The Invisible War (Kirby Dick, 2012)
The hardest part about rape, my friend has said, has been the silence. The rape is part of her, it is something she’d like to refer to casually—‘Oh yes, I learned that law term after I was raped,’ or ‘I’ve become more alert after I was raped,’ and she can’t. She has to stop herself and gauge the audience. Do they know she’s been raped? If yes, will they be able to handle the reference? If no, does she want to tell them? She is the most socially graceful person I know, but she practices in her head before she tells people. How to introduce it? How to strike the right note of seriousness without verging into the melodramatic? She doesn’t want to be seen as ‘the girl who was raped,’ but she does want people to know because it’s part of her personal experience, because there’s far too much silence already.
She doesn’t want pity. She just wants to talk about it. It is surprisingly difficult to procure this combination."
If you haven’t heard, Reddit posted a thread asking rapists to tell their side of the story (really) and then [HUGE TRIGGER WARNING ON THIS LINK] Jezebel thought an intelligent thing to do would be to post pieces of it and go, “We should listen to them and learn from this!”
Nope. No, I have no interest in learning from rapists.
The voices of rapists are ALREADY privileged in the discussion of rape and rape culture. They are listened to above their victims every single time. I’m not clear on why we should continue to NOT listen to victims and instead prioritize the stories of rapists over that, under the umbrella of some bullshit about “learning.” This STILL boils down to one thing: “My wants are more important than anything else.”
I get that the point here is supposed to be “Learn from what goes on here!” WHY? Why are we learning from THIS and not what HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS? These men are telling the same stories, just with the slant of “I did this, so absolve me, Reddit!”
I did not find any of these stories informative. I found them infuriating and upsetting to the point of literal nausea, not least because of the context in which they were offered (i.e. apologism) and because people are accepting these as a form of “learning.” I have learned absolutely nothing from this, nor do I see any take away other than what is already known in the feminist community.
Our culture encourages rape apologism and victim-blaming enough as it is. To prioritize the rapist’s “side” is nothing more than upholding that standard.
I don’t understand how in the world is this supposed to help combat rape culture. Because we understand the motivations of rapists, we can then curtail those motivations? On an individual level that essentially amounts to policing yourself and making yourself responsible for whether or not you are attacked, which is the absolute essence of rape culture. And as a society? Well, kyriarchy dictates that women are treated in such a way that rape culture exists. The entire dialogue needs to change from “don’t get raped” to “don’t rape,” and I have serious, serious doubts that the way to do that is to sit rapists down and go, “So why did you rape?”
They raped because our world tells them they are entitled to sex with women they want to have sex with. No counselor sitting them down and telling them that’s not true is going to get through to them, even when they’re young, if something about our society does not change. And I do not see the roots of that here. I see perpetuation of already-problematic cultural norms.
And frankly, do you know what I don’t care about? I don’t care about anyone’s “motivation” to rape someone else. We already KNOW those motivations. We as women hear them ALL THE TIME - “She was dressed like a slut! She flirted! She was drunk! She’d already hooked up with someone else! She was in my bed and didn’t say no!” We already fucking know!
I don’t care about the fact that they feel terrible or the fact that they thought better of it when they looked at their victim’s face and saw she was scared. I don’t care about how they felt in the moment, I don’t care about how they want to justify it, I don’t. Care. Because ultimately, the motivation doesn’t matter and it’s not teaching us anything that we don’t already know: men see women as objects, men who rape often know what they’re doing, and men who rape often aren’t strangers.
And what’s the take-away from this supposed to be? Don’t get drunk, don’t ever say a flirtatious or sexual thing if you don’t intend to have sex with the person you’re speaking to, and don’t trust anyone ever? That sounds exactly like rape culture to me.
For the record, I don’t think that nothing can be done to change rape culture. I think that a lot can be done, but listening to a bunch of rapists whine about how there’s a REASON they raped, guys, it’s not JUST about the victim is not one of them.
What’s most infuriating to me is that victims speak about these things all the time — but they’re ignored, and the second some circle-jerk of rape apologism gets posted on Reddit, it gets major media attention.
Of course it does. Male voices are the only ones that really matter, right?
[TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE]
The pictures above are from Project Unbreakable. Project Unbreakable was created in October of 2011 by an amazing woman named Grace Brown. In her own words, Grace “works with survivors of sexual assault, photographing them holding a poster with a quote from their attacker. Grace has photographed over a hundred people, and received over eight hundred submissions.” She has a really wonderful, short video about why she does the work that she does that I encourage you all to watch.
I was so incredibly moved by this project; the first time I stumbled upon it I instantly started crying. I selected a handful of really powerful photos that deeply resonated with me, and that I hope will resonate with others, too.
