Final essay: The conversation of sexual assault has reached a new level of publicity by Joshua Phillips (team 15)

As a result of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and abuse has recently gained a great deal of attention. Recently, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged the problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests in the Roman Catholic church. The International Union of Superiors urged nuns to report abuse by religious leaders to law enforcement as well as denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy”. This information has been hidden for many years by those in high positions in the church in order to protect the papal image and secure the legacy of this religious institution. Not only has this occurred in the church, but this “culture of silence and secrecy” has been applied to many different victims of sexual assault by any individual in any form of higher power.

In most cases, the perpetrators are often people in authority over the victims, but they can sometimes be people whom the victims love and trust. The perpetrators in the church can, in many ways, use some of Aristotle’s rhetorical appeals that may persuade the people to believe that they cannot do wrong. For example, a priest may use ethos to persuade his people that he or she is a man or woman of God and there is no way anything like that can happen in the presence of the lord, or the priest can take another route and use logos to influence them that it does not make sense for he or she to sexually harass anyone just because they are a priest. Which then makes the victim lose hope in the sense that no one will believe them or go against such type of person.

In a podcast from the New York Times, Pope Francis relies on the rhetorical appeals to convey his message. Foremost, because of his papal image, he holds credibility and authority around the world which serves to validate his message through ethos. Further, pathos is a strong theme throughout his words. He employs euphemism to downplay the severity of the actions of the priests and bishops throughout Catholic churches by stating things such as: “ there have been some clerics” and “some cultures a little more strongly than others” and “it’s not that everyone does this”. While Pope Francis acknowledges that this cruel act has been happening in multiple churches on multiple occasions, he also acknowledges that it is a process and that these priests and bishops have committed acts that they have and will continue to be punished for.

The persistence of the elephant in the room and the mute victims in churches, temples, and places of worship does not stop on the inside. The victim usually carries that painful secret with them, and in some cases the rest of their life without saying anything or doing anything about it. As evidenced by the New York Times article “Pope Acknowledges Nuns Were Sexually Abused by Priests and Bishops”, victims as well as other communication platform have recently begun to speak out about the issue: “Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests”. So, not only is it occuring in Catholic churches in Europe, but there are reports of instances around the world. As previously mentioned about Pope Francis’ papal image, priests and bishops also hold a certain level of status that will make it seem impossible for them to commit an act such as rape or other forms of sexual abuse and assault. Which then never solves nor stops the problem at hand but rather continues to allow it to grow and affect the lives of many other people. Often times when victims of sexual harassment and abuse come forward, the accusations are invalidated and these victims may be called liars by judges, peers, their assaulters, or other people close to them.

Through the help of growing and the advancements of technology, social media and news platforms grew into a huge global community. You can find out information on almost anything. With the help of this global social media community, the Me Too movement grew into a viral hashtag (#MeToo) that gave victims a voice and a place where they feel like they are not alone. With this movement coming arise, it brought to attention the much needed conversation world wide, giving victims of sexual assault an outlet to get help them with their problems. The Me Too moment’s initial plan was to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors of sexual assault to create solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities. Recently, the Me Too movement gave voice to victims of singer R. Kelly and sprouted the creation of another movement called #NunsToo. The Me Too movement acted as a diffuser, and is a voice for victims worldwide.

In an article edited by Lucetta Scaraffia in the official Vatican daily, she also depends on ethos to convey her message of the effects of the ability of women to speak out against their abusers. She states that the painful memories of these women are at the hands of “all-powerful priesthood” which implies that the voices of the victims are muffled by authority. The victims tend to feel guilty for “seducing a holy man into committing a sin”, because that is what they have been taught. A pattern throughout the lives of victims is that their abusers simply possess too much power. Power that is much louder than their cries will ever be.

Sexual assault is an ongoing problem that has been hidden or kept under wraps for many years. The status of abusers only makes it more difficult for victims to come forward. It has recently gained the right attention and has been acknowledged by many people with high status. This is a step in the right direction but there is much more needed to be done to potentially solve the problem.

Well-done Joshua!!!  Nicely written and good images, good use of class concepts. Good coverage of material and excellent use of quotes too!



