Greeks Against Sexual Assault

Greeks Against Sexual Assault works towards increasing awareness, educating, and eliminating sexual assault and dating violence
from the Greek community through peer education and activism amongst sororities and fraternities nationwide.

About Greeks Against Sexual Assault

The University of California, Davis has operated the Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) since 1979.

In an effort to further target the Greek community, GASA was created through CVPP in the spring of 2007. A class was developed and all Greek chapters were encouraged to have a representative enroll. The first class in the fall of 2007 had 16 representatives who were educated on the facts about sexual assault and the resources available on campus. The final project for the class was for each representative to go back and present their new knowledge to their own chapters.

Due to the enormous success of the pilot program, the class will be offered on a bi-annual basis and we look forward to sharing the program with many campuses in the coming months.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Minimize, Deny, and Blame

This post was originally written by Ashley in Media published on the SAFER blog...but it was so good we decided to repost it here!

I worked for a year as the facilitator of a group intended to create a sense of accountability in guys who had abused their partners. We talked about a lot of things with the men: male privilege, the importance of consent in sexual relationships, and the definition of abuse among them. But more than probably anything else, we talked about the universal trinity of rationalizations for abusive behavior. Any abuser will use these three behaviors in some combination. The behaviors are: minimizing, denial, and blame. So, we would begin every group by going around the room and asking the guys to describe how they had come to be court ordered to attend the group. They would tell their stories, which would go something like this: “What I did wasn’t really that bad, and I didn’t do it. Besides, she asked for it.” With luck, by the end of their sessions with us, they could describe what they did more accurately, and take responsibility for their behavior. Every time one of the guys tried to minimize or deny his abusiveness, or claim that he was provoked into it by either his partner or some combination of outside influences beyond his control, we would call him out on what he was doing and ask him to correct his statement.

When I hear the song “Love The Way You Lie,” it brings me right back.

Now remember, Rihanna sings the chorus, but Eminem wrote it. That means that the chorus is also from the perspective of an admitted abuser. So let’s try a little experiment. Let’s see how many times we can find the abuser’s trinity in this song:

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
(Minimizing and Blame: “It’s not really that bad, and besides, she likes it.”)
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie
(Minimizing and Blame)
I love the way you lie
(Minimizing and Blame with emphasis and a catchy hook)

I can’t tell you what it really is
(Denial: I am intentionally obfuscating how abusive I am.)
I can only tell you what it feels like
(Blame: My uncontrollable feelings caused by other people did it, not me!)
And right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe
(Blame: My anger! If only I had the ability to express it in a healthy manner. Alas, I am an automaton whose actions are dictated by biologically uncontrollable supertough manliness. Look at my biceps.)
I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight
(Blame: While I have no self-awareness on this subject, patriarchal masculinity dictates that I should always be in control, and that I should have no feelings other than anger. Therefore, when I feel vulnerability of any kind in my relationship, I must express it by attempting to gain control over my partner through abusive behavior. This is in fact a complex series of emotions, but I experience them only as rage. I then blame my partner for inciting my rage, despite the fact that it is my own insecurity that created it. I claim to be ashamed of my anger, but actually I am a little proud of it, because it shows how manly and in control I am. Look at my biceps.)
As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight
High off of love, drunk from my hate,
(Blame: Anger! Biceps!)
It’s like I’m huffing paint and I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate
And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me
(Cycle of abuse honeymoon crap)
She fucking hates me and I love it.
(Blame: She provokes me.)
Wait! Where you going?
“I’m leaving you”
No you ain’t. Come back we’re running right back.
(Blame: I abuse her because she won’t leave me. She won’t leave me because she enjoys the abuse. Her fear that I might kill her has nothing to do with it.)
Here we go again
(Blame, and interesting pronoun use.)
It’s so insane cause when it’s going good, it’s going great
I’m Superman with the wind at his back, she’s Lois Lane
(Minimizing: But I treat her very well when I am not beating her up.)
But when it’s bad it’s awful, I feel so ashamed I snapped
(Minimizing: I am again not telling you exactly what I did, because if I clearly explained what my abusive actions were, you might say, “Wow, that is messed up.” Plus Blame: I “snapped,” and had no control over my actions.)
Who’s that dude? I don’t even know his name
(Blame with a capital B)
I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again
(More cycle of abuse honeymoon crap)
I guess I don’t know my own strength
(Minimizing, Denial)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame Blame Blame
Blame Blame Blame

You ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe
When you’re with ‘em
You meet and neither one of you even know what hit ‘em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
(Look, I got you flowers!)
Yeah, them those chills you used to get ‘em
Now you’re getting fucking sick of looking at ‘em
(This is an abusive statement. It is actual abuse of my partner, in a song about abuse. Meta!)
You swore you’d never hit ‘em; never do nothing to hurt ‘em
Now you’re in each other’s face spewing venom in your words when you spit them
You push pull each other’s hair, scratch claw hit ‘em
(Denial and Blame: The abuse has become a “fight,” in which both partners are equally aggressive. In fact, the majority of abuse does lead to self-defensive violence from victims. This is not the same as a “fight.”)
Throw ‘em down pin ‘em
(Rare moment of honesty)
So lost in the moments when you’re in them
It’s the rage that took over it controls you both
(And we are back to Blame.)
So they say you’re best to go your separate ways
Guess if they don’t know you ’cause today that was yesterday
Yesterday is over, it’s a different day
Sound like broken records playing over but you promised her
Next time you show restraint
You don’t get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess that’s why they call it window pane
(I appear to take responsibility, but instantly return to narcissism rather than true contemplation of the damage I have done to another human being. This reveals that I am again engaging in false contrition/honeymoon behavior rather than expressing meaningful self-awareness.)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame. Also, I would like to imply that rape is sometimes enjoyed by the victim without directly making such a reprehensible statement.)

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
(Minimizing and Denial)
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper’s just as bad as mine is
You’re the same as me
But when it comes to love you’re just as blinded
Baby, please come back
It wasn’t you, baby it was me
(Aren’t the flowers pretty?)
Maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems
Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
(Minimizing and Blame)
All I know is I love you too much to walk away though
(Veiled threat)
Come inside, pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
I told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I’m pissed, I’ll aim my fist at the drywall
Next time. There won’t be no next time
I apologize even though I know its lies
I’m tired of the games I just want her back
I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to fucking leave again
Im’a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
I’m just gonna
(Overt threat)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame: Considering that a direct threat was just made on the victim’s life, it is interesting that I am ending this song by emphasizing her unwillingness to leave. And by “interesting,” I mean, “blaming the victim.”)

You may also notice that the video has a theme. The theme is: “she started it, I only hit her because of the alcohol, and abuse is very sexy.”

If Eminem were in my group, I’d ask him to start his story again, this time taking responsibility for his actions. Unfortunately, Eminem is not in my group. He is a multi-platinum recording artist who won multiple MTV Video Music Awards tonight. That this implies something important about our culture should be obvious.

Check out the video here...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. - Audrey Hepburn