Ready to know more about sexual assault so you can better help end it? Know My Name is just the start. We know you have a lot going on in life, but if you commit to watching or reading or listening to something about this issue just once a month over the next few months, that could have an incredible impact on changing our culture to one where sexual assault is rare—if not totally gone.
Below, we have a suggested “curriculum” for dissecting common topics in discussions surrounding sexual violence. Each section centers around a theme from Know My Name, with a list of TV shows, movies, documentaries, articles (both academic research articles and articles from newspapers and magazine), podcasts, books. There’s an incredible range of media to choose from and different time commitments. Maybe it’s a heavy month with midterms and watching a Netflix show is too much, but you can make time for a podcast you can listen to as you walk around campus one day. And note that this is suggested, but you should engage with things that interest you, no matter what section they are “supposed” to be in. Plus, we really hope that you will turn to more things than what we just listed here—find the things that speak to you so you can speak up against this epidemic. That’s why we’ve also included in each section a “Bonus: Be the Swede” lesson focused on what we need to do to be better bystanders—and how to be better to each other in general.
We hope this is a helpful place to start as you go all in on ending sexual assault. To find out more about Tulane’s response to sexual violence as well as resources available both on and off-campus, explore the rest of this All In website.
Why did Tulane invite Chanel Miller, author of the New York Times-bestselling memoir Know My Name, to address our campus community? For starters, we want you all to purposefully and actively choose to prevent sexual assault, and Ms. Miller’s memoir, which chronicles her sexual assault at a Stanford University fraternity party and her subsequent arduous experience in the criminal justice system, gives us a lot to think about when it comes to ending sexual violence.
We are particularly inspired by the example Ms. Miller shares of the two Swedish Stanford PhD students who were riding their bikes on a nearby path when they spotted a man on top of Ms. Miller’s motionless body. They jumped off, tackled the man, and held him down until the police came. In the acknowledgements of the book, Ms. Miller wrote:
"To the Swedes. You’ve taught us that we all bear responsibility to speak up, wrestle down, make safe, give hope, take action. We do not have to wait for something wrong to happen to be a Swede. Being the Swede begins with respecting bodily autonomy, the language we choose, the understanding that consent can never be assumed or overridden. We must protect the vulnerable and hold each other accountable."
You can start the campus conversation now and embody what it means to “Be the Swede.” We hope you’ll begin by reading Know My Name and completing the below online educational programs. These online modules help to ensure that all students on campus share a strong foundational understanding of sexual health, sexual literacy (including consent), and sexual misconduct.
Book: Know My Name, Chanel Miller
Available for purchase at Barnes and Noble or to borrow from the Tulane library.
Online Video Series: Tulane’s Wellness Curriculum
If you are not already enrolled in the Sexual Health for Students and Sexual Literacy for Students modules, you can use this link to get enrolled.
Bonus: Be the Swede! Ted Lasso, AppleTV+
To kick things off, we wanted to share a great example of how you can move through the world with empathy, care, and generosity. Also, lots of amazing dancing. And it’s hilarious! We’ll let co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis sum up why we chose Ted Lasso: “One of the themes is that evil exists — bullies, toxic masculinity, malignant narcissists — and we can’t just destroy them. It’s about how you deal with those things. That’s where the positivity and some of the lessons come in — it’s about what we have control over.”
In our previous section, we explored Chanel Miller’s story and laid a foundational knowledge of sexual assault. Now we want to do a deeper dive into sex and consent. As you hopefully learned from Campus Health’s wellness curriculum, sexual literacy is an important part of preventing sexual assault. The resources below will help you explore what sex and sexual violence look like at college. Whether you have just two minutes to watch a video or decide to devote a weekend to reading a book, everyone can find a way to increase their knowledge of this important topic.
Podcast: Sex Unspoken, Tulane All In Student Coalition
Created by Tulane students for Tulane students (but broad enough to be open to anyone!), the podcast is inspired by the book Sexual Citizens. Each episode explores your sexual citizenship and all the factors and influences on college sexual assault.
TV: Sex Education, Netflix
From Netflix, “Insecure Otis has all the answers when it comes to sex advice, thanks to his therapist mom. So, rebel Maeve proposes a school sex-therapy clinic.” This British comedy tackles consent, sex-education and teenagers navigating all things related to sex—and it’s freaking hilarious.
Movie: Promising Young Woman, currently available to rent on AppleTV+ and Amazon Prime, among others.
This provocative drama/thriller tackles rape culture on college campuses, the impact of trauma on a victim and their loved ones, and a secondary survivor seeking revenge.
Documentary: The Hunting Ground, Amazon Prime, HBO Max
From HBO Max: “From the makers of The Invisible War comes a startling expose of sexual assault crimes on U.S. college campuses, their institutional cover-ups and the devastating toll they take on students and their families. Weaving together verité footage and first-person testimonies, the film follows the lives of several undergraduate assault survivors as they attempt to pursue - despite incredible push back, harassment and traumatic aftermath - both their education and justice.”
