Category Archives: Community Response

We Question the Accused…

Over the past day or so, there has been a maelstrom over on a Steampunk World’s Fair FB Group regarding their harassment policy. As is the case in so many of these online interactions, the discussion is dominated by about a dozen people who are spouting The Great Derailers, grossly exaggerating the myriad of remote possibilities of abusing the policy while undermining the important intention behind it, and spreading general fear mongering. Some are even using bully techniques of mocking well-intentioned statements meant to make the victimized feel safer in cases of sexual violence and nitpicking minor semantic issues by using straw man and slippery slope rhetoric.

In the middle of these comments about the wording of the SPWF’s Harassment Policy (which the organizers have said repeatedly is a living document, and they are open to revising it for further clarification) are accusations that The Order of the White Feather is guilty of vigilantism. These handful of people claim the OWF is a vigilante group because of these two things:

  1. We believe the victim. We question the accused.
  2. The language around social ostracism for unrepentant rapists and perpetrators of other sexual violence

Some of the comments read as if they think the OWF will have a group of people goose-stepping and waving white feathers who corner and interrogate someone accused of flirting inappropriately under a swinging light bulb in a darkened room, so please allow me to explain further what’s meant by the phrase “We Question the Accused” to clarify this obvious misconception.

Before I go any further, let me make something very, very clear: the OWF is concerned about sexual violence, especially assault and rape. Sexual harassment falls under the spectrum that is sexual violence, and we certainly are concerned about that as well, but the language on this site about ostracism of the unrepentant accused is talking about Sexual Assault and Rape, not botched flirting or taking a photograph without permission. The OWF has no official capacity at SPWF. I’m an invited guest speaker and author who will present on rape culture and hold a white feather creative workshop for those who choose to support our mission. Nothing more. Insinuations that we’ll be policing the event and accosting every accused are both absurd and offensive.

Now that that’s cleared up, I’ll move on to the clarification.

First and foremost, we believe the victim. The traumatized. The person who has been harmed. We believe that they have been hurt by a certain action or behavior. They can come to us because they know they’re safe in doing so. They will be believed. They will not be questioned about details. They will not be forced to justify or explain themselves if they’re not comfortable doing so. We will take them at their word that they feel hurt and/or traumatized without making them “prove” it.

As a culture what we do now is hammer the hurt party with questions. We vow not to do that. Period.

**IF** any questions are asked, they will be asked of the accused. Questions like “What happened?”

Personally, I have no interest in questioning accused rapists or perpetrators of sexual violence or even misogynistic harassers. None whatsoever. I’d rather not have them in my life in any way, shape, or form. When I say “We Question the Accused,” it’s more to emphasize that we DON’T question the traumatized. If, for example, a group of friends had one of their friends come up and say Fred raped her. These friends would believe the accused felt violated and would not ask her for details or justification. As stated on this page, the only question asked to the hurt party is “What would you like to do next?” or “Do you want to  make an official report?” If this group of friends wants more information on what their other friend, Fred, did or what happened, they ask Fred. That’s what I mean by “We Question the Accused.”

Remember, these pages were written with Sexual Assault and Rape in mind.

So, before you go jumping to conclusions after reading eight words, read more about how to talk with the hurt party and inform yourselves about the accountability process we’re proposing for the accused.

No, we weren’t there. We won’t even know what *actually* happened in that room. What’s relevant is that this wo/man before you, vulnerable and scared, has been deeply traumatized.

You have a choice:
A. You can either further traumatize her by not believing her, by asking victim-blaming questions/comments like “why where you there?” “that wasn’t really rape” “that’s a very serious accusation!”, or
B. You can start the healing by saying, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I believe you. What would you like to do next? I’m here for as much or as little as you’d like to share. You’re in control. I believe you.”

Number next, re: ostracism.

I have a difficult time with people screaming about ostracism and how wrong and unfair and such it all is because these are the same kind of comments and people who ostracized me and other survivors of sexual violence.

