Two Campus Discussions to Focus on Sexual Assault

October 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

The Women Faculty Collective, a networking organization designed to promote community building among women faculty and to prompt conversation among all faculty members about gender equity in academia, will hold two discussions to focus on sexual assault on Monday, October 17.

The programs are:

  • Unjust Sex vs. Rape: A Feminist Analysis of the Heteronormative Sexual Continuum,” 12:00-12:50 p.m., in Media 220

For at least the past ten years, feminist theorists and popular pundits have considered whether “gray rape” or “gray areas” in discussions of sexual assault truly exist or are myths that should be debunked. In this talk, Dr. Ann Cahill, Professor of Philosophy at Elon University, will address these matters in relation to a persistent philosophical conundrum, what Cahill calls the problem of the “heteronormative sexual continuum”: how sexual assault and hegemonic heterosex are conceptually and politically related. Cahill responds to the work of Nicola Gavey, who has argued for the existence of a “gray area” of sexual interactions that are ethically questionable without rising to the category of sexual assault, but whose analysis did not explicitly articulate what these two categories share or what distinguishes them from each other. Cahill argues that the two categories share a disregard for women’s sexual subjectivity (focusing particularly on the factor of sexual desire) and are distinguished by the different role that women’s sexual agency plays in each. A brief Q&A will follow the talk.

  • “Must Survivors of Sexual Assault Disclose Their Assaults?: Title IX, Mandatory Reporting, and the Role of the Confidant,” 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Tukey Theater

Title IX is a crucial piece of legislation that protects gender equality in educational environments, but sometimes the implementation of these protections may seem to undermine the very students it is meant to support. Survivors of sexual assault on college campuses often experience pressure — sometimes implicit, sometimes explicit — to disclose their experiences of assault to university or law enforcement officials. But do they have an ethical obligation to do so? In this presentation, Dr. Ann Cahill, Professor of Philosophy at Elon University, will address this question, while also interrogating the legal and ethical obligations that exist for those to whom these experiences are disclosed. A brief Q&A will follow the talk.

Both discussions will be led by Dr. Ann Cahill, professor of philosophy at Elon University. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the Office of Academic Affairs.

For more information, contact Dr. Lisa Johnson at (864) 503-5724 or