Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on camera, dragging the unconscious body of his girlfriend Janay Palmer out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. In the video, Palmer is limp, and though Rice tries repeatedly to prop her body up, she continues to fall to the ground.
Hello! I am Brenna Foster, the new Communications Associate at Breakthrough. I am thrilled to join such an exciting team of innovative and diverse people. I’ve worked as a communications professional at several non-profits in the US and across Asia, most recently in Seoul, South Korea, leaving me with a deep appreciation for kimchi and K-pop. I can’t wait to dive into social campaigns with Breakthrough and become a part of this amazing community!
Title IX, the legislation that allowed women to be able to play varsity sports in high school and college with the same freedom and funding as men (and attempted to end the systematic marginalization of female athletes) celebrates its 42nd anniversary this week. Yet some still maintain that Title IX has done more harm than it has good, and is to blame for the gradual “devastation” of men’s sports over the past four decades.
I beg to differ. Even today, over forty years after Title IX, female athletes aren’t seen in the same light as male athletes. People don’t watch women’s sports with the same fascination and awe that they do men’s sports. Women’s athletics is painfully devoid of the universal prestige every male athlete commands, despite the parallels in effort and skill that female athletes demonstrate in their athletic endeavors. The lack of glitz and glamor of women’s athletics drives many women away from the seemingly endless hours of practice, perseverance, and pressure that come with even college level athletics. I have had countless girl friends quit their sports without so much as an eyebrow raised by their peers and parents, yet when a boy of the same skill level chooses to quit a sport, he is often seen as weak or uncommitted.
It is the societal rejection of the inspiring awe that is female athletes that means that most girls realize that somewhere along the line, society does not encourage girls to excel athletically and would much rather see them on the sidelines, half-naked and cheerleading, than see them playing on the field. Even today, forty years after Title IX, female athletes aren’t seen in the same light as male athletes, but that will never change unless there is a huge movement to promote and encourage girls to participate the same way we do boys. Without Title IX, girls who brimmed with athletic potential would be forced to stay on club teams and never be able to achieve their full athletic potential on a varsity or professional level— many of the resources to fund female sports would be siphoned to men’s sports.
Women’s sports have made huge strides since 1972, but without the constant upholding and defense of legislation like Title IX, that progress would come to a grinding halt. Men’s sports will carry on. The culture of male athletics is so ingrained within the fabric of this country that it is impossible for them not to. What is forever at risk is girls’ sports- without Title IX, chances are many schools would have to cut most funding for women’s sports solely based on the fact that they don’t generate the same revenue that men’s sports and women would lose their opportunity to excel in something that they are passionate about.
So let’s all go out and celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Title IX by watching some women’s sports this week, and marvel in their athletic prowess!
That Guy sees women as equal That Guy is NOT silent when women aren’t treated as such.That Guy knows that street harassment & catcalling sustains a culture of inequality that enables violence and discrimination against women.
That Guy stands for something better. That Guy sets the bar a little higher.
Do you know That Guy? Nominate him, and he could be featured in our next animation!!
Help us with our research on attitudes to sexual assault on campus!!
Send this survey to anyone you know who is still in college in the US (or has just graduated) and identifies as male. We’re trying to get a sense of how this specific group of students define the issue and WE NEED YOUR HELP!
It only takes 90 seconds and there’s a $20 gift card up for grabs, too.
Last night I was walking to a restaurant with my mom and son to celebrate my birthday, when I noticed a young couple arguing across the street. Suddenly the guy violently grabbed his girlfriend by the hair, put her into a headlock, and started aggressively dragging her down the sidewalk. I didn’t even hesitate. I darted straight over and stood two feet from him with a finger pointed - “HEY, THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! YOU DO NOT TREAT SOMEONE THAT WAY!” His body language changed immediately. Instead of manhandling her, he started pacing back and forth.
They continued to argue, but his body language did not show that he was going to attack her again, and there was a brief flicker of shame on his face. The young woman’s eyes teared when I looked her in the face, and she held a look of appreciation that someone cared enough to stand up for her. She also became emboldened and assertive in her response to him. Maybe the violence continued after I turned the corner, maybe it stopped. I have no idea if that was the “right way” to intervene (should I have just distracted them?), but at least he backed off in the moment. But ultimately, I contributed to making it socially unacceptable to perpetrate violence against women.
In retrospect, I questioned if I did the right thing. What if he had a gun? What if he would have tried to strike me too? My colleague asked me why I did it when most people would not. My response:
1) I work everyday to invite people to take action to interrupt or prevent violence against women by making it unacceptable, so I was emboldened to walk the walk.
2) I knew there was something I could do - to say something.
3) I now believe in the power of the “bystander” to take responsibility for the culture of behavior in communities - in this case, my own community.
4) I trained in martial arts for many years and felt confident in my ability to handle a situation if it went south.
I hope this will inspire others to have the courage to intervene to interrupt violence. It’s more than a distraction, it’s a call to change culture. It makes violence against women unacceptable.
Domestic violence is not inevitable. It is learned. And if it is learned, it can be unlearned and it can be prevented.
In this TED talk from Feb 2014, Esta Soler uses her experience as a pioneer in gender-based violence advocacy to describe how the tactics and technologies used in her field have developed over time.
Soler reveals how the Polaroid camera changed DV advocacy. By taking a photo of the woman following a so-called “lover’s quarrel,” (the police usually trivialized intimate-partner violence in this way,) the victim then had the evidence she needed to take her partner to court.
She also addresses how attitudes have changed: In 1984, one politician had the audacity to call her attempts to lobby for a bill outlawing DV the “Take the Fun Out of Marriage Act.”
She elaborates further on a problem that persists in the fight for gender equality. Namely, that men feel “indicted and not invited into the conversation” on ending gender-based violence.
She has some important insights and some great anecdotes, so check out the video!
I am a writer, musician, and general all-around weirdo artist. I have spent my whole life trying to engage with the questions of how to change the world and how to best communicate ideas to people. So I was very excited when I first found out about Breakthrough and I am absolutely ecstatic at the idea that I get to be part of that process.
I know it’s a little cliche (sometimes things are cliche for a reason) but I keep thinking about this Margaret Mead quote:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."
And that sounds great to me. Let’s do it, let’s change thew world.