Allow me to quote the great Thomas Millar once again (from the must-read “Cockblocking Rapists is a Moral Obligation, or How to Stop Rape Right Now“):

Some people will say that’s rumormongering.  Yes.  Yes, it is.  If stopping rape isn’t a good enough reason to spread rumors to you, then you and I have nothing further to discuss.

Some people will say that it’s unfair to do that, to simply take the survivor’s word, to say things about people without due process.  Well, due process is for the government, to limit their power to lock people up or take their property.  You don’t owe people due process when you decide whether to be friends with them.  You don’t have to have a hearing and invite them to bring a lawyer to decide whether to invite them to a party.  And let’s be honest, most of us repeat things that one person we know did to another person we know based on nothing more than that one participant told us and we believe them.We do it all the time, it’s part of social interaction. (emphasis mine)

All those people who were calling me and the OWF a vigilante group has already done this. They’ve decided, based on very, very little information, indeed, how to socially respond to me and this group. I’ve decided, based also on very, very little information (namely their aggressive comments) that I have absolutely no interest in being friends or even knowing them.

We do that EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in our communities. That’s ostracism, isn’t it? That’s saying, “you’re not welcome in my circle.”

Now, just imagine the safe places we could create if we used this daily social interaction to ostracize rapists, assholes, bullies, and other horrible people instead of what’s happening now: ostracizing the traumatized and the few who support them all because they’re showing us a painful truth of our culture.

Huh. Imagine that.

As for the Steampunk World’s Fair, they have my complete and unwavering support for their continuing efforts to make the Steampunk Community safer for everyone. Their policy is a strong one, and a strong harassment policy is needed, as confirmed by the very impressive John Scalzi. It comes down to whether or not you trust the organizers to be rational and fair, which I do. For those threatening not to attend SPWF because of the policy, I say it’s a safer event without you there…which means, it will be much, much more fun.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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Filed under Community Response, Rape Culture, SFF Conventions

AnachroCon Controversy

Two weeks ago, one of my dearest friends called me to tell me this article was coming out the following week. I listened with compassion and solidarity as he told me that he was DONE. No more. Finit. Enough of this sexual harassment/assault bullshit in our convention spaces. This time the target was a close friend of his, and the (alleged) assailant, the husband of his cherished colleague.

Here’s an excerpt:

AnachroCon 2014, held February 14-16, at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, announced last week via Facebook that one of its founding members and co-chairmen William MacLeod would be leaving the con. In his original message (dated Tuesday February 18th) he stated, “The Army finally took its toll on me…. After 6 years as Chairman of AnachroCon, I (William MacLeod) am stepping down and turning convention operations over to my beloved co-chair Cindy so that I may focus on medical issues that have begun to plague me even more over the years.”

However, in the two days leading up to William MacLeod’s announcement, accusations surfaced that a member of the con staff allegedly received inappropriate and unwanted verbal and physical advances from the co-chairman. The staffer, who asked not to be named publically but was interviewed at length by a member of the Steampunk Chronicle staff, states that William MacLeod made repeated offers of sex over the weekend and fondled her at the most recent convention. According to the staffer, this was not the first time he had inappropriately touched her, and she alleges a pattern of such behavior going back several years.

A Troubled History

SpC has uncovered a string of allegations against William MacLeod, including a related sexual harassment allegation in the resignation letter of a former AnachroCon Senior Director of Promotions, Dan Carroll, who cited MacLeod’s behavior toward female members of Carroll’s staff. Carroll stated this week, “I resigned from AnachroCon because of the completely inappropriate treatment of women by the Chairman. All of the women who worked under me at the convention had asked me to address the issue. He did not seem to take these concerns seriously. It was my understanding he had taken steps to seek treatment and was working on the problem.” Carroll resigned in 2011. According to Cindy MacLeod, at the time of Dan Carroll’s resignation, AnachroCon, was not as well organized and they were still running it as a “private party.” There was no formal investigation.