American Hookup, by Tulane Faculty member Lisa Wade
Why is college such fertile ground for sexual assault? What’s the role of the very the social culture of hooking up that might contribute to this epidemic? Our very own Lisa Wade’s book exploring hookup culture—including at a university here in New Orleans—reflects a really important mirror back on how this whole culture has been constructed. That means, of course, that it can be changed…
Sexual Citizens, by Jennifer Hirsch and Seamus Khan
From Amazon Prime, “Sexual Citizens is based on years of research interviewing and observing college life―with students of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Hirsch and Khan’s landmark study reveals the social ecosystem that makes sexual assault so predictable, explaining how physical spaces, alcohol, peer groups, and cultural norms influence young people’s experiences and interpretations of both sex and sexual assault. Through the powerful concepts of “sexual projects,” “sexual citizenship,” and “sexual geographies,” the authors offer a new and widely accessible language for understanding the forces that shape young people’s sexual relationships. Empathetic, insightful, and far-ranging, Sexual Citizens transforms our understanding of sexual assault and offers a roadmap for how to address it.”
Article: New York Times’ Timeline of College Sexual Assault
This New York Times article provides a timeline of college sexual assault cases from 1957 to Brock Turner’s conviction in 2016.
Trajectory Analysis of the Campus Serial Rapist Assumption, Kevin M. Swartout, et al., JAMA Pediatrics (2015)
Research on sexual violence perpetration is unfortunately limited, but a team of researchers made an important recent contribution to the field, challenging previous research that suggested that most campus rapes are committed by serial offenders.
”Male Sex Aggression on a University Campus”, Clifford Kirkpatrick and Eugene Kanin, American Sociological Review (1957)
“Way back in 1957, sociologist Eugene Kanin posited a model where men used secrecy and stigma to pressure and exploit women. Today student activists and the federal government are successfully raising awareness about a problem that's been around for a very long time,” stated an NPR article on the history of college sexual assault. This is the original article with its research on college sexual assault (the university is unnamed in the research, but it’s Indiana University).
Bonus: Be the Swede! Snack Man
Sometimes bystander intervention can be very dramatic, like our example of the Swedes pulling Brock Turner off Chanel Miller, tackling him, and holding him until the police came. Other times it looks like...eating a bag of chips? Watch this short newscast on Snack Man, a bystander who helped a woman being harassed and attacked on the subway by strategically eating his bag of chips and stepping in at the right moment.
Sexual violence is an epidemic and has received heightened attention over the past several years with the rise of campus activism and the #MeToo movement. However, rates of sexual violence appear to remain unchanged. Why is this? One factor is how deeply sexism and rape culture are embedded in our society and institutions. To better understand this problem, we’re focusing on the case of USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar.
Heavy Medals, 30 for 30 Podcasts, Season 7
From Heavy Medals Podcast: “A seven-part story about the influential coaching duo of Bela and Martha Karolyi, how they transformed women’s gymnastics in the United States, and the steep price of all that gold.” This podcast tells the story of rape culture in sports, specifically in gymnastics, and how the importance of winning is often held in higher regard than the safety of the athletes.
Believed, NPR Michigan Radio, NPR Michigan Radio
From NPR: “How did Larry Nassar, an Olympic gymnastics doctor, get away with abusing hundreds of women and girls for two decades? Believed is an inside look at how a team of women won a conviction in one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history. It's a story of survivors finding their power in a cultural moment when people are coming to understand how important that is. It's also an unnerving exploration of how even well-meaning adults can fail to believe.”
TV: Unbelievable, Netflix
From Netflix: “After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks. Inspired by true events.”
Documentary: Athlete A, Netflix
From Netflix: “This documentary focuses on the gymnasts who survived USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's abuse and the reporters who exposed USAG's toxic culture.”
Movie: Spotlight, currently available to rent at AppleTV+, Amazon Prime, and others
While it’s not about USA Gymnastics, it shows the kind of reporting that goes into uncovering these hidden scandals. Focusing on the Catholic Church of Boston’s systematic protection of pedophile priests and the Boston Globe’s investigation, one of the most powerful moments in the film is towards the end, when the reporter's debate about blame and accountability with their own actions.
Book: Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture - and What We Can Do About It by Kate Harding was Tulane’s 2016 Reading Project selection. The book takes a no-nonsense approach to examining sexual violence in America and the widespread cultural complicity that allows for it to continue.
Read the entire Indianapolis Star investigation that blew the lid off the Larry Nassar abuse of gymnasts as well as USA Gymnastic’s negligence to address sexual abuse.
”As Olympians compete for gold in Tokyo, USA Gymnastics may never recover from Larry Nassar,” Indianapolis Star. This article investigates the impact of the Larry Nassar abuse on USA Gymnastics as an organization and illuminates the stories of survivors.
