Trigger warning for discussions of rape and sexual violence committed agaisnt black women.
Black girls and women are not part of the dominant sexual violence discourse. The bodies of black girls and women are often treated as invisible or disposable in this society. Rarely are we viewed as victims of violence or as agents of resistance. Male violence against black girls and women infrequently appears in the media and it is hardly addressed in ‘mainstream’ feminism. The silence surrounding the victimisation and survival of black girls and women is also often obscured within our own communities.
Black Girls’ and Women’s Sexual Coercion in Context
To understand sexual victimization against black girls and women, it is necessary to place the experiences of black women in a sociohistorical framework. Statuses of “black” and “woman” are both historically oppressed identities in the United States. Thus, black women are seen, treated, and often inter- nalized as having “double-minority” status, experiencing both gender and racial oppression (and their intersection). The controlling image of black girls and women as sexually loose and lascivious (e.g., Jezebel, video vixen, “ho”) represents this intersection and has historically played a role in their sexual victimization (Collins 2000; Getman 1984; Wyatt 1992). During slavery, the reproduction of Africans was essential to the economy; slave owners sought increased amounts of “labor” to either sell or use for their own service and agricultural production. Because black women were considered property, white men, both during slavery and after emancipation, often took sexual conquest of black women. Black women who were raped under these circumstances had no protection from their rapists (West 2006). The image of the Jezebel (and its contemporary expressions through images such as the video vixen) has historically been used and continues to be used as a means to justify the rape and sexual victimization black women; underlying these practices is the belief that because black girls and women are sexually promiscuous, they are always desirous of sex and thus cannot be raped or are not injured by sexual victimization. This controlling image has profound implications for the perception and treatment of black sexual violence victims/survivors. For example, research indicates that black sexual violence victims are perceived as suffering less harm than their white coun- terparts (Foley et al. 1995) and that they were more likely to be blamed for their sexual assault (Donovan 2007; George and Martinez 2002). The Jezebel image also influences black sexual violence survivors’ recovery process in a number of ways. Wyatt (1992) found that black women were significantly less likely to report incidents of sexual assault to the police, partly because of common perceptions that black women are not credible rape victims. The degree to which African American sexual assault victims internalize the Jezebel image can also influence ways in which they understand why they were assaulted and can shape psychosocial responses in dealing with sexual assault (Neville et al. 2004).
Psychosocial Influence of Sexual Coercion
Although race and gender have played critical roles in shaping the sexual violence of girls and women, sexually coercive encounters are stressful and can be traumatic for people irrespective of social location (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, class). Sexual violence in adolescence has been linked to psychological maladjustment, including depressive symptoms (e.g., Leitenberg and Saltzman 2000; Rhode et al. 2001), suicidal ideation (Buzi et al. 2003), disordered eating (Ackard and Neumark-Sztainer 2002), and low overall mental well-being (Howard and Wang 2004). Adolescents who experience sexual victimization are also at greater risk for health consequences related to sexually transmitted infections (see Beck-Sague and Solomon 1999 for a review), including potentially life-threatening infections such as human papillomavirus infection (Kahn et al. 2005; Stevens-Simon et al. 2000), squamous intraepithelial lesions (Kahn et al. 2005), and HIV (Lindegren et al. 1998).