A more recent departure was that of Megan Maude, director of the Fashion Track. She alleges that the problem of harassment has been pervasive at the con for a number years.  In a statement to Steampunk Chronicle, she said, “Predatory behavior was being tolerated and even encouraged by the chairman and his friends… I explained my many concerns about the safety of women at the con to Strobel [Charles Strobel, the Director of Programing and Anachrocon LLC Board of Directors member]… There was even talk of having a woman on staff whose only job would be to handle sexual harassment reports…[but nothing changed]… I genuinely don’t feel that I can safely invite any of my younger girlfriends to the con. I don’t want to tell a bunch of girls in their early to mid 20s to come to an event where I’m genuinely afraid they will be sexually assaulted.”

MacLeod has a long (alleged) history of harassing and assaulting women at his convention. Unfortunate for each of his subsequent targets over the years, no one did a thing about it before now.

Additionally, this man MacLeod supposedly spoke quite loudly for the “Cosplay is not Consent” campaign, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. As I’ve said countless times on this blog, offenders have no moral qualms about hiding in feminist ranks–just as they hide in other places like spiritual and sex-positive communities.

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

I’m so proud of my dear friend for making a stand on this topic. This is what it takes. Every time another person stands up and says NO MORE or I’M DONE and takes action, the space in which these predators and rapists can operate becomes smaller and smaller. Standing up and saying NO MORE, no matter who is accused, and revoking their social license to operate will stop these predators from operating in our spaces.

Let’s make our convention spaces and communities safe for everyone, except those who perpetrate violence, especially sexualized violence. A good start for conventions is to have a response policy in place and posted publicly on its website, distributed in its literature, and announced at opening ceremonies. Join John Scalzi in boycotting events that do not take sexual harassment and assault seriously enough to have an action plan in place.

Join me in boycotting these events and events who continue to schedule known rapists as their musical guest and Guest of Honor (SteamCon & Wild Wild West Con, specifically), and let them know why you won’t go.

Support conventions who refuse to book known assailants like The Steampunk World’s Fair and AnomalyCon.

Read the entire fascinating article on MacLeod and the AnachroCon Controversy in The Steampunk Chronicle.

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Filed under Community Response, Rape Culture, SFF Conventions

Redefining Masculinity

Excerpts from “Please Be That Guy! 7 Men Who Are Transforming Masculinity

Lately I’ve been seeing a pattern.  More and more men are standing up to misogyny, to sexual violence, to street harassment, to victim blaming, to rape apologia, to sexism.

Despite the noise created by the idiocy in the Men’s Rights Movement, a tide is shifting.

On every college campus and in every high school where I work, I meet young men who are passionate about creating a different masculinity.

In short, there are men who are acting like this:

Jamie Utt over at Change from Within goes on to spotlight seven amazing men who are speaking out loudly about domestic violence and rape. Darnell Moore, Fivel Rothberg, Kai M. Green, Emiliano Diaz de Leon, Jackson Katz, Jeff Perera, and Carlos Andres Gomez. Read the piece. Watch the inspirational videos. See once and for all that every time I or another feminist or anyone speaks out against men who commit violent acts against women, we are not ever, ever saying “all men are like that.” That’s something others put into our mouths to derail the important conversation.

Whether we’re talking about famous poets or intellectuals or our fathers or classmates, it’s time we start lifting up the brothers who are calling for a different masculinity, a more inclusive masculinity, a more non-violent masculinity.

Take this as a call to action.  Take some time to thank a man who you’ve seen do something, whether big or little, to build a better masculinity.

Read the entire article and watch all the videos at Change from Within.

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Why So Many Victims Don’t Report

When I first read “When I Didn’t Consent. Why I reported. Why I didn’t” by Elyse MoFo Anders, I cried. Then I got angry. Then I cried again. So much of her story is familiar to me and to virtually every other woman and survivor of sexualized violence.

