Tag Archives: rape culture

Slut Shaming Workshop in Public Schools!

6 May

Hey everyone!

An exciting opportunity “came across my desk” (heh because I don’t have one. I have a dining table, a couch and a bed to work on. My favorite spaces), last week. A school contacted Slutwalk Seattle (of which I am honored to help organize this year) and ask if someone was willing to come and present a Slut Shaming workshop in their school for Mental Health Awareness Day.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. It’s something I’ve been craving to do because it’s NEEDED. It’s great the college campuses are places we can pursue activities like this but.. really, slut shaming starts in high school (and junior high). High school is when we’re confronted with this stuff head on and it’s hard. It’s confusing. Kids get mixed up in stuff they don’t mean to .. who can they talk to?

I’m really proud of Seattle for being so open minded and coming to Slutwalk for this. We are the experts! What an incredible deal. My heart is pumping. I’m not too nervous about messing up (I’m sure that will happen) or stumbling on my words or .. maybe not always knowing what to say because we’re all in this together. This is.. I think, a first in many ways. I mean.. IN HIGH SCHOOL?!!! How fantastic!

I’m just not used to talk to minors about it so it’s interesting ground to walk through. Phew… Heart is pounding today. This is epic. Epic. I could kiss the ground and oh if there was a god, well, and you’re behind it? Well.. I’m happy for this. It’s a huge step toward progress to be able to have this conversation. Unreal.

I’m giddy and pinching myself. Just thought I’d share this excitement while I’m finalizing my draft. I feel like a “real person” now.. Really, doing what I love and changing the world in my own small way 🙂 I could cry. I probably will but hopefully afterward *laughs*

 

You GUYS! THIS IS AWESOME!

Can’t wait to update you on how it goes 🙂 Hopefully this is the start of much more to come!

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Changed My Mind About Blurred Lines

29 Jan

So.. That’s embarrassing, isn’t it?

Well, I think it’s better to have a real discussion rather than pretending I understood the outrage over the song Blurred Lines. It really did skip over me that “blurred lines” had anything to do with drugging her. I’m the WORST at knowing about drug references. I didn’t catch that for a while. Also, I have a habit of.. well, just.. being a bit naive about bad intentions. It doesn’t matter how “aware” I am of things, sometimes even the most obvious stuff runs right past me without me catching it.

Really and truly, I thought the song was about not being able to cross over those lines because had a boyfriend. I kept focusing on the relationship part.. rather than the “I’m just going have sex with you one way or another” part. That’s rape. The drug reference blew it wide open for me. Then I could see it. 

I talked about this a LOT with friends.. it just didn’t make any sense to me. But about a week after my post I changed my mind about the song. 

And promptly forgot to write another post about it here 🙂

Feminist Tyson, Rape Manuals & Texas Justice

20 Jun

Image

Oy vey. So much going on in the news: a 15 year old girl is told to cover up by a TSA agent, a man was acquitted by a jury even though he killed an escort in Texas, there is a rape manual on kickstarter, and Tyson is a feminist?

This is madness.

The story about the man who was acquitted by a Texas jury, even though he murdered an escort, is something everyone has been talking about. The jury took 11 hours, split over two days, to decide whether or not to convict him. He would have faced a life sentence in jail. Admittedly, I’m not always sure what the correct punishment is for people. I am not a believer that jail solves things. I do think it is sometimes necessary. I also  know our prisons are overrun and run for profit much of the time. I hope this man has to go through serious counseling, at the very least and serves some kind of time for something. I don’t know what the clear answer is here.

But that he was found NOT guilty because under Texas law, he had a right to shoot her because she had stolen his property: either his money or HER vagina..

That’s what gets to me. This is wrong. This is flat out wrong.
You do not have the RIGHT to shoot an escort because she chose not to have sex with you. No, you don’t. You.. DON’T. I don’t know if he had the intent to kill–likely not. Maybe he meant to seriously harm but not kill (not that it matters in my book). I don’t think most people are sociopaths (that’s 4% of our population). I don’t think most people mean to do a LOT of things they do but they do them and they should be punished adequately. What I do think happened is this man was raised in a culture where it is okay to shoot people whenever he feels he hasn’t gotten what he wanted. That is clear because the jury supported him. This woman did not pose a threat to him. She did not break into his house, with a gun or any other weapon, threaten him, etc.. He lost money. He shot her over $150.

But the reasons.. the reasons for which her death was justified by the jury not convicting him? I.. I am at a loss for words. How is that anyone can claim you have a right to shoot someone because they won’t give you their vagina?

At any point in time, businesses have a right to refuse service. What he should have done instead of SHOOTING her was finding a way to get his money back. He clearly didn’t understand what an escort is and paid thinking the service was something else (prostitution).  Okay, so he was upset he didn’t get the service he paid for (though not one she offers,clearly). You cannot SHOOT people because you are pissed you didn’t get the service you thought you would.

