Love + Sex Life

The #MeToo Movement has a serious problem addressing the experiences of women with disabilities

When the #metoo movement took off on Twitter, my timeline was full of tweets and articles from women across the world.  I read articles where my first thoughts were, “I know the feeling” or “that happened to someone I know.” The stories showcased just how common and relatable instances of sexual assault are for so many women.

But like so many others, I failed to take into account the experiences of women with disabilities. More than 70 percent of women with disabilities experience sexual violence sometime in their lives. Although women without disabilities do face high rates of abuse as well, those who live with disabilities are more likely to experience it at the hands of caregivers, family members, and intimate partners and for longer periods of time. The numbers are too big for us to keep pretending that this doesn’t happen.

The women’s movements and the disabled movement have continuously dismissed the struggles women with disabilities face because both groups have pushed them to the margins. The #metoo campaign is the perfect example where a lot of the focus was placed on the experiences of women in Hollywood rather than women everywhere. Our feminism is not inclusive if we do not consider the uniqueness of the plight of women with disabilities and recognize the need to address the struggles they face. It’s hard to realize that we might subconsciously be prejudiced, but recognizing the need to change our agenda into a more inclusive one is a good start.

Women with disabilities are more likely to face sexual assault because they are often perceived to be weak, asexual, and unwanted. The stigmas that women with disabilities have to face when they report any abuse stem from these assumptions. I couldn’t believe that some people had these misconceptions, and how damaging they could be until I researched it.

I once read a report on research conducted in Lebanon that illustrated that if a woman with a disability reports a rape, she is rarely believed, because society sees her as undesirable in the way that women without disabilities are. In other words, because of her disability, she is considered ‘unrapeable.’  If that’s not outrageous, then I don’t know what is. They also believed that the rape was consensual because they assumed that women with disabilities do not receive any sexual affection, and thus are likely to consent to sex outside of marriage.

Although the research was conducted many years ago, I believe this disgusting assumption still exists worldwide today. Unfortunately, I’ve heard and read about many cases where a woman with a disability has been sexually assaulted, but people don’t believe her, or they blame her for what happened.

One case that shook me to my core and honestly left me crying for days was a Moroccan woman who was sexually assaulted on a public bus by a group of teenage boys. In a video that went viral on social media, the woman, who has a learning disability, is crying while the boys film the assault. Not a single person intervened to stop them. What was even more outrageous is that a lot of people took to social media to say that if the woman was unable to protect herself from unwanted attention then she should have dressed more appropriately or stayed home.

Victims of sexual assault have been shamed for far too long. They need to be taken seriously, and whether or not a person has a disability shouldn’t matter.

We have the responsibility to educate ourselves on the experiences of others. We need to recognize any bias we might unconsciously hold so that we can do better. Our feminist agenda cannot exclude women who are different from who we are, be it their race, ethnicity, religion, or body.


It’s time to look policy right in the face, and The Tempest is doing exactly that

At the close of 2016, many of us looked back on the year with a mixture of incredulity and sadness. We felt the deep reverberations of a changing political global landscape, riding the shockwaves through events like Brexit, an attempted Turkish coup, and the American election campaign. For many, politics took a dark and sudden turn the night Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump’s rise to power and ultimate capture of the White House was jolting for many. The rhetoric he used to incite support was divisive, destructive, and crass — but the sad truth is that he was merely capitalizing on the sentiments of his support base. He’s all of our childhood bullies personified: the ones who picked on us for our names, sexualities, clothes, lunches, appearances. Our bullies tried to make us feel small, alien.

[bctt tweet=”The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the new political era.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Donald Trump’s victory is an affirmation that those bullies don’t merely exist on the playground. And as of today, he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America.

That’s not something we’re going to take lightly.

We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism — we’re here to assert our political presence. Which is why The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the dawn of a new political era.

We’re here to help people like you decipher laws and policies in ways that are easily digestible for everyone. In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.

However, keeping up with politics requires time, energy, and (more often than not) an advanced dictionary/thesaurus. Truth is, many of us become discouraged with the seemingly daunting and clunky language of politics. Bills can be up to hundreds of pages long and full of legal jargon that’s difficult to break down. It’s all-too-easy to disengage from the endless bills that flow through the congressional labyrinth.

[bctt tweet=”We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism .” username=”wearethetempest”]

This section is going disrupt that flow, take out the haphazard fluff and get straight to what matters. We’ll walk you through some of the hottest bills, what they aim to do, and whether or not they’ll disproportionately affect you.

Given that this is such a crucial time for politics, it’s extremely important that we understand the policies which govern us. Practicing active citizenship is the best favor we can do for ourselves, regardless of whoever’s in office.

And we’re here to shake things up.