Sociologist studying how our social structures make sexual violence more likely to occur. PhD @UMich.
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Aug 13 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
This year feels like a crash course in women’s use of violence in relationships with men.
And the fact that I wish everyone knew was that women who act violently are most likely to engage in “situational abuse.” A short thread.
I put “situational abuse” in quotes because there are a lot of things that end up in that umbrella—including some stuff that shouldn’t count as abuse at all.
For example, (some) researchers have a habit of including self-defense from a violent partner in their use of the term.
Aug 11 • 23 tweets • 5 min read
I can tell academics are prepping their syllabi for the fall because my article on survivor-centered strategies for teaching about sexual violence is making the rounds again.
After a year of sharing this work, I have more thoughts! A thread.
1. You say to offer accommodations to survivors--what do you mean by that?
2. I'm a mandatory reporter. I can't do half of this stuff. So... now what?
Jun 24 • 9 tweets • 2 min read
I know everything is already overwhelming enough and we don't want to hear it right now...
But the proposed Title IX regulation that dropped yesterday creates a vehicle for faculty, staff, and other students to report student and employee pregnancies to the Title IX Office.
*All* pregnancies. Not just instances of pregnancy discrimination.
The goal is to connect pregnant people to resources, such as the right for accommodations to their education. However, these types of reporting and documentation policies can have damaging effects too.
Jun 23 • 7 tweets • 2 min read
As I’m combing through the proposed Title IX regulation, I’m struck by how easy it is for a school to exploit rules that, on their face, look pretty reasonable.
Let me give you an example.
The proposed reg has a specific provision that allows schools to remove respondents who pose a risk to the campus community—even if their Title IX investigation is still ongoing.
This is a crucial protection.
Jun 23 • 6 tweets • 1 min read
Explicitly extending Title IX protections to LGBTQ+ students is a big win.
BUT we need to consider how the proposed mandatory reporting policy could harm LGBTQ+ communities.
There are provisions about how *student social media posts* about discrimination could be subject to mandatory reporting.
In this moment of hyper-surveillance and violence against transgender students, this is chilling.
Jun 21 • 6 tweets • 1 min read
One of the reasons we extend so much empathy to perpetrators (and so little to victims) is because we don't have a great cultural script about how to respond when someone says:
"I did what I was accused of. I must be a monster."
After a lot of thinking, I have one.
Our knee jerk reaction is to console someone who is self-deprecating in that way. We say things like:
"You're a good person. You didn't mean to. It's all going to be okay."
"I can't believe this is happening to you. Don't blame yourself! You didn't do anything wrong!"
Jun 2 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
I’m just going to come out and say it:
The reason you didn’t see mainstream media outlets assessing the evidence in Depp v. Heard is because they were afraid Johnny Depp would sue them next if they concluded he had been abusive.
As someone who did a lot of press for this case, let me be clear:
This is not an assumption.
May 30 • 12 tweets • 2 min read
At this point, I've talked to a lot of people about the Depp case and there's one belief that nearly everyone seems to hold--regardless of whether they believed Depp's or Heard's version of events. And it exposes just how deep sexism runs in all of us. A thread.
The belief is an expectation that Depp filed the defamation suit to clear his name and rebuild his reputation.
May 26 • 19 tweets • 3 min read
The Depp case has raised a lot of questions about men's claims of abuse. How can we tell when they're real? Or when they're DARVO? As an expert, let me explain how professionals in our field tell the difference.
First, a quick primer on DARVO for anyone unfamiliar with the term. DARVO is a concept developed by Dr. Jennifer Freyd to describe how (very real) perpetrators react when confronted with allegations of their violence.
May 26 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
The wild thing about Twitter is your trolls are often one degree of separation away. They find you through retweets by mutuals. And today, I got some hate mail from someone a lot of feminists apparently follow.
And now I’m curious. If you were the mutual, would you want to know?
Alright, next question:
What if it’s someone who you might follow for leisure? Like, say, an actor or a writer whose work you use for an escape?
May 24 • 20 tweets • 4 min read
If you're following the Depp trial, you have probably seen a lot of women saying some version of, "I'm a survivor. And as a real survivor, I can tell you that you shouldn't believe Amber Heard." Why is this happening? A thread.