Why.. why is this any different? Oh right because it’s about sex and women’s bodies and people still think you can possess them whenever you want. That you can own people. And is that so surprising in a world where slavery STILL exists?

This blows my mind. Really. I don’t know what else I can say about it that anyone else hasn’t already said.

To the TSA agent who shamed a young girl in public for her clothes (reminds me of the University student who wrote a letter to the girl about what she was wearing, that it was distracting and she should protect the men around her):

There are some things you should keep to yourself. That comment was one of them. If you are uncomfortable with the way she was dressed, it is not up to you to embarrass her. If she was being rude or upsetting people around her, I could understand why you might want to speak up and correct her behavior but you have ZERO right to tell her what she can and cannot wear.

That is up to her parent. Not you. So zip it.

It came to my attention yesterday that there is.. a rape manual seeking support on Kickstart. Of course, that isn’t what the authors calls it but the exerts on Reddit clearly lay it out for anyone to read. I quote:

“All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”

“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”

Sex

Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”

Wow. Just..

(crickets) (blink).. (blink)…

This is dangerous and I’m glad it’s being talked about. There is a difference between being dominant and being an aggressor. First rule: You ALWAYS ask for permission. Good grief. Always. Nothing gets past that.

You cannot be dominant toward someone you don’t know. You cannot be aggressive toward someone who hasn’t said that they liked it or it was okay.

This is immature masculinity. This is exactly what I spoke about in the radio show yesterday. We have to replace this with mature masculinity. There is no other option. You do not need to take in order to get something you want. If you do this, if we practice this, we will keep violence in our societies.

What people repeatedly miss about dominance is that you can only take something that has been given to you. Doing anything less than that makes you a predator, an aggressor, an assaulter. People get caught up in the romantic notion of “man grabs woman around waist because she says no but he knows.. she wants him.. because she kisses him passionately and slowly sinks down to her knees..” Lets stop there shall we? That is the picture this guy is painting. No is not a yes. I do understand that some people play that game of “come get me. I’m going to say no but I really just want you to chase me and pin me down and take me.” But that has to be discussed. It is NOT a default all women possess. You might luck out and it might be something she wants.. Or, you’re a rapist.

Is that something you want to risk?! I don’t! I don’t want to risk that.

Get the consent first, then play.

And by the way, the hand on the thigh or small of my back when I haven’t asked for it? Really creepy.. Really, really creepy. But the hand on my thigh or small of my back when I have given my consent to that person? Hawt.

Consent is sexy.

*****

Tyson a feminist. Well.. I’m not sure I’d call him a feminist (mainly because it is a little disconcerning to be called something when you haven’t said it yourself. It feels forced and pushed on you, you know?) but I do appreciate his recent insights into his humanity and community.

SLCFeminist is pretty upset Clutch Magazine recently called Mike Tyson a sort of feminist.

but one comment a feminist does not make. Danielles explains how she cannot, “condone his violent behavior, especially when it was directed toward women,” but she can understand,  ”how he got there.” Wait, what?! Ultimately, she tells the reader that, “Feminism seeks to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, are treated as equal human beings. And that’s what Mike Tyson wants–to be seen as human. It’s what we all want.” Fair enough, feminism advocates for fair treatment of human beings, but fair treatment of human beings doesn’t necessitate that feminists overlook a harried history of an abusive misogynist because he makes a few salient comments.

Well, that is true. Making a few enlightened comments doesn’t make anyone anything. When you identify with an idea, or belief, or focus, that is done with a lot of active work. So I agree with SLCFeminist. This doesn’t make him a feminist but his recent reflection does line up with feminist ideals. He said:

“We as people — men — in my experience, we are told we are superior to women, they come from our rib and this and that. That’s all our insecurity, to make us feel like someone, like a slave master. I’m so happy to reach a stage in my life, a paradigm shift. Everything I did believe was a goddamn lie.”

Read the rest of the article here. I think that is an awesome thing to come to terms with Mike. You’ve done quite a bit of damage and your self in the present is much better than the one before. I’m happy for that. I don’t know the details of the accusations against him as a rapist. I know he was convicted. Considering how hard it is to convict anyone of rape, I have a feeling he’s guilty. The evidence must have been pretty damn good. It’s clear you have a ways to go.

but at least you have a good start.. I guess.
Too bad it was so bad for so long..
But at least.. it sounds like you’re doing the right thing now. That’s all anyone could hope for.

What’s All the Fuss About?

15 Sep

Rape Analogy: What it's like to report a rape

I read a lot of comments about the Slutwalk move happening across the world. Many people said, “Well who is for rape?! No one except rapists! Who would ever blame a woman for her own rape?”

Perhaps I have a dark sense of humor (I do) but this was hysterically funny to me because this is exactly what it’s like.

I’ve just read someone’s post on Tumblr.com that made a good point. When someone is different from the rest of society, people feel an urge to ask invasive questions. Like, if someone is transgendered they asked about their genitals. “Have you had surgery?” and anything that stems off of that (I’m trying not to be crass here). If someone is gay they ask about their sex life. As a straight woman, no one ever comes out and asks me, “Hey April, by the way, how many partners have you had? Why didn’t you go for girls? You don’t like the cooch, eh?” Oy.

