Posts Tagged ‘Rape Culture’

TW – sexual harassment and non-consensual objectification.

Apparently it’s National Cleavage Day on Thursday. Created by Wonderbra and originating in South Africa, it is held at the end of March/beginning of April. Let’s hand over to Wikipedia for some illumation, hey? (Woman throughout this post stands for woman-identified person, and occasionally female-assigned person if said person is being taken for a woman by society at large and ‘people read as women’ is implicit in the context.)

‘According to Samantha Paterson, the brand manager for Wonderbra, the National Cleavage Day is started according to a design to solemnise women’s independence and power in all facets of life, from their careers to their relationships to their own destiny. Anita Meiring, public relations consultant for Wonderbra, explained the event. “It is a day for women to realise that their cleavage is something unique and that they should be proud of it.” Paterson explained “It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”. She also explained “It gives men a legitimate reason to stare at boobs.”‘

So women’s independence and power in their careers, relationships and destiny should be celebrated with cleavage? OH YES I FORGOT IN THIS FUCKED UP SOCIETY WOMEN’S ONLY VALUE IS THEIR SEX APPEAL. Sure women can be proud of their cleavage – OR LACK OF IT – but we don’t need a capitalist, objectifying day devoted to it.

And it’s a while since I’ve done some quality debunking – actually it isn’t, but never mind – so let’s get going on those last two abominable sentences. Paterson explained “It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”. IT’S CALLED HARASSMENT AND OBJECTIFICATION. Also, all women are beautiful, all the time. This is not the sole indicator of their worth. All women are also worthy, and human, all the time. AND ALL WOMEN DESERVE FREEDOM FROM SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND NON-CONSENSUAL OBJECTIFICATION. She also explained “It gives men a legitimate reason to stare at boobs.”‘ THERE IS NO LEGITIMATE REASON TO NON-CONSENSUALLY STARE AT BOOBS. AND NOT EVERY WOMAN WITH A CLEAVAGE WANTS THEIR BOOBS STARED AT. Talk about legitimating harassment! And heteronormativity! Not all men want to stare at boobs! Also, some heterosexual men are not assholes who HARASS WOMEN.

I’m also annoyed because it’s the SAME FUCKING DAY as Transgender Day of Visibility. GREAT. Because I just KNOW that any discourse will be taken up with cleavage, and there will be no thought given to non-cissexist, respectful discourse and education about trans folks anywhere in my vicinity unless I do it. Which I probably will at least to some extent, if I feel super-brave that day. Also pissed off because the people I found out about this from went off into the ‘At least it’s not Thailand – you wouldn’t know whose cleavage you were looking at!’ shpiel. Misoxeny and transhatred, woo! Fun!


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.

Trigger warning for sexual harassment and apologism.

Just had the joy of listening to my mother rant for half an hour about today’s society and how we’ve all become ‘namby-pamby,’ because of the ‘nanny state.’ Oh, and sexual harassment. I hate these conversations. It started when I mentioned my earlier joy of sitting on a table with a bunch of peers in a ‘discussion’ of airbrushing, listening to the women saying, ‘I’d like to be airbrushed,’ and the men saying, ‘Doesn’t affect me, I’m not stupid.’ And then… my mother got onto her soapbox about the lack of robustness in today’s society, especially with regard to sexual harassment. So because I’m too passive-aggressive/anxious about our relationship/mindful of the cracks in it to say all this to her face, I’m going to deconstruct her arguments online.

‘I gave as good as I got.’ But why should you have got in the first place? Yes, it’s nice that you had a coping mechanism, but not everyone can do that – and why the hell should you have had to? You were in an environment where it was normal, so you learned to cope in a way you thought was normal. That doesn’t make the sexual harassment right.

‘These days, there’s no joking in workplaces and all the cameraderie is gone because people can’t take a joke!’ Erm – sexual harassment is a joke? WAIT NO. A JOKE IS FUNNY. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NEVER FUNNY. Sexual harassment promotes cameraderie? Well, this is a patriarchal kyriarchy, Mother, so yes – but that doesn’t make it right. And also, a lot of things have changed now. Consumer capitalism is a few stages further on. We’re all expendable servants of the machine, so that does tend to lower morale. Besides that, no joking? What, so it’s impossible to joke about things that aren’t sexual harassment? WAIT NO. There’s plenty of things that are ACTUALLY FUNNY and that don’t involve SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

‘There will always be creeps.’ There will always be creeps in a patriarchal kyriarchy. We don’t know about the post-kyriarchy because GUESS WHAT, people like you are ACTIVELY HINDERING the process of demolishing it.

‘There’s nothing wrong with a bit of joshing between consenting adults.’ Well, yeah. I agree with you. Personal autonomy, consent… yeah, if people want to say stuff like that to each other and make sure consent is enthusiastic and informed, fine. But do people go around saying, ‘Are you okay with me making comments and passes of a sexual nature that will be crude and possibly cruel?’ NO. They don’t. So it’s NOT between consenting adults because consent means KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON AND SAYING ‘YES!’ TO IT. And consent would mean that it wouldn’t be harassment, either, because harassment is definitely not consensual. Someone being harassed may ‘josh’ back because that’s literally the only solution that doesn’t involve losing the job. Seriously, if you think that’s consent, that’s fucking terrifying.

Sometimes I really can’t stand my mother. I like her as long as we stay away from politics and social justice as topics of conversation, but if we start talking about that I get incoherent rage attack and just sit there digging my fingernails into my hands and wanting to leave. She’s sizeist, cissexist, binarist, classist, sexist and ableist at the least. This is why I can’t fucking talk to her about who I am. I’m just so glad I managed to escape those attitudes.

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?