After some thought, I’ve decided that I want to become a part of this movement and help to shed light on the issue of sexual violence. Particularly, highlighting the fact that most rapes are committed by someone who is at least an acquaintance of the survivor, and I feel that these photos and perpetrator quotes communicate that message very effectively. So, with that said, here is my Project Unbreakable submission:
I’m not in a place yet where I feel comfortable showing my face, and I have to keep reminding myself that there is no shame in that. When I’m ready, I’m ready. And this still feels like a big step for me. I really appreciate Grace and Project Unbreakable for inspiring me to take this risk.
Because, fuck it, this blog isn’t all about the porn. Thank you for sharing. <3
Go Project Unbreakable. This is something I’ve been meaning to do, but I keep putting it off. Nonetheless, go OP for doing something I haven’t found the strength to do. This is a big step, and I hope all keeps getting better for you.
Read this whole article, please.
She rapes the rapist, “Hey, rape kind of rape do you think I should rape?” The rapist rapes, “Don’t ask rape! I’m just a rapist!”
Ha ha ha ha ha!
Welcome to a post about rape jokes.
Let me tell you a thing you might not know: the inability to hear rape “jokes” without flashbacks, Hulk rage, and “air quotes” is one of the enduring parting gifts of a rapist.
Here is how this goes:
It is a lovely summer day. You have some beers, and you and some friends are sitting on a front porch in the breeze and the sun, shooting the shit. You start talking about politics, and then the Army. You mention that you have considered joining the Army in the past, but won’t, because you can’t pledge loyalty to an organization that discriminates against gays (a round of agreement ensues, so hugely moral are we), and as a woman, you can’t reasonably aspire to join an organization that is far more likely to brutally rape you (and brutally cover it up) than the general population.
One of your friends says, “But isn’t that actually a benefit of the Army? Hur hur hur.” Oh, how you wish your friend were an ardent feminist, so you could interpret his comment as a dry observation of the brutal truth, framed humorously to prevent suicide all around. But no, you know he is making a funnay, the punchline being you and every woman you know.
Several options flash through your head.
- Say Nothing. Hope the conversation does not continue extolling the virtues of rape, making saying nothing harder. Hate yourself for saying nothing. Notice girl sitting on the porch of the house next to you who has heard what was said. Notice her similar reactions. Hate yourself more for saying nothing, because she has probably been raped, too, because you don’t know any woman who hasn’t. Hate your friend, because he doesn’t know that every woman he knows has been raped. Have minor flashbacks of what was done to you. No feeling the sun, the breeze now, just his hand on your shoulder to get leverage. Simmer with stopped-up rage that this thing he did, his hand on your shoulder, has just been joked about as fun and exciting. Simmer with stopped-up rage that you said nothing then, too, even though that’s not really true. You just said nothing that was listened to, deemed important. Like your silence and obvious rage is being ignored now. Stop enjoying the day. Stop enjoying the company of your friend. Make a mental note to withdraw from others before they can casually, “jokingly” remind you of your rape. Feel bad. It’s not like they know you were raped. Feel angry. It’s not like you’re ever going to tell them, now. Feel alone and angry. Assume bitterly that you will feel this way forever.
- Be Edgy! Jump in with some even MORE offensive humor! Run with the rape joke! Make it even more rape-y! Now your friend will never guess you have been raped. Bonus prize: if he ever finds out, he will respect you for not making a “big deal” out of your rape, for not making it the centerpiece of your life and his on a hot and lazy summer day. Settle in with the smug knowledge that you are not like those other broken, damaged, traumatized victims. Withdraw from “those” kinds of victims, who might try and drag you down into their hysteria with them. Throw them to the goddamn wolves. Throw your flashbacks to the goddamn wolves. Toast to rape!
- Initiate a Very Serious Conversation, out of nowhere, like. Tell your friend that joke was not funny. Tell him rape is never funny. Keep talking after his face has pinched up in resentment and disgust, because you are RUINING his day and his BEER and his FUNNY. You know you are actually ruining his sense of himself as a good and decent person, but you cannot communicate that to him, because he is smug and disengaged, and you are shaking and stuttering and trying to explain the experience of women to a man who has grown up among women, known women, loved women, and somehow doesn’t know this already, which means he doesn’t want to know, doesn’t care. Feel vulnerable. Feel angry that you feel vulnerable. Consider stopping mid-sentence, getting up, and walking away. Promise yourself that after this you will never speak to this friend again. Immediately break the promise, because you know if you don’t, he will tell everybody that you stopped being friends because you are Andrea Dworkin all of a sudden.