Entitled, exploitative, and/or abusive sexual encounters with smug, manipulative people. Misconceptions about what rape is “supposed to look like.” Betrayed and raped by someone you trust. Dismissive and humiliating treatment by the police. Insensitive community response. Losing all your friends and descending into insanity because no one believes you. Coercion and self-blame perpetuated by our culture.

This must change.

Excerpts:

I was raped. I reported it. I was raped. I didn’t report it. I was raped. I reported it but I didn’t press charges. I was raped. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do so I told myself that I wasn’t raped.

But I was. I was raped.

We have these conversations about rape, conversations that always include a question of “Was the rape reported to the police?” Women are taught that when they get raped, it is our duty to report it. We are obligated to press charges. We must crusade for justice. If the rapist is a real rapist, and he raped someone, it the victim’s duty to stop him.

And we think we know what rape looks like. We know there’s bushes or drinks involved. There’s kicking and screaming… or unconsciousness… and the word “NO!” can be heard from the next room or by passersby. And there’s crying. Crying during. Crying after. So. much. crying. And there’s blood. At least SOME blood.

And we know what to do when you know you’re being raped. If there’s a weapon, you don’t fight. If there’s no weapon, you do. And you make sure you scratch him to get his DNA under your nails. And you don’t shower. And you don’t change. And you go to the hospital. Right away. You’d be irresponsible to wash away evidence.

Even though women put a lot of effort into not getting themselves raped, we already have the script written. We have a plan. We know how we’ll handle it when someone finally thwarts our attempts to get through the night un-raped.

Funny thing about rape, though, is that sometimes your rapist doesn’t match what you thought your rapist would look like. Sometimes central casting sends in dudes that don’t match the type you were already planning to get raped by. And sometimes these guys go off script, ad libbing lines and their timing is off and sometimes it’s the script is edited so much, you didn’t even recognize that this was Your Rape because NONE of the shit that just went down was part of the original plan…

…And despite the incident not following my script for how my rape would go down, it follows a pretty standard template. Drunk -> assaulted -> reported -> not believed -> no investigation -> dismissed…

…(from the section “One time I convinced myself I had a choice” when she was doing a modeling internship with a photographer) One day, while his wife was at her office job, the photographer and I were in the dark room, like we’d done every day. And suddenly, he was behind me, hand down my pants, finger in my vulva. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. So I stood there. I didn’t want to get hurt, so I didn’t fight. But I didn’t want to give the impression that this was enjoyable. I shut down.

Later that night, he had a talk with me about how my behavior in the dark room was unacceptable. He was giving me a pleasurable experience and I was refusing it.

I explained to the man over three times my age that I was not really comfortable with such surprises and that I need time to warm up to intimate encounters since I’d been raped in the past.

He told me that wasn’t fair. He wasn’t a rapist. And I needed to learn to live in the now. “How long are you going to let this keep you down? If you can’t get over this, you’re never going to have a successful career.”…

…(from the section “The time I said no then said yes,” i. e. coercive rape) I was in high school. It wasn’t like “no means no” hadn’t been drilled into my head for years. I knew what rape was. I knew it was awful. I knew it was never the woman’s fault and skirts don’t matter. I knew the talking points. I read Sassy. I was kind of a feminist, even if I didn’t know that I was.

So when I look back at this thing, it’s a little heartbreaking for me. I was well educated on the subject. And I didn’t get what happened. What happens to girls who don’t grow up in affluent progressive schools that promote feminist ideals and encourage girls to find their feminist bearings? Girls who have sex ed every year? Girls who are taught that consent matters? I didn’t call it rape for over 15 years. Even though, immediately, I knew it was, but convinced myself it wasn’t. At worst, I decided, there were some blurred lines.

I was on a date with a guy I met at a coffee shop. I don’t remember where we went or what we did or what is name was.

But at the end of the date, we went back to his house to watch TV. And things progressed.

