Tag Archives: rape culture

Frat Loses Charter for Promoting Rape

…that’s the least that should happen…

Excerpt:

The Texas Tech chapter of the international fraternity Phi Delta Theta is being stripped of its charter following controversy over a party last month that included a banner reading “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal.”

Read the entire article

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It’s Not Enough, But It’s a Great Start

Excellent article.

Whereas I can see McEwan’s point that we’re shifting from victim blaming to bystander blaming, I do think that promoting bystander intervention is a positive step to put an end to rape culture and thereby an end to the prevalence of sexual assault.

Certainly the rapist is the only one ultimately responsible for their actions, for their choice violate another human being; however, peer pressure and a community unwilling to accept such misogynistic and aggressive behavior in the early stages will go a long way to deterring rapists.
Some of the arguments against bystander response is that it’s dangerous for the bystander, which I can see in extreme circumstances if physical violence is the case, but on the other hand, so much of this happens and perpetrators are supported way before the defining moment sexual assault.

Once we stop accepting misogynistic speech, rape jokes, and objectifying other human beings, once we put an end to the idea that one person is entitled sexually to another, once we firmly reject the notion that a woman was “asking for it,” and we do this with every action, word, and thought, that’s when rape culture will begin to end.

To change our culture, it is most certainly on us. #ItsOnUs

Read The Nation article to which I am referring, here.

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Fraternity Roofie Conspiracy

Read the entire post on Yes Means Yes.

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.

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Time For Change

Excerpt:

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

Full article.

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Miley Cyrus, Celebrity Rapist?

Reblogged from Yes Means Yes. . .

This, exactly: “People who think I need a sense of humor need to get a sense of mission.”

Thomas, who I deeply admire, once again has spoken clearly and articulately in the face of rape apologists and rape culture. Please read this post in its entirety and the comments beneath.

Thomas’s words fuel my own charge and carry me into a scary but important event this weekend as a central speaker for the Steampunk World’s Fair’s Consent & Safety Track.

May you all find peace.

~Olivia

Here’s what she said:

“You know, everyone’s a little bit gay,” she told the crowd. “It’s the truth. Everyone’s gay, all it takes is one cocktail. And if that doesn’t work, sprinkle something in their drink. That’s what I always do.”

Publications like The Guardian are giving her tremendous benefit of the doubt, proactively providing her a defense by calling it a “joke.”  I’m not willing to extend that benefit without more.

What she said, what she literally said, is that people should use alcohol to get people to have sex with them, who otherwise would not do so — and that if they doesn’t work, they should drug the drinks.  And she said she does that herself.  She didn’t say she did it once.  She said that’s what she “always” does.

I will not assume this is a joke.  Serial rapists target people they know…

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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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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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