Not surprisingly, the research in this area typically focuses on more vio- lent or aggressive forms of sexual coercion and, moreover, on predominant- ly white samples. Research on the outcomes of adolescent sexual coercion specifically, or nonphysical tactics of sexual victimization, is significantly less. Psychologists Cecil and Matson’s (2005) examination of psychosocial correlates of sexual violence among African American adolescent girls is a notable exception to this body of work. They found that girls who reported greater severity of sexual coercion (i.e., rape as opposed to sexual coercion) had lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of depression. Over the past decade or so, scholars have examined not only the link between sexual coercion and psychological outcomes but also the psychological factors that may help explain that linkage. This work is important because it acknowledges that victims are in fact survivors and that there are activities in which they engage to assist in their recovery process. Coping strategies have emerged in the psychological research as a consistent mediator between sexually coercive encounters and psychological outcomes. Findings suggest that among adult women sexual violence survivors, those who use more passive or avoidant coping strategies tend to have greater psychological distress (Boeschen et al. 2001; Frazier and Burnett 1994; Neville et al. 2004) and those with active coping strategies such as thinking positively and keeping busy show higher psychological well-being (Frazier and Burnett 1994). Various coping strategies have been found to mediate the association between negative social reactions and psychological symptoms (Ullman 1996), behavioral self-blame and distress (Frazier, Mortensen, and Steward 2005), control over recovery and distress (Frazier, Mortensen, and Steward 2005), and child sexual abuse and trauma symptoms (Arata 1999) among rape survivors. Women have also spoken about their recovery process and described coping mechanisms— such as seeking support, reframing the experience, and seeing themselves as survivors rather than victims—that help them cope with the trauma (Smith and Kelly 2001). At this point, we know very little about the potential role of coping in how adolescent girls deal with sexually coercive encounters.
Society has allowed rapists to define what resistance is: screaming, crying, scratching, pushing, kicking, biting, punching. I didn’t resist like that. My resistance was to wriggle a bit, turn my head away when he tried to kiss me, try to stop his hand going into my bra and knickers, push him ineffectually, talk about wanting to get my cab; all things which normal men recognise as not being enthusiastic participation when they are engaging with women but pretend it’s a grey area when they talk about rape. Rapists have managed to get society to believe, that what I did, was consent.
Because I didn’t resist in the way rapists - and society - say that women should resist, they define our non-participation as consent.
A section of the article “How I became a rape victim”
BOOM, rape culture at work… Can I also add, when you are in a situation that involves rape or you think might involve rape or looks like it might involve rape in a few minutes, its usually pretty scary to scream and kick… Especially if you know this person and sometimes might even care about them and think they care about you too. It is much more likely that you’ll say “No.. Lets stop.. I don’t want to right now..” etc
TW - rape, rape culture, racism, trans*misogyny, general anti-Trans* hate
for a while i hadn’t been wanting to talk about rape discourse within mainstream feminism. one might say i was afraid.
rape is such a sensitive topic. & i felt i would be trivializing it if i talked about what had been on my mind since i came out with the fact that i myself was raped.
which is, that mainstream feminism does a fucking sucky job at examining the politics of rape with in [T]Woc communities and men also.
i was scared to tell white rape survivors, that [T]WoC need space in the survivor conversation as well. that they are dominating it. that they need to recognize [T]WoC are raped at higher rates. that they cannot claim to have survivor solidarity with [T]WoC if they continue to ignore that mainstream feminism is shitty. but as Woc rape survivor, I can no longer worry about white fee fees. i can no longer worry about those who get the most attention, the most services, the most comfort.
yes, i know, rape culture affects EVERYONE. & makes it so survivors’ experiences aren’t affirmed and we are blamed for our own violation. we all deal with triggers. we all deal with trying to get our lives back.
but WoC aren’t even seen as victims. ever. we’re always impure. always dirty. always hypersexual. always hoes. white womyn dont have to deal with that. we’re starting from scratch.
[T]WoC’s suffering from sexual violence will never be accurately recognized until we are recognized throughly as human beings with basic needs & emotions. & mainstream feminism refuses to do that. we will continue to be murdered, raped, and beaten because it is profitable for the US. Mainstream feminism has shown that they side with US imperialism and politics, therefore, white feminists and others who engage in mainstream feminism as is are complicit within [T]WoC’s death and suffering. they are NOT in solidarity with [T]WoC survivors and I can no longer be in solidarity with those who refuse to criticize and complicate mainstream feminism. This is why this blog is crucial, it is important for us to connect with each other, to create spaces where we are resist in our existence, where can talk about the failings of mainstream feminism, where we carve out our own space based on recognizing and affirming each other’s experiences, humanity, and identities.
with that being sad, i’d just like to say what a rewarding experience for me (& I’m sure all of the other admins) to facilitate this space. thank you all for following. please continue to spread the word. if you feel comfortable, please submit suggestions, critiques, pictures of yourself doing self-care, tips, or stories, and send us questions! You may submit or ask anonymously.
sending love and encouragement to you all.
