We must hold celebrity friends and colleagues of Misty Upham accountable for not speaking out; she is exactly who #TimesUp should be fighting for.by Abaki Beck [TW/CW: Mentions of sexual violence and rape] This year’s Golden Globes were decidedly different than years past. Attendees wore black in solidarity with the #TimesUp campaign. Eight actresses brought activists combating sexual violence and gender inequity as their guests. The recent attention to the pervasiveness of sexual assault in Hollywood was not entirely swept under the red carpet. Yet perhaps unexpectedly, one individual was left completely unacknowledged: Misty Upham. Misty Upham was a rising Blackfeet actress who was featured in critically acclaimed films like “Django Unchained”, “Frozen River” and “August: Osage County”. She was also raped by a Weinstein Company executive at the 2013 Golden Globes and died under mysterious circumstances in 2014. In the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo, her story cannot be forgotten. In October 2014, Upham was found dead in a ravine on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Washington state after having been missing for 11 days. The exact details of Upham’s death are still unclear. Her family has maintained that she fell while fleeing from the police; Upham had been involuntarily admitted for psychiatric care by police on multiple occasions, including just weeks before her death. When Upham went missing, Native social media went ablaze: she was not just an actress in Hollywood, she was one of us. She reminded us of our cousins, our aunties, or ourselves. Upham was not just an individual disappearance or death; she was one of thousands of missing Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada.
Violence is so normalized that we often don't even recognize sexual abuses in the moment.[TW/CW: discussion of sexual violence.] I recently realized that sex is unhealthy for me. Not sex in theory. No, of course not. Sex is healthy for our bodies and even our hearts and minds.When I say that sex is unhealthy for me, I mean the kind of sex that I have experienced — an experience that I share with many women, femmes, and bottoms. The sex where my needs are neglected and my boundaries are ignored in favor of whatever desires my partner may have. Not everyone experiences sex and the things surrounding it in the same way, for various reasons. Some of those reasons might include gender cultivation, (a)sexuality, choice of sexual expression, knowledge of self/knowledge one's own (a)sexuality, or relationship with one's own body. Some of those reasons might include how certain body types are deemed "normal" and acceptable while others are only ever fetishized or demonized. Some of those reasons might include the fact certain folks are told that they should be grateful that anyone would even be willing to look at them, let alone touch or love them, while others are expected to always be available for sexual contact. Some of those reasons might include the fact that some people are afforded certain permissions to make decisions about their sex and love life without being eternally scrutinized, while others are nearly always assumed to be sexually irresponsible. Some of those reasons might include past or current trauma and abuse. And a host of other reasons not mentioned here, or reasons that you or I have never even considered because they're not a factor in our personal story. I'm not straight. I'm just an asexual with a libido—infrequent as it may be—and a preference for masculine aesthetic and certain genitalia. Most of the sex that I have had is what we would consider to be “straight” sex, and I am fairly certain that I would enjoy the act more and have a healthier relationship with it if more sexual partners were willing to make the experience comfortable and safe for me. Instead, men seem to want to make sex as uncomfortable and painful as possible for their partners, whether consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether or not that is what we want. Many men seem to judge their sexual partners abilities the same way that they gauge how much we love them and how deep our loyalty goes — by how much pain we can endure. I say this based on my personal experience, as well as the experiences of many of the people around me who have been gracious and trusting enough to share with me their testimony. Many of us have been conditioned to measure ourselves in the same way, using our ability to endure pain as a barometer for our worth.
#YesYou, because unless you have been actively engaged in teaching men about rape culture and how to end it, you are not doing nearly enough.By Da’Shaun Harrison Very powerful men have been under scrutiny recently for their perpetuation of sexual violence against women, femmes, men and otherwise queer bodies. We have read disheartening testimonies from many accusers of some of Hollywood’s most esteemed actors and producers, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. We have heard from brave women about their non-consensual interactions with politicians like Roy Moore and Al Franken. We have even read stories about acclaimed television journalists such as Matt Lauer. Each of these men have either not responded to the allegations made against them or, alternatively, have chosen to deny some or all of them. In more current news, however, we have heard allegations about respected men in the music industry and their sexual misconduct. A month ago, Russell Simmons’ first accuser came forward with her story. Since then, he has been accused by at least eight other women of sexual harassment and sexual assault. On December 14, Simmons posted a photo on Instagram where he responded to the allegations against him. Just like many of the other men who were accused, Simmons denied each allegation. However, his denial was more than just a simple statement made for optics and to protect his brand. Simmons’ response, which he linked to the hashtag #NotMe, is a blatant attempt at silencing the voices of women and men who have been courageous enough to share deeply personal traumas with the world through the hashtag #MeToo—a campaign started by Tarana Burke ten years ago. In his statement, he wrote “my intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable. …It’s just a statement about my innocence.”
Much like intimate violence, gender identities and expressions that extend beyond the binary are subject to suspicion and flat-out denial. [TW- description of sexual assault and violence.] By Bani Amor Memory is a motherfucker. As an adult who copes with trauma from abuse, mostly