Posts Tagged sexual abuse
The incinerator hasn’t even cooled off from cremating Rehtaeh Parsons’s body, and now we hear of yet another girl who has committed suicide because some boys raped her, took pictures, and the Internet joined in treating her like shit.
Eight days after allegedly being sexually battered while passed out at a party, and then humiliated by online photos of the assault, 15-year-old Audrie Pott posted on Facebook that her life was ruined, “worst day ever,” and hanged herself.
“The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and to make sure that those responsible would be held accountable,” said family attorney Robert Allard.
“After an extensive investigation that we have conducted on behalf of the family, there is no doubt in our minds that the victim, then only 15 years old, was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious.”
Allard said students used cell phones to share photos of the attack, and that the images went viral.
You know what the onslaught of stories like this makes me feel?
Vicious, maniacal, bloodthirsty glee, in looking forward to a fresh round of supposedly well-meaning Netizens talking about what the girl should have done differently, and how of course no one should be raped, but this wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t gone to the party, or had so much to drink, or associated with those boys, or, or, or…
I am so looking forward to tearing all those people apart.
By the time this one cools off—and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more teen suicides following rape and online humiliation in the meantime—my teeth will be so sharp.
Bring on the victim-blaming, muthafuckas! You will all be my chew toys!
I am very sorry to hear about this case of sexual assault in Toronto:
Over the weekend a young man came forward to the police to file a report of a sexual assault that occurred early on March 31. The 19 year old told police that he had been out and upon leaving a club in Toronto’s Entertainment District he was offered a ride from four women. Instead of dropping him off, the four women took him to a parking lot and each sexually assaulted him. The police are looking for four white women between 30 and 36 around 5’4″ and between 190 and 200lbs who were out in a Honda SUV on the night of March 30.
And I am utterly unsurprised to see that social media is chock-full of people behaving like utter shitbags to this poor kid.
It’s not often that we hear about a case of a guy being raped by a woman (or several women), and with attitudes like these, is it any wonder that male rape victims are generally not interested in reporting their assaults? A male victim of female assailants can expect to be told that there’s no such thing as female-on-male rape (because men are always open to sex, donchaknow), that he’s probably gay and therefore should be ashamed (because it would be okay for those women to force themselves on a straight guy?), that the important thing is not that he didn’t consent but that the women were fat (because it would be impossible for him not to consent if the women were skinny?), that he’s reporting the rape to cover up that he cheated on his partner (because women can never be aggressors and men can never be victims), and that he should be embarrassed about this happening to him and should not bother anyone with his complaints.
In case you’re confused about the mechanics of female-on-male rape: it is possible for a guy to get an erection and ejaculate in response to non-consensual stimulation. It happens all the time. That he got it up doesn’t mean he wanted it.
While reading the victim-blaming reactions to the Steubenville case (I won’t link to anything here; if you want to read something that’ll make you throw up in your mouth, Google it), one thing stood out to me. It’s the sort of thing that should have been obvious before, after living for over 30 years in a culture of persistent double standards of sexuality. But it’s even clearer after looking at long lists of screencaps of horrible people typing disgusting things about a 16-year-old girl who was treated like a piece of meat.
The definition of “acting like a slut” can be anything and everything. It could be sleeping with multiple partners, or flirting, or suggestive dancing, or wearing revealing clothes, or just showing up at a party where teenage boys are in attendance. If you are on the receiving end of sexual assault by someone popular, then whatever you were doing at the time will be characterized as “acting like a slut.” Once the label of “slut” is applied, you are no longer worthy of protection under the law. Other people are allowed—nay, required—to do horrible things to you, and you were expected to know that before you acted like a slut. Once you are identified as a slut, you are playing foul if you report the assault to the police. If your assailants are prosecuted and convicted, then you are a slut who ruined their lives by doing whatever you were doing when they decided to treat you like the slut you clearly are.
It can’t be rape because you were acting like a slut, and you must have been acting like a slut because those guys wouldn’t dare lay a hand on any girl unless she forced their hands by acting slutty. We know they’re good guys because they’ve never hurt anyone who didn’t have it coming.
We have a guilty verdict in the Steubenville case; that’s the good news. The bad news is that this is the cue for Team Rape Culture to tell us what’s really important: those poor, dear boys and their high school’s football program.
Candy Crowley, shame on you for wasting all that air time with hand-wringing over the defendants and erasing the victim. If they didn’t want their young lives derailed by rape convictions, they shouldn’t have penetrated the bodily orifices of a non-consenting person.
Judge, we do not want to send the message that it’s only a crime if you get caught.
Michael Crooke, you’re a disgusting waste of oxygen. Long walk. Short pier. Go. Now.
Soraya Chemaly has this to say about the Steubenville rape trial and the media coverage thereof:
Yesterday, in our fatiguing chronicling of rape, the Steubenville rape trial began. ABC reported that two boys “took liberties” (such an interesting turn of phrase if you think about it) with a drunk girl and now face rape charges. Attorneys for the defendants, two star football players (as everyone is intent on reminding us), argued that the boys did not rape a drunk 16-year old girl, whom they performed sexual acts on, because she “didn’t say no.” The lawyers are asking the court to believe that there was no nonconsensual contact during a long night in which these boys (just like these boys) put their fingers into the girl’s vagina, attempted to have her perform oral sex (she couldn’t hold her mouth open), allegedly urinated on her and were photographed dragging her around by her hands and feet. As one of the boys was quoted saying in a tonally rape-friendly media piece, “It just felt like she was coming on to me.” Which, of course, is clear license to treat a living girl like an inflatable silicon sex doll.
If traditional coverage and similar cases in the recent past are any indication, what will inevitably evolve in the next few weeks is a media narrative about these boys, their football aspirations, their dashed hopes, and their basic all-American Boy Goodness. The flip side of that narrative is that a drunk, possibly lying, definitely regretful, stupid, slutty, selfish and careless girl ruined their hopes for the future. She’ll be yet another “spider who lured them” and “ruined their lives.” Here is where we indulge in the national sport of victim-blaming in high-def digital. The kind that allows us to blame one person for her own assault and avoid the rigorous self-reflection necessary to understand the system that produces kids who think its okay to humiliate and violate a limp and incapacitated girl for kicks. Why aren’t we talking about why none of the 40+ teenagers involved that night were never taught to intervene, even when they understood what was going on?
I am hoping this case will be different and that we’ve reached a tipping point, but early signs aren’t particularly heartening.
This isn’t “just” about alcohol or teens or dashed football aspirations. It has much broader implications about consent and what we are failing to teach children. Alcohol and drugs don’t turn people, primarily girls and women, into rape victims. Rapists do. And while we’d like to think these things can’t be avoided and are accidental, they can be avoided and are, in fact, rarely accidental at all. These two boys may not have set out to deliberately drug the girl in question, or get her intoxicated for their purposes, but they took deliberate and aggressive advantage of the fact that she was drunk to the point of obvious and witnessed incoherence. This is done regularly with malice. Systemic tolerance for rape means they have traditionally gotten away with these crimes.
I am so, so tired of hearing about how that girl, or any other victim of sexual violence, shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. “If she hadn’t been drunk, she wouldn’t have gotten raped,” says the usual passive-voice apologism for rape. Here’s something we tend to forget: getting drunk, even to the point of puking on yourself and losing consciousness, is a morally neutral act. The resulting hangover is consequence enough. We should be shining the spotlight on the perpetrators of rape and asking them: “What the fuck is wrong with you? What makes you think it is even remotely acceptable to do that to anyone?” If all young women decided, en masse, not to drink in the presence of men, then rapists would simply choose their victims based on different criteria.
It is well past time we started talking about rape in the active voice.
This idiotic hashtag started out ostensibly as a means to mock Joe Salazar and other anti-gun liberals for supposedly being inadequately committed to supporting women in their endeavor to avoid victimization. If it had kept to the narrative of women using guns to defend themselves against assailants, it would have been problematic, but not reprehensible. Instead, the tag soon spiraled into an orgy of racism, xenophobia, slut-shaming, and other anti-empirical nonsense. It is utterly unsurprising that when conservatives want to mock liberals, the topic of rape is not their friend.
If you think a Twitter topic about how guns supposedly help women protect themselves from rape is your chance to take potshots at immigrants, liberal women, single women, sexually active women, conventionally unattractive women, and women who have had or may later have abortions, you’re not doing conservatism any favors. I’m not really surprised to see 140 characters at a time from people who clearly have a problem with women demanding the right to bodily autonomy and sexual self-determination, but it’s not in your interest to keep giving me material. There’s a good set of reasons why Todd Akin and the rest of Team Rape were roundly humiliated in the last election. There’s only so far you can get by pissing off liberals before the liberals turn out to be the mainstream.
