The segment, in general, didn’t do CNN any favors. While they’re not necessarily rooting for the rapists, even the slightest bit of sympathy didn’t go over well, especially once it was lumped together with all of the outrageously offensive reactions of true Steubenville rapist sympathizers. Sarcastic example tweet: “The Steubenville story is all too familiar. Be responsible for your actions ladies before your drunken decisions ruin innocent lives.” Sincere example tweet: “So you got drunk at a party and two people take advantage of you,that’s not rape you’re just a loose drunk slut.” Of course, cases like the Steubenville rape trial can be polarizing, and we’ve long known how distorted some notions of justice can be.
Read more. [Image: CNN]
First you’re taught to fear a phantom, a man in black, a man with a knife, a man who’ll pounce in dark alleys. Well-intentioned women—mothers, aunts, teachers—will train you to protect yourself: Don’t wear your hair in a ponytail; it’s easier to grab. Hold your keys in one hand; hold your pepper spray in the other. Avoid dark alleys. When you reach young adulthood, the lessons change. They acquire an undertone of disgust: Don’t drink so much. Don’t wear such short skirts. You’re sending mixed signals; you’re putting yourself at risk. If you follow the advice and it never happens—if you end up one of the three out of four—you can convince yourself that safety is a product of your own making, a reflection of inherent goodness. But if you’re paying attention, you realize something doesn’t add up. Because it keeps happening: to your sisters; to your friends; to little girls and grown women you’ll never meet, in places like Cleveland, Texas; Steubenville, Ohio; New Delhi. Good people, bad people, neutral. It keeps happening in TV shows and novels and movies—they open on the missing girl, the dead girl, the raped girl. If you’re paying attention, you begin to realize that it isn’t happening. It is being done. And you are not safe. You have never been safe. You were born with a bulls-eye on your back. All you have ever been is lucky.
This gave me chills. DId it give you chills? It gave me chills.(via feminishblog)
[TW: Sexual Assault, rape culture, victim blaming]
His lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn’t even seem to notice. His mouth was soft, despite the anger, his lips molding to mine in a warm, unfamiliar way.
I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing again. He seemed to notice this time, though, and it aggravated him. His lips forced mine open, and I could feel his hot breath in my mouth.
Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t feel… just waited for him to stop.
Twilight: Eclipse p. 331 (Bella and Jacob’s first kiss)
This is rape culture.
Young women are taught to think of this passage - which describes sexual assault - as erotic. Young men are taught to force their will on young women, regardless of any (non)verbal cues, because sex is conquest and women are objects - not something to be done between two consenting individuals because it’s pleasurable for both people.
The most frightening thing about this excerpt is that many survivors of sexual assault who have disclosed to me describe stories that sound exactly like this one.
tumblr user clockward submitted this to us. read at your leisure.
The lines before that:
He still had my chin—his fingers holding too tight, till it hurt—and I saw the resolve form abruptly in his eyes.
“N—-” I started to object, but it was too late.
And after he assaulted her she punched him in the face but due to his “super human strength” she broke her hand, said “Don’t touche me!” and then:
“Just let me drive you home,” Jacob insisted. Unbelievably, he had the nerve to wrap his arm around my waist.
I jerked away from him.
When he got in the driver’s side, he was whistling.
AND THEN while he was driving:
“…There is so much I can give you that he can’t. I’ll bet he couldn’t even kiss you like that—-because he would hurt you. I would never, never hurt you, Bella.”
I held up my injured hand.
He sighed. “That wasn’t my fault. You should have known better.”
He grinned over at me. “You kissed me back.”
I gasped, unthinkingly balling my hands up into fists again, hissing when my broken hand reacted.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I did not.”
“I think I can tell the difference.”
“Obviously you can’t——that was not kissing back, that was trying to get you the hell off me, you idiot.”
He laughed a low, throaty laugh. “Touchy. Almost overly defensive, I would say.
I took a deep breath. There was no point in arguing with him; he would twist anything I said.
Then when she gets home, to where her father, Charlie, the police officer, is:
“Why did she hit you?”
“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.
“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.
I didn’t read the citation first. I read the quote. I thought I was reading a woman’s account of how she was about to be raped, not a fucking passage from a romance novel.
Imagine you’re at a party. A guy offers you a drink. You say no. He says “Come on, one drink!” You say “no thanks.” Later, he brings you a soda. “I know you said you didn’t want a drink, but I was getting one for myself and you looked thirsty.” For you to refuse at this point makes you the asshole. He’s just being nice, right? Predators use the social contract and our own good hearts and fear of being rude against us. If you drink the drink, you’re teaching him that it just takes a little persistence on his part to overcome your “no.” If you say “Really, I appreciate it, but no thanks” and put the drink down and walk away from it, you’re the one who looks rude in that moment. But the fact is, you didn’t ask for the drink and you don’t want the drink and you don’t have to drink it just to make some guy feel validated.
I love this post SO MUCH.
Oh wow. I love this
Yet even the angriest of men, the most disempowered, would stop short of sexual assault if not for the culture of silence among his peers. Transgressing boundaries, ignoring a woman when she says no, or doesn’t say yes, or is too drunk to know what exactly is happening to her - this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, one guy and one girl. There are often bystanders whose silence might easily be mistaken for approval.
Usually the bystander absolves himself of any complicity. ‘Hey, don’t look at me,’ he shouts in protest, ‘I never raped anybody.’ And he’s usually right. But neither did her intervene at a party when it seemed clear that someone was about to be raped. Nor did he refrain from spreading the rumor about some girl who got ‘trained’ or gang banged, nor say to anyone that he thought such behavior was gross and wrong, let along illegal.
Rather, here is what he is more likely to say:
‘Girls are continually fed drinks of alcohol. It’s mainly to party by my roomies are also aware of the inhibition-lowering effects. I’ve seen an old roomie block doors when girls want to leave his room; and other times I’ve driven women home who can’t remember much of an evening yet sex did occur. Rarely if ever has a night of drinking for my roommate ended without sex. I know it isn’t necessarily and assuredly sexual assault, but with the amount of liquor in the house, I question the amount of consent a lot.’
That’s one guy’s description of a party at his fraternity house. He questions it, but doesn’t ever have a chat with his roommate, nor does he intervene if he thinks there is the possibility of assault. This is where the dynamics of Guyland are in plan view: Bros before Hos.
--Guyland by Michael Kimmel page 229-230 (via bajo-el-mar)
These rape protesters in India might be our new favorite people. They’re reacting to widespread comments about skirts being the cause of rape, seriously.
Let’s get something straight, the only thing responsible for rape is a rapist, if you’re blaming a woman’s clothes for her rape you’re clueless.
[TW: rape] Boys who allegedly drug a girl and then rape her, kidnap her, rape her again, photograph her, photograph her rape, urinate on her then create videos boasting about it, do it because they are fearless and entitled. (I wrote that sentence out deliberately because I’m sick of seeing “she was raped” — like she was an agent in her assault or that there was no real perpetrator.) These boys were not taught, by fully culpable adults, that these actions are morally repugnant crimes against humanity. Because we laugh about rape and mock people who object. Girls who witnessed these events don’t speak up because they have no faith they won’t be next, they have no confidence they will be believed, they’ve learned to internalize the contempt our culture has for them. After all, we teach our children that it’s acceptable for boys to be protected from shaming and punishment after they’ve sexually assaulted, and to attend schools where there are ‘rape factories’ and where frat boys play games like ‘who would you rape.’
--Soraya Chemaly, “Rape Has a Purpose” (via littlebumgorf)
(Source: The Huffington Post)
When Stuyvesant says that women’s dress and bodies are distraction in a learning environment, for example, what they’re really saying is that they’re distracting to male students. The default student we are concerned about - the student whose learning we want to ensure is protected - is male. Never mind how “distracting” it is to be pulled from class, humiliated, and made to change outfits - publicly degrading young women is small price to pay to make sure that a boy doesn’t have to suffer through the momentary distraction of glancing at a girl’s legs. When this dentist in Iowa can fire his assistant for turning him on - even though she’s done absolutely nothing wrong - the message again is that it’s men’s ability to work that’s important.
And when rape victims are blamed for the crime committed against them, the message is the same: This is something that happened to the perpetrator, who was driven to assault by a skirt, or a date, or the oh-so-sexy invitation of being passed out drunk. Women have infringed on their right to exist without being turned on. (Ta-Nehisi Coates describes this centering of male sexual vulnerability quite well.) Our very presence is a disruption of the male status quo.
--From my latest at The Nation, “Asking For It” (via jessicavalenti)