Especially when someone is bisexual, people assume a lot of things. Jokes are funny. We tell jokes to ease tension but also jokes reveal a nugget of truth about the way people think. Often people say, “Oh bisexual people can’t make up their mind! They get everything don’t they?” Or they assume they’re slutty.

Not that there is anything wrong with being slutty (i.e. completely comfortable with exploring people sexually) but we know what negative connotations that comes with…

To me, bisexuality means an individual is attracted to men and women and also has, or is, willing to pursue a relationship with either a man or woman. That’s all it means.

Ah, you know, it’s good to make jokes. I make inappropriate jokes and stereotype too, all I’m suggesting is, let’s not take it too far, shall we? I mean, lets behave respectfully toward each other. It’s fine to ask questions. I think it’s great! Just show you care about their privacy and value them as a person. It’s so easy, kindly say, “I have some questions but I don’t want to intrude on you. Is it okay to ask?” Something like that. So simple.

Manners, people. It ain’t for the old.

First Step

2 Sep

Beginnings are daunting. The first impression is lasting and there is so much to say.

There are many reasons why I have decided to begin this blog. I was lucky to grow up with parents who taught me I could do and be anything I wanted to be. They encouraged me to explore, to ask questions and to do it all bravely. I’m sure my father didn’t exactly have this topic in mind but nevertheless I took it to heart. I’ve always been interested in the mentality and attitudes about sexuality. What drives people to play out particular fantasies, where do these fetishes come from, why are women “so not into sex” and men are (this is a complete stereotype that I am sure will not stick much longer)? Why are people so timid? Why do they feel so ashamed? Why do some of us not feel any barriers on this topic?  Sex is everywhere and yet we are so incredibly restricted within our sexuality. Oh and my favorite topic: Your sexuality is not defined by your gender and being a cross dresser doesn’t make you gay it just means you’re a dude who likes to wear women’s clothing to feel a little more feminine.

But as much as I find these topics interesting, none of them lit the fire in my soul to begin this blog.

One year ago today, I flew back home feeling ashamed, frightened and shocked. My closest male friend raped me while I slept in his house. I was visiting him and he knew the boundaries. Still, it happened. It was.. grueling, but that is obvious. What was more grueling were the attitudes I encountered because of it. There is a terrible mentality that exists called “rape culture.” Essentially, they are thoughts people have that suggest if I had done something different, I would not have been raped. People continually deny this exists yet I have encountered it with strangers and friends. It’s a lot of it comes from good intentions but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

An ex-boyfriend told me that “If you weren’t so open..” Yeah. Because clearly I brought it on myself. I was “asking” for it, wasn’t I? That kind of statement “If you..” or “I’m sorry you were raped but you shouldn’t have..” is exactly what lit a fire in my spirit to begin this journey because I should not ever have to say “I did not contribute to my rape.” But I have had to and that is why I am writing this blog.

I’m tired of the crappy attitude people have about sex, sexuality and sex crimes (Yes, I do realize rape is about power not sexuality but it is a sex crime). I’m tired of the ignorance, of the secrets, of the shushing, of the shaming, of the lack of respect for a fellow human being. I’m tired of the victims being blamed. Suggesting to me that if I had done something different I wouldn’t have been raped is just as pointless as telling a grieving parent that if they had just watched their child better they wouldn’t have been harmed by another person (i.e. like being hit by a car). Sure, of course if the parent had been watching without taking their eyes off of their child for a single second maybe they could have prevented something. Maybe. But what is the point in that?

Some things are out of our control. Like it or not, sometimes an individual does not have any responsibility in what happens to them just because someone else made a choice.

Some things are in individual control. That is what I’m writing. I’m not waiting around for someone else to challenge societies attitudes about sex, sexuality and sexual assault. Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I want a freer, safer society for people.
I want you to be able to explore life however you chose to.
I want you to not be condemned for leading a different life.
And I’ll fight for you sexual freedom.
Whether you choose to be celibate,
choose to have multiple partners (at once, or sequential),
or choose to have only partner.
As long as you are not harming someone
(violating them; using them against their will)
I will fight for you.

I will fight for those who cannot speak up to keep their privacy.
Because someone needs to be your voice.

 It’s very fitting to begin this blog on this day one year after such a terrible event. In that year, I was lucky/blessed/worked hard to gain courage to speak up about the many problems I’m seeing in others’ experiences and in my own. It was one year of gaining strength.

As I take my first few steps I’d like to thank all of my family and friends who stood by me, who showed me the truth of the evil in the world (that I was not the problem, this time, that it was others and their attitudes), who encouraged me and protected me when I was most vulnerable. This is for them, too. Because I want you to be proud of me and because you’ve inspired me to understand that I can be everything I ever dreamed of but no war can be won without comrades by your side.

Thank you for the past, present and years to come. We have a long way to go.

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