Once we started fooling around, he got weird. Silent. Not just silent, but non-responsive to anything I said or wanted. If I said no to something, he kept going. I said no repeatedly, but he kept going. I was having trouble processing what was happening. I kept telling him no, but why wasn’t he getting that? I was confused more than scared. I didn’t know what to do.

Coercive rape has accounted for experiences with about 1/3 of my sexual partners. I never considered it rape until recently because, well, it is rape. I remember when I was in my teens and 20s saying no over and over again for hours and finally saying “yes” because I was afraid if I didn’t say “yes” he’d rape me. Turns out…

No Means No, but even more accurate: ONLY AN ENTHUSIASTIC YES MEANS YES. Not a coerced yes. Not a yes through tears or intimidation or fear. Not a drunken yes.

Learn this people.

Please read the entire article here. This victim-blaming has to stop. We–as a community and a culture–need to give the benefit of the doubt to the victim and question the accused. Only we can make sure victims who come forward are taken seriously. By doing so, we revoke the rapists’ social license to operate.

Let’s stop this.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and it’s newly released sequel, of sorts, Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture

When to Intervene.

This excellent post discusses some of the ways the community can prevent sexual assault by intervening when a wo/man is trapped or one witnesses aggression.

Here’s an excerpt:

Take the person you’re concerned about away from the possible threat. The tough part of this is that many Pick Up Artist and other dating advice books tell people to separate the one they are interested in from friends they might be hanging out with. Literally, these books give advice to enable predatory behavioral patterns (a whole other article could be written about that problem). Even without the assistance of such books, many people have learned that doing such a thing is a part of our own courting process. But, when a person is in danger, this kind of action keeps them from being able to seek help. No matter if the person who has separated another person from their peers is dangerous or not, your actions have to assume that your friend may not be able to express to them any concerns and that they may not be able to share their concerns with you if the person is nearby. So, getting the person you’re concerned about away from them is the very first step to ensuring their safety. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop anything from happening, this just means you are giving them the ability to voice any concerns they might have.

Many people take a “wingman” or “wingwoman” with them to help them find companionship in social settings, usually in bars or at parties. This person is usually supposed to help distract whatever peers are present that might be occupying the time of whoever their friend is interested in.* Don’t allow such a person to interfere with you trying to interact with the person you’re concerned about. Let them know that you need to talk to someone and when you get your friend away from the person that has caused concern, be sure you’re also away from the wingman/woman…

…If you still have to deal with the other person, be straight-forward. You can tell the person that your friend is drunk, that they can’t reasonably consent to sex. Let them know that you’re aware that they might be interested in your friend. Don’t dismiss their interest, but be clear that your friend is not capable of setting her own safe boundaries, right then. Understand that they might see this as a confrontation. Stopping them might upset them, so do your best to not invalidate them, while still protecting your friend. If they offer a phone number, take it and say you’ll give it to your friend in the morning. If they want to talk to your friend, tell them that they can do that when your friend is sober (or when your friend is done talking to you, whichever seems more likely or reasonable). If they seem like a real risk, let them know that it is their responsibility not to cause your friend harm and remind them that you’re simply someone who has a concern.

If they become aggressive or frustrated, acknowledge their frustration, but let them know that your concern is going to have to take priority over their frustration. It isn’t personal, it is simply a matter of safety. The pursuant might deny that anything is wrong, even if the acquaintance is upset. Be prepared to let them know that if you determine that there’s nothing wrong, you’ll let your friend go with them.

Take your friend to someplace safe. If they seem to be impaired, then it is likely that they might need help finding a safe place to be. Find someone that can be trusted to help you get them to a safe place or plan on spending the evening with them where they are safe from whatever threat might be present. Try to form a plan for their safety, if you haven’t already planned something with them, earlier. If you are not familiar enough with the person to get them to safety, try to find someone who is and ask them to help you.

Read all of “Rape Discussion: When to Intervene” here.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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Why I Won’t Respond To…

Brilliant post called “Why I won’t respond to your tweets about false rape accusations” — this is the third such article I’ve found on this topic, and it cannot be shared or repeated enough.