I hope everybody knows by now that PETA is an awful bunch of people, but I thought I’d collect some of the reasons together for anyone who doesn’t.
- PETA has a long history of horribly, disturbingly sexist advertisements. (warning: that link is disturbing, seriously.)
- PETA also has a history of racist jackassery like wearing klan hoods to the Westminster Dog Show and comparing it to the Holocaust. They also put up billboards in Washington D.C. comparing animal cruelty to human slavery and specifically the American enslavement of Africans.
- This one deserves its own bullet point - they actually sued Sea World under the 13th Amendment. The one that outlawed slavery in the U.S. Yeah. They did that.
- And let’s not forget the whole “Holocaust On Your Plate” ad campaign.
- PETA also loooooooooooves fat-shaming. Example - this recent billboard featuring a.. meat pie coffin? I think? Suggesting that eating animals makes you (horrors!) fat and also kills you? So go vegan? Bonus offensiveness: they put this up next to a mortuary. See also this whole ad campaign centered on fat-shaming:
- Another recent advertisement claimed that going vegan will send your sex drive into overdrive and you’ll be so potent you’ll actually injure your girlfriend and leave her limping and wearing a neck brace which is awesome and hilarious. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m totally not.
- When a grisly killing spree in Vancouver left 15 women dead, PETA tried to purchase full-page ads in local papers suggesting that this carnage was no worse than the killing of animals for food.
- PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk opposes the use of Seeing Eye dogs and has had at least one dog taken away from its blind owner.
- PETA protests public shelters that euthanize animals, but their own shelter euthanizes most of the animals they take in. Not some. Most.
- PETA is actually right now trying to fight No-Kill legislation in Virginia, because it would prevent their shelter from euthanizing animals.
- PETA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals. This includes a 2001 donation of $1,500 to the North American Earth Liberation Front (ELF), an FBI-certified “domestic terrorist” group responsible for dozens of firebombs and death threats. PETA paid $70,200 to Rodney Coronado, an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) serial arsonist convicted of burning down a Michigan State University research laboratory.
- During the past ten years, PETA has spent four times as much on criminals and their legal defense than it has on shelters, spay-neuter programs, and other efforts that actually help animals.
- Right here, from the actual PETA website, is their stance on extremist animal liberation groups that commit arson and violently harass medical researchers: Throughout history, some people have felt the need to break the law in order to fight injustice. The Underground Railroad and the French Resistance are both examples of people breaking the law in order to combat injustice… Anyone can be an activist. It does not take any special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about animals to want to help them.”
“You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face,” by Queen of the Couch.
home-of-amazons found the article for me! The blog entry is blunt and to the point.
So, they made Lara Croft look more like a real person. Woohoo! Progress!
But of course, like most clueless asshole types, they can’t think of a single way to inject some character development into her without attempted sexual violence, which apparently makes Lara “literally a cornered animal”.
Fun. That doesn’t sound like fetishized sexual violence at all. It’s all for the story, man. It’s necessary.
Of all of the things in all of the world the writers of the new Tomb Raider could not think of anything that can develop a woman’s character more than being made victim to attempted sexual violence by multiple “island scavengers”.
Oh, and then there’s this gem of a quote from the article: “She literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again.”
AWESOME! Let’s break down the woman character and then try to rape her! What is this, Tomb Raider snuff film edition?
Oh, and here we go:
“The new Lara Croft isn’t just less battle-hardened; she’s less voluptuous. Gone are her ridiculous proportions and skimpy clothing. This Lara feels more human, more real. That’s intentional, Rosenberg says.”
