Tag Archives: community response

Still Think It Doesn’t Exist?

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?

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.

Please, don’t validate rapists.

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We See You.

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50 Shades of Evil

I refuse to read it. Millions love it, but I refuse to read it. I’ve read excerpts from it, and those excerpts have been triggering enough. The exact words my rapist said to me. Seriously. The manipulation and abuse rampant in this series disgusts me. Yes, I haven’t read the entire thing, and for good reason.

This is the first article I’ve seen that explains it well. So much fiction glorifies abusive relationship and sociopathic narcissists as “exciting” lovers. Our culture romanticizes sexual assault daily, really. From the famous soldier-kissing-nurse picture from the end of WWII (sexual assault of a stranger without her consent) to ads for a new hairdo (pictured left). This over-powerment of women despite their disinterest, this perpetuation of male entitlement over women’s bodies disgusts me to no end.

Then, we have an international bestselling glorifying and romanticizing abusive relationships. Just what we need. So many women respond to it because they’ve been socialized by our culture for decades to believe this is how “real” men act. This is what “real” romance and desire looks like. They’re justifying and minimizing their own experiences, just as we’ve all been taught to do.

I’m no different. I did it, too, for the bulk of my 44 years, up until the past 2 or 3, that is. That’s when my eyes were open. It took my best friend digitally raping me back in 2010. A trusted colleague raping me in 2011, and then my lover raping me twice in 2012 for me to see past the patriarchal propaganda. I hope it doesn’t take so much trauma for you to get it.

Excerpt:

EL James’ success comes at a time when the British ministry of the interior, the Home Office, whose remit extents to policing and criminal justice, is seeking to widen the definition of Domestic Abuse in England to include coercive control, following a series of high profile murders of women in England, in 2011 and 2012. The Criminal Justice system in the United Kingdom is slowly waking up (not fast enough for many abuse survivors, in my opinion) to the fact that the phenomenon of a man exercising coercive control , rather than physical violence, is a greater indicator of risk of a woman being murdered by her intimate partner. It is not, then, without significant irony James’ stupendously successful novels contain numerous instances of the “hero” exercising such coercive control over the heroine.

My beef with the books are not the fact they are terribly repetitive and stomach-churning “love scenes” every three pages or so. I am not calling for a ban because they are “porn” or “filth”, as many on the religious right are.  Nor am I making a value judgement per se on those who follow a  BDSM  lifestyle or who enjoy certain erotic tastes in the bedroom. Yet these books are, in every way, completely immoral.

What is particularly disturbing is that this is being presented for public entertainment and the women reading 50 Shadesare effectively being conditioned to view coercive control, one of the most dangerous and insidious forms of relationship abuse, as normal, and even something to aspire to.

Serial Abusers, whether they target children or adults, typically use grooming to create a trust that is later used to keep the Target in the sexual relationship as well as to keep them from seeking help. This is done by paying excessive attention to the Target the beginning – spending time, buying gifts, and this attention can even extend to the Target’s family and friends as a means of masking the actual intent of the actions.  50 Shades of Grey is actually a novel which describes, rather accurately (albeit unintentionally) the process of grooming of a vulnerable Target used by a serial abuser.

Grooming is a term usually used when talking about child sexual abuse, but in my view all abuse involves forms of grooming which in the relationship between an adult Abuser and an adult Target retain many of the same patterns and features.

James’ writing jumps around a bit and its not logically consistent, but let’s look at how the six stages of grooming play out in examples the 50 Shades novels. Critics quickly point to the fact that Ana’s musings read like a teenager’s diary, missing the point that this is actually a device to emphasis Ana’s innocence. Ana’s reaction of embarrassment to a couple kissing openly in an elevator, for example, indicates that Ana maybe an adult chronologically (though not by much); emotionally she is a child. The definitions of the six stages are adapted from this abuse survivors website, which focuses on child abuse, but, as I’ve said, Grooming can affect children and adults alike, and Ana is portrayed very much as a child particularly in the first two books of the Trilogy.

The author of this article goes on to show how the books follow the manipulative tactics of a serial abuser: targeting the victim, gaining the victim’s trust, fulfilling a need, isolating the target, sexualizing the relationship, and maintaining control, either by further manipulation or by force. This pattern can happen over the course of an evening or years of a relationship. The article is specifically about child grooming, but it also fits with abusive relationships of all ages.

Educate yourself on what a Sexual or Emotional Predator looks like. They are generally not the creepy guy with back social skills crouching in the shadows. They are the popular, the charming, the handsome, the talented, the leaders.

