Consent & the Importance of Enthusiasm

Rape and sexual assault has a deep and lasting effect on its victim’s lives and as a result, these issues always form a key component of any self-defence course.

Discussions about rape tend to focus on things that people, specifically women, can do to avoid it. What not to wear, how to behave, where not to walk, what not to drink…

While these tend to be (mostly) well-meaning and even useful, such ‘advice’ has unforeseen and (hopefully) unintended consequences, especially that of ‘victim blaming’.

One in five women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. For someone who has been affected by sexual violence, reading such ‘advice’ can lead to harmful, negative thought-patterns; “If only I hadn’t worn that” / “If only I hadn’t had that drink.”

Rape is never the victim’s fault and yet the unhealthy focus on how women can avoid it perpetrates the idea that it should be a relatively simple thing to prevent. An idea that is reinforced by how our government deals with sex crimes (clue: focus is on the victims and not prevention; see Ally Fogg’s ‘Policy on Ending Sexual Violence – a thought experiment’) and our culture as a whole.

Aside from the negative connotations and victim-blaming, ‘advice’ in this form applies only to a specific type of rape – that of stranger rape – and yet the vast majority (90% in 2011/12) of serious sexual assaults are carried out by someone the victim knows.

Furthermore, while it is true that women are by far the main victims of sexual violence (about 85%) they are not the sole victims. It is important to remember that rape and sexual assault can affect anyone: female or male; straight or gay; cis or trans; from any and all walks of life.

In other words, in the majority of cases the traditional self-defence advice about sexual violence cannot be applied and, at worst, it encourages and reinforces an idea that victims of rape and sexual assault are partially, if not completely, to blame, as well marginalising other victims who already do not fall into the ‘typical’ majority.

Perhaps it is time for a different approach. Read More…


Influencing Myself

Wow it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Yes, I am still alive. Apologies for the lack of activity – the rest of my summer was taken up with writing and submitting my dissertation and finishing my Masters. Which, woo, is all done now. I passed with distinction (!!!) and graduated in December. So what’s new? Well, aside from no longer being a student, I finished up my work as a Learning Support Assistant at the end of last year and am now on a temporary contract as an admin/receptionist/resourcer which isn’t ideal but it’s money and experience and definitely better than nothing!

So where does all this leave the blog?

There’s been a lot going on in the world, and a lot I’d love to write about – from the shootings in America to the rape in Delhi, from feminism, sexism within the atheist community and wider world in general, travel bits and pieces etc etc. I even have about five posts started but hanging around the ‘draft’ graveyard unfinished due to a number of issues – times, motivation, focus, blah blah. And also due to a realisation that I simply don’t know enough about these topics in order to write an properly informed opinion.

So I’ve been educating myself and I thought I’d share with you guys a few of the blogs I read so you can see what I and my opinions are being influenced by.

Read More…


Figured seeing as I haven’t really bothered keeping my archaeology blog in any way, shape or form up-to-date (bite me; I’m busy!) I’d just give a quick run-down of what I’m actually doing for my dissertation here. Mostly to get it clear in my own mind as I’m getting into the write-up properly now.

Basically, I am looking at whether the way in which you narrate “virtual heritage” (eg. 3d computer models) has an effect on the way people perceive the information given.

I created a 3d reconstruction of a Neolithic building from a site in Tukey called Çatalhöyük. It’s one of the earliest urban centres in the world (7400 BCE – how cool it that?!) so it’s a pretty damn important site.

Using that model I have created three videos to “display” the building. Visually they will be identical (kinda – same sequence of images) and they’ll each provide the same information, but the method of communicating that information will change. Read More…

All the Cool Kids

… have Instagram these days apparently. I recently got my mobile phone upgraded (HTC Desire C if anyone’s interested – and it is gorgeous!) so thought I’d give this thing a go and see what all the fuss was about.

At first I was a bit sceptical, because I’ve been trying to learn Photoshop and frankly this seemed a little too easy. Kinda like cheating. But the effects… well the effects are actually quite nice. I wouldn’t ever pretend that a lot of effort has gone into them, but it does give you a neat, quick way to make photos look different (or rather, look the same as everyone else’s… But still cute).

Thought I’d share with you a few of mine, just to brag. Look how awesome I am! Read More…


Right, it’s about time I posted something on here, so I’ll start with another apology. For the lack of posts. I may or may not have mentioned I’m currently finishing up a Masters degree in archaeology and am super-busy working on my dissertation. 20,000 words, no biggie, just a helluva lot to get done. But nothing to panic about right?

Well just had a meeting with my supervisor (who is stupidly excited about my project which means I know that (a) I’ve chosen good and (b) it’s a lot harder than it appears) and things were going well.

