I watch a lot of The Young Turks. I’m never sure if that’s a good thing or not. A few months ago they started a new channel called TYT University, which features stories and tips for students in university or high school students thinking about university. In general it’s a pretty good channel, but a week ago they posted up a 2-part series which made me quite upset.
TW for sexual assault/rape/misogyny for everything below:
They basically took chain mails I’ve been getting for years and posted them in video form. All of the shitty advice that tells women what to do not to get raped. I decided to post a comment on the second video, and thankfully others had posted similar comments:
Or how about, start teaching men that women are humans and that rape is wrong? How about working to get the conviction rate for rape up to the point that they’ll start believing it? How about we get police officers to start taking sexual assault charges seriously? This would do more to prevent sexual assault than telling women what to do/not to do.
Someone commented and criticised me for not saying men get raped and women can be perpetrators of sexual assault. I completely understand that and I apologised and still do apologise for that, and in general speaking in binary language. Any person of any gender can rape and be raped.
But then they kept going with the red herring. False rape allegations.
…putting laws in place that get women who have clearly made false rape allegation sentenced for the same amount of years as their wouldbe victims would have been given or how about considering the fact that is take an exceptional fucked-up person to forceably have sexual intercourse with another person against their will,something which they’d probably do despite being educated to respect others.
This is a red herring, because false rape allegations are no higher than false allegations for other violent crimes, commonly estimated at about 2%. So 98% of allegations are truth, and those are only those who report. If women who didn’t report started reporting, I’m sure the percentage of ‘false rape’ would drop under 1%.
Whether or not some women do make false rape allegations, this distracts us from the reality that only 6% of rape charges are convicted. That’s disgustingly low. A very low percentage of people report rape for fear of not being taken seriously, or because they don’t think there is enough evidence against the rapist. Or sincerely being scared. For many reasons other than that. It’s such a complicated issue.
I take offense to the word ‘rape’ not being used by the commenter. Instead they use ‘forceably have sexual intercourse with another person against their will’. It’s as if either this person is scared to say rape, or they don’t fully understand the meaning of this. Furthermore this person does not understand that this isn’t a ‘mad or bad’ argument. Either the rapist is crazy or the rapist is a horrible horrible person. Now, of course, the rapist IS a horrible horrible person, but we also have to understand the culture in which they live, and they are victims of that culture. Not at all should we show any sympathy towards them, but an understanding of how rape culture skews the minds of everyone around it would lead us to the conclusion that, under other contexts, these people might not be the people they are.
Which is why ‘teaching people not to rape’ is so important. Rape culture needs to be dismantled.
* Just found out this person is an MRA, or figuring they are because they linked me to an MRA video. Loser. I thought I was engaging with someone who could be debated, but I’d rather not be called a ‘bimbotic bitch’ like they did to another woman who disagreed with them.
- Mumsnet rape and sexual assault survey results, and a word on statistics (thefword.org.uk)
- RCASA’s Friday Facts: Sexual Assault of Men (rcasa.wordpress.com)
- Reaction: I never said yes-rape documentary on BCC3 (kismethypno.wordpress.com)
- 80% of women don’t report rape of sexual assault, survey claims (telegraph.co.uk)
I’ve just finished a book by Kenneth W Daniels, called Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary.
This is a story of a true Christian who believed for nearly three decades, having grown up the son of evangelical missionary parents, later becoming a missionary himself. Yet he slowly lost his faith and now no longer holds it. In this part-autobiography, part-exposé, Ken traces his journey from evangelical missionary to secular humanist while remaining part of a committed Christian family. He looks back at a number of reasons he remained a believer for over a decade after his initial doubts began at university, critically evaluating each one in a separate chapter. Whether or not you agree with Ken’s conclusions, you will find his journey and his reasons for taking it fascinating and informative. You will end up better understanding, if not appreciating, the mind of apostates whose desire is to follow the evidence wherever it leads.
To be honest this took me a really long time to read. I was in the middle of it and then decided to breeze through a few more instead. Don’t take that in a bad way though, it’s a really good book. I found it really eye opening, and it gave me a bit of hope that more ‘devout’ religious people became lovely apostates like me.
I really enjoyed the way he presented his views. If you’re insulted by the supposed stridency of Richard Dawkins, there’s none of that here. He’s very level headed, presents his criticisms, but does so in a humble way. He’s incredibly polite, but is also not afraid to show where he disagrees with the Christian faith.
Obviously if someone who is a devout Christian came around and read this, they might not take it to heart and may even find it insulting, but someone who is experiencing doubts would find this incredibly eye opening. Of course since I’m already an atheist it’s like preaching to the choir, but there are still some great points for us to take on when we’re being bombarded with apologism. I’m sure it’d be helpful for every atheist to have the in-depth knowledge of the Bible that he does.
You can read this book online for free if you search the title on Google, but I bought it on my Kindle and it’s only $0.99, so for the price it’s fantastic. It’s worth more than the price, really.
I don’t like to talk about my year at a for-profit university. Today I wanted to talk about my experience, so that if anyone starts searching in interest for these types of schools, they can see what I wrote and rethink their interest. Before I start I’ll sum up my experience right now: for-profit universities are a scam.
