A look inside last month's trip to Ka'u.
By Lydia Grasso
More and more, the topic of revenge porn is being brought up. Most recently, the topic of revenge porn has been come up in mainstream media because of the very public incident between Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. In case you missed it, here’s what happened. On July 4th Blac Chyna posted a Snapchat telling Rob to leave her alone. Rob responded by posting a video Blac Chyna had sent him of her in bed with another man. The next day Rob went on a social media tirade where he posted multiple nude phots of Blac Chyna on Instagram. As a result of this, a civil court granted Blac Chyna a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Rob. Currently, her lawyer is working to try and create a criminal case against Rob, given the state of California’s Revenge Porn laws.
THE LEGAL STUFF
While I don’t often encourage conversations regarding the Kardashian Klan, I think that this specific incident is actually really important to talk about. Especially because even though revenge porn is being taken more seriously in the eyes of the law it’s still happening at really high rates. In 2014, Hawai'i became the tenth state in the nation to sign a law regarding revenge porn1. The law makes it illegal to record or share nude or sexually graphic images or videos of someone without their consent with the intention being to harm/embarrass/shame the person. If someone does share revenge porn, it’s punishable for up to five years in jail. For teenagers, if the video/images are of individuals who are minors, it can even become a case of child pornography, which is an even more serious offense.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
When Hawai’i passed its revenge porn law, unsurprisingly, revenge porn didn’t just stop. That means that we also have to care about and take action in ending revenge porn. Especially since sharing nude photos is becoming more normal for teens (one out of every five seventeen year olds have sent a sexually explicit image of themselves2). The issue I’m talking about is not necessarily the consensual sending of these photos, but rather the issue of those who receive these photos then taking it upon themselves to share the photos with others in an effort to harm the original sender. It’s messed up. With 93% of revenge porn victims experiencing significant emotional distress because their privacy was disrespected, it’s time we stop blaming victims of revenge porn, and instead start standing up against it.
WHAT TO DO
- If you’re tempted to share intimate phots of your partner or ex-partner, don’t. Develop a healthy way to process through your hurt feelings, keeping in mind that regardless of what they did or didn’t do to hurt you, if they did not give consent, sharing their photos is a crime. Your feelings may be valid, but sharing something you have no right to share is never a valid response.
- If you’re trying to decide if you want to send a nude photo to your partner, think through it. Know your rights. Make your decision off of what you feel comfortable with, not because you’re experiencing pressure. Your consent is the most important part.
- If you’ve had someone share your intimate photos or someone is threatening to share your photos, don’t forget, you still have rights. Like the right to contact the police, like Blac Chyna did. You have the right to file a police report and seek a TRO. You also have the right to seek emotional help. Surround yourself with people who will stand by you and up for you. And remember, you didn’t do anything wrong.
o Check out this post from the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative for specifics of how to report a post on various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft).
At the end of the day, we all know that the sharing of intimate photos is happening, and the most important thing we can do is teach one another to respect the consent of our past and present partners as well as our own personal boundaries. Revenge Porn has no place in healthy relationships.
As a disclaimer, I am not a huge fan of UFC, MMA, or most fighting sports. The thought of watching two people scrap it out on the big screen, to the hoots and hollers of bloodthirsty fans, really does nothing for me. In fact, seeing how fervently entertained most fans are by the sight of such gratuitous violence, this actually makes my blood boil!
I cannot in good conscious enjoy the sight of two people fighting or pounding each other’s faces into a bloody pulp!
As someone who works to prevent violence in the world, my feelings on the subject are pretty hard-set. You’re not going to convince me that it’s an acceptable pastime, just because these people are ‘professionals’ at their craft, or because there’s some sort of respect shown in the octagon. When the promotion of violence becomes an acceptable social norm, there’s an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
It’s frightening how happy this kind of violence makes some people!
I understand my opinion is uncommon here in Hawai‘i, where the majority of people clamor anxiously anytime a fight happens. Whether it’s in the ring, in the streets, or at the playground: there’s a sense of bloodlust that takes over when two people beef it out. Personally, I’ve been jumped in an unfair, 5-against-1 situation, and can tell you, nothing draws a crowd of violence-prone bystanders like the sight of someone getting beat up.