- Initiate A Very Serious Conversation Version II: Follow version one, except also disclose to your friend (who thinks rape is funny and exciting) that you have been raped. Be surprised, all over again, that this does not immediately change his perspective, the way it changed yours. Realize that to him, rape is conceptual, even when it has really happened, even when it is real. Wonder if he has raped, without knowing it, because it was just a concept. Realize you now wonder this about every man. Are you Andrea Dworkin? Do you have any right to ruin this lovely summer day by dumping your rape on everybody? Did he? After this, will he now tell everybody that you FREAKED OUT just because you were apparently “RAPED” and you can’t GET OVER IT when it was just a JOKE, SERiously? Will everybody know you have been raped? Will everybody think you are a humorless rape-bot from now on? Feel like shit afterwards. Be reminded that you cannot trust anybody, now. Because you were raped. Because you are Andrea Dworkin. Because you didn’t prosecute. The reasons don’t matter anymore; the result is the same. You are Angry About Being Raped, which just compounds the stain of Being Raped. Add in Unable To Take a Joke, and you are officially Female.
- Find Some Other Way. Can’t count on this one; sometimes an alternative pops into your head, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you manage to say “Rape is funny!” and laugh away in such a sarcastic, biting voice that it communicates everything you wanted to say, and you all move on. Or you do what I did, which was threaten to break my beer bottle on the railing and stab my friend in the fucking neck with it if he didn’t shut his fucking maw. Ha ha! I said. A joke! Not really, man. Ha! Am I kidding? Am I? Fun-nay. The simmering rage remains, the distrust, the wondering if you should speak to this person ever again, the flashbacks. But the day moves forward rather than grinding to a screeching halt.
tw: rape, abuse, rape culture
I think it was a post last year- this girl had been raped, so her mother went out and gunned down her rapist. I remember a lot of the comments regarding to the case where the mother was labelled as an extremist, and even due to my own personal experiences I found myself conflicted but I didn’t know why
but then I realised something, that many other victims/ survivors of abuse or rape will realise in their lives
- abusers and rapist always come back
- they always come back to harm you
- it gives them power and it gives them control
- and the act of harming you and reducing you to to the most concentrated form of fear and vulnerability reaffirms that power
- and that we have a system that does more to protect rapists and abusers than it does to protect those who have been raped and abuse
That mother was right for shooting down the man who raped her child. He would have come back and she knew he would.
When you have a system that does nothing to punish those who harm but those who suffer, I support taking things into your own hands. I support doing everything in your power to protect yourself from never getting touched by the people who have the audacity to defile you in anyway possible.
Extremism isn’t shooting down a person will come back to harm you. Extremism isn’t harming a person who even jokes about raping
Extremism is the culture we have created where we joke/ erase the actions of rapists and abusers to the point of even thinking that they deserve some sort of protection, while the people they hurt continue on with no support
Extremism is the culture we have created where the experiences or people who are abused or raped are ignored or belittles
I’ll say it once more, that girl who punched a fucker down for joking about rape was a far more kinder person than i could have been, and if that’s what you call extremism, then you ought to watch your back for the next time you threaten to rape or make a rape joke
all of this
can we also talk about how when men take revenge violently it’s treated completely differently— there are a million shitty movies about Big Strong White Dudes ~avenging their raped daughters and / or wives (Taken, The Last House on the Left, etc) and because the narratives are just an extension of the idea that men own women’s bodies (the issue isn’t that a woman was raped, it’s that his woman was raped) they’re celebrated and the male hero is celebrated
whereas when a woman does the same thing for herself or for another woman it’s suddenly not allowed (yes obvs there’s also a shift when it’s fiction vs reality but that is so not the only issue here)
trigger warning for hate crimes, rape
In 2004, lesbian activist FannyAnn Eddy was brutally murdered in Sierra Leone in her office building a few months after returning from a meeting with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The details surrounding her death are horrific: evidence revealed that her throat was cut, her tongue and eyes were removed and she was raped. Although the motives of Eddy’s assailant(s) are sketchy, her untimely death shook the African LGBT community, and left her partner and son without a spouse and mother.
[trigger warning for rape, starvation]
A soldier and a local girl share a chocolate bar and cigarettes, 1946.
The CC for December 5, 1945 reported “the American provost marshal, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald F. Beane, said that rape presents no problem for the military because a bit of food, a bar of chocolate, or a bar of soap seem to make rape unnecessary. Think that over, if you want to understand the situation in Germany.” The Weekly Review of London, for October 25, 1945, described it thus: “Young girls, unattached, wander about and freely ‘offer’ themselves for food or bed. …very simply, they have one thing left to sell, and they sell it… …as a way of dying it may be worse than starvation, but it will put off dying for months — or even years.”
Ah, okay, I am 10000% for raising awareness about rape as relates to the military and militarization, and about issues of race and erasure and imperialism, especially re: the “good war” of American history
can we maybe not attach such commentary to this kind of photograph? It just feels really icky to me; we don’t know if this woman was ever raped, we don’t know if this was a consensual relationship, and slapping the word rape onto this photograph really removes her agency and threatens her personhood.
Yes, everything the commentary describes is and was a huge problem. Yes, people need to be more aware of that. No, we cannot use this woman as a face for the issue without her consent or knowledge of her situation.
tw for slavery, rape
Big surprise, Michelle Obama gets her DNA tested and finds distant white relatives descendent from the Plantation that owned her family. But of course, the New York Times writes an article about how hard it is for the relatives to deal with the fact that they’re decedent from slave owners.
The best part is where they try to assume that the relationship HAD to be consensual:
Melvinia was a teenager, perhaps around 15, when she gave birth to her biracial son. Charles was about 20.
Such forbidden liaisons across the racial divide inevitably bring to mind the story of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.
I love it when slavery is painted to be some kind of southern love story.
Melvinia was not a privileged house slave like Sally. She was illiterate and no stranger to laboring in the fields. She had more biracial children after the Civil War, giving some of the white Shieldses hope that her relationship with Charles was consensual.
or that she was forced to have sex with the men of the plantation over and over…
The rest of the article just goes into how sad the family is to learn that they used to own slaves and how they *hope* their great grandfather wasn’t a rapist.
(trigger warning for rape, incest, molestation)
Declaring that “life must always be protected”, a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.
Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told reporters that although the girl fell pregnant after apparently being abused by her stepfather, her twins had, “the right to live, and could not be eliminated”.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, the cardinal added: “It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons. Life must always be protected.”
Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.
The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl’s mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday’s emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed “a heinous crime”, the Church took the view that “the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious”.
The case has set off fierce debate in Brazil, where abortion is permitted only in cases of rape or a medical emergency. Brazil is one of the most populous Catholic countries, but conservative attitudes in rural areas are strongly at odds with the relatively progressive public view of abortion in major cities.
Even the President, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, has waded into the row. “As a Christian and a Catholic, I deeply regret that a bishop of the Catholic Church has such a conservative attitude,” he said “The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old. In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church.”
One of the doctors involved in the abortion, Rivaldo Albuquerque, has raised the prospect of public clashes at his local church, telling Globo, the nation’s main TV network, that he would keep going to mass there, regardless of the archbishop’s order. The young girl at the centre of the case escaped excommunication only because she is still a child in the eyes of Church authorities. The stepfather, who is 23, was arrested last week, apparently trying to escape to another region of the country. Police say he is also suspected of abusing the girl’s handicapped 14-year-old sister. He is in protective custody, and if convicted faces up to 15 years in prison.
Surprised they didn’t force the young girl to marry her rapist, but I suppose that’s only because he was already married to her mother.
The Vatican and everyone in it needs to burn.
I’ve blogged about this story before, but yeah. A stepfather molested his young stepdaughter, and she became pregnant with twins. At age 9. N-I-N-E. That’s basically the definition of “babies having babies.” Her mother found doctors willing to terminate the pregnancy, and they were all excommunicated. But not the stepfather. Because sexually abusing living, actual children is totally cool - the Catholic Church has proved that on multiple occasions - but preventing a nine-year-old from giving birth to her stepfather’s children conceived in rape is worthy of excommunication.
Among the problems Nabokov’s Lolita poses for the book designer, probably the thorniest is the popular misconception of the title character. She’s chronically miscast as a teenage sexpot—just witness the dozens of soft-core covers over the years. “We are talking about a novel which has child rape at its core,” says John Bertram, an architect and blogger who, three years ago, sponsored a Lolita cover competition asking designers to do better.
Now the contest is being turned into a book, due out in June and coedited by Yuri Leving, with essays on historical cover treatments along with new versions by 60 well-known designers, two-thirds of them women: Barbara deWilde, Jessica Helfand, Peter Mendelsund, and Jennifer Daniel, to name a few. They don’t shy away from frank sexuality, but they add layers of darkness and complication. And like Jamie Keenan’s cover—a claustrophobic room that morphs into a girl in her underwear—they provoke without asking readers to abdicate their responsibility.
I really love this. I love design that takes this kind of stuff into consideration.