Is it intentional? It wasn’t just a happy accident? Or maybe an unhappy one? You made a real, human woman character…on purpose? Oh man, you must be saints or something.
I just cannot even with this. Every time I go into Gamestop and see Duke Nukem Forever on the shelf I get a little more tired of having gaming as a hobby but this kind of shit is just fucking ridiculous. This is what these assholes come up with when they think they’re doing decent personhood well.
Just…ugh. Honestly I can’t even eloquently words about this I’m just a blind ball of angry.
I cannot express strongly enough how disturbed I am by the entire Erykah Badu/Flaming Lips debacle. Everything that led to it, the video itself and all of the resulting aftermath are all so viscerally exploitative that I physically ache for her. And whether or not you are a fan of her music, if you call yourself a person of feminist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal identification, then you need to be on her side with this. Unapologetically, loudly on her side.
For those that are not aware, this is the Cliff Note’s version of the incident:
I. Erykah and The Flaming Lips collaborate on a song called The First Time (a very very shitty song. That’s not relevant. I just needed to note how bad the song is.) Erykah notes that she felt uncomfy while recording the song
“I Should have followed my first mind back in studio when recording the vocals “your way”.
( Red flag.) It was uncomfortable.”
II. Wayne Conye/The Flaming Lips sent her a concept with imagery that she liked as ideas for the video.
III. The day of the video he asks her to do things she is unwilling to do. She invites her sister, Nayrok, whom she states is “more liberal” than she is to do the scenes she is unwilling to do. It is EXTREMELY important to note that Nayrok looks tremendously like Erykah. From skin tone, to body frame to facial features.
IV. The video is released without Erykah nor Nayrok’s approval. Here’s a link. Fair warning it is very, very disturbing. It’s “playing around” with violent and sexualized images of them both.
And one of the key factors (to me) is Nayrok’s similarities to Erykah. He couldn’t get Erykah to do certain scenes so he used Nayrok in a way that makes you think she is Erykah. “If you don’t do what I want, I’ll get what I want one way or another” (Not a direct quote. I’m speaking to the mindset behind that kind of behavior.)
The response to this has rivaled that disgusting ass video. The victim blaming involved… I just can’t.
If you watch that video and think it is in any way connected/comparable to the Window Seat video, you are brain dead.
If you think the issue is nudity, in and of itself, you are a prudish, repressed idiot.
If you think the “argument” that “well she was nude before, so I don’t get the problem here” makes sense, you need to be deprogrammed.
Nudity is not the issue here. And the fact that Wayne Conye has tweeted shit like “You can’t see but I’m actually holding a gun to her head making her look at the camera” And “she didn’t know we, six white dudes with lights and cameras, were there. While she played in a tub of semen we secretly filmed it..” shows what we’re dealing with here. This is victim-blaming, manipulative, racist patriarchy to the core. I need to repeat nudity is NOT the issue here. The issue is he breached a contract and used gratuitous images (nudity for the sake of nudity, sparsed with violent imagery, and what I believe to be racist fixations on Nayrok’s ass, a la Hottentot Venus) that she and Nayrok were not comfortable with. He clearly wanted to create a buzz with this odd rape fantasy-esque video (To be clear, there are no rape acts in the video. But when you mix violent images [the “blood”, the make up appearing to be a bruised eye] with sexualized images [self-explanatory] in any form, I view that as rape imagery. Especially since, again, it is edited for you to think Erykah and Nayrok are the same person). And he achieved that much.
And trying to reframe it as a nudity issue is not fooling those of us with critical thinking minds who haven’t bought into the sexist “she asked for it” mentality. FUCK YOU for trying to make us think otherwise. And double fuck you for that rape imagery you planted in the minds of all of us watching this whole ordeal unfold. This is how you rectify the issues? Not by addressing the issue head on. Not by apologizing for misusing her image and violating her. Instead, you basically say “why were you wearing that dress if you didn’t wanna fuck?”