Work cited:

Poggioli, Sylvia. “After Years Of Abuse By Priests, #NunsToo Are Speaking Out.” NPR, NPR, 18 Mar. 2019,

Sherwood, Harriet. “Credibility of Catholic Church at Stake in Sexual Abuse Summit.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Feb. 2019,

Horowitz, Jason, and Elizabeth Dias. “Pope Acknowledges Nuns Were Sexually Abused by Priests and Bishops.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2019,

“About.” You Are Not Alone,

RACHLIN, BENJAMIN. “Who to Believe.” New Republic, vol. 249, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 36–45. EBSCOhost,



Assignment 4 Joshua Phillips

Hi Joshua,

You definitely need to proofread!!!  These small errors are critical to getting a good grade. Please don’t turn in your essay with these kinds of mistakes. This affects your grade. 

Sexual harassment and abuse has recently gained a great deal of attention due to the #MeToo movement. Pope Francis recently acknowledged the problem publicy publicly (sp!!!) of sexual abuse of nuns by priests in the Roman Catholic church. The International Union of Superiors urged nuns to report abuse by religious leaders to law enforcement as well as denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy”. This information has been hidden for many years by those in high positions in the church in order to protect the papal image and secure the legacy of this religious institutions.


1.Journal article in a scholarly journal

Sisk, Gregory C. “Holding the Federal Government Accountable for Sexual Assault.” Iowa Law Review, vol. 104, no. 2, Jan. 2019, pp. 731–792. EBSCOhost,

This article explains how the US government acts oblivious to the sexual assault that happens by their workers. It also explains how the average lawyer would be shocked if you were to bring a case on a federal employee who committed the crime of sexual assault on an individual. This article can help me explain how governments try to keep the talk of sexual assault underwraps even though it happens on a daily basis to many people.

2.One article in a popular or trade magazine

RACHLIN, BENJAMIN. “Who to Believe.” New Republic, vol. 249, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 36–45. EBSCOhost,

This article explains how the judicial system works in the case of sexual assault and if some evidence can either help or harm the case. I can use this information to understand how lawyers may see the cases of sexual assault. Along with why they began defending the case.

3.One article about your topic from a newspaper published in the country of your topic

Sherwood, Harriet. “Credibility of Catholic Church at Stake in Sexual Abuse Summit.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Feb. 2019,

This is a European news article that explains how the pope called a summit to address the problem of sexual assault. Although the assignment is based on how we know the information. This article will help me understand what the pope and the catholic church as a whole is doing in regards to the  problem of sexual assault.

4.One good source of your choice

Horowitz, Jason, and Elizabeth Dias. “Pope Acknowledges Nuns Were Sexually Abused by Priests and Bishops.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2019,

In this article from the New York Times it explains how the pope came forward about the problem dealing with sexual assault in the catholic church. He explains although sexual abuse towards women and children are reported more than Nuns it does not mean that it has just happened, it has occurred f(spelling mistake, please proofread!) or many centuries. This is my original source in choosing my topic, it gave me a the base as to what I am going to write about.

5.A good website

“About.” You Are Not Alone,

The #metoo movements goal is to expand the global conversation around sexual violence. The organization is focused on helping those in need and bring awareness to the problem we face as a race. This website can give me extra information if needed and is a great source to find help which i can incorporate into my essay.

6.One book published in the last 20 years

Lawhorne Scott, Cheryl, et al. Sexual Assault in the Military : A Guide for Victims and Families. Lanham, Maryland : Rowman & Littlefield, [2013], 2013. EBSCOhost,

This book is on how individuals in the military tend to keep sexual assault to themself. (not a word! themselves!) They do this in because they are scared of things like retaliation, losing their job, and also the harm of the military justice system. This source may be a valuable source because i (please capitalize!!!) I can tie individuals in the military with nuns as to why they would keep this information hidden.

Final thesis Joshua Phillips group 15

Sexual harassment is a problem that has recently gained a lot of attention through the #metoo movement. Pope Francis recently acknowledged the problem of sexual abuse to nuns by priests in the roman catholic church, although it has been going on for many years individuals with high status like the Pope try to hide the information of sexual harassment from the public to not destroy their image.