How does this obsession with MMA play out in the real world?
When the template for masculinity is to prove our worth through physical prowess, this becomes the defining characteristic by which we judge men. In this day-and-age, if we can fight and command respect from those weaker than us, we’ll be seen as worthy in the eyes of the community. Being an honest, humble, and compassionate human being doesn’t seem to hold as much weight as the force of one’s punch.
Just say NO to violence!
When someone chooses not to ‘throw down,’ they’re sometimes viewed as less-than, or are further ridiculed. Misogynistic epithets get tossed so carelessly (calling someone a “pussy” or a “bitch”) when they choose not to fight. This further equates masculinity with power and dominance, while feminizing those that choose not to take part in violence.
As if femininity has anything to do with being weak!
When it comes to MMA, the bravado and outright aggressiveness on display becomes a central tenet of the sport. This is especially true with the fans, where fights in and out of the arena are a regular sight. When violence becomes the norm, it gets further perpetrated against those with whom we have conflict.
Punch first, ask questions later…
Nowadays, people are less likely to talk out their problems, or find constructive ways to disagree. Instead, we tend to tap into our reptilian brain (the part of the brain involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays) as a way to prove our worth to the world. It’s a free-for-all, no holds barred type of situation.1
Inevitably, MMA is bound to encourage an aggressive lifestyle.
In a report done by MTV’s Real Sports2, arrests of MMA fighters for domestic violence were double the national rate, with 750 arrests per 100,000. This figure merely represents those arrested for their offenses. Think about all the DV that never goes reported! Many victims fear for their lives, or the lives of family and friends, should they ever report the true nature of the violence.
Some fighters don’t know how to turn off their aggression.
To gain an advantage against their opponent, some fighters turn to illegal substances or steroids. These drugs can cause extreme mood swings, violent outbursts, and short tempers. Aggression gets exacerbated, and can result in an attack on a loved one. Combine drug use with an already violent and angry individual, and you have a recipe for disaster.
But it’s all just friendly competition… isn’t it?
To see the real life effects of a violent sport like MMA, look at a fighter like War Machine (aka Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver). Recently, he was sentenced to life in prison for the 2014 assault, rape and kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack3. Upon discovering her with a male friend in the house, Koppenhaver beat and strangled her, as well as assaulting the friend, whom he accused Mack of sleeping with. During the first court hearing, War Machine could be seen laughing about the incident, showing no sense of remorse for his crimes.
When news first broke about War Machine’s attack upon Christy Mack, the internet set to blaming her. She was nearly beaten to death, had her teeth knocked out, and suffered from a lacerated liver, but still she was faulted for starring in adult films. Likewise, she was blamed for having a male friend at the house, as though that’s justification for Koppenhaver’s brutal response. The fans that excused War Machine’s behavior could not seem to fathom that a fighter (who is literally paid to pummel) could have acted out such violence upon his ex-girlfriend.
War Machine is not alone in committing brutal displays of aggression against an intimate partner.4
For example, Thiago Silva put a gun against his wife’s head and threatened to kill her during a standoff with SWAT, as well as attacking the owner of a gym. After the incident, Silva was suspended by the UFC, but later reinstated after charges were dropped. When video proof of the attack surfaced, the UFC permanently terminated his contract.7
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was charged with domestic violence, battery, death threats and destroying a phone to prevent the report of a crime. He was charged with attacking the mother of his child and knocking out two of her teeth. As well, Johnson was convicted of assault in 2009, in which he slammed a woman, put her in a headlock and dragged her down a flight of stairs.8
An Australian MMA fighter, Julian Wallace, known as Julz the Jackal, admitted to assaulting his partner for bringing home the wrong noodles. According to the Daily Telegraph Australia, “He started to shout, pulled her t-shirt and accused her of cheating on him, before he kicked her in the head.” He then demanded she return the engagement ring he’d previously given her, threatened to break her fingers if she refused, and then punched her in the head and put her in a chokehold when she tried to leave.9
Here’s a video of Julz the Jackal acting like a real classy act:
The UFC alleges a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence, but their response is pretty terrible.10
When the UFC president Dana White isn’t calling female reporters “fucking dumb bitches,” or referring to other reporters as “faggots,” he spends his time concealing his fighters’ domestic violence histories.5 He’s the type of person who claims that the need to make a living outweighs a fighter’s alleged crimes. 6 And so they get suspended temporarily (pending investigation), and then welcomed back wholeheartedly, their violence ignored.