Those of us watching need to be real about what it is that is happening. Full disclosure: I am a fan of hers (I’m completely confident that Mama’s Gun is better than anything The Flaming Lips ever dreamed about creating). But this occurrence is not about her as a person nor her music. It’s about manipulation, misogyny and racism. There is no grey area here. There is clear right and wrong. Be on the right side of this.
In response to a frequent mass email entitled:“Through a Rapist’s Eyes”
1) “The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can be easily grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.”
True or False?
Both true and false, but more irrelevant than not. Longer hair is easier to grab; however, since 70-80% of rapists are well known to their victim and there is absolutely no known correlation between acquaintance rape and hairstyle/length the above statement is likely to give women with shorter hair a false sense of security. The first thing a rapist looks for is opportunity.
2) “The second thing men look for is clothing style. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing off.”
True or False?
False. The most common outfit of rape victims is jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. It is true that some articles of clothing are easier to remove than others, but there is no data to suggest that a potential victim is at greater risk because of how she is dressed. Remember, 70-80% of assailants are known to their victim, so tactics of stranger rapists aren’t needed.
3) “They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing another activity while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.”
True or False?
Both true and false. If we are only discussing stranger rape which comprises only 10-20% of all rapes, there is reliable data to support the theory that a distracted woman is a more attractive target. But, the major distraction device is the Walkman or a like appliance. The element of surprise works much more effectively if the victim is either: 1) outside alone, or, 2) alone in the safety of her own home and she cannot hear. Known assailants don’t need a distraction.
4) “Men are most likely to attack and rape in the early morning between 5-8:30 a.m.”
True or False?
False. Men are most likely to rape whenever they have the opportunity. Although, the prime hours tend to be 6 p.m.-6 a.m. or the hours of darkness: the hours of hanging-out, parties and running around.
5) “The number one place women are abducted from…attacked…are grocery store parking lots. Number two is office parking lots and parking garages. Number three is public restrooms.”
True or False?
False, False, and False. Very few rape victims are abducted from anywhere. Most victims are either raped in their own home (acquaintance or stranger) or the home of their assailant. Can parking lots and parking garages be dangerous? Yes, certainly; however, no rapist wants to create a public scene and he can never be sure what might happen in a public area. 70-80% of rapists are well known to their victim so have no need to stake out a public location.
6) “The thing is about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.”
True or False?
False. Very few rapists make any attempt to move a victim anywhere because the most common place for a victim to be attacked is in her own home by an acquaintance. If a rapist does attempt to move a victim, he is likely to be planning to do something far worse than raping her.
7) “Only 2% of rapists say they carried weapons because rape carries a much shorter sentence (B Felony) if there was no weapon than if there was (A Felony).”
True or False?
I seriously doubt if this plays any part in a rapist deciding to rape or not. Consider the following facts:
Only 30% of U.S. sexual assaults are ever reported to law enforcement.
So, of every 100 rapes committed in the U.S.:
- 32 of those 100 are reported to law enforcement
- 16 of those 32 results in an arrest
- 13 of those 16 will be prosecuted
- 7 of those 13 will be convicted
- 5 of those 7 convicted rapists will go to prison.
Of every 20 rapes committed in the U.S., only one will currently result in the rapist spending even one day in jail, let alone prison.
70-80% of rapists are well known to their victim so have no need to carry a weapon, and sadly very little concern with repercussions.
The law does not acknowledge fists and feet as deadly weapons when used during the commission of a rape, but very few victims can withstand repeated punches, stompings, head-buttings, etc. The majority of victims report having moments of fearing for their life (often times as a result of the horrible things rapists say) and desperately trying to stop his penetration of her. Rapists don’t tell their victim that they won’t hurt/kill her if she cooperates and even if they did…so what? Rape is one of the BIG FOUR (the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice report annual violent crime rates based on murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault rates only) and if he is willfully committing rape , there’s little reason to trust anything about him, especially her own life. Who needs a weapon? Those rapists who carry lethal weapons are likely to have crimes in addition to rape on their minds.