Update 4/17/12: After more than three weeks in juvenile detention, the victim has been released with a GPS ankle bracelet. She is scheduled to appear in court on April 23.
In Sacramento, a county judge has taken “victim-blaming” to a whole new level, ordering that a rape victim be jailed while awaiting the trial of her rapist.
The 17-year-old had failed to appear for two previous court dates to testify against Frank William Rackley, 37, who is accused of abducting and raping her and is believed to be a serial rapist. Judge Lawrence Brown claimed to be “terribly sorry” about the position the young woman is in, but his sympathy didn’t stop him from ordering that she remain in a juvenile detention center until April 23, Rackley’s next trial date.
Rape trials are notoriously traumatic for victims; frequently, the attempts to discredit a rape victim’s credibility and character leads her to feel that she is actually the one on trial. Victims’ fear of further violations they will receive at the hands of the justice system—from inappropriate and irrelevant questions about their sexual histories to accusations that they are simply lying—is undoubtedly one of the many reasons why rape is already one of the most underreported crimes, with only 46 percent reported to police and only a small fraction of those ultimately going to trial. And it is highly likely that fear is precisely what prevented this young victim from showing up for two previous court dates. But rather than striving to create an environment in which she could testify comfortably and safely, Judge Brown decided to take punitive action against her instead.
It is difficult to imagine the victims of any other crimes being made to feel that they are at fault for their own victimization. Imagine a lawyer claiming that a person was “asking” to be robbed because he lived in an attractive home. Or a judge deciding that because an individual had previously allowed friends to borrow his car, he had no right to complain when his car was stolen. Yet this kind of victim-blaming is commonplace when women come forward to report sexual violence and find themselves facing interrogations about their attire, sexual histories and behavior.
It is reasonable for judges and prosecutors to be concerned about women refusing to testify against rapists; such testimony is obviously vital in bringing perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. But if we wish to give more victims the courage to come forward, the solution is certainly not to threaten them with incarceration. The only way more survivors of sexual violence will be empowered to seek justice is if we create a culture and a legal system that do not engage in victim shaming. Women need to be able to speak out about sexual violence without fear that she’ll be blamed, ridiculed and disbelieved. A culture in which victims are silenced by fear and shame is one in which sexual violence can continue to occur with impunity. By imprisoning a victim, Judge Brown has done nothing to encourage women to testify against perpetrators of sexual violence. Instead, he has added the threat of jail time to the list of reasons why women might be too frightened to report sexual assault in the first place.
This is really well-written and for the most part I agree, but can we please not get in the habit of gendering our generalizations into female survivors and male rapists? It’s inaccurate and damaging.
TRIGGER WARNING for rape and suicide
This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: Calls for the reform of Morocco’s penal code were sparked over the weekend as news spread of a teenage girl who had committed suicide after being compelled to marry her rapist.
In Morocco, a rapist can “opt out” of a prison term by marrying his victim, so long as the victim and their family agree. Despite this clause, many say victims are often strong-armed into marriages they want no part of.
16-year-old Amina Filali’s father, Lahcen, blamed the marriage on pressure from the courts. “The prosecutor advised my daughter to marry,” he told the online news site goud.ma. “He said: ‘Go and make the marriage contract’.”
According to Amina’s mother, the girl complained on more than one occasion that her husband/rapist was beating her, but was advised to be patient. On Saturday, Amina could no longer take the abuse, and made the decision to end her own life by swallowing rat poison.
Moroccan woman, galvanized by Amina’s tragic death, have taken to the streets and launched petitions to demand that criminal law be changed to make it explicit that rapists cannot be allowed to marry their victims.
Moroccan law is known for being relatively female-friendly, compared with the rest of North Africa. Despite this, nearly two-third of all Moroccan women experience violence in their lifetimes, and many attorneys are ignorant of recent pro-women reforms, such as the raising of the marriage age from 15 to 18.
And until you’ve been raped, you don’t really wake up and see how much rape is out there for the casual consumer. You didn’t really hear those offhand comments when walking down the street – “oh, you know she totally made that up for attention” – you didn’t really notice that the sex scene in Blade Runner actually really looks like a fucking rape scene, you didn’t really hear how the TV news focuses on what she was wearing, and calls it “sex,” and digs for details about where and how he penetrated her, when you don’t really need to know that, do you? And you don’t realize how many of the people you know and love do not take rape seriously, because they have been sucking up all the same TV shows and movies you do, and they don’t think they know a real person who has been raped. Of course, some of them you might tell, and they can accept that, accept the secondary trauma, begin to start thinking of you whenever they see a rape in a movie, hear of one on the news, hear a rape joke. Or they can disqualify you as a real person. Guess which one happens most."