”All The Times The FBI Did Not Seriously Investigate Larry Nassar But Did Try To Cover Its Ass,” This Defector.com article outlines a timeline of the reports of sexual abuse that the FBI ignored.
Bonus: Be the Swede! Tarana Burke Interview
In this interview with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, #metoo founder Tarana Burke discusses the origins of the movement that ignited nationwide discussions on sexual violence, how the movement has adapted to the needs of survivors, and the future of #metoo. Tarana also delves into cultural differences in responding to sexual violence and criticisms of #metoo.
A person’s identity can affect the ways in which they experience sexual violence and its aftereffects. Individuals from minority communities experience significantly higher rates of sexual violence than those who occupy majority bodies. At the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability, there are systems that were constructed to protect abusers and work to silence victims. Below you will find stories from survivors who navigated these systems—for better or worse, in the hopes of finding healing.
TV: I May Destroy You, HBOMax
From HBOMax, “Where does liberation end and exploitation begin? Set in London, this fearless, frank and provocative series centers on Arabella (Michaela Coel), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when she is spiked with a date-rape drug, Arabella must question and rebuild every element of her life.”
In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado
From latinobookreview.com, “In this fragmented memoir of her relationship with an abusive long-term partner, Machado imbues her own personal story with exposition of the “archival silence” on the topic of abuse in the queer community. It starts with a fervent crush on a beautiful, charming acquaintance. Progressing through the stages of friendship, torrid love, and polyamorous romance, the “woman in the dream house” gradually transforms into a manipulative, living nightmare.”
Southern Horrors, by Crystal Feimster, explores the subordinate position of women in in the Jim Crow south and follows the complex culture of political power and rape. As a Southern university, understanding some of the deep systemic roots of rape and how it was used as a tool of oppression is so important—as we reckon with this in our present, we need to recognize our past. Feimster examines the lives and careers of Ida B. Wells and Rebecca Latimer Felton and how their identities shaped their approach to addressing sexual violence.
Poem: A Poem by Paul Tran on their experience following a rape in college. It is from their debut poetry collection All the Flowers Kneeling, “examining the emotional and psychological transformation of a queer and trans descendant of Vietnamese refugees as they reassemble a fragmented self in the aftermath of imperial violence and interpersonal abuse.”
The Rape of Recy Taylor, Amazon Prime
From Amazon Prime, “Recy Taylor, a black woman, bravely identified her white rapists in 1944 – a rarity in the Jim Crow South. The NAACP’s rape investigator, a women named Rosa Parks, rallied support and triggered unprecedented outcry for justice.”
On the Record, HBOMax
This documentary follows former A&R executive Drew Dixon as she wrestles with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of the #MeToo movement to speak out and publicly accuse hip-hop tycoon Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct. The film chronicles her experience and delves into the ways black women’s voices are often silenced and ignored when reporting.
Article: Biles dresses “for the survivors” while winning 5th US title, AP News
Chanel talks about her identity as a victim; here, see Simone Biles’ relationship with being a survivor and the impact of her representation of fellow survivors.
Academic Article: Reasons for Nondisclosure of Campus Sexual Violence by Sexual and Racial/Ethnic Minority Women, Sarah McMahon and Rita C. Seabrooke, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (2020)
In this article, researchers from Rutgers examine campus climate data centered around the experiences of minoritized students. What they find are themes of minority stress, community preservation, and hesitancy to engage with services that may not provide culturally competent care.
Bonus: Be the Swede! The True Story of Kitty Genovese and the “Bystander Effect”
What if you become a symbol—but the narrative of you is untrue? Learn about the true story of Kitty Genovese. Maybe her name is already a little familiar; in 1964, she was raped and murdered outside of her apartment building in New York City, where nearly forty of her neighbors heard her screaming for help and did nothing. Kitty’s case is the origin of the “bystander effect.” But here’s the thing: That’s not what happened. In fact, a woman rushed out of her apartment and was with Kitty when she died. (And speaking of things that have been erased in Kitty’s story? The fact she was a lesbian; she was returning to the apartment she shared with her girlfriend, who was asleep that night.) Learn about Kitty and her life, as well as how her story was so badly misrepresented—and what that means for you in understanding your role to help others.
Documentary: The Witness, available at PBS (free but requires registration) or elsewhere for purchase. From the PBS film synopsis, “Kitty Genovese became synonymous with apathy after news that she was stabbed to death on a New York City street while 38 witnesses did nothing.”
Podcast: Kitty Genovese and “Bystander Apathy”, You’re Wrong About
From Apple Podcasts, “Once you tell a story incorrectly once, you can’t control where it goes.” Sarah tells Mike how The New York Times turned a suburban murder into an urban legend. Digressions include Billy Joel, the World’s Fair and “Ferngully.” This episode marks a triumphant return to Long Island and an unexpected celebration of Pride Month.”
Article: ”How the False Story About Kitty Genovese Went Viral”
This article from TheCut.com provides an insight into the public response to the Kitty Genovese case and its lasting effects.