Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Silence Is the Enemy’ Category

I know I should have stopped after the last post. I really should have just left it alone. I should have published that post and never gone back to Male Chauvinist Woman’s blog, but for some reason I seek out stuff that hurts my brain. Oh boy, did I find some truly brain-breaking material.

These two posts seem to be a reply to yesterday’s post. One of them is a PSA informing me that:

If you take off your panties and get into bed with a man, he will conclude that you want to have sex with him. Counterintuitive, I know, but there ya go.

So, anytime a woman not wearing a chastity belt gets in bed with a man she can expect to wake up with his penis in her vagina? Seriously, this has not been the experience of my friends and me.

Two heterosexual people of the opposite sex have been known to sleep in the same bed, sometimes even nude, and not end up having sex. Really it’s not magic; it’s simply two people agreeing that since one, or both, of them isn’t interested in sex tonight that there won’t be sex. Unless, of course, you believe that a man’s penis completely takes over his brain whenever he see a great pair of tits and ass. (…this, by the way, is from the same mind that concludes women are irrational.)

In a reply to Hex*, MCW brings up many a man’s objection to the confusing signals modern women send to men [/sarcasm]:

So if a woman took off her panties, got into your bed and rubbed up against you, meanwhile breathing, “No,” into your ear, you claim that wouldn’t be a mixed signal? I pity the women who actually want to sleep with you; what do they have to do, put it on a billboard?

Actually, all it really takes is the woman saying “Yes, I want to have sex” and the man feeling sure of her sincerity. Seriously, asking and waiting until she clearly states that she want to have sex isn’t difficult. I know it’ll completely ruin people’s romanticized version of hot, rough sex filled with violence, but frankly I don’t care for it unless there’s clear consent and a safeword involved.


*He now has his own blog. GO. READ. He’s a better writer than I am.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m not quite sure if adding “feminism” to my Google Alerts was a good idea. On the one hand, I get awesome articles occasionally. On the other hand, I occasionally get articles which are not so awesome.

I wouldn’t have bothered clicking— the words “Female Misogynist” are so rarely a good sign— but the half-sentence blurb included a referece to Isis the Scientist, so I was curious. I clicked; I read; I facepalmed. Then I went over to Learn Hexadecimal’s house and shared the horror. When he learned that comments on that blog are moderated, he acquiesced to co-write this post with me, which is why this post contains words like “acquiesced”.

Warning: Discussion of rape

Things that are wrong with the linked article: where do we start? The title certainly isn’t promising. Why feminists claim rape has no connection to sex. It’s always nice to analyze people who disagree with you in the aggregate, so that there’s no possibility that the object of your musings will come along and say “Actually, you’re wrong. That’s not what I was thinking at all.”

Dear “Male Chauvinist Woman”, on behalf of feminists everywhere: actually, you’re wrong. That’s not what we were thinking at all. And your name distresses the hell out of me.

That issue aside, the title is also more than a little disingenuous. When feminists argue that rape isn’t about sex, that’s not to say there’s no connection between the two concepts. There obviously is, it’s ridiculous to assert that there isn’t, and nobody is making any such assertion.

The assertion we are making is that sex is not the point of rape. We are trying to get rid of the stubborn myth that somewhere out there are hundreds, thousands, millions of men who just cannot control their own penises. It should be just as disingenuous to explain this idea; it should be just as disingenuous to say that we’re battling the falsehood that says rapists are drawn to attractive women by a magnetism so strong that it makes them temporarily forget how to masturbate.

It should be, but it isn’t, because there are people who actually think this.

Observe:

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of feminists (Isis the Scientist is one example, the Errant Wife is another) shrilly insisting that women should be able to wear provocative clothing without having men ogle them, or that women whoring around will not inspire violence.

If that ain’t a problematic opening paragraph, I don’t know what is. “Shrilly”? What is the purpose of this word? What are you trying to accomplish with it, Male Chauvinist Woman? According to every dictionary Google has found me, it means high-pitched. This is the Internet, ma’am; there is no pitch. Unless, of course, you live in a world where all feminists speak (and, apparently, type) in squeaky little chipmunk voices, because if you don’t like someone’s message, they were obviously saying it wrong.

I don’t like your message, but I have so far resisted the temptation to do a dramatic reading of your post in the style of Foamy the Squirrel. Please extend us the same courtesy.

As near as Marbles and I can figure, this is what the esteemed Dr. Isis sounds like when she is being “shrill”. We’re not really seeing the Foamy here.

Moving right along: apparently, MCW has figured out why we’re making these “extraordinary claims”. But before she tells us the nature of her epiphany, she’s going to talk about a book she read. An “awesome” book.

One point he makes is that men will do pretty much anything else you can imagine for sex, why wouldn’t they use force?

…I’m beginning to doubt the awesomeness of this book. Men will do pretty much anything you can imagine for sex? Will we really? I sense the Myth of the Uncontrollable PenisTM approaching. Let me tell you, penises are not uncontrollable. Anyone here ever been really, really hungry? Skipped a few too many meals and then all of a sudden discovered your stomach still existed after all, and it wasn’t happy with your neglectful habits? Did you immediately go out and assault the first person you saw who happened to be carrying a delicious sandwich? The same principle applies.

There are exceptions. I slightly know a fat, homely, middle-aged woman who was raped last year. The culprit has apparently raped other women of similarly low attractiveness. Why does he target this type of woman? I have no idea. This guy is the exception, though. Most rapists target fertile women.

Lots and lots of things are wrong with this paragraph, but I’d like to draw attention to the word fertile, because it is the one that bewilders me most. Have some statistics: in 2007, over half (58%) of sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, with children under 12 accounting for 25%. Does that sound fertile to you? Didn’t think so.

There’s a digression here about “deranged liberal egalitarianism”, but Marbles tells me we’re not touching that.

Then, at last, MCW’s theory of feminist reasoning is revealed.

Feminists need to separate sex from rape because that’s the only way they can defend women’s “right” to sashay around in provocative clothing, including late at night in bad neighborhoods.

Scare quotes around the word “right”. Did I just see that? I did, didn’t I.

Yes, Male Chauvinist Woman. You’re right. Feminists believe that in an ideal world, we would all be able to sashay (seriously?) around in whatever the fuck clothing we felt like, in whatever the fuck neighbourhoods we pleased. We also believe that in reality, which is very much not ideal, a woman who chooses to thusly sashay is not responsible for the actions of anyone who chooses to assault her while she’s at it. And unlike you, we actually believe this.

Does a woman who does that deserve to get raped? Absolutely not. Is it a high probability that she will be? Yes, it is.

An analogy: suppose that when I go into the grocery store, I leave my wallet, with fifty-dollar bills sticking out of it, on the seat of my car. Do I deserve to have that wallet stolen? Of course not. Would anybody be at all surprised or sympathetic if someone did steal it? Of course not.

Basically, feminists want women relieved of all responsibility.

So what you’re saying is that you don’t believe women are responsible for their rape, you just… believe that women are responsible for their rape. And apparently that your hypothetical self is responsible for having her hypothetical wallet hypothetically stolen, and apparently that a woman’s bodily autonomy is worth n*50 dollars of your hypothetical money, where n is an integer greater than one and less than the number of bills that can plausibly be stuffed into a single wallet. I don’t think that analogy means what you think it means.

Rape is not theft.

They tell women they have a “right” to do foolhardy things, then insist that there’s no connection between, say, provocative clothing and rape. Does a woman have a “right” to wear a miniskirt and halter top? Of course she does. Does such attire make her more likely to be raped if she’s not careful where she goes and with whom? Of course it does.

This myth is even worse than the Uncontrollable PenisTM. The Uncontrollable PenisTM is risible, that is, you can laugh at it. It’s funny. The underlying principle implied by the words “and with whom” here is not funny at all.

71.9% of rapes are committed by a non-stranger. That includes roughly 7% relatives, 27% friends, and 26% casual acquaintances; the numbers given at the link don’t quite line up straight, but I’m not going to argue with the US Department of Justice’s statistics.

71.9%. Seven out of ten.

It doesn’t matter how careful you are. It doesn’t matter how modestly you dress, or how early you draw your self-imposed curfew, or how thoroughly you restrict which neighbourhoods you walk in. There is no magic formula that will protect you, because— and I cannot express how much it pains me to have to spell this out— the victim does not choose to make rape happen. The attacker does. And seven times out of ten, they choose to attack someone they already know.

I wish I could say that the fail in this post stopped here, but alas. Much like a used diaper dropped from a height, it just keeps accelerating until you reach splat. In this case, right now, splat is merely a smudge on the horizon.

Anyway, I remember a couple of articles they published about rape. In one, a woman related that a man she had been “dating casually” showed up at her apartment unannounced. He started kissing her. She says she was “too frightened” to stop him or protest, even though she admitted that he didn’t threaten her in any way. She lay passively letting him have his way with her. Afterwards, he said, “That would’ve been better if you had, you know, got into it.” She finished, “It was years before I realized that it was RAPE! Sex to any unwilling partner is rape!” Well, how the hell was he supposed to know she was unwilling? Feminists had at that point spent years telling the world that women wanted to have active sex lives just like men!

Active sex lives… passively letting him have his way with her…

Another article: after a date, a woman invited the man into her apartment. While she was pouring some wine, he came up behind her and started kissing her. She said something like, “Don’t, I’ll spill the wine.” He said, “Let it spill,” and embraced her. She submitted without any further protest. She too took years to decide that this was rape.

While Googling around for things to link to, we ran across a phrase that summarized this problem perfectly: non-dissent. Not dissenting isn’t the same thing as assenting.

“How the hell was he supposed to know she was unwilling?” Here’s a novel idea: he could ask. And if he can’t get a clear answer, or if he has reason to doubt her sincerity, he could not have sex. There is no problem of the form “but how could he be sure he wasn’t raping her?” that is not solved by these two basic principles: (1) communicate openly, and (2) when in doubt, don’t fuck.

Oh, but it gets better. And by better, I mean worse.

Yet another, hauntingly remniscent of the Mike Tyson case, though this guy was far more guilty than Mike: a co-ed spent the night in bed with her college boyfriend. She was wearing a short nightgown and no underwear. She had told him repeatedly that she wasn’t going to have sex with him. Before they went to sleep, he kept moving his hands up her thighs and she kept telling him to stop. Then she went to sleep. She woke up when he penetrated her. She screamed. He kept on. Now, I suppose this one does qualify as rape, but this woman was behaving with incredible stupidity. (Thankfully, one letter to the editor did point this out.) He behaved wrongly, but really. What was this woman thinking? Did she really think that she could spend the night in bed with a man who had made it clear that he wanted to have sex with her, wearing a shortie nightgown, and still be a virgin in the morning? See, all those hidebound rules about how nice girls behave around boys – i.e., not spending the night in bed with them without any underwear on – was to protect stupid bimbos, and the hapless males they date, from exactly this sort of thing. I doubt this young man believed he was committing rape. She was sending out extremely mixed signals, and he was a college-age male flush with hormones.

That paragraph is a bit of a beast, so I’m just going to pick out the relevant parts:

She had told him repeatedly that she wasn’t going to have sex with him. Before they went to sleep, he kept moving his hands up her thighs and she kept telling him to stop. Then she went to sleep. She woke up when he penetrated her. She screamed. He kept on.

I doubt this young man believed he was committing rape. She was sending out extremely mixed signals, and he was a college-age male flush with hormones.

Splat. Ladies and gentlemen, the diaper has hit the pavement.

Like the title of this post says, “no” is not a mixed signal. “I’m not going to have sex with you” is not a mixed signal. Screaming is not a mixed goddamn signal. As Marbles puts it, anyone who ignores all three should have his penis permit revoked. When in doubt, don’t fuck. It’s not that difficult.

(By the way, it case it wasn’t extraordinarily obvious already: any uses of first-person pronouns past the second paragraph should be taken to mean that I, Hex, am talking out of my hexagonal ass. Where Marbles has input, I use “we” or her name.)

Read Full Post »

On this part of the blogosphere there’s been a lot of discussion about rape*, but similar conversations are also happening elsewhere. Pyth linked me to an LJ post On Rape and Men**, which calls decent guys out for not talking to other guys about being decent. You really ought to read the comments where women and some men talk about their experiences with/being That Guy. You know, the guy that doesn’t take advantage of a drunk or vulnerable woman or the guy who prevents his frat buddies from raping a women. These are the types of stories men need to tell other men rather than ignoring or making excuses for your friends’/coworkers’/etc. dangerous atittudes toward rape.

But don’t expect cookies or admiration from us because this isn’t about being a great guy, it’s about doing the decent thing.

*While we’re at it go click through the blogs donating as part of the Silence is the Enemy
campaign

**There’s an crossposted version here

Read Full Post »

I’ve never experienced sexual assault. That makes me lucky. Many woman aren’t as lucky. In particular, women in many war torn areas live with the reality that rape is used to as a weapon in war and even when the fighting is done the rape culture still persists.

Ignoring this is not an option, which is why Sheril Kirshenbaum writes the following:

Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why? Because they are our sisters and children–the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you–bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens–to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

In regions where fighting has formally ended, rape continues to be used as a weapon. As Nicholas Kristof recently wrote from West Africa, ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’ The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months. Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors Without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under. We read about their plight and see the figures, but it’s so easy to feel helpless to act in isolation. But these are not statistics, they are girls. Together we can do more. Mass rape persists because of inertia so let’s create momentum.

The movement began a couple weeks ago after I was feeling particularly outraged after reading Kristof’s terrific NYTimes piece. I wondered aloud to Isis how we might draw attention to the mass rape taking place across the globe. Very soon we began coordinating a blogospheric awareness campaign to say 1) this is happening 2) it’s completely monstrous, and 3) we want change. But acknowledgment isn’t enough–people have to be motivated to care and act. We want folks thinking about these girls beyond a single morning they read a few coordinated posts.

If you haven’t already read her post go do so NOW. And while you’re at it browse through the following blogs who are donating their June profits (based on site hits) to Doctors Without Borders:

Read Full Post »