by C.S. Lewis, are painted on a wall in my apartment. My bedroom has become a sanctuary of spiritual healing and redemption: I practice yoga and meditative exercises while burning incense and floral candles. I boil water for tea in the kitchen and grow my own herbs and spices for recipes. I play soft rock and smooth jazz music aloud to create a warm, soothing space in my home. My home is where I run when I need a break from the complications of life and it’s where I thank myself for waking up every morning and leaving the past behind.

I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies from the age of 12 on. For a long time, I hid behind the shame of my mental illness rather than learning how to unfold and tend to my physical and emotional well-being. Like many who live with mental illness, I tried to “get over” it, to push aside my depression, and promptly move forward. But ignoring my mental health only led to extreme mood swings, repressed depression, and self-harm. More>>

Image description: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with caption "We need to talk about unequal access to mental healthcare."


The Burkini Ban And The Long Legacy Of Controlling Women’s Bodies

The burkiniBy Chloe H | September 6, 2016

Imagine you are at the beach, sitting on the sand, and enjoying the sounds of waves crashing. Suddenly you are confronted by armed police officers. The police officers stand over you and demand that you remove some of your clothing. Although this may seem like an absurd and insulting request from a police officer, women have been forced to do just that — women have been asked to remove their beach attire along the French coast. But only a specific form of swimwear has been monitored by police: the “burkini,” a swimsuit that covers a woman’s entire body except for her face, hands, and feet. More>>

Image description: The burkini


The Truth About Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings

UChicago got trigger warnings and safe spaces wrong.By Reilly W | September 1, 2016

This past week, the University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming freshmen that stated they would not support “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces” at the school. Instead of making the topic a discussion, a conversation, a process, they made it a rule book. Universities should, of course, be spaces of enthusiastic debate and a mosaic of different views. But this debate begs the question: Where does the line between freedom of speech and infringing on somebody else’s right to that freedom lie? More>>

Image description: UChicago campus with caption "UChicago got trigger warnings and safe spaces wrong."


The Empty Page Talks Indie Rock Feminism

The Empty PageBy Gabby Catalano | August 31, 2016

The Manchester hard rock trio, The Empty Page, is breaking every rule in the industry. Led by bassist and lead singer Kel, lead guitarist Giz, and drummer Jim, the band is bringing feminism to a scene notoriously crowded by men, and challenging authority in their upcoming debut album. The band’s recent music video, “Deeply Unloveable,” is a striking manifesto against sexism, classism, conformism, and sexual harassment, and the band itself is all about empowering women. The Empty Page spoke to the FBomb about their cultural influences, punk-rock titles, and being a feminist band. More>>

Image description: The Empty Page


WMC Live is on hiatus for August, but we return with all-new episodes on September 10. It’s a good time to catch up on past shows on iTunes or


This week WMC SheSource features experts on Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte’s comments that led to President Obama canceling their meeting, the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fox News’ Roger Ailes, the China G20 Summit, Congress returning, and a recent IUCN report that shows ocean temperatures are rapidly rising.

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