Also, if you think it’s cute to make jokes that imply that ugly women don’t get raped, please hit yourself in the face with a hammer. Whatever effect it has on your cognition will only be an improvement.
The young woman who recently died of her injuries from a gang-rape in Delhi was named Jyoti Singh Pandey. Her father, Badri Singh Pandey, wants the world to know who his daughter was. Avicenna shares with us the news that Jyoti’s friend Awindra, who was attacked along with her, has regained consciousness and explained how the police were completely incompetent and unprofessional.
I’m very sorry for your loss, Mr. Pandey. I’m sorry that you and your wife have lost your daughter, whom you clearly adored and who was going to do good things with her life. I’m sorry that your sons, Gaurav and Saurav, have lost their big sister. I’m sorry that Awindra, who seems like a very decent young man, lost his friend. I’m also sorry that Awindra was put through such a horrible experience. I’m glad, however, that Jyoti had a father like you while she lived.
Also, before I go: I don’t agree with the death penalty. I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of state power to kill prisoners, especially when we know that suspects are occasionally wrongly convicted. In the case of the six men who attacked Jyoti and Awindra, however, if someone spotted them outside a courthouse and shot them all dead, I wouldn’t shed any tears.
There’s new content on Pottermore as of tonight, and I start my NaNo-Do-Mo’ tomorrow, so I don’t have time for more than a quick note before bed, but the under-control-of-fertility crowd just keeps it comin’. The latest one to jump in the clown car is John Koster, running for Congress in Washington state:
“Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare,” Koster explained. “But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?”
Koster added that “crime has consequences” and that “killing a child” wouldn’t make up for it.
Dude, you do realize that the one who decides to “take the life of an innocent child” (is it really so difficult to call a fetus a fetus?) is the same person who is receiving “more violence” onto her body, right? Rape is something that happened to her, establishment of pregnancy happened to her, and if you had your way, full-term pregnancy and childbirth would happen to her. Abortion is a decision she made. One might get the impression that you only sympathize with a woman when she’s a helpless vessel for someone else’s desires. It’s not brave, compassionate or nuanced when you talk about how the world would be a better place if women could be forced to produce more children to the extent that their legs can be forced open. It makes you really effing creepy.
John Scalzi gave us this rather disturbing post, which highlights all the ways in which the GOP’s current legislation around reproductive rights, and their rhetoric about rape, empowers violent men to control women’s lives. Think Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, Roger Rivard, and most recently, Richard Mourdock. If you have experienced any level of sexual assault, I advise you to proceed with EXTREME CAUTION. It’s a very effective post, but for the same reason can be triggering.
I don’t really have anything to add to Scalzi’s analysis. If you think that it would be so much nicer if all those women who are made pregnant by rapists could just have the babies adopted, rather than terminate the pregnancies, I suggest you read the post. Think adoption makes everyone happy? Seriously: read the post.
Scalzi’s focus is on the relationship between sexual violence and reproductive freedom (or the lack thereof), rather than a comprehensive argument in favor of abortion rights, and the comments are mostly very pro-choice and pro-woman. There are some comments, however, that want to convince us of why Abortion = BAD. I want to show you one of them, and I want to respond to it.
This shit keeps happening. First we had Todd Akin saying a “legitimate rape” can’t establish a pregnancy, so there’s no such thing as a rape exception for abortion law. Then we had Roger Rivard telling us how “some girls rape easy,” and we can’t trust a young woman who reports a rape. Now we have Richard Mourdock explaining very earnestly how there can be no rape exception because pregnancy by rape is God’s intention. We have all these Republican Congressional candidates saying these horrifying things about rape, pregnancy and women’s reproductive freedom, and they all think that if they just explain themselves a little harder, then we’ll see they’re decent guys who don’t hate women at all.
They are mistaken. Their further explanations merely dig them deeper into that hole.
Indiana candidate Mourdock has put himself in the national spotlight with this business:
Mourdock was asked during the final minutes of a debate whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
He replied: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that’s something God intended to happen.”
“I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”