I had a lapse of judgement going out of high school and thought it would be a great idea to go to an American for-profit university in the UK *. I chose this route instead of applying for British schools because I wanted my application process to be as simple as possible; I simply did not understand UCAS and didn’t want to take the time to do it. This school seemed like a good alternative. They were incredibly helpful to me (something I did not get when I started my relationship with Westminster) and made it easy to enrol.
I started reading around and a red flag shot off when I read that this school has issues with it’s accreditation. Furthermore even when it was accredited the organisations reviewing the school quality commented negatively on it. Still, I wanted to expect the best and it was my dream to go to school in London. So I went.
The problems started pretty immediately.
I was a good student in high school. I received the highest grade of my class in my AP Calculus exam, achieved a 4 on my AP English, and graduated in the top 15%. I was initiated into the National Honor Society. I played soccer and ran track for a few years of high school before my back went out. I got into some great schools back home. So I didn’t go to this school for lack of choices. However this is how I felt when they put me into remedial English and math classes. I decided to change my English class to one of my programme classes the first semester so I could find a way to change it to something higher.
I was told I was put into a higher math class, but they were teaching us basic algebra and geometry. I complained about being put into a class that was too easy for me, but I was snubbed. I was told they never received my AP exam grades even though I had had them sent multiple time. I believe I even paid for them to go out the last time. Nothing changed.
I was told that the English classes taught how to write compound and complex sentences. I tried to get into a higher class but again they wouldn’t let me. I decided to delay it until my second year. The one friend I met who is very dyslexic had issues when they wouldn’t let her use spellcheckers and have extra time on her exams. When she had gotten one of her assignments back she was marked down because her sentence structure was too advanced.
The school culture was appalling. I didn’t fit in. All the other students cared about was drinking, drugs, partying, and fucking. Everyone seemed materialistic. No one cared about their classes. Thankfully there were a couple lovely people, one of whom I still love with all my heart, because we both felt cheated. When she enrolled they told her she’d be able to get work experience in her programme and be able to get jobs easily. When she got there they took away that offer.
The cost was atrocious. I cannot remember off the top of my head what the tuition was, but it was something vile. I think $30,000 a year, which is not the worst price ever (Fordham, another school I got into, charges $50k a year, but it’s a very good school). However, for the quality of education I was receiving, it was horrible. That isn’t the worst, however. My accommodation cost £235 per week. That’s $375, and it’s self-catered. I was sharing my room with another person, and there were 3 other girls in the flat. To put this in perspective, I’m sharing a flat with my partner currently and we each pay £86 per week. One of the halls also rented out flats for University of Westminster students. They were paying around £175 a week.
I was speaking to a girl at the school and she said she found out while she was there that the degree she was working towards was regarded negatively in the field she wanted to be in. That the money she’s paying to the school will go to nothing.
I withdrew from the school around the end of February 2 years ago. I couldn’t justify receiving the next disbursement of my loan and having to pay that back to such a horrible institution.
I feel cheated. Thousands of dollars have gone down the drain. I did learn a couple cool things, and I learned a lot about myself. To be honest, it’s led me to where I am now, so I don’t 100% regret it. But I cringe at the sort of money I spent, and my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced something similar to me.
For anyone who thinks they can’t get into a good school so they’re considering going to a for-profit university: don’t. Go to your community college and get an associate’s degree. Work really hard those 2 years and you’ll save money, get a decent education, and be able to transfer to a good school for the last 2 years of a bachelors. Or go to a technical institute, where you can learn a vocation. Whatever you do, please, don’t go to a for-profit university.
* I’ve removed the name of the university, out of carefulness.
I just finished reading Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future by Robert Reich.
When the nation’s economy foundered in 2008, blame was directed almost universally at Wall Street. But Robert B. Reich suggests a different reason for the meltdown, and for a perilous road ahead. He argues that the real problem is structural: it lies in the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top, and in a middle class that has had to go deeply into debt to maintain a decent standard of living.
It was a relatively short book, but it makes up for that in content. Reich has a lovely writing style, which is probably why the book is shorter than people probably would advise it. He doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t go onto irrelevant tangents or drag out the explanation. He’s concise and clear, and it’s a breath of fresh air. I could contrast his writing style with the first book I read this year, The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi, who dragged out the point to the brink of exhaustion. To the point that you almost stopped caring about her point and just wanted her to stop talking. She could use some tips from Reich.
I also really loved his clear structure. He wasn’t dancing around from random point to random point. He took on the problems of the economy chronologically, starting with a comparison of the Great Recession to the Great Depression, what their similarities in conditions and solutions/outcomes were, as well as differences. He then goes on to explain based on that, what the major problem is this time around, how we’ve tried to go about solving it, and why these ways don’t work. Finally he talks about the possible outcome if we continue on the road we’re on, and then some advice based on what worked last time to cause the Great Prosperity and how good we can turn out if we follow said advice.
It seemed at the end idealistic, but Reich seemed to do his research and gave clear ways that each of his recommendations could work. He served as Secretary of Labor for the first Clinton administration and is currently Chancellor Professor at UC Berkeley, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about.
I very passionately recommend Aftershock to anyone interested in the US economy. This is probably the first non-fiction work this year that I’ve really really gotten a lot out of (though I’ve pretty much enjoyed them all).