By Libby Stille, Publicist
We have some news: we’re launching a podcast! For our first episode, we interviewed Amber J. Keyser, author of No More Excuses: Dismantling Rape Culture, about what teachers, librarians, and everyone else can do to dismantle rape culture.
Below you’ll find links to listen to the podcast as well as recommended additional reading, a discussion guide, and more resources from Amber.
The Lerner Podcast with Amber J. Keyser
Resources compiled by Amber J. Keyser
What teachers and librarians can do to combat sexual harassment in schools
Be familiar with the damaging effects of sexual harassment, slut shaming, and gender-based aggression. Teens can’t learn effectively if they don’t feel safe.
Know what is required for Title IX compliance. If sexual harassment creates a hostile environment for female students, then the school is in violation of Title IX and is required to make changes that protect students.
Call out rape culture in your lesson plans. Literature, history, current events, and sometimes even science curriculum contain examples in which male sexual aggression and violence are normalized. Name the problem.
De-gender the way you teach. Rigid gender roles aren’t good for anyone. Consider the examples, case studies, and test questions. Do they reinforce toxic stereotypes about gender?
Consider your school’s dress code. Is it gendered? Does it perpetuate rape culture by shaming girls and elevating the learning of boys? Compare it to the gender-neutral dress code implemented by the Portland Public School district in Oregon.
Conduct a survey of sexual harassment at your school. A great example can by found in Hey, Shorty! A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets by Joanne Smith, Mandy Van Deven, and Meghan Huppuch
Lead a group of students to stage Slut, a play that combats sexism and sexual violence by Katie Cappiuello and Meg McInerney.
Host movie nights for teens and parents. Some good ones include:
- The Hunting Ground
- The Invisible War
- The Mask You Live In
- Miss Representation
- Tough Guise
10 things you can do to dismantle rape culture
- Check out the websites microaggressions.com and everydaysexism.com to educate yourself on how rape culture manifests in day-to-day life.
- Call out toxic gender stereotypes. They hurt all of us.
- Pay attention to double standards—men versus women, white people versus people of color, rich versus poor, straight vs. queer. Rape culture interacts with privilege. People from marginalized groups bear the brunt of rape culture.
- Believe survivors. False reports are incredibly rare (only 2-8%). If you feel a knee-jerk need to dismiss a report of sexual assault, ask yourself why.
- Advocate for comprehensive, consent-based sex education. Abstinence-only sex education perpetuates rape culture.
- Educate yourself about sexual objectification in the media. Be able to separate images that empower from those that dehumanize the female body. (This is explained in detail in the book.) Also, check out the Headless Women of Hollywood.
- Examine your preconceived notions about romantic gestures. Check how they’re represented in movies and media. Is one partner pressuring the other? Does “no” turn into “yes”? Would the actions of any one partner be considered illegal?
- Shut down slut shaming, whether you are the target or a bystander. (Again, there are suggested comebacks in the book).
- Develop a positive relationship with your own body. (There’s a list of suggestions in the book).
- Learn how to talk comfortably about sex and consent with friends, family, and intimate partners. Check out my other book The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex for lots of references.
Three more, specifically for men
- Listen to women. Don’t dismiss or minimize their experiences with harassment. Acknowledge the impact of bad behavior.
- Be an ally. Don’t let sexist comments slide. Consider how you can make women feel safe. Stand up if you see assault happening. (There are lots of specific suggests in the book.)
- Consider how toxic masculinity and rape culture have affected how you express and present yourself to the world. Do you feel compelled to conform to rigid gender stereotypes at the expense of your softer side? How has that affected your relationships with women?
For more posts about Amber’s books, click here.