In December 2012, an Icelandic woman named Thorlaug Agustsdottir discovered a Facebook group called “Men are better than women.” One image she found there, Thorlaug wrote to us this summer in an email, “was of a young woman naked chained to pipes or an oven in what looked like a concrete basement, all bruised and bloody. She looked with a horrible broken look at whoever was taking the pic of her curled up naked.” Thorlaug wrote an outraged post about it on her own Facebook page.
Before long, a user at “Men are better than women” posted an image of Thorlaug’s face, altered to appear bloody and bruised. Under the image, someone commented, “Women are like grass, they need to be beaten/cut regularly.” Another wrote: “You just need to be raped.” Thorlaug reported the image and comments to Facebook and requested that the site remove them.
“We reviewed the photo you reported,” came Facebook’s auto reply, “but found it does not violate Facebook’s Community Standards on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.”
Instead, the Facebook screeners labeled the content “Controversial Humor.” Thorlaug saw nothing funny about it. She worried the threats were real.
As people react to the Jennifer Lawrence Vanity Fair article that I blogged about yesterday, I’ve noticed a troubling theme. People have not quite criticized her — I’m mostly talking about comment sections and social media and I’m not going to linkfarm that — for the sexually provocative photos that accompany the article, but sort […]
Beware. If you are in an abusive relationship or have been in the past, take special precautions and check your personal devices to ensure the abusive party isn’t stalking you and continuing to terrorize you through the use of technology.
…there’s another kind of privacy concern that is a lot more intimate. You could call it Little Brother, though it’s really more like husbands and wives, lovers and exes who secretly watch their partners — from a distance. They are cyberstalking — using digital tools that are a lot cheaper than hiring a private detective.
NPR investigated these tools, also known as spyware, and spoke with domestic violence counselors and survivors around the country. We found that cyberstalking is now a standard part of domestic abuse in the U.S.
Digital Detox At The Shelter
Before we get into how spyware works, let’s visit a place that’s been transformed by it: a domestic violence shelter — a safe house for mostly women and children. It’s run by a group called Next Door, and it’s somewhere in the heart of Silicon Valley. I can’t tell you exactly where because its location is a secret. (I had to sign an agreement to be let in.)
While the kids are playing with dominoes in the living room, counselor Rosa Navarro takes the newest arrival — a woman who has a little boy — into a quiet office for intake.
If you want to know what “rape culture” is, it’s a culture where someone could raise this idea and instead of a chill falling over the whole room, the other people either strain to pretend it’s a joke or gleefully join in. If you want to know what “social license to operate” is it’s that the idea that women at fraternity parties are targets to be intoxicated and sexually molested is so powerful that the guy that thought this up not only had friends willing to defend his idea, they agreed to help, and they believed that they would get away with it.
I remember this Reddit thread from two years ago. In the aftermath of my worst assault, it was both triggering and an eye opener.
He was in reading this thread that I realized that my rapist, all of the men who assaulted me, knew exactly what they were doing. They knew it was wrong. They knew I didn’t want it, and they did it anyway.
The thread is a powerful testament to the insidiousness of sexual coercion, and of how damaging to both men and women the culture of silence can be. It’s still expected that nice girls won’t make a fuss. Females are still raised to keep quiet and not make a scene, even when they want say no. They’re raised to keep quiet, even after they’ve been abused. And that’s nowhere more harrowingly clear than in the story of the man who claims to be “a post-colleged age male who raped several girls through use of coercion, alcohol, and other tactics over a course of 3 years.”
It’s been four days since the NFL made the decision to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely and the Baltimore Ravens terminated his five-year contract for domestic violence committed against his then-fiancé, as shown in graphic detail in the newly released video of the crime.
Each year in the United States, 12 million women experience domestic violence. That means that on February 15, 2014, the same day as Rice’s assault, this was one of 32,877 instances of abuse. Whether you are picking up the paper, watching the news or following the conversation on Twitter, it’s clear that all of us are searching for how to respond, for language to talk about these crimes, to express our feelings, and for what to do next. What we know for sure: it’s time for change. And we know that change will only come when we all work together.
Let’s start with the facts:
1 in 4 women experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes. (Source: CDC) Over 15 million children witness violence in their homes each year. Most incidents are never reported to the police.
In most cases, a video doesn’t exist. And it shouldn’t need to. Domestic violence encompasses sexual, emotional, economic and psychological violence. Physical scars are only one part of what survivors may be left with following violence and abuse. More information on the signs and effects of these kinds of abuse can be found here.