MMA thrives on dangerous, aggressive individuals.
The fact of the matter is that UFC and MMA draw out people with violent histories. Some fighters come from broken families, where all they knew was abuse. Others have a history of crime, or are currently embroiled in felony charges for violence, vandalism, destruction of property, etc. In many cases, their abusive backgrounds are ignored by the UFC or other fight companies.
To be eligible to compete, most fighters are not required to submit a background check. As long as they pass a physical exam, there’s nothing from their past that will raise the red flag. This lack of accountability gives a free-pass for criminal offenders to compete. And in the case of fighters like War Machine or Silva, current offences get swept under the rug in the hope that public scrutiny will fade in time.11
A violent sport like MMA enables violent individuals. If things don’t change, one of these fighters is bound to kill someone.12
By Ixchel Samaniego
Hey, everybody! April is finally here- and maybe you’re counting down the days until summer vacation! April brings us relaxing rain, fresh flowers (okay, maybe allergies, too), and more time outside with friends and loved ones. Besides all these great things, April also brings us an important month: Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)! SAAM was created to raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it, advocate for safety, and be a positive UPstander.
So what is sexual assault? Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual contact, including words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and/or without their consent. This also includes harassment, exploitation, exposing one’s genitals to others without consent, masturbating in public, or watching someone’s private acts without their knowledge or permission.
A lot of people think sexual assault only happens with strangers. In fact, most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by someone they know- and that can even be a dating partner. Often times, we’re asked by students how sexual assault or sexual abuse can happen in a dating relationship if both partners are already sexually active with each other (meaning any sort of physical activity, not just intercourse). And we tell them this: it all boils down to consent.
What is consent? It’s permission. True, honest, permission that isn’t forced out of someone. Convincing your partner to say “Yes” isn’t consent. It’s pressure, coercion, and…sexual assault.
Here are five important tips regarding consent in your relationship:
· Consent can be taken away at any time.
o Just because someone consents to something one time, it doesn’t mean that consent lasts forever. So don’t say anything like, “Well, you were cool with this last weekend, so why not today?” Also, it’s perfectly fine for someone to change their mind, even if the two of you are already messing around. Don’t you want both you and your partner to enjoy what’s going on? Which brings me to my next point…
· Consent requires communication.
o Not sure if your partner is comfortable with what’s going on? Just ask! Sure, it can feel uncomfortable, but a healthy relationship has communication, no matter how weird it may feel. Having these conversations early on in the relationship can ease any possible awkwardness. I like to say, an awkward conversation is a heck of a lot better than making your partner do something they don’t want to do, right?
· Consent and body language go hand in hand.
o Communication isn’t just about talking. It’s about body language, too! Maybe your partner looks uncomfortable. Are they leaning away? Does their face look worried? Are they pushing on your hand to stop? Check in with them- it shows you care and are more concerned with getting their consent than anything else.
· Consent to one thing doesn’t equal consent to another.
o If I tell you can have a french fry, does that mean you reach over and take half of my burger? HECK NO! The same works for sexual consent in your relationship. If your partner says it’s cool to hold hands, then that’s what they mean. The same goes for any other physical activity you get consent for. And if you’re not sure, then….yep, you guessed it…just ask!
· Consent makes things more fun!
o Seriously. Your time together will be waaaaay more enjoyable if you’re both totally clear on what’s cool and what’s not! Even a simple “Is this okay?” makes all the difference in the world.
So there you have it! Now you know more about consent, just in time for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Help yourself, help your friends, help your dating partner, and help your communities by spreading your newfound knowledge and doing your part to end sexual assault! If you or your friends still need some help, that’s totally cool! Check out this video below and/or drop us a line here or on IG and we’ll be happy to help.
Happy SAAM, TAP fam! Can’t wait to see all the awareness you’ll spread!