jessica valenti

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[P]atriarchy pushes us to put aside our good judgment—particularly when that good judgement is urging us to believe bad things about talented, white men.

I believe, as Roxane Gay does, that people are skeptical of abuse victims because “the truth and pervasiveness of sexual violence around the world is overwhelming. Why would anyone want to face such truth?” I also believe that deep down people know once we start to believe victims en masse—once we take their pain and experience seriously—that everything will have to change. Recognizing the truth about sexual assault and abuse will mean giving up too many sports and movies and songs and artists. It will mean rethinking institutions and families and power dynamics and the way we interact with each other every day. It will be a lot.

And we are lazy.

It’s easier to ignore what we know to be true, and focus on what we wish was. But the more we hold on to the things that make us comfortable and unthinking, the more people will be hurt—and the more growing room we’ll create for monsters.

Choosing Comfort Over Truth: What It Means to Defend Woody Allen, my latest at The Nation

The United States does not have a rape problem - it has a rape epidemic. A woman in the U.S. is raped every two minutes, 42 percent of victims are raped before they are 18 years old. 1 in 3 Native women report being raped, as do almost 19 percent of black women. 97 percent of rapists will never go to jail.

It’s our responsibility as journalists to ensure that we are covering stories of sexual assault with truthfulness, care, and in a way that does not make the country a safer place for rapists. We are not just media makers - we shape the culture as well. So let’s make it a culture that’s safer and more just for girls, women, and all survivors of sexual assault.

How to Write About Rape: Rules for Journalists, my latest at The Nation