Posted by: joshjasper | November 14, 2008

Hello world!

This is officially my first post on my first blog.  Be kind!  I have given a lot of thought about entering the online journaling world, specifically as to what it is I have to say…if anything.  I do have a lot to say related to the work that I do so I think I will start there and see where I end up. 

I am the C.E.O. of a rape crisis center called Riverview Center (www.riverviewcenter.org) and am an adjunct professor at a local college teaching a class called “Violence in Society.”  Much of my work consists of convincing people that rape is a pervasive problem in all communities throughout the country, while trying to empower our community to work to end a problem that most people do not want to acknowledge exists.  When you tell someone that 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted before the age of 18 the immediate response is “well, that doesn’t happen here though.”  Once the denial has subsided, the conversation quickly shifts into blaming the victim.  “well, if it does happen here, what did SHE do to put herself in that position?” 

Did I mention that 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18?  To say that rape is one of the most serious public health issues in our country would be a serious understatement.  Oh, and to think that this is just a woman’s problem, well…I suppose I can only cover so much in my first journal entry!

In the class that I teach I ask the students to maintain a weekly journal with the purpose of reflecting on the violence that surrounds their everyday lives and how they are impacted.  Interestingly, when the semester began, many of the students felt that such an observation would be difficult if not impossible to experience on a weekly basis.  Now that we are mid way through the semester, the students are finding they could be making daily journals rather than weekly.  

I think I will use this blog as my own “weekly journal” to note the violence that I experience as well. 

Today a very good friend of mine from when I was in the Marine Corps called to check in.  Later in the conversation he began telling me about a coffee shop that was floundering near his home and how with new management, the place has changed overnight and is now a coffee shop in which people are lined out the door to get their caffeine fix.  It turns out that the new management also adopted a new philosophy in which all employees are now young women dressed in bikinis.  I mentioned to him the unfortunate reality that exists in which only when women are being objectified does business do so well and how such behavior can lead to more unforeseen consequences.  He quickly responded by reminding me that these women “chose” to work there and that they augment their breasts and other body features because they want the attention.

If only it were that simple.

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