I’ve pasted some excerpts below, but please go read the original article(s), as they have really lovely pie charts and the like to illustrate this excellent point. This page will be permanently linked from the “False Accusations” page on this OWF site.

Excerpts:

Over and over and over again commenters and tweeple insist on discussing false rape accusations over rape survivors’ experiences and the challenges they face in dealing with their trauma, finding support and reporting to the police. This despite the fact that false rape accusations make up less than a percentage of the total projected rapes in this country.

Disclaimer: Read this fantastic post by Lauren Nelson on American false report data. It was such a great idea that I decided to mimic it with our own data that’s available. Nelson makes brilliant points, so I will be copy-pasting her brilliance here (see the green text). I will get into this in more depth when I have a chance and write a more eloquent post.

This study is the most reliable study we have in South Africa into how prevalent false rape reports may be. While the study focusses on Gauteng, the team that produced this are currently working to do the same study nationally. Until that study is completed, this is the best data we have on rape case attrition and false rape accusations. According to the study, 3.3% of rape reports may be false accusations (see page 43). That’s 3.3 false accusations out of every hundred rape cases…

The idea that we must pepper discourse on the suffering of the marginalized by bemoaning comparatively insignificant harms suffered by the group that has historically had a cultural and institutional advantage in the legal system reeks of privilege.

The very notion that by focusing on the suffering of the majority without excusing the suffering of a minority is a form of discrimination is nonsensical.

The fact that false accusations are perpetually injected into accounts of substantial grief as an equal comparison is a distraction at best, and offensive more often. It is the equivalent of saying, “Rape is terrible, but…”

No – there is no “but.” Rape is terrible, and that statement needs no caveat.

While that is the righteously indignant response that comes to mind when I look at this data, when the temper has cooled  and I attempt to be objective, I’m not entirely comfortable with this line of reasoning. I would not want to silence the voice of a victim of admittedly rare female-on-male rape just because they were representative of a very small proportion of the sexual violence victim population, and I don’t like the idea of doing that to other people who have suffered an injustice, either.

So while I feel like the comparison of false rape accusations to the extensive harms of rape culture is a bad one, that’s not why I’m refusing to publish comments bringing it up.

The reason is that this comparison has struck fear into the hearts of sexual violence victims for decades. It makes victims feel as though they won’t be believed if they do come forward. It gives rape culture perpetrators the “backing” to say a victim “wanted” it, or changed their mind because they were embarrassed. It gives the most vile of commenters their “grounds” for claiming a victim was “obviously” lying because so-and-so could have “anyone they wanted.”

That doesn’t help rape culture, but more importantly, that doesn’t help the victims. Coming forward can be important to receiving proper medical treatment, counseling and – should they choose to press charges – justice. And it can be the difference between putting a rapist behind bars, or allowing them to rape again. I don’t want to be a part of a culture that does that.

The reason is that – for better or worse – those concerned about false rape accusations have a heavyweight ally in their corner already: rape culture itself. The culture hand-delivers skepticism for any allegation that might be made. Victims, on the other hand, have no such ally in their corner. I’m not worried about giving those concerned about false rape accusations a platform, particularly if it’s going to continue to skew the odds against sexual violence victims by perpetuating rape culture overall.

Finally, it’s about creating a safe space.

Which is exactly what we’re trying to do with The Order of the White Feather.

Please read the entire article here.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Rape Culture

Defining Rape

I wanted to post this particularly today, as the Steampunk Musician who sexually assaulted and technically raped me back in 2011 gets to perform at Dragon*Con this week. I hope Dragon*Con, who knows what he did, have taken some measure to protect other women from his sexualized aggression.

I’ve gotten a few, albeit not many, responses of victim-blaming and slut-shaming in regards to the events of May 2011 and afterwards, so I take this opportunity to define rape once again.

The following is reblogged from Behind the Mask of Abuse.

As you can see by the title this will be a trigger subject for some. Please proceed with caution.