First, it's worth noting that survivors are a heterogeneous group. Perpetrators do not pick victims based on their political beliefs and experiencing violence is not always a radicalizing event for women.
Apr 29 • 22 tweets • 3 min read
The Depp Discourse has been a good reminder that most people don't know anything about how to evaluate evidence in a gender-based violence trial. So here's a thread about how everything you learned from true crime is wrong.
First, I want to start with the so-called "gold standard" in cases involving sexual violence: the rape kit.
A lot of people believe that a rape kit can "prove" whether or not a sexual assault occurred and that a survivor's unwillingness to get one is proof she is lying.
Apr 27 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
People love to argue that rape is so traumatizing that survivors’ lives are already ruined. And they insist that since “the damage is done,” we can force survivors into *more* trauma—whether it’s the dysfunctional CJS or carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.
In reality, a lot of what makes sexual violence so traumatic is our social response to survivors. We treat them like they should endure every burden of victimization alone.
With the right support, survivors can heal and thrive. And it requires getting their autonomy back.
Apr 27 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Despite the Internet flurry about the Depp case, it's important to remember what's at stake:
A man is suing for defamation because a woman publicly identified as a survivor in an op-ed. Without naming her abuser. We're fighting about whether that should be a punishable offense.
I know the plaintiff has turned this case into a whole lot more than that, but the reason MRAs are so invested is because they are eager for survivors to face one more barrier in coming forward about the violence they have experienced.
Feb 8 • 21 tweets • 4 min read
In the aftermath of the Harvard letter, it's really clear that many faculty believe students deserve better when they are experiencing harassment.
This is a thread on what faculty specifically can offer students to minimize harm.
In this thread, I'm specifically going to focus on graduate students. Graduate students are at the greatest risk of harassment, especially from professors.
They also are the students who have fallen through the cracks in school programming to support survivors.
Feb 1 • 20 tweets • 4 min read
There has been a flurry of reporting about "irrational" vaccinated 18-34 year olds who still worry about catching COVID.
But journalists are making huge assumptions and missing the story. Using myself as an example, let me break down how they misunderstand my COVID caution.
There are two primary problems:
1. They define COVID-related fear in a series of binaries. 2. They are thinking individualistically when public health in a community problem.
Jan 26 • 11 tweets • 2 min read
Wow. After years of slow work (and with much more to come), I woke up to an email that my dissertation is now public.
It explores three ways that the institutional betrayal of sexual assault survivors becomes an organizational routine.
In “The Illusion of Choice,” I explore how schools control survivors’ complaints by withholding information. They built complex, confusing, school-specific Title IX policies that are impossible to understand without help. If they refuse to help, they can make complaints disappear
Oct 18, 2021 • 20 tweets • 3 min read
Remember when I tweeted about getting a homophobic review as part of a rejection from an academic journal? And we decided to raise our concerns to the editor?
I have some updates.
The immediate response was silence. For months. But then I got an email. The editor of the journal was offering us a conditional accept.
Sep 20, 2021 • 26 tweets • 4 min read
Today feels like an especially important day to talk about how to support a friend in an abusive relationship. A thread.
There are two things that matter more than anything else: do not judge and always be there.
Aug 2, 2021 • 14 tweets • 3 min read
Every few months, some tweet goes viral by a tenured professor who is learning to "say no" by pushing some requests onto junior academics. Then, for the next few months, us junior academics get inundated with "opportunities." But they're actually exploitation. A thread.
Usually, the tone of these tweets is the same. And it looks like a win-win:
Professors get a break. Junior academics are going to be "grateful" for the opportunity to add a CV line. Or network. Or "gain experience."
Jul 3, 2021 • 15 tweets • 3 min read
It turns out that writing a thread about the bad advice you’ve gotten from men is a really quick way to get a bunch of unsolicited bad advice from men.
It’s gotten me thinking about what makes this advice bad. So I offer some categories of bad advice men give women:
“Just be like me!”
Men refusing to acknowledge their own gendered (and often other) privileges, universalizing their experience, and assuming it will work for you (when it won’t).