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Apr 09, 2013

DelVal English faculty member to speak on rape culture

Dr.Jessica McCall


The Steubenville case hitting headlines has raised some alarming questions about the culture in the U.S. when it comes to rape victims. The case brought to the nation’s attention a disturbing tendency to blame the victim, when only a rapist is capable of preventing a rape. Through conversation and education people like DelVal English Lecturer Dr. Jessica McCall are working to change rape culture.

Dr. McCall will present “There's No Such Thing As A Slut: Why We Still Need Feminism,” on Wednesday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the College in Mandell 114. The forum will be free and open to the public.

“I think Steubenville shows us that people still absolutely believe there are such things as sluts,” said Dr. McCall. “Even though we all know what happened was wrong, the Twitter conversations and the media coverage demonstrate that people still believe it is OK to blame victims for what happens to them. It is important to figure out why and talk about why that is happening.”

In her presentation, which is part of the College’s Biannual Multicultural Forum, she will speak broadly about rape culture (using Steubenville as an example), slut shaming, and the way sexuality is viewed in the U.S.

Dr. McCall has been a lecturer of English at DelVal since August 2012. Before that, she taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

She completed her Ph.D. with a specialization in early modern studies and graphic novels under Dr. Evelyn Gajowski at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in May 2011. Her research interests focus specifically on representations of warrior women from Spenser's Radigund through DC Comic's Wonder Woman and she takes a presentist approach to early modern literature examining modern resonances and myth across time.

“I chose to title my talk “There’s No Such Thing as a Slut” because a large number of people in the world still seem to believe someone’s perceived sexual behavior negates their rights as a human being,” said Dr. McCall. “I’m going to discuss the Steubenville trial not because it is unusual, but precisely because those sorts of things are happening (and have happened) at numerous high schools and colleges throughout the country. There were a slew of tweets and texts in wake of Steubenville where people labeled the victim a ‘slut,’ a ‘whore,’ and claiming ‘she got what she wanted.’ That’s not OK and I want to talk about why.”

The event is being sponsored by: The Liberal Arts Department, Students for Diversity, Inter Greek Council, Resident Student Association, Athletics, Student Affairs, the Center for Student Professional Development, the Student Health and Wellness Center and Public Safety.