Domestic violence is an intentional act. It is rooted in power and control—the desire for one partner to dominate and/or exercise control over their partner. And it’s a learned behavior, meaning that abusers see violence practiced in society, or practice it themselves, and come to understand that it is a means of maintaining power and control.
The reasons someone remains inside of a domestic violence situation are complex—literally life and death. Our focus shouldn’t be on why survivors stay, but why abusers don’t stop their violent behavior. Just because some survivors don’t leave their abusers—or don’t come forward in the first place—doesn’t mean the abuse didn’t happen. Thousands of women die annually from domestic violence, many while attempting to leave the relationship. It is her choice to leave, and only she knows the safest moment to do so. It is our role to support her in this process.
What we can do:
Support survivors. This takes the form of bearing witness to someone’s story, of believing them without judgment. It also takes the form of being an active, engaged community member. Help dispel the myths that blame survivors and excuse perpetrators—myths like she was “asking for it” or that “it’s her fault.” Or that because a victim of domestic violence didn’t leave her abusive partner, that she wasn’t doing everything she knew how to do to be safe.
Learn these facts. Having this knowledge is the foundation. Share it widely. Domestic violence—any kind of violence and abuse—is difficult to talk about, but we still need to break the silence. Nearly 64% of Americans say that if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone. This is a significant opportunity to open the door to these conversations and turn up the volume.
Join the movement to say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. NO MORE is a transformative public awareness campaign that seeks to unite our entire society—advocates, companies, legislators, survivors and the public—around the commitment to end—yes, end—domestic violence and sexual assault. The celebrity-driven PSA campaign provides powerful examples of the victim-blaming myths and excuses we so often hear, and the NO MORE symbol brings recognition to these issues and offers a beacon of hope. Share the campaign.
Engage men to be part of the solution. For the men in our community, we encourage you to stand up and be part of the solution. Take the pledge to say NO MORE and encourage other men to do the same. Talk with men and boys in your life about healthy relationships and the importance of respecting themselves and others, including women and girls. When we don’t speak out against domestic violence, we allow it to continue.
Changing the conversation also means that we must examine how we, as a society, respond to this violence. The Atlantic City police and prosecutor’s response to the Rice case raises questions about how the criminal justice system approaches domestic violence—something the state of New Jersey is currently investigating as part of its review of the case. For their part, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors must treat domestic violence as seriously as other crimes. They must make every effort to ensure survivors’ safety and to hold offenders accountable to the fullest extent possible.
– See more at: http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/blog/time-change-response-ray-rice-assault#sthash.1XY8ixzl.dpuf
Now, the California legislature has sent the governor the first law of its kind designed to reduce assaults.
It’s called the “yes means yes” law.
University of California, Los Angeles senior Savanah Badalich is an advocate for the proposed law. She says she learned “no” is not enough when she was raped by a fellow student.
“I had said ‘no’ numerous times. But after a while, I just stopped saying anything at all,” said Badalich. “I don’t think had I said no nine times versus the eight times that I did, it would have made a difference, so I just stopped talking. And that could technically be used against me without this affirmative consent bill.”
The California bill is unique because it requires “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” before students have sex. The legislation also says a “lack of resistance or silence cannot be interpreted as a yes.”
“Oppressed majority” takes place in an alternate reality where women jog half naked and work while the men take care of the kids and endure daily sexual harassment….The short film, in French and directed by Éléonore Pourriat, shows a father taking his kid to kindergarten and going through the rest of his day facing catcalls, sexist remarks, sexual assault, and contempt. (Source)
From the experience on the street to the way the father was treated by the police and his partner…it’s all extremely accurate to how women are treated daily. By flipping the gender to men, we start to see just how damaging such behavior is and the absurdity in putting up with it (and perpetuating it).
Pay attention to what comes up in your thoughts as you watch it. You’ll see how deeply ingrained rape culture truly is in all of us.
The following are some Facebook responses to this graphic. Thank to notemily and jhameia on Tumblr for this.
This is rape culture.
As long as we tolerate this behavior, it will continue. A woman is raped in the USA every two minutes.
This is largely why.
I read a great quote yesterday. I’ll paraphrase: Many people love to say that feminists think all men are rapists, but they don’t. You know who does think all men are rapists?
Every time you let a comment like this slide, or laugh at these kinds of comments–or a rape joke, or make excuses that they’re just being trolls or aren’t serious or whatever-other-rape-apologia-rhetoric, you are validating rapists. You are telling the rapists that it’s okay to rape, that all men are rapists, really.
Stop accepting this behavior. Don’t excuse it. Don’t explain it.
Make it completely unacceptable. Shun friends over it. Speak up against misogyny.