Sexual harassment and abuse has recently gained a great deal of attention due to the #MeToo movement. Pope Francis recently acknowledged the problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests in the Roman Catholic church.  This information has been hidden for many years by those is high positions in the church in order to protect the papal image and secure the legacy of this religious institutions.  (something like this, but needs to be stronger) (but isn’t he doing something about it now??)

Hi Joshua, 

This is a good and timely topic however, please read the 4 points below.  What is the controversy here? Can you rewrite and resubmit please? Also, incorporate the concept of secrecy as discussed in our readings perhaps? 

How to form a thesis statement for an informative essay?

  1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. …
  2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion. Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. …
  3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea. …
  4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

Assignment 3, Joshua Phillips (team 15)

Hi Joshua,

You are a wee bit shy of the 500 limit and that would be acceptable except that you did not integrate the reading as much as I would have liked. Your post is mainly about you and your other activities than Dereiewicz and any self-reflection on his article.  Overall, your writing is fine, good grammar, word usage and sentence structure. Keep in mind that you are graded on the rubric and the content of the readings as well. 

In Deresiewicz “The End of Solitude”, he expresses his concern for the lack of solitude through the new ages. He discusses how the camera created the celebrity along with computers creating a different form of connectivity. Without the new technologies available today we probably would not know about half of the new celebrities around these days. Now a days, (one word nowadays) you could become famous by filming yourself eating food or filming your daily life and uploading it on a platform such as Youtube (YouTube). This new method of fame causes people to admire these individuals and treat them as actual celebrities, trying to keep up with their daily life all day everyday.While going through my personal blackout from news broadcasts and social media, I began to see that I do not need to know all of the information provided in the media. Going through the blackout made me curious as to what is going on in the world, especially because we had major events happening this weekend around me such as the NBA all-star game and of course our president coming to our school. Although it may be relevant, it was not something I felt that I desperately needed to know. The context of what happened made me come to the realization that the only reason I would use those forms of media is for entertainment purposes, once taken away it forced me to go out and make myself busy. If you were to check in with your local news reporters daily, there may be some content on there that is not always necessary, some would mix different types of information such as people giving away bikes and a natural disaster in the same segment, which made me believe that the news is not a necessary intrusion on our solitude because it mixes information that is important with information that is for entertainment. You can go a little further and say we take our sources of media for granted to fill them with ads and other things to sell products and fill time with no necessarily inform the people of what’s going on. By not using any forms of media it lead to me to start enjoying and cherish the little things in life like going outside and breathing in fresh air or even having a good conversation with a close friend. I found myself  not caring about what is going on and just caring about what my day consists of. It was not necessarily boring but it was a worthwhile experience.

Individual Assignment #2 Joshua Phillips

Hi Joshua,

You raise some interesting points and your writing style is rather sound. Remove unnecessary words. Write in a formal tone.Overall, good job.

To McLuhan, what matters most is how media changes our environment. In his thinking, he applies critical perspectives while he speaks on the topic of the medium in the message. Through these perspectives, McLuhan explains that the importance of the the manner in which someone delivers a message holds more significance than the actual content in which someone attempts to address.

In his interview with Playboy, McLuhan discusses how he is constantly aiming for the betterment of society in his interview with playboy. He does so by bring awareness to the public or giving the people in his audience insight on the fact that media of all kinds has an effect on everyone in someway. (two words some way) For instance, he states in his interview that “most people, from truck drivers to the literary Brahmins, are still blissfully ignorant of what the media do to them”. He then goes on to explain how the greatest effects of any message is not the information that is the topic of discussion, but rather the deliverance of that information. When asked to explain the impact media has on people, McLuhan asserts that “you’ve got to remember that my definition of media is broad; it includes any technology whatever that creates extensions of the human body and senses, from clothing to the computer”. In other words, ones means of communication and they way they deliver their information whether it be a newspaper or a television screen, can play a role in the manner in which they receive and obtain information. Types of mediums and one’s own interpretation have their own impact (missing a period here)

