But He Wanted It…

Opposed to popular belief, men and women can both be victims of rape.  According to a support group for male victims of rape, approximately 1 in every 6 males are sexually assaulted or abused before the age of 18.  Yes, the percentage of men who are raped is smaller in relation to the percentage of women; however, that doesn’t diminish the the problem of male rape victims.  Men and women look different, sound different, and are treated differently.  This is especially true in the way that are treated differently by society after they are labeled as a rape victim.

When women are victims of rape, they are subject to the phenomena known as victim

A photo from a protest designed to help people realize who is truly at fault in a rape case.

blaming.  Julia Wood, author of Gendered Lives, describes victim blaming as the act of holding a harmed person responsible for the harm that another person has inflicted.  An example of this may be attributing the way a woman was dressed as a reason why she was raped.  Other ways women are victim blamed may include attributing her rape to her prior sexual activity, the amount of alcohol she consumed, or the way she was acting or dancing.

Some phrases you might hear from people who blame the victim could be, “Well she had it coming, look at how she was dressed,” or, “Well she is a slut anyway, what did she expect.”  I want to stress that no person ever desires to be raped.  If you think about it, it is impossible for a person who really did want to have sex to be raped.  If that person really wanted it, then it would just be sex.

Women are often afraid to report crimes like these due to how they believe society, family, and friends will react.  According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, about 1 in 50 women who are raped actual report the crime.  If a girl confesses that she has been raped, the last thing she wants is people questioning her, bringing her sexual activity into question, and assuming that she wanted it because of the way she was dressed.

In a study entitled, “Rape Victim Blaming as System Justification: The Role of Gender and Activation of Complementary Stereotypes”, it was found that when the situational aspects of a rape are manipulated men are more likely to blame female victims than females are.  This directly contributes to the horrifying 1 in 50 women who actually report their rape to authorities.  When you know that your story will be questioned or disregarded you are far less likely to feel comfortable or safe to discuss what happened to you–even if you know it was wrong.

Another factor that affects a victims decision to report the rape or not can be the fact that the rapist was a person that victim knew.  According to Julia Wood intimate partner violence is defined as physical, mental, emotional, verbal, or economic power used by one partner against the other partner in a romantic relationship.  She goes on to explain that nearly three-fourths of all rapes are committed by  a person known to the victim.  The picture to the right breaks down the percentages of the

A breakdown of who a rapist is in relation to the victim.

type of rapist in relation to the victim.  It can be very daunting to accuse a person of rape, especially when that person is someone you know on a personal level.  You can see from the graph that nearly 75% of all rapes are committed by friends/acquaintances, intimate partners, and other relatives.  It is my belief that these statistics directly effect the overall number of reported rapes.

When men are raped, it is a whole different story.  Another, more frightening statistic provided by the National Center for Victims of Crimes, details that the reporting of male rape far exceeds that 1 in 50 statistic for women.  However, males aren’t necessarily  victim blamed in the same way.  They are called “weak” and “unmanly.”  I don’t think I have ever heard someone say about a male rape victim, “Well look at how he was dressed, he was obviously asking for it!  male rape is more of a joke to society than an actual crime.

Men are socialized to think that sex is the number one goal when talking to a woman.  Sex is all that matters; her personality is just an added bonus.  As Paul Kivel teaches in his article, “The Act-Like-A-Man Box” even from a young age boys are forced into this box where success, sex, toughness, and muscles are expected of men.  Guys are supposed to want sex every second of every day.  So according to this information, can a man even be raped?  It isn’t rape if both people involved want it, and according to society men always want to have sex.

An advertisement running in London to promote awareness of male rape.

There is currently a campaign being launched in London to raise awareness for male rape victims.  The “Real Men Get Raped” campaign wants to challenge the attitudes toward rape and the victims of the crime.  The photo to the left is an advertisement that is running in London.  It depicts that manliness of a tough, contact sport like rugby while at the same time making it seem manly to stand up and talk about being raped.

In a study conducted by Emma Sleath and Ray Bull, Male Rape Victim and Perpetrator Blaming, attitudes toward male rape victims are more focused on how the man was reacting during the alleged crime.  It was found that nearly 47% of male participants felt that the extent of a man’s resistance should be a major factor in determining if he was raped.  In other words, whether or not the man was actively fighting against his attacker should be examined in order to determine if he was actually raped or not.  Attitudes like these are what affects male victims’ acceptance of what happened to them.  When people are constantly calling into question their ability to protect themselves, it becomes an embarrassing, shameful act to admit to being raped.

Up until a couple of months ago forcible rape was only defined as a male forcing sexual activity onto a female.  However, the national government is expanding the definition of forcible rape to include a wider range of victims, and sexual acts.  This new definition will make it possible for a male or female to be raped vaginally, anally, or orally, and will include people who cannot physically give consent to sex.  Rape is a very hard crime to define.  no one else really knows what happened during the assault other than the victim and the perpetrator.  It becomes a he-said-she-said argument over what actually happened.  However, the broadening of this definition will hopefully encourage more males to realize that they can be raped, and that it is acceptable to admit to being a victim.

When a woman is raped, she is criticized for her attire , her past, and her actions while a man is criticized for his weakness and his desire for other things in life–not just sex.  It is important to understand that a man is no less a victim than a woman.  It is not right to blame a harmed person for something they never asked for; this applies to all people.


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What Are You REALLY Saying?

Have you ever wondered what someone else was thinking?  Maybe you tried to assume their attitude from their facial expression or body language.  A person can be completely silent; however, they are still communicating nonverbally.  Julia T. Wood

Nonverbal Communication accounts for a large amount of communication as a whole.

explains in her book, Gendered Lives, that nonverbal communication accounts for 65-93% of all communication!  Consider the following two interactions:

1. Emily and Katlin arrive at the Student Union for lunch.  As soon as they spot each other, Emily runs over and gives Emily a close greeting hug.  They compliment each other on their outfits and proceed to purchase their meals.  Katlin chooses a square table, and sits down in one of the four chairs.  Emily gets her lunch and sits directly to the right of Katlin.  While talking over lunch both Emily and Katlin nod repeatedly and smile constantly.  When they finished eating, they uncrossed their legs, went in close for a goodbye hug and went their separate directions.

2.  John and Willie arrive at the Student Union for lunch.  John gets there first and proceeds to purchase his lunch.  Willie comes in a few minutes later to gets his lunch.  He found John sitting at a square table in the corner, and Willie sat down directly across from him.  There was little conversation throughout the lunch.  Both men kept a more serious face, with the occasional shift in facial expression.  They sat with their knees apart and elbows set wide on the table.  When lunch concluded they they both got up, did a sideways half high-five/half handshake and went their separate directions.

As you have just read, there are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating someones nonverbal behaviors or communication.  The first being haptics.  Haptics are the physical touch you exchange when communicating with someone.  In our scenarios above this includes the hugging of Emily and Katlin and the less intimate slap of hands from John and Willie.  The difference between typical male and female haptic practices include males touching each other less.

Another nonverbal means of communication involves kinesics.  Kinesics can include facial expression and body movements such as gestures, body positioning, posture, and head nodding and smiling.   Emily and Katlin were smiling at each other, nodding throughout their conversation, and had their legs crossed.  While John and Willie had little conversation, sat with wide spread legs and a large arm stance.  Jeff Thompson explains

This image shows various possible facial expressions.

in his article, “Are Man and Woman Equal in Nonverbal Communication,” that women display more affiliative body movements such as smiling, laughing, open body posture and head nodding as opposed to men.  Men are more likely to have a emotion-less facial expression and tend to take up a larger amount of space.  We live in a society where women are more or less expected to maintain a facial expression similar to this pictures left-center face, and men are more likely to display the center facial expression.

There are numerous differences among female and male nonverbal communication patterns.  Nonverbal communication can say a lot about someone, or how they are feeling.  It can be easy to assume stories of a person solely based on their nonverbal cues.  A frowning girl leads the people around her to believe she is upset, maybe a recent breakup, or a bad grade on an assessment.  Just from the fact that she didn’t have a smile on her face, I make assumptions about what could be bothering her, even though I have no idea what is going on in her life.

Nonverbal communication and body language can be hard to read.  Tracy Prinsen and Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter note in their joint article, “The Difference in Nonverbal Behaviors and How It Changes In Different Stages of A Relationship,” that men and women assign different meaning to specific nonverbal actions.  If a man and woman are having lunch and the female notices that the male is disengaged, and emotion-less she might assume that he doesn’t want to be there; however, if it is two males neither of them would probably assume that feeling about the other, as seen in the second scenario.

During the first scenario involving Katlin and Emily, they were both nodding, smiling, taking up as little space as possible, and sitting with their legs crossed.  These nonverbal cues have come to be expected from females; however, if a man were to participate in any of the same actions he would not be fitting into the norm of our Western culture.  He would be looked at as weird, un-cool, or possible gay.  It is important to understand how and why we make assumptions regarding a person’s nonverbal communication patterns, and to realize that they are just assumptions and it is very possible our assumptions are untrue.

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Just One of the Boys

My two older brothers and I playing at the local park.

As you can tell from the image to the left, I have two older brothers, John and Willie, who I thought were quite possibly the coolest people in our neighborhood (keep in mind I was around five years old, very young and easily misled).  Nevertheless, when I was growing up I always wanted to hang out with my two older brothers.  I begged to be included on neighborhood adventures, and pleaded to play games with them in the back yard.  However, my brothers didn’t feel the same way about me.  Let’s just say when we played games I was always the one hiding and their idea of seeking was going inside and watching TV.

I grew up in a household composed of my mother, step-father, two brothers and myself.  Of course both parents worked and during the summers that meant a lot of time home with my brothers.  They always got stuck with the duty of watching after me when our parents were at work.  Spending a lot of time with my two brothers led me through a childhood where wrestling, video games, and fort building was most common.  I was never really a barbie doll kinda girl.  My brothers never played with barbie dolls so neither did I.

Boys aren’t supposed to play with barbies, right?  Paul Kivel, educator, activist, writer, and author of an article entitled, “The Act-Like-A-Man Box,”  discusses ways in which males are pressured to like certain things and participate in certain activities.  He refers to this phenomenon as the “Act Like A Man” Box.  This box forces boys to conform to the stereotypes set forth and communicated by our society.  The idea that males must be tough, aggressive, competitive, and can never cry is enforced by abuse from outsiders.  People can verbally or physically abuse someone who is not acting like their sex.  Playing with barbies is in no way seen as tough or masculine.  Since my brothers were held mostly inside this box, I grew up in a similar way.

Instead of barbie dolls, I played with toys more similar to the one on the right.

If I were to play with barbies I would not be able to hang out with my brothers.  If I complained too much, or if I didn’t act the way they wanted me to then I wouldn’t be able to hang out with them and that is all I wanted during those lonely summers when my parents were at work.  I came to learn how to act when I wanted my brothers to include me.  I learned through reinforcements that if I acted a certain way and played certain games that I was able to hang out with my brothers.  Julia T. Wood describes social learning theory in her book, Gendered Lives.  Social learning theory involves learning gender through a series of positive or negative rewards or reinforcements.  In my case I was being rewarded with the privilege of spending time with my brothers, only if I acted in a way that is seen as more masculine.

Throughout my childhood I always felt compelled to make my brothers and step-dad proud of me.  No guy wants to spend time with a girl who plays with barbie dolls, and has no idea what sports are.  Sometimes I wonder if I would love sports as much as I do today, if I had not grown up with such a large masculine influence on my life.  I believe birth order plays a large part in determining which gender a child will most closely identify with while growing up.  Since my brothers were born first and I was the baby (and only girl) I wanted to be more like them.  I think it is also possible for the situation to be flipped.  Had I been born first maybe my brothers would have longed to be more like me.  They might have led a more feminine lifestyle throughout their childhood.

The term for the way I was brought up is tomboy.  But is there a term for boys who don’t align with their gender identity?  Samantha Smithstein explains in one of her articles from Psychology Today, that boys are not as accepted as girls when they cross over from gender to gender.  Girls are allowed a fluidity between the two while boys are more criticized for liking things that are stereotypically made for girls.  This bring me back to my discussion on boys being forced to act like a man.  They are constrained to this box where competition, aggression, and no crying is expected.

I feel my brothers were to some extent forced into this “act-like-a-man” box.  It is through their box that I grew up a tomboy.  I wonder if I had grown up with brothers who were not pressured to act their sex, would I be a different person today?  We shouldn’t force a person to act a certain way solely based on their anatomy.  A person is not defined as body parts.  This proves true through my love of things seen as more masculine by society.

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I’m Bach!

My name is Sarah Banschenbach (Ban-CHIN-Bach) It can be tricky to pronounce!  I am a Longwood University junior Communication Studies major with a minor in Business Administration.  I was born in Houston, Texas, but I now reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia when I’m not at school in Farmville.  I work as a desk aide in Wheeler Residence Hall as a part of the Residential and Commuter Life Department here at Longwood.  I also serve as a founding mother and current treasurer of the newly established Alpha Kappa Chapter of the Christian sorority Sigma Phi Lambda.

I have found my journey through the Communication Studies course program to be extremely helpful in my personal and professional lives.  This past summer I participated in a Conflict Resolution class that detailed how to deal with conflict in the most efficient ways.  This became important through my work with my fellow co-workers and with conflicts that arise within my sisterhood.  Another skill I have perfected is the ability to coordinate with a large group of people.  It can be hard to accommodate the schedules, needs and  personalities of each group member and keep focus on the goal of the project or task.

More specific to Gender and Communication, I completed an English course in which the main focus was how masculinity is depicted in literature and media.  I am excited to explore gendered norms as communicated in our society and the meaning we assign to these norms.  I have known several people who defy these norms and look forward to better understanding behavior in regard to sex and gender.



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The Facebook Takeover

Are you one of the 750 million people with an active Facebook account?  If so, you are already familiar with the power and influence this social networking site holds.  Facebook is dominating the world of online communications.  Facebook Chat is just another form of Instant Messaging, a quick way to catch up with your friends.

Friends can mean a number of different things to a Facebook savvy individual.  By friends do I mean the number of people you have friend requested?  No, I am talking about the friends you interact with on a regular basis.  The results of research done by  the Michigan State Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, depicted an overwhelming amount of participants who used Facebook to re-connect with old friends, or maintain previously established stabilized friendships.  A stabilized friendship consists of trust, support, acceptance, emotional closeness and the notion that even if you don’t have specific plans, you will be connecting soon.

Try to remember the last time you talked with your Best Friend.  Maybe you were having lunch, playing a game, or just enjoying each other’s company while lounging at your house.  In any case it is safe to say you were using body language to supplement your verbal conversation.  Body Language is a form of nonverbal communication that centers around kinesics.   Julia T. Wood, author of Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters defines kinesics as movement and position of the body and all it’s parts.  For example, you may have been nodding your head to assure your friend you were listening, or maintaining strong eye contact to show interest in what your friend had to say.  Body language is a large part of communication, but can it be conveyed across an online instant messaging system, like Facebook Chat?

Maybe not body language specifically, but non-verbal communication definitely!   This textbook explains the ambiguity of language.  This means that the words we type can be taken to mean many different things.  Dr. Ana Nogales explains, “Our facial expression, physical gestures, and the emotional tone in our voice alter the meaning of our words, which is why it is very difficult to express ourselves fully and authentically in an email or text-or even in front of a Skype screen.”  You could argue that the same applies to an instant messaging setting.  Not every person will have the same interpretation of a particular statement.  The meaning of the statement remains unclear until clarification is made.  So, when you are typing to a friend you might say, “Are you doing anything tonight?” This can be taken as an invitation or as a question that doubts our social life. Voice inflection is a big part in determining meaning, and is absent in the online world.

Face to Face vs. Online Communication

Listening is another important element in communication between friends.  We all want to feel like our voice is being heard.  When Face to Face we may use minimal encouragers.  These small verbal statements let our friend know that we are still listening and unerstanding what they are saying.  However, the use of these are not normally used in Instant Messaging.  A friend may type a four paragraph story about something they are going through and we realize that it is far harder to clarify misunderstandings when typing.  Sometimes you end up typing at the same time and start answering questions from two messages ago, and it can get very confusing, very quickly.

This usually can happen when you come into the listening barrier of message complexity.  Messgae complexity is can happen when a message is so detailed, specific, or complex that it is hard to follow as a listener.   When we are face to face it is easier to ask questions and possibly use a facial expression (kinesics) to display our confusion.  However, in an online setting this can be more difficult as some people are slower typers and can cause confusion if they ask a question about a statement three messages ago.

Try to remember the last time you talked with your Best Friend through instant message. Were you physically nodding your head when you read what your friend wrote?  Or, maybe you weren’t actively listening and walked away from the computer.  Taking too long to respond to a friend, especially a friend in crisis, can be taken to mean more than it normally does.  Your friend may have thoughts like, “Why isn’t she responding?  Does she not like me?  Why doesn’t she know what to say?”  Even though all you did was go to the kitchen for a snack.

Despite all this talk about how body language is missing from online communication, there are some things that remain the same across both face to face and online communication between friends.  In a study led my Andrew Ledbetter, he found that there are certain, “Relational maintenance behaviors,” that are present across face to face and online instant messaging.  This includes: positivity (a dedication to make interaction and conversation nice and enjoyable), openness (engaging in curious conversation and showing interest in your friend), assurances (making clear your commitment and investment in the friendship), shared networks (engaging in social activities involving the same group of people) and shared tasks (offering a hand in tasks that need to be completely; equally sharing the workload).  Ledbetter’s research explains that these five behaviors remain steady in face to face communication and communication through instant message.

There are many similarities and differences, advantages and disadvantages associated with face to fcae and online communication.  Another advantage involes conflict.  When you are presented with conflict in a face to face situation, your body language can show your emotions.  In an online setting youe emotions are hidden by the computer.  It can be hard to show emotion in a situation where you and you’re friend are arguing.  You can type words that show your emotion, but they cannot physically see how the conflict is affecting you.

There are many types of reactions to conflict.  None more correct than the next.  When experiencing conflict with our friends, it can be hard to control our emotions.  One response that can be seen as ineffective when face to face can be perceived differently in the instant messaging world; the exit response.  The exit response is when you remove your self from the conflict and you refuse to talk about the situation any further.  When typing to a friend and you get into an argument, you can just get up and walk away from the computer.  However, the difference is that your friend canot see your response.  Your friend may be thinking that you just didn’t see her message or had to take a phone call or something like that.

Interpersonal communication is everywhere!  Face to face and online communication.  Verbal and nonverbal communication.  It is important for us to remember that we way be communicating more than we think, even to our frinds in instant messaging.  The internet is a growing technology that is becoming a primary, convenient form of communication, among friends acquaintances, and co-workers.  The fact of the matter is that online communicationis on the rise and will play a large role in developing and maintaining friendships across a long period of time.  According to an article, people spend over 700 million minutes using Facebook.  Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook once tried to constrain growth, but has now accepted it’s success.  As you can see, Facebook is going to be a main component in friendship formation.



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Your Body Says It All

Have you ever encountered a situation that completely bored you?  Maybe it was a class or a work meeting.  Either way, it’s safe to say the people around you could tell how you felt. During this class or meeting you were most likely communicating your boredom to the people around you.  You might be thinking, “No I wasn’t,” but in reality your body language and facial expressions tell more than you may think.

According to A. Mehrabian, 55 percent of our communication comes through the body and facial language we use.  When you look back on that boring meeting were you looking around the room?  Were you slouching?  Did you find it hard to keep your eyes open?  Were you dazing off into a world where there would be no work meetings?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you were communicating your boredom to the other people in the room.  The following picture shows numerous ways in which we can communicate our current feelings through our facial expressions.

Take note of the bottom left facial expression. Seem familiar?

Julia T. Wood refers to body positions and movements, including ones of the face, as kinescis.  She explains that someone who is self assured would most likely be standing erect and walking with confidence.   On the other hand someone lacking confidence is more likely to slouch and shuffle.  This shows how our body movements portray our feelings.  Consider the following image:

This image demonstrates the importance of body language.  The lack of confidence in a “not guilty” plea is shown through the animal slouching behavior, sad eyes, and his scared look.  Your body can say more than you want it to.  Try to remember a day where you were extremely tired or dragging.  At work did you come into contact with any important supervisors or management?  What do you think they thought of you and your dragging behavior?  They might have thought something like, “Wow she really doesn’t care about her job!”  This is not the message you wanted to send.  How we feel affects what we communicate to those around us.

Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters states that we tend to believe nonverbal communication more than verbal.  So even if you weren’t trying to say, “I don’t care about my job,” that is what your supervisor will tend to believe.  This concept can also be displayed through the following example:

You are visibly sad.  Your friends asks, “What’s wrong?  Are you okay?”  You respond, “I’m fine, it’s nothing.”  Then your friend persists that she can tell something is wrong and says, “Please tell me what’s bothering you, maybe I can help.”

In this interaction it is apparent that body language can be extremely influential in how others perceive you.  In this situation the friend believed you were unhappy even after you said nothing was wrong.  Our nonverbal cues we give to one another can shape how people interact with us.