I know I have blogged about rape before, but I have been thinking about how people define rape.  Many may see it as someone attacking you unexpectedly.  You have no time to think, or react.  No strength to fight off the attacker who is stronger.  That is definitely rape.

Many may know, but some may not, there are other forms of rape.

There is date rape defined below:

      forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts by verbal refusals, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical resistance.  I will add to this, that even if you were being intimate consensually, at the point you say stop and or no.  NO MEANS NO.  If you have said “no” at any point, then it is no longer consensual.  It becomes rape/or molestation depending on how far an individual goes.

There can also be rape, by family members, such as a brother, father, uncle, or family friend.  The victim is too scared to stop it and will blame themselves.  The Perpetrator will often feed the victim lies, such as “it is our little secret”  “you are my special girl/or boy”  “if you tell, no one will believe you.” (This sadly is often the case.)

There is also being raped while you are asleep.  If you are sleeping, and weren’t awakened, and asked first, then you were raped.  If you haven`t given permission, it is rape.  If you are under the age of 16 it is considered statutory rape.

A husband can rape a wife or a wife can rape a husband, again if either is told “no” and the other proceeds, even in a marriage, it is rape.  Same goes with girl/boyfriend relationships.

A couple of other types of rape are gang rape, drug facilitated which includes, the date rape drug.  It also includes if you were drunk or high and unaware of what was taking place.

     I WANT TO STRESS, THAT NO MEANS NO!  ANYTHING AFTER THAT IS RAPE.  I also want to say that those of us who have been raped will take the blame on ourselves.  Thinking things like, “I led him on” “I should have stopped him” etc.  IT IS NEVER THE VICTIMS FAULT.  ABUSE AND RAPE LIE SQUARELY ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE ABUSER.

Those of us who have been raped are often too embarrassed to tell, I believe embarrassment is also connected to shame.  We have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.  We did nothing wrong.

If you have been in any of these situations, please tell someone.  If the first person doesn’t believe you, keep telling until someone does.  It is not something you can go through alone.  You may think it is no big deal, or others have been through worse, but it is a big deal.  You can’t compare yourself to others. Your situation hurt you, mentally, emotionally and physically.

You can only shove it down so long before it comes back in one way or another.

I just want to add that women can rape and or abuse men too no one is exempt.

There is hope.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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A Fungus Among Us

A Fungus Among Us” is another post in Thomas’s series “There’s a War On.” In this post, Thomas talks about how serial abusers work their way into central community positions. They are often charming and popular and have a lot of supporters/fans/friends. They are often the most fun.

They are serial abusers. Through empirical research compiled under what is now known as The Predator Theory, we know that 90% of the assaults are committed by less than 10% of the population. Research shows around 4% and 8%. 4% is one out of 25 people, meaning someone we know.

(Side note. The number of sociopaths in society are also at 4%. One out of 25. You know a sociopath. You know a rapist. They might even be the same person, and they are likely your friend.) Again, Thomas speaks particularly about BDSM communities, but his words can be applied to any community.

Four out of a hundred, one out of twenty-five: someone we know.  Someone we’re friends with.  Someone we trust.  Someone who is friends with our friends.  It may be worse in BDSM communities, nobody has any numbers.  Pedophiles try to become priests, teachers, coaches, run camps: places where their access to targets will be easy, where they can select and groom targets.  Given the way BDSM communities offer access to targets and unwittingly or even recklessly provide cover for abusive conduct, why wouldn’t predators who want adult victims gravitate toward BDSM communities?  Anyone who thinks that can’t be true is in denial. 

(emphasis mine)

He goes on to give an account of a woman who tried to warn others about her rapist, and they behaved in the exact same way. He doesn’t know the woman or the abuser, but he says it rings true because this is what he’s experienced and witnessed in his own community. All those who ask me again and again and again how I can “jump” on any accusation and believe it, and why I’m asking you to do the same (at least give the benefit of the doubt to the victim, not the accused) is because it’s the same. exact. thing. I’ve seen in countless communities. It rings true because there is a 98% chance it is true.