8) “If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.”
True or False?
False. Unless you have received professional training in how to properly fight back (self-defense), I would not recommend that you start something you may not live to regret. Very few rapists intend to inflict additional bodily harm; they intend to rape and then leave or tell you to, or even worse, tell you he’ll call as if you were on a date. If “fighting back” was all that was required to end a rape, rape would have ceased centuries ago. To fight back may be the worst advice a potential rape victim could ever receive. If the rapist is a stranger, a rape victim is well advised to make a decision on what to do or not based on what is happening at that moment: a decision that only she is in a position to make and that will hopefully enable her to avoid additional injury or even death. If the rapist is known to the victim, she is in a one-down position to begin with. The assailant is someone she either: 1) had no reason to fear in the first place; or, 2) even worse, someone she trusted. Either way, the element of shock, disbelief and horror tend to debilitate a victim during the first few critical seconds. Remember the rapist knows exactly what he intends to do, his victim does not.
9) “These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.”
True or False?
False. Everyone knows that you are more likely to be shot with your “home protection gun” than you are to be able to defend yourself with it. But, an umbrella will protect you from a rapist? I doubt it. What possible benefit would any weapon “that can be used from a distance” do in a potential rape situation? Does anyone believe that a rapist yells to a victim, from a distance, that he’s coming and what he intends to do so she can get that umbrella ready? Rapists don’t wear big signs that identify them as rapists and it will be a very sorry day indeed when all women are forced to look at all men as potential rapists and oh yeah, have that umbrella ready at all times.
10) “Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you on an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time it is, or make general small talk, “I can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter.” Now you’ve seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.”
True or False?
True to a point. There’s the potential for deterrence when a potential victim becomes a real person to the potential rapist although here again, all rapists seek to control the situation and environment and there’s no way they can do that in a public place like a street or elevator. 70-80% of rapists are known to the victim and have chosen to disregard her personhood even after having known her as a person in the past so looking at or speaking to him is not likely to make much difference.
11) “If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.”
True or False?
False. How would you know that someone was coming toward you specifically with the intention to rape you until it was too late? We all walk by men on a regular basis, why would anyone expect a potential victim to be able to pick out the rapist in the crowd and start yelling before he gets to her? This simply makes no sense.
12) “If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes) yell, “I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY!” and holding it out will be a deterrent.”
True or False?
False, see answer for #9. Plus, how many grown men are raped each year? The pepper spray is likely not to be his protection so much as the fact he is a grown man and highly unlikely to be another man’s target to begin with.
13) “If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength, but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm (between the elbow and armpit) or in the upper inner thigh very, very hard. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore our muscle strands—the guy needed stitches.”
True or False?
True, maybe. You can learn how to properly and accurately defend yourself in a professional self-defense class and possibly stop the rapist; the key words here are accurately and properly though. And, if you are going to defend yourself, do not hold back! Your reactions must be automatic…you will not have time to think about it. This method of deterrence has the best chance of protecting you (if you have been professionally trained) because the rapist has to be close to you to employ, and he will be on you before you realize what he has in mind and he won’t announce his attention from a distance so you can think about your choices and prepare.
14) “After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he’s out of there.”
True or False?
True about going for the groin as long as you do it seriously… very seriously. Regardless of whether you slap, punch, knee, twist, jerk, kick or bite either the scrotum sacs or penis if you do so with everything you’ve got in you and then scream and run like you’re on fire, you may be able to get away, otherwise you will definitely anger him. If you question whether you are capable of biting his penis off, yanking and twisting or kicking so hard it jars your teeth, then don’t start something you may not live to regret.
15) “When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.”
True or False?
See answer for #14
16) “Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts.”
