Tag Archives: victim blaming

Stop Using Perpetrator Logic

This is an excellent article that articulates some of which I am trying to say through this site.

I’m also very pleased to see that the White House is taking a firm stance against sexual assault and promoting the importance of bystander response.

Excerpt:

Simply put, this is perpetrator logic. Perpetrator logic says that the person impacted doesn’t get to say whether something was traumatic. The only opinions that matter are those of the perpetrator and those who defend their actions by writing off some violence as “lesser” than others.

Perpetrator logic claims that rates of sexual violence are exaggerated by feminists who define the term too broadly. After all, defining “rape” so broadly might actually mean that I’m a perpetrator of violence, even if it didn’t look like what I picture a rapist to be.

The impact of perpetrator logic, then, is the silencing of survivors. When you know people won’t believe you or give you the public and private support you need to heal, you’re far less likely to share your experience, even with loved ones.

When you’ll be shamed and questioned, you are far less likely to speak out publicly about sexual violence.

And when you know you’ll be treated like you’re the one who did something wrong within the legal system, you are far less likely to report to the police. And some wonder why rates of reporting are so low!

Collectively, we need to move away from perpetrator logic. We need to move away from that logic which attempts to define for survivors what their experience was, and we need to empower more survivors to find the healing they need.

Here are four important things we need to do in order to abandon perpetrator logic…

1. Understand That Sexual Violence Is a Matrix of Behaviors…

2. Empower Survivors to Name Their Experience…

3. Recognize That Healing is a Spiral…

4. Embrace Survivor-Centered Logic…

Read full article for more great information and detailed explanations of those four things.

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Filed under Hope, Rape Culture

Inside the Mind of a Serial Rapist

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.

This is an excellent article on that thread.

Excerpt.

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.”

Read entire article.

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#ItsOnUs to Stop Sexual Assault

IMG_0116.JPGPowerful hashtag and campaign via The White House.

Similar to the things said on this site as well as much of what Thomas has been saying on the Yes Means Yes Blog for the past several years, it is wonderful to see the White House getting behind bystander response and actively working to change our culturally scripted victim-blaming habits.

Excerpt:

“When violence against women is no longer societally accepted, no longer kept secret; when everyone understands that even one case is too many. That’s when it will change.”

Contrary to what Michael Moore recently said, maybe Obama will leave a strong legacy after all.

The full article here.

The #it’sonus campaign officially started today. Ironic, since it’s my rapist’s birthday.

I hope this is the beginning of the end of rape culture. I hope it brings about a society were rapists can no longer operate, including mine.

Excerpt:

(September 19, 2014) — President Obama today launched It’s On Us, a campaign to reduce rape on college campuses. The president, along with Vice President Joseph Biden, called on students to sign a pledge to commit to helping keep their friends safe.

To survivors of campus sexual assault, President Obama said, “It’s not on you; this is not your fight alone. This is on all of us, every one one of us, to fight campus sexual assault. You are not alone, and we have your back.”

Read more at RAINN and take the pledge.

Join the discussion on Twitter.

More on ItsOnUs.org

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Filed under Community Response, Hope, Rape Culture

Why?

Every time I see an article like this, I wonder why we still question those who seem so pious and popular when someone names them as a perpetrator. I also ask myself why we continue to cover up such horrific crimes.

Excerpt from the New York Times:

ROTHERHAM, England — It started on the bumper cars in the children’s arcade of the local shopping mall. Lucy was 12, and a group of teenage boys, handsome and flirtatious, treated her and her friends to free rides and ice cream after school.

Over time, older men were introduced to the girls, while the boys faded away. Soon they were getting rides in real cars, and were offered vodka and marijuana. One man in particular, a Pakistani twice her age and the leader of the group, flattered her and bought her drinks and even a mobile phone. Lucy liked him.

The rapes started gradually, once a week, then every day: by the war memorial in Clifton Park, in an alley near the bus station, in countless taxis and, once, in an apartment where she was locked naked in a room and had to service half a dozen men lined up outside.

Don’t be tempted to soothe yourself saying, “Well this is in England. Thank goodness it doesn’t happen here.” Because I assure you, it fucking does happen here. More than you will ever care to admit.

Read full article.

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Filed under Community Response, Objectification, Rape Culture

Yes Means Yes Law

This is promising.
Thank you, California.

Excerpt:

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.”

Full article.

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Filed under Hope, Misogyny, Rape Culture

Male Victims; Female Assailants

Please allow me to openly and sincerely apologize. The statistics I’ve been working and quoting from for the past two years showed undeniably that 99% of sexual violence was perpetrated by men onto other men, women, transgender people, and children. New studies show that number might be as low as 60%, still the majority, but low enough to make a huge difference about the way we talk about sexual violence. Little did I know that the definition for rape previous studies used only counted anal and oral penetration as rape when discussing male victims of assault. They didn’t count forced vaginal penetration by a female perpetrator.

“Made to penetrate,” as they clumsily call it, didn’t count as “rape,” and I must wholeheartedly disagree.

In my mind, I have defined rape as when the genitals, anus, or mouth was penetrated by or comes into contact with another’s genitals, anus, mouth, or object. I saw it as going both ways, as this would included female perpetrated rape onto a male and forced cunnilingus as rape.

Although I’ve already changed much of the language on