-_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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Warning: NYCC Film Crew Creepers

Friend and colleague Ay-leen the Peacemaker had a creepy experience at NY Comic Con this weekend. Read her entire post about it on her Tumblr page. Here’s an excerpt:

On Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at approximately 5:30 PM, I was walking through Artist Alley with my friend A, who was dressed as steampunk-version of Death from The Sandman comics. I was dressed in an Asian steampunk outfit (an image can be seen here, taken earlier that day). As you can see in the photo, I was modestly dressed (steampunk!) and carrying my parasol. We had been stopped numerous times for pictures from attendees and interviewed courtesy by another press crew while in the Artist Alley. This is why I didn’t hesitate when a man dressed in a dark T shirt and dark jeans pulled me aside and hurriedly asked for an interview.

My friend A was busy posing for other photographers at the time. I’m noting this in case any other photographer in the room noticed them and possibly took a photo with them in the background.

The creeper interviewer (which will now be known at TCI) was about 5’ 2” – 5’4” tall (we were eye-level with each other), slightly stocky athletic built, short crew cut dark hair, brown eyes and tanned complexion. He had at least three others with him, dressed all in black. One of them carried a full camera with built in sound boom, and one other had a clip board and looked like a production assistant. There was some sort of logo on the cameraman and on the interviewer’s mic (probably some generic “The_____ show” but I couldn’t see clearly).

Read the creepy conversation on her Tumblr page. Warn others about these revolting, offensive human beings. She’s not the only one who has had this kind of experience with these people, although it would be enough if she was.

People have since messaged me saying that they experienced similar incidents with this group. I encourage you to report these events to con security if you are on site. I myself will be emailing the show manager Lance Fensterman (@Lfensterman, Lance@REEDpop.com)

Please email the show manager, too, and report them to NYCC. This kind of behavior must not be tolerated.

These creepers have been identified:

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Why Cops Don’t Believe Rape Victims

This is a very interesting article, although my personal belief as to why many cops don’t believe rape victims is because I think some are protecting their own way of life. Especially growing up in Texas, most of the encounters me and my friends have had with police officers have not been positive ones. The stereotypical gay-bashing, gun-toting, tobacco-dipping, self-entitled good ol’ boy bully is pretty much on-the-money. They are bullies. Entitled bullies with serious control issues, which is why they become police officers.

Of course I know that *all* police officers aren’t like this, so please don’t bombard me with the derailing NAMALT bullshit. I never said all were. I said the bulk of those I’ve dealt with either due to speeding tickets or in reporting rape, as well as my best friend from HS being beaten up by the local police and then put in jail for being gay, all in Texas. So glad I don’t live there anymore, although the police in other states haven’t proven to be much different.

Still, back to the article: agreed, the police units across the nation have not even had basic human psychology, let alone been educated on how severely traumatized victims react. So many times I’ve heard stories how the woman wasn’t upset enough, so it must not have happened. Or, she’s far too upset, she’s “hysterical,” so she much be putting it on. However a victim of sexualized or domestic violence acts, it’s never the right amount to be believed.

The following excerpt is from “Why cops don’t believe rape victims…

When Tom Tremblay started working for the police department of Burlington, Vt., 30 years ago, he discovered that many of his fellow cops rarely believed a rape victim. This was true time after time, in dozens of cases. Tremblay could see why they were doubtful once he started interviewing the victims himself. The victims, most of them women, often had trouble recalling an attack or couldn’t give a chronological account of it. Some expressed no emotion. Others smiled or laughed as they described being assaulted. “Unlike any other crime I responded to in my career, there was always this thought that a rape report was a false report,” says Tremblay, who was an investigator in Burlington’s sex crimes unit. “I was always bothered by the fact there was this shroud of doubt.”

Tremblay felt sex assault victims were telling the truth, and data supports his instincts: Only an estimated 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false, according to a survey of the literature published by the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women. Tremblay also knew the victims felt as if they were being treated like suspects, and it affected the choices they made. Surveyed about why they didn’t want to pursue a report, most victims said they worried that no one would believe them.

This is rape culture in action. It puts the burden of proving innocence on the victim, and from Steubenville, Ohio, to Notre Dame and beyond, we’ve seen it poison cases and destroy lives. But science is telling us that our suspicions of victims, the ones that seem like common sense, are flat-out baseless. A number of recent studies on neurobiology and trauma show that the ways in which the brain processes harrowing events accounts for victim behavior that often confounds cops, prosecutors, and juries.

These findings have led to a fundamental shift in the way experts who grasp the new science view the investigation of rape cases—and led them to a better method for interviewing victims. The problem is that the country’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies haven’t been converted. Or at least, most aren’t yet receiving the training to improve their own interview procedures. The exception, it turns out, is the military. Despite its many failings in sexual assault cases, it has actually been at the vanguard of translating the new research into practical tools for investigating rape.

In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they’re not. Using imaging technology, scientists can identify which parts of the brain are activated when a person contemplates a traumatic memory such as sexual assault. The brain’s prefrontal cortex—which is key to decision-making and memory—often becomes temporarily impaired. The amygdala, known to encode emotional experiences, begins to dominate, triggering the release of stress hormones and helping to record particular fragments of sensory information. Victims can also experience tonic immobility—a sensation of being frozen in place—or a dissociative state. These types of withdrawal result from extreme fear yet often make it appear as if the victim did not resist the assault.

The most common reaction to rape, or any horrific assault, it to freeze. Not to fight. To freeze. Any amount of research into PTSD will show you that. Now, when will this knowledge start getting out to the public and the police? It starts with you.

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 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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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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Taking Statutory Rape Seriously

From the Yes Means Yes Blog: “Taking Statutory Rape Seriously.” Among many other things in this article, Thomas (my hero) once again explains how COMMUNITY RESPONSE is the key to stopping rapists and other such sex offenders and predators. When we as a society make it unacceptable, the laws we currently have in place will be upheld…and newer, stronger laws will be made.

Excerpt:

Imagine the following rape statute: “If a person over the age of twenty-one years has sexual contact constituting oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a minor under the age of fourteen years, such person shall be guilty of a Class A felony and shall be imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.”

If the legislature passed it, it still wouldn’t happen.  Law does not exist in the abstract.  Law is a power structure, something that operates in a culture and operates largely consistent with the society’s values.  Lots of people in the process, from parents to school administrators and counselors to cops to prosecutors and judges to juries would collude to make sure that a statute like that would not work the way it is written — it would for some people, who didn’t meet societal approval, but it wouldn’t for others, who do.  Just like the “war on drugs”.  And the reason is that no matter how much lip service we pay to the notion that statutory rape is wrong, our culture (I’m speaking very broadly here, meaning the entirety of the world that is governed by a criminal justice system in the Anglo-American tradition) doesn’t really think that adults having sex with children are always wrong.

Just look at this shit.

Think this is an isolated event?  All these people signed a petition in support of Roman Polaski, maybe the world’s most famous child rapist.  And Whoopi Goldberg, defending him, said it wasn’t “rape-rape.”  You know where she was going with that?  That what he pleaded guilty to was statutory rape, which she thinks isn’t real rape.  (And she pointedly ignores that the woman Polanski raped told the Grand Jury and everyone who asked since that she said “no,” that he drugged her, that she still said no, and that he forced her.)  Even the term “statutory rape” conveys the impression that it isn’t “real rape” –after all, there’s a statute outlawing the conduct that is forcible rape, whatever it is called in each jurisdiction, so those are just as statutory as laws saying that fucking someone under a certain age is inherently nonconsensual and illegal.  We call it by the different term in a tacit acknowledgement that it doesn’t count the same.  Why don’t we call it “child rape?”

You know what Polanski (who reportedly has other victims including Charlotte Lewis andNastassja Kinsky) had to say, to Martin Amis in a 1979 interview that has been quoted more recently by journalists rediscovering just what manner of person he is: Everyone wants to fuck young girls!”

Or this shit, where Terrebonne Parish’s corrections officer repeatedly raped a fourteen year old inmate and the parish is trying to blame her for contributing to it because, being an inmate and pretty much at the mercy of her jailers, she acquiesced instead of yelling, kicking and probably getting beaten or disciplined by the corrupt guards.

So this guy Niel Wilson in England fucked a thirteen year old, and the system focused on the same old slut-shaming shit.  In rape cases with adult victims, there’s at least the figleaf of relevance, the pretension that this is something more than an exercise in attempting to label the victim a “bad girl” undeserving of vindication, because the defense argues that it goes to consent, or failing that, the defendant’s subjective belief in consent.  If that were true, then there would be no point in trying the same thing in a statutory rape case, where consent is not a defense.  But the same issues come up.  A barrister for the Crown Prosecution Service in this latest case said, “The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced,” he reportedly told the court.”  Leave aside for a moment that this is a vile thing to say … how is it relevant? It’s not a defense!

Except that law isn’t a set of words, it’s a discourse of power that will tend to bend the way the people in the process see the world.  Arguing that this child was somehow a slut undeserving of protection, indeed culpable for seducing this poor defendant (who was also in possession of child porn, by the way) seems relevant to the people in the process because the whole frame of reference in a rape culture is not actually consent, but whether the victim is a good girl deserving of protection.  That’s always the real question, the crux of what passes for the moral substrata in matters of rape.  It seems relevant to people that this thirteen year old was the alleged pursuer, that Mary Doe in Terrebonne Parish had drug problems and a sexual history … (she’s fourteen, which unless her partners were all similar-age means she has a history not of sex but of being victimized).

I’ve written before about statutory rape and I’ve written that I think there should always be a so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exception for similar-aged partners.  And I still think so, though in most places 13 is too young for those provisions to apply, and rightly so.  I also think that statutory rape laws ought to be enforced:  not just when the parents dislike one of the participants, and not just when the prosecution is homophobic — these laws have a history of much stricter enforcement against same sex couples and anyone else whose conduct violates race, class or other norms….

Please read the rest on the Yes Means Yes blog.

-_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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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

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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Filed under Community Response, Hope, Rape Culture