True or False?
You, you, you, you should/ would/ could.
You must/can/ will/ won’t.
Why did you?
Why didn’t you?
I would have, but you didn’t.
What were you thinking?
Why are you surprised?
What did you expect?
You should have known better.
Why did you go there?
Why did you talk to him?
What were you wearing?
Did you lead him on?
Well, you must have done something.
There must be a perpetrator before there can be a victim. The victim never comes first, even in rape. The perpetrator is the active agent, not his victim.
Why is the victim of rape, unlike any other crime victim, always in part, or totally, held responsible for a man’s criminal choice? Why don’t we ever ask him why he did it and refuse to accept any self-serving, victim-blaming excuses from him? Why are we so quick to give alleged sex crime perpetrators the benefit of our collective doubt, but never the alleged perpetrators of other crimes?“Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.” Freda Adler
What is it about this world that allows so many males to torment, harass, abuse and rape women and children? What is it about our own “civilized” society that allows so many of us to continue to blame the victims of men’s cruelty for the choices our sons continue to make every single hour of every single day?
Self-defense is all well and good but misses the larger point: the only sure way to prevent rape is to deal openly, honestly and decisively with the source of rape…our sons.
Rules of Consequences
1. Consequences which give rewards increase a behavior.
2. Consequences which give punishments decrease a behavior.
3. Consequences which give neither rewards nor punishments extinguish a behavior.
Our sons continue to rape because they can and they can because we allow it.
Our sons can because we refuse to place the blame for their crimes squarely on their shoulders, the people who chose to brutalize others: our sons.
Our sons can because we refuse to teach them to be respectful of all human beings.
Our sons can because we continue to elect prosecutors and judges who hold sex crime victims to a standard of proof that they would never dream of demanding of any other crime victim.
Our sons can because we persist in shrugging and sighing that boys will be boys.
Our sons can because we’re so afraid of looking in the mirror that we would rather allow the raping of our daughters to continue than to do something about our own sons.
when it happens to your
sister girlfriend wife
niece aunt grandmother
will you still say she was…
asking for it?
Here’s an unexciting secret: the Rookie staff has a hidden Facebook group wherein we discuss themes and ideas and assignments. We also go there to chat and gossip and joke around and blow off steam. Sometimes things get serious, as they did last month, when Jamia told us about a gross incident of street harassment that had happened to her that day. As everyone began to chime in with support and tales of similar things that had happened to them, we all got so sad, and so MAD. It dawned on us that you can take any random group of girls and women, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them will have multiple stories of terrible things that were said to them and done to them on the street by strangers, as a matter of course. Just the normal state of affairs when you are out in public, being female. Like, we’re not special. This happens to everybody.
We’re publishing that conversation here today. If you’re not a girl, you might be surprised to learn what all your female friends go through. It might help you understand why we don’t think it’s cute or cool or flattering to be hollered at, commented on, ogled, or groped as we just try to get from one place to another. This wasn’t a conversation we had for the public—this was just what came out when we talked about this stuff in private. Any girl you know can tell you her own horror stories, if you’re willing to listen.
A few people have alerted me to this video of toddlers and you can watch as a little boy hugs a little girl multiple times and each time he does, she pushes him away. A few of the times, he seems to be prompted to continue by the person with the camera. It’s a full two minutes and nothing changes – he hugs her, she pushes him away, he gets up and hugs her again and she pushes him away again.
Clearly this isn’t street harassment because they know each other and it isn’t sexual harassment because they’re toddlers and don’t have an understanding of all that, but it is a problematic situation in which adults are standing by and letting (encouraging?) this little boy to do something the girl doesn’t want him to do and then instead of helping her use her words to tell him to stop, they’re letting her push him down over and over.
The Good Men Project linked to the video via the How to Be a Dad’s site, where the author labels the post “My Life with Women” and writes, “This one symbolizes every attempt I’ve ever made at relationships with the fairer sex… …. …. until my wife.”