Up until the point he casually dropped it into the coversation that he wants to send it to a man named Ian Hodder.

Ian Hodder is a *huge* name in the archaeology world. Not only is he the director of the site I’m basing my work on, but he practically single-handedly pioneered postprocessional theory in archaeology. He got a first-class degree from a London university, and then a phd from freaking Cambridge (where he was also a lecturer for a while) and now he’s a Professor of Archaeology at Stanford University. Yep, theAmerican Stanford University.


So… no pressure then?


It will all be fine. I’m sure.

am sure…

(As an amusing aside, someone who studied under him and who’s work I’ve been reading is an archaeologist called Michael Shanks. I laughed a lot when I saw that. Sadly, he didn’t do any work with the Eqyptians… Geeky moments!)

Horny Horns

Just a quick, shameless plug to let y’all know I’ve updated my archaeology blog with a little post about how to use UVW Maps to create a texture in 3DS Max.

Used to texture my beautiful aurochs horns as seen below:

Textured with UWV Maps

Click here to read the blog! You know you want to! 

That aside, I have been insanely busy at the moment. So while I can say I’ll put up a more interesting post sometime soon I can’t make any promises!

What’s New Pussycat?

Long time no write I know, I know. Had a hectic Easter break working in Spain and then surfing in Portugal (which, by the way, was!) and then came back to wet and rainy UK to find my laptop broken and my dissertation proposal due in… Complete rewrite in less than 24 hours was stressful to say the least!

I’ve finally started working on my 3D university project that will form the base model for my dissertation. If you want to check out my academic work (which *should* be updated far more regularly now I’m actually working on something) the link is on the side of my profile. BUT you can see a first render of my model here. It’s blocky and awful at the moment, but it will improve. Hopefully. I’ll let you know when further progress has been made.

So what else is new with me? Well, I’ve just been offered my first paid job redesigning a website, which is very exciting. And I’m down to compete for my university surf club in the Varsity competition we’re having next weekend against a nearby university. Only in the beginners section I should point out. I’m hoping they have a prize for best wipe out. Because I could totally win that.

I may also get around to writing the ‘About Me’ section of this blog today. It’s only taken me, oh, four months or so to get my arse in gear and fill it in. Keep your eyes peeled!

And finally I have a brand new laptop – a teeny tiny (11.6) Samsung which’ll be purrrrfect for taking to Cyprus with me this summer to write my dissertation on while I’m working. Woop woop.


For the next couple of weeks anyway.

As my previous post explained, I have a lot of travel ahead of me. I was in Wales last weekend (such a good weekend – a write up is in the works! Promise!) and am off to Spain early tomorrow morning (1am early! So no sleep for me tonight) and shall be away for two weeks. It’s not exactly a holiday. In fact, I doubt very much there will be anything relaxing about it.

While not studying for my Masters degree I’m currently employed by my university as a Learning Support Assistant, working with students that have various disabilities. While most of my work involves note-taking, I am also a ‘buddy’ for field trips. One of my students is off to Spain on a geology field trip so I am being sent along to support them.

Lots of looking at rocks ahead methinks. I hope it’s warm!

Will let y’all know how it goes when I’m back.

Until then, adios!

Apple-y Ever After

There is even more of a reason to love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream now since they have renamed their apple pie flavour ice cream “Apple-y Ever After” to show their support for Stonewalls’ Equal Marriage Campaign. I love the idea!

Today the British Government have launched a ‘consultation’ on equal marriage for the UK. I am totally in support of the proposed changes, but I can’t help but think they do not go far enough.

They have said same-sex couple can have a ‘civil marriage’ or a ‘civil partnership’, but not a religious ceremony. Religious groups will not be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages (even if they are willing to) and opposite-sex couples can not get a ‘civil partnerships’.

To me, this is silly. It’s not true equality, no matter what they say. True equality would be for ANYONE to have a choice of a ‘civil marriage’, ‘civil partnership’ or a ‘religious marriage’ depending on their personal beliefs and REGARDLESS of the gender of their partner.

It’s about love ya know, not sex 😉 Read More…

Red Head

Thought I should quickly counteract the sadness of my last post with a happier one: In other life news I dyed my hair. Red. So red. I love it! Just take a look at this:


So red!

It was a last-minute decision on Monday night. It’s not quite as red as I was thinking, but I chickened out last minute. I’ve never dyed my hair anything nearly this vivid before but figured I’m in my last (definitely last) year of Uni now so when the hell am I going to get a chance to do this without worrying about work/job/appearance etc. etc. Plus it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions… not that I really made any! 😀

The result is brilliant though.