I was recently asked how I went about choosing the Graduate Program I’m in. I figured this was a question several other people might be interested in, so I made a helpful little guide!
When choosing a graduate school, it is important to keep in mind several things:
- cost of tuition
- cost of moving
- cost of living (Let’s face it: there are a lot of costs. All totally worth it if you love what you’re doing.)
- focus of the program (Is it teaching-focused?/research-focused?/etc.)
- key aspects of the program (Do you want a program that focuses more on gender studies? Feminism? Womanism? Spirituality? Academia? etc.)
- research interests of the professors (as you will be doing a thesis/dissertation at some point, and it is much more exciting/helpful to have professors interested in your area of work/research.)
- Teaching/Research Assisting Opportunities
Essentially, just make sure you read everything you can about the programs you’re interested in. I made a list of options I was interested in, and kept adding information to it. The one left standing with the most interesting and excited notes was the program I ended up in.
There’s not many Women’s Studies/Gender Studies/Feminist Studies programs in the United States, so there aren’t an infinite number of options. It’s also very important to keep the name of the program in mind, as that will be how it is focused. For example, Feminist Studies will be more oriented towards feminism rather than all of “Women’s Studies.” Women’s Studies is likely to more fully explore Womanism and the various contributions of all types of women throughout history. (Feminism being included, of course.) So definitely keep the name in mind.
Also, for my fellow Southerners growing up in states without Women’s Studies graduate programs, be sure to check out: The Academic Common Market: Southern Regional Education Board. Through this, I got in-state tuition in Texas since Arkansas didn’t have a Women’s Studies program.
1. A list of Master’s and PhD Programs in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies - http://graduate-school.phds.org/find/programs/gender-studies (Though this needs to be updated because some of the names of the programs are wrong. If you find something you’re interested in, be sure to get your information from that program’s site.)
2. Ms. Magazine has a map of the Women’s Studies PhD programs in the US - http://www.msmagazine.com/womensstudies/phd.asp - (This also needs to be updated because Texas Woman’s University does have a Women’s Studies PhD program.)
3. A list of ALL Women’s Studies programs in the US (Graduate and Undergraduate) - http://www.artemisguide.com
And if anyone has further questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
My advice is to not feel pressured into doing anything you do not want to or are not ready to do, communicate openly and frequently with whoever you choose to become involved with, and to practice a lot of self care. I hope other people with more experience in this area might reply in the comments with more/better advice.
In the meantime, check out the following resources on this topic:
There are definitely doctors who specifically deal with this, but whether or not there are ones in your area is hard to say. It is a situation that can be difficult for survivors of sexual abuse, but there are a lot of resources out there for those who struggle with this. Here are some things that I found:
After my last couple of responses to people asking this question last night I got a whole handful of additional questions describing various situations and asking the same. In the interest of addressing all of these questions and future questions of the same nature, I would instead like to provide some general statements and resources.
A great place to start this conversation is with RAINN’s Was I Raped? guide. This begins by clearly stating the legal definition or rape and sexual assault and then goes into some questions you might want to consider:
There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual (which means that both people are old enough to consent, have the capacity to consent, and agreed to the sexual contact) or is a crime.
1. Are the participants old enough to consent? Each state sets an “age of consent,” which is the minimum age someone must be to have sex. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no.
In most states, the age of consent is 16 or 18. In some states, the age of consent varies according to the age difference between the participants. Generally, “I thought she was 18” is not considered a legal excuse — it’s up to you to make sure your partner is old enough to legally take part.
Because laws are different in every state, it is important to find out the law in your state. You can call your local crisis center or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE to find out more about the laws in your state.
2. Do both people have the capacity to consent? States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. Those with diminished capacity — for example, some people with disabilities, some elderly people and people who have been drugged or are unconscious — may not have the legal ability to agree to have sex.
These categories and definitions vary widely by state, so it is important to check the law in your state. You can call your local crisis center or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE to find out more about the laws in your state.
3. Did both participants agree to take part? Did someone use physical force to make you have sexual contact with him/her? Has someone threatened you to make you have intercourse with them? If so, it is rape.
It doesn’t matter if you think your partner means yes, or if you’ve already started having sex — “No” also means “Stop.” If you proceed despite your partner’s expressed instruction to stop, you have not only violated basic codes of morality and decency, you may have also committed a crime under the laws of your state (check your state’s laws for specifics).
A lot of these questions seem to fall into that third point- did you consent to it? Since sometimes consent can seem like a gray area, it is just as important to discuss what isn’t consent as what is. Saying nothing is not consent. Coercion is not consent. “Maybe” or “I don’t know” is not consent. Wearing a revealing outfit is not consent. When you ask for consent, you want an enthusiastic yes or some variation of it that is freely given.
When there is not consent, it is rape.
If you have any more questions about this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to send your question to me via Tumblr.
Here are some additional resources that I would encourage anyone with questions about rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or consent to take a look at: