Archive for the ‘Sexual violence’ Category

Trigger warning; rape, rape culture, victim blaming, rape of a child.

HEREBY WE WILL SEE AN INCOHERENT OUTPOURING OF RAGE AND OUTRAGE. Actually I’ll try to make it coherent. BUT TFGYFRGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Councillor William O’Rourke, you are the scum of the Earth. I have no words. A care employee is accused of raping a nine-year-old child, and you ask if there was force involved and when told that there was not, you say, ‘So she wanted it to happen?’ ?!!?!?!?!

Get a clue. The child was nine. At nine, you cannot consent. AS IS ENSHRINED IN OUR AGE OF CONSENT LAWS AND WELL AND TRULY AGREED BY ANYONE WHO DESERVES THE TITLE OF HUMAN BEING. At nine, due to the horrendous power dynamic and the lack of understanding, there is no such thing as consent.

But let’s just shelve the child’s age for a moment. Not being forced doesn’t mean a person wanted it to happen. The only thing that means a person wanted something to happen is a clear, informed, understanding, enthusiastic YES. Which coincidentally COULDN’T HAPPEN, since the child was NINE. The absence of that makes it rape, and no-one wants to be raped. (His attitudes are suspiciously akin to those of the politicians, mainly Republicans, in the US who brought H.R.3 to the table. H.R.3 would redefine rape as ‘forcible’ for the purposes of abortion coverage.)

I can’t even imagine what the other inappropriate comments were. Actually I can, because I’ve heard them and seen them come out to play about adults before now – but I can’t believe anyone would say that kind of shit (and that includes what is known to have been said) about a nine-year-old child.

Why the hell hasn’t he been sacked from every office he holds? He’s certainly not fit for public office, if he can say that sort of thing about a nine-year-old child. He’s obviously a staunch supporter of rape culture. By supporting rape culture, you support rapists. And I can’t even see how his statement could have been intended as anything but ‘Yes, I love rape and I love rapists. Especially child rapists.’ What. the. hell. is. this. man. doing. anywhere. near. a. position. of. power.

I hate this world sometimes. I’m off to scream and hit my head on a wall somewhere.

Holy shit. The NHS is totally failing the elderly. The anecdotal evidence for this can be found by speaking to many, many people (although it isn’t universal), but it’s now being officially recognised. I really don’t think that sporadic random-attack checks are quite cutting it, though, as a solution; yes, it’s better than nothing but it doesn’t really change the culture of care. ‘Care’ should mean exactly that. Any system claiming to look after people’s health needs to do so with compassion and respect, or they are working against their own purpose. I believe that socialised health care is a great good for all – as long as it actually lives up to the title of ‘health care.’

Oh woo. We get the chance to look at and comment on new legislation. Y’know, that would be a great thing if those comments were actually listened to. However, the Government hasn’t exactly shown itself to be very good at listening to criticism. Tell me, Coalition – just how many of us normal folks’ voices = the voice of one big-money conservative capitalist?

On tumblr, I’ve been seeing a frightening number of bills restricting the bodily autonomy of those with uteri (for example, H.R.358 ) coming from the USA. Dear American politicians – you’re being shitbags. You’re also failing at this ‘pro-life’ business since you’re quite prepared to authorise the killing of living, breathing, human beings, and don’t seem to care about people’s prospects once you’ve coerced their uterus-having parent to incubate them for nine months at all costs. And you know what could help reduce abortion rates? Sex education. Greater availability of contraceptives. Free health care. A functional welfare system. Know what doesn’t help reduce abortion rates? Restricting abortion. That just drives it underground and makes it utterly unsafe.

And I have been sadly deficient in saying this for quite a while; to everyone standing up for their freedoms, wherever you are in the world, I admire you and hope that your stand is successful.

No words.

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Bodies, Gender, Sexual violence

Trigger warning for alleged rape and victim blaming.

I have no words. We don’t really know the truth of this – no-one can, except the people involved – but frankly, it doesn’t sound like she consented. The only ‘lie’ or inconsistency reported is that about the other people in the room – how the hell is that ‘riddled with lies’ and how the hell does that lead to the conclusion that she actually consented and was trying to avoid the consequences of having had sex?  RAPE CULTURE.

This has disturbing echoes of this case, when a woman in Powys was convicted for being pressured into retracting charges.

Trigger warning for rape, sexual assault and rape culture.

There are posters up on bus shelters around where I live. The Council appears to be doing a new anti-rape campaign; whether the posters are all of it I don’t know.

This is basically what it looks like, only white and green on a grey background;

[small font] The way she kissed me was just

[large font] ASKING FOR IT


[tiny font] Let’s stop the victim blaming. Rape. Sexual assault. [number]

There may have been a couple of words on the bottom line I’ve missed out, but I got the gist of it.

Now, fair play for not going into the stranger-in-the-bushes trope, and for explicitly condemning victim-blaming. In fact, this poster could have been all right. It wouldn’t have addressed the fact that non-women can be raped, but it could have been okay. If not for the font sizes.

When I first saw it, the words ASKING FOR IT were all I noticed as we went by in a car. I instantly thought no-one asks for it, what the hell, why are the Council victim-blaming? Then I thought, shit, I’m glad I’m not a sexual abuse survivor. I can imagine it being very triggering, especially to people who’ve been victim-blamed.

The words ‘let’s stop the victim-blaming,’ which is the whole goddarn point of the poster, needed to be actually readable from a car for this to have any effect, any usefulness. Otherwise, the whole point of the poster is lost and it becomes merely a triggering, ugly reminder of rape culture that would probably support it in the minds of those who already do prop up rape culture.

And yes, victim-blaming is terrible. It’s traumatic for the victim, it’s inexcusable, it’s despicable. I’m just left wondering whether they’ve produced a similar set of posters that are more along the lines of HEY, YOU – DON’T RAPE. IF YOU AREN’T GIVEN AN ENTHUSIASTIC YES, YOU ARE A RAPIST. Ending victim-blaming needs to be done. But so does ending rape.

Trigger warning for rape, rape culture, rape apologism and all-round badness.

I haven’t, yet, posted about the Assange case. So now I am, finally.

As always, in a high-profile case involving a male celebrity being accused of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion against women, the old rape apologists have come out to play. They’re calling it stuff like ‘sex by surprise.’ Attempting to smear the two women making the accusations.

But you know what? What the allegations describe is clearly rape. And it is never, ever, ever okay to target the victim.

It has gone beyond that. The two women have had their identities revealed by information tweeted by Michael Moore on information from another website. They have had their identities revealed. In this rape culture. And they’re being threatened. They’re being smeared. So are their supporters. They are in danger.

Not fucking okay. Never fucking okay. The last post I put up on here was about some victim-blaming work put in by the Welsh justice system. Rape culture has gone too far. It doesn’t matter about WikiLeaks. That’s got nothing to do with the issue. The issue is rape charges. And surely we know by know that there is nothing that makes a rapist bar the act of raping someone, and nothing means that someone who has done so is not a rapist.

Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown has been standing against rape culture, against the people who’ve been supporting it. She is a hero, and she and everyone who is supporting her are worthy of sincere commendation.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape (sorry I didn’t put it up earlier)

We have an update on this case, in which a woman was jailed after being coerced into retracting rape allegations. It seems that her husband, against whom the allegations were made, broke bail conditions, but no official action was taken over it, which allowed him to manipulate her into retracting allegations and thus forcing the police to drop the case.

But yet, she still has a criminal conviction. For the crime of being human, and being violated, and being hurt, and being vulnerable. For being put into a situation in which she was the victim. It’s wholly ridiculous. And also… he has custody of the children, which she is currently trying to change.

Honestly, ‘no longer seen as a credible witness.’ Here we’re getting down to the idea of ‘The Rape Victim,’ and the mistreatment of those who deviate from that ideal. In what way does being affected and intimidated by someone who evidently was abusive at a point when she shouldn’t have even been in contact with him make her a less credible witness?


Posted: November 23, 2010 in Bodies, Law, Sexual violence
Tags: ,

Trigger warning for rape culture

Sense has, sort of, prevailed. A woman was jailed after retracting rape charges. Now, the Court of Appeals has overturned that sentence, and replaced it with community service and two years of supervision.

There’s still something a bit off about the sentence. The words are right; people victimised in these ways become vulnerable, there needs to be compassion in the legal system, and this sort of case often stems from pressure. I still don’t support the fact that she is being punished, but jail was utterly wrong.

But is it an ‘extreme case’? Hey, we live in a rape culture. We don’t hear about these cases because the pressure is so extreme, the victim doesn’t even report. The only things that were more extreme than is always true of rape cases about this case were the wrongness of rape culture and the reaction of the legal system.

Today, November 20th 2010, is the Twelfth Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day set aside for the trans* community and our allies to remember and to mourn our fallen in the past year.

So many are murdered because we are not seen as human in the eyes of the world. Trans people are talked about as freaks, as self-mutilators, as perverts, as unnatural. These attitudes are so prevalent in the culture at large that it is hard to force cis people to acknowledge transphobia, and harder to make them understand their own internalised transphobia and cis privilege. The terrible crimes that ended the lives of those we remember and mourn today are perhaps the ultimate proof of a transphobic culture.

Is it a coincidence that so many of the people we mourn today were women? Is it a coincidence that so many of them were people of colour? No. While our culture continues to be misogynist and racist (and several other -ists as well), there will always be a higher price paid by those who walk those particular intersections. That makes it worse. The people we mourn today were merely trying to live their lives as themselves, something that is hard for any oppressed person. They should never have been murdered.

The list of the dead makes for harrowing reading. Senseless brutality. Utter hatred. Rest in peace, our fallen comrades, by whatever faith you had in life. We must not forget.

Trigger warning for genital mutilation and consent violation.

What. The. Fuck. An Australian woman, in 2002, went into hospital to remove a piece of vulva tissue that had been identified as pre-cancerous. While she was under anaesthetic, the doctor who performed the surgery took it upon himself to remove her clitoris as well. He is claiming that had he not, the cancer would have spread; however, he did not announce his intention until she was almost anaesthetised, at which point she had no chance to refuse consent.

Now, I’m not a doctor; I certainly know nothing about cancer and whether indeed the extent of the operation was necessary. However, had it really been necessary, the principles of bodily autonomy and informed consent require him to have discussed it with his patient beforehand, when she was fully conscious and capable of understanding and objecting.

There are several issues intertwined here.

Firstly, we have the ableist idea that patients cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own care and therefore that doctors must high-handedly take control and have the full right to do so. The woman concerned has said, “If I had known that my clitoris was going to be cut off there is no way I would have walked through that hospital door,” and frankly, that should be her decision to make, no matter how severe or lifethreatening the cancer.

Secondly, we have the compromising of female bodily autonomy. His actions read as a sick, sadistic attack on a woman’s body, bodily autonomy and sexual agency, and the fact that he told her just as she was going under is even worse, a deliberate assertion of power and privilege, a deliberate sadistic attack on her. The fact that she is a woman and he a man is written in burning letters all over this story. A woman’s body is not the property of anyone else. It is her own. Rape culture makes its way into the operating theatre, where it has no goddamn right to be.

Thirdly, we have the words, “Her husband’s dead so it doesn’t matter anyway,” allegedly said to a theatre nurse. One, how sexist is that? That the only reason a woman needs genitalia is to satisfy her husband? Many women have thriving solitary sex lives, and there is nothing wrong with that. Women do actually want and like sex, and want and like their genitalia. Two, it’s also ageist – just because a woman is beyond a certain age, he assumed she will never have or want sex again.

There are probably many, many more issues and anyone’s welcome to point out more, although I don’t think we need to dissect every single atrocity here to agree that it is a terrible, terrible event.

This sort of thing is frightening and outrageous. Utterly, utterly appalling. Ms DeWaegeneire, what was done to you was completely wrong and inexcusable. I am so, so sorry you have been put through this nightmare and I hope that justice will be done as soon as possible.

Just no.

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Gender, Health, Law, Sexual violence
Tags: ,

Trigger warning for rape and rape culture.

Holy crap. A woman has been jailed for falsely retracting rape charges – the story seems complicated, but the outcome should not. It appears that she may have been pressured into retracting them by her husband (rapist?) and his sister.

Prosecutor Simon Parry is quoted as remarking that ‘alarm bells started ringing for prosecutors when the woman admitted she and her husband had consensual sex soon after the alleged rapes.’ Yeah but – no. The victim having ‘consensual’ (and if the rape allegations are true, I sincerely doubt the quality of consent there) sex with someone who has raped them is not a reason for alarm bells to go off. There are many reasons consent may have been given, and frankly other episodes are nothing to do with the case.

She should not have been jailed. Rape is a highly traumatic experience that no-one should have to go through. There is so much wrong with the judicial system’s treatment of rape, and so little empathy in the system’s approach to it. This verdict will only hurt. There is a clear lack understanding and compassion in the verdict, and it will, as the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition Holly Dustin says, send out ‘a chilling message that parts of the criminal justice system are still in the dark ages in relation to sexual violence and do not understand the pressure women come under from perpetrators during the legal process. The potential threat of prosecution makes it less likely that women will report.’

Trigger warning for discussion of rape, war and sexual violence.

Apparently Iran looks set to get onto the UN Women body. As what, something to make the others feel better? Oh, at least we’re not using rape as a means of oppression and persecuting women for being women, we’re good then.

Another horrifying story has come to light; that of ‘Leyla’, who was kidnapped, beaten and raped (the details are horrific) because her fiancé, at the time in exile, had been involved in protests. Documents have been unearthed containing evidence that rape is often used as a weapon in prisons. The treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her supporters and family continues to outrage most of the world. There are other cases, many of them.

And yet somehow Iran is deemed fit to be on a board promoting women’s equality. And yet President Ahmadinejad is allowed to continue posturing around the world stage.

I do not advocate war because I am anti-war – and in Afghanistan, we saw what happened last time the West tried to go to war in defence of women’s rights (they did not communicate with women’s groups who knew the situation and how best to deal with it, instead just sending in the troops.)

The people of Iran do not deserve this regime. President Ahmedinejad needs to realise that his unapologetic disregard for human rights is unacceptable; needs to realise that these policies will damage his, and Iran’s, standing on the world stage.

Massive trigger warning for rape and rape culture on this link and post.


I can’t believe this. Just – no words. Just plain raw disbelief. Even for someone whose eyes have been opened to the rape culture, this is so hard to actually mentally process.

Any rape culture deniers should get linked to this story.

(thanks to the F-Word for the link)