McLuhan expands the boundaries of his argument in the interview when he states that “all technology has the property of the Midas touch; whenever a society develops an extension of itself, all other functions of that society tend to be transmuted to accommodate that new form; once any new technology penetrates a society, it saturates every institution of that society.” He explains how the advancements in technology changes us and changes the world around us specifically by how we receive our information. In other words, technology transforms society. Look at the impact it has had on the 21st century and the kids today’s generation of today. In older  the past times, people received most of their information via newspaper or some other sort of loose leaf paper platform. On the contrary, people nowadays have computers in their pockets called smartphones that allow them to access social media networking sites, newspaper articles, videos, and so on and so forth other electronic format that keeps the keep them up-to-date to speed on current events. Since computer technology is more up to speed  instrumental in delivering messages, these days, one’s message may not be heard if it is published on a medium that is not connected to the internet in some way.

McLuhan questions commonly held assumptions about the importance of one’s message by arguing that the platform in which the information is being provided, not content, can be detrimental to its impact on the audience. If it was being used on a more up-to-date platform, the message would serve its purpose better “because we are benumbed by any new technology…we tend to make the old environment more visible; we do so by turning it into an art form and by attaching ourselves to the objects and atmosphere that characterized it”. In essence, the true significance of a message is the manner in which the presenter delivers the message, rather than the content of the message. If the information is more accessible to the public, it will be more significant that way and better for society.

Rhetorical Analysis By: Joshua Phillips team 15

Thesis statement: In Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons’ Article “Why our Memory Fails us”, they rely mostly on the rhetorical appeals logos and pathos in an effort to develop their argument about how human memory can sometimes be unreliable. With logos, the authors rely on evidence and factual information as a tool to support their argument. Additionally, they depend on pathos by appealing to the emotions of their audience through specific examples. As authors, Chabris and Simmons exhibit assertive tones. They want to argue that our memories can change easily, and they do so effectively, even calling the audience, and themselves, “fablists”. (Your thesis statement is somewhat incomplete. It makes good points but it needs to offer something more, something for you to defend or support more thoroughly. 

Through logos, the authors explain that our memory is not a reliable source in regard to retrieving facts. They claim no two individuals recall an event exactly the same. Furthermore, memories have a tendency to constantly change over time to bring to view the logic that memories are not dependable. Simmons and Chabris also brought to the attention of the audience that most memories cannot be backed up by specific evidence and may rely on confidence to examine the accuracy of what really happened.

In addition to the use of logos, the authors also use pathos to bring across their argument that memory cannot be trusted when involved with serious matters. In a study they found out that “flashbulb memories” of emotionally charged events can be distorted and inaccurate. In doing so, Simmons and Chabris subconsciously encourage their audience to recall events from their own life and question whether or not their memories are clear. By providing this information, they argue that one’s emotion can blur their memories. Therefore, they bring light to the fact that an individual’s memories tend to morph to match their beliefs about themselves and the world around them. Knowing that emotion and trauma can influence an individual’s memories makes it clear that it can alter their reality, therefore making their memories invalid when it comes to evidence.

The other has three top picks: one from Neil deGrasse Tyson, another from Keith Dow, and lastly one from Jacob Sommer. Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a valid and strong point in which he pushes the fact he has an explicit memory and that he does not need written notes for public speaking, but rather that he prefers to make it feel like a conversation. Matter of fact, the editors considered this comment their top pick which provides evidence that people try to use their memory and experiences more than they try to find hard facts to provide the public. Keith Dow has yet another strong point in which he downplays President Bush by saying that the people’s memory of Bush being intelligent is faulty. In an effort to validate his reasoning, Dow uses logos to show his audience quotes from Bush that provides some evidence that his intelligence or speech presentation is questionable. Lastly, Jacob Sommer acknowledges the fact that everyone makes mistakes so other try to give them the benefit of the doubt. By doing so, he appeals to pathos, sympathizing with their audience so they do not feel discouraged about their flawed memories. The fact that Chabris and Simmons cite educated and well known figures in society, they appeal to ethos which serves only to strengthen their argument. Times effectively ranks the comments because it provides reader with insight about why each comment may or may not be the best.

However,  although they are ranked from best to worst, Times fails to explain why those comments are ranked in such a matter. In other words, they fail to provide evidence to prove the rankings are accurate.

Overall you made some excellent points and your writing style is quite good.  Good sentence structure, word choice and overall good work!