I have mentioned only a few examples of how body language affects communication.  While reading an article by A. Milton Jenkins and Randall D. Johnson I finally realized that body language and nonverbal communication is everywhere.  A nod of the head, the shrug of the shoulder, a shake of the fist, or simply a smile.  Body language governs a large part of our communication whether realize it or not.  ChangingMinds.org details how each part of the body can communicate non-verbally.  The website shows that almost every part of the body including the face, mouth, eyes, forehead, neck, hands, and feet has the ability to communicate through body language.  Try to be more aware of how you are moving and positioning your body and face.  I challenge you to evaluate the body language of someone you know.  What do you notice? What is their body position and facial expressions communicating?  How can you tell?

Next time you are sitting through a boring class or business meeting remember how much body language plays a role in communication and make sure you are communicating the proper message.

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Quick to Jump to Conclusions?

Perfect example of the fundamental attribution error.

Consider the comic strip above.  The girl is perfectly depicting the elements of the fundamental attribution error.  By criticizing people through their faults as a person she is internalizing their actions.   Conversely, by not recognizing her own faults as a person she is externalizing her actions.  This is just one example of how we use the fundamental attribution error in our daily lives.

In our textbook, Julia Woods defines the fundamental attribution error as, “overestimating the internal causes of others’ behavior and underestimating the external causes.”  She explains that this phenomenon happens daily.  Another example we can probably all relate to is how we respond to seeing a person on the side of the road, holding a sign, asking for money.  We may be quick to judge them and blame their circumstances on factors related to their personal disposition.  You may think to yourself, “What a bum, all they want is drugs and alcohol.”  You are judging them on their behavior, and possibly overestimating the internal causes of this man’s behavior.   We are all guilty of this error, it is exercised everyday.

While reading an article entitled, “The Fundamental Attribution Error: It’s the Situation, Not the Person,” it finally came clear to me how this happens.  The article explains that when something negative happens to us, by someone we don’t favor, we are more likely to attribute their actions to their core character rather than the situation that is causing them to act they way they are.   The example the article used is when someone cuts you off in traffic.  You are more likely to respond by saying something along the line of, “What a jerk!”  This response attributes the act of being cut off to the driver’s personal disposition.  You are probably not going to think to yourself, “I wonder what situation is causing this driver to drive in this manner?”  The ironic side of this example is that we have been that crazy driver before.  However, at the time I’m sure you were not saying to yourself, “I’m such a jerk!”  This illustrates the fundamental attribution error perfectly.

This error is everywhere!  We are all guilty of judging someone’s actions too quickly without getting the full story.  We infer that whatever caused the other person’s actions is because of who they are as a person.  We often use this theory when attempting to rationalize our own actions.  In an article from Psychology Today, Susan Whitbourne explains that we make excuses for ourselves when we are the ones at fault.  When we mess something up, behave in an unacceptable manner, or do something we later regret we tend to make excuses for ourselves.  You might say, “There was nothing else I could do about it, ” or, “It was only once, no big deal.”  When we participate in these sorts of rationalizations we are exercising the theory of fundamental attribution error.

Through my exploration of this topic I have realized that I am often guilty of committing this error.  I realize that just because someone does something bad, it doesn’t mean they are a bad person.  You can commit an unfavorable action, and still be a good person.  Your action could have been caused by a situational factor.  All I know is next time I catch myself jumping to conclusions about other people, I am going to try to get the whole story before passing judgment.

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All About Sarah

Hello Everyone,

My name is Sarah Banschenbach and I will be a junior at Longwood in the fall.  I am a Communications major with a Business Administration minor.  I currently reside in Virginia Beach, but I am originally from Houston, Texas.  At Longwood I am affiliated with the Residential and Commuter Life Department and I am also a founding mother of a new sorority being initiated on campus this fall, Sigma Phi Lambda.

During the spring 2011 semester I worked as the Team Leader in the Organizational Communications class where I led my team in a fund-raising event supporting the Southside SPCA of Meherrin, Virginia.  I am employed by Longwood University while at school and I also hold another position in the restaurant business during school breaks.  I use my communication skills in catering to customer requests at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries and have maintained relationships with our customers over the three years I have been working there.

I have learned a great deal from the communications courses I have taken at Longwood.  In particular, Conflict Resolution has helped me understand why some of my relationships were unhealthy.  This course modified my way of interacting with people during conflict and has made my conflict resolution skills more effective.  In this class, Interpersonal Communication, I hope to gain understanding of others’ behavior and be better prepared and comfortable with communicating with others.

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