The he writes, “I could be the misogynist here and make some comments about just how badly the lady little treats this fine, young man, but women are pretty great. Maybe this kid needs to get a job, buy a sweet ride (Power Wheels, perhaps?) and learn some Karate, proving himself a worthy love interest?”
And I find that very problematic. Implying that this little toddler and all women who reject men are stuck-up, bitchy, and only after good-looking or rich men is harmful. Instead of looking at the actions and saying, this girl doesn’t want to be hugged, they are focusing on the poor boy and how mean she is. She may have 10 reasons or only 1 for why she doesn’t want to be hugged by him and all of them are valid and should be respected.
No means no, even when you’re a toddler. Especially when you’re a toddler. Fifteen percent of sexual assault and abuse victims are under age 12. Teaching kids how to protect themselves at a very young age is crucial to helping them know how to prevent or get help if they are victimized and can teach them skills they can use all of their life.
This attitude that women owe men attention no matter what contributes to how, when some men are ignored or rejected by the women they harass on the street, they call them a bitch, a ho, throw trash at them, chase them, or tell them they were ugly anyway. Instead of thinking logically about all the reasons why a woman may not respond positively to a man who hollers at her on the street, men feel it is an affront on their masculinity and lash out.
Another problematic aspect of the video is the number of people who applauded how persistent the kid is. Some people in the comments of posts talked about being disappointed he never got her in the end. Guess what, you don’t always “get the girl” in the end. No means no! 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the U.S. We need to teach kids, especially boys because they are the bulk of the stalkers, not to follow or keep hugging etc women and girls who clearly don’t want that attention.
So those are my thoughts on the video, what are yours?
Unfortunately we don’t live in a “culture of consent.” Consent doesn’t mean a damn thing to most people. Instead, people feel entitled to do whatever the fuck they want simply because they’re physically able to and that is my biggest problem with the toddler video. That little boy wants to hug the little girl and is physically able to do so therefore he does DESPITE the fact that she repeatedly uses negative feedback methods to communicate her non-consent. She actively denies her consent to his invasion of her physical space and not only does he ignore it but the adults ignore it too. This is a teaching moment and both of those kids are learning valuable lessons. That little boy is learning that it’s perfectly fine for him to do whatever the fuck he wants and that not only will there be no negative consequences for violating consent but there will actually be positive consequences for it considering that the adult involved is encouraging his behavior. Meanwhile the little girl is learning the same thing - other people will violate her consent as though they have the right to do so, people who see it happening will encourage it and provide positive reinforcement for that behavior no matter how hard she fights to maintain her own agency, and in the end the only person she can count on for protection or to care about her consent is herself.
Since shit like this is what kids are being taught from day one it’s hardly surprising that when they grow up to be adults they act the same way only it becomes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. This is rape culture in action and the only hope for ending it is for us to actively create a culture of consent, a culture in which consent is the most important thing in any and all interactions no matter what.
It’s not just the stalking and creepiness of the Edwards of the world, but the active rapes committed in some vampire romances that are not acknowledged as such. After those scenes, the female characters are suddenly passionately in love, glad to have found The One, and there’s no discussion of the fact that they were raped, and that the basis of this supposed love is a violation. Just like in the rape-romance, the characters ride off into the sunset and readers sigh, longing for something that romantic to happen to them and wondering if it ever will.
“Have I ever had ‘ANY unwanted/undesired physical or sexual contact’?” - Author Molly talks about the normalization of unwanted contact that doesn’t quite fit the definition of sexual assult, but is nevertheless indicate that “Your body is not for you. Your body is for men’s pleasure.”
The Not Rape Epidemic - On the same vein, Latoya Peterson discusses a lack of discussion over sexual assult that falls outside the ‘stranger hiding in the bushes’ stereotype.
Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced - The title says it all: what being hit on feels like from a woman’s perspective, and what men can do to not seem like total creeps.