He also tells a story about a woman who was raped with a knife, something her dom was into and kept trying to talk her into it during their play sessions. She repeatedly said she wasn’t ready for penetration with a knife…well, he decided that it didn’t matter what she wanted. Boris, as he names the dom in his story, was very popular and central in their scene. “Boris cares more about consent than anyone, or that’s the impression he gives, and so say some of his friends.” Read the post to see just how much “Boris” cares about consent. Many, many abusers and rapists hide behind feminism and spirituality and in other places that cause you to doubt their true nature when it’s revealed through the trembling lips of one of their victims.

There’s a theme here: that silence and secrecy are the paramount values, and open discussion is to be avoided.  It’s a basic function of institutions, but often of informal social networks as well, to protect the body from reputational damage.  That’s what colleges do with rape: they use nondisclosure agreements so that whatever the result, nobody can talk about it.  When I was in college and there was an accusation of a sexual assault on a woman I sort of knew, I got the account from her, and she said it happened and I believed her, so I told anyone who would listen about the perp.  So the administration told me I’d be punished if I didn’t shut up.  That’s how it happens.  Not talking about it is rule #1. Continue reading

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Victim Blaming & Slut Shaming

slut_shamingKaren, writing from the Sheraton Hotel in San Diego, assumedly at ComicCon, wrote this comment today. It made me cry. I wanted to give up and become invisible.

But I didn’t.

I wanted to delete it and pretend I never saw it.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I’m going to use it as an example of slut-shaming and victim-blaming, something that you vow to not do if you wear a white feather. It is precisely this type of questioning that causes the victim of assaults to remain quiet.

This is what we’re trying to change by directing the questions to the accused rather than the victim. Hopefully, if you have a conscience, you can see how hurtful these questions are–which is, of course, the point of them. To shame me. To silence me.

It didn’t do either of those things.

I’ve chosen to answer the questions on face value, continuing with my complete transparency on this, and all, issues.

Here is Karen’s comment from the Misguided Community Response post.

Ms Grey,
A few questions: If you were ‘abused’, then why continue an affair with this married man after the event?

Why does your language of your posts change from that of someone deeply in love, to a jilted lover, to a victim of abuse, to that of a rape victim? Reading your posts carefully, it is apparent that your version of events changes dramatically as time goes by. This is also EXACTLY THE SAME for the following affair that you had, where you fall ‘in love’, the man leaves you, then you create abuse in order to attack him.

One only need to read your responses to the person who was removed from the Silver goggles post to see how very twisted you have become, ready to leap on accusations without a shred of evidence, even when there isnt even an event to relate it to.

Isn’t is unfortunate that every single man that you seem to meet romantically (according to your blog), seems to have raped or abused you- and that your accusations are written only after they have left you?

When did you file this supposed police report? Directly after the event? If so, then why continue to have an affair? If you filed it after the affair was concluded, then doesn’t that suggest that you decided to do it out of spite? Or is it in fact all in your fevered imagination?
Don’t you think it might be time to settle down with your alledged husband and stop having constant, and it seems, damaging affairs?

These are the exact kinds of questions that you vow not to ask when you wear a white feather. These are victim-blaming and slut-shaming, not to mention full of rape culture rhetoric, primarily that this was done for revenge of some sort.

Let’s take these one at a time.

Continue reading

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Misguided Community Response

Friends have send me screenshots of a conversation on FB yesterday. This is exactly the type of knee-jerk community response the OWF is trying to change.

Remember: Believe the Victim. Question the Accused.

First, the mockery:

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I’ve said it on FB and I’ll say it again, anyone who mocks a group trying to create a safe place for survivors of sexualized violence is, at best, a crappy person. This particular person I had blocked weeks ago because of his misogynistic content. I see from these posts that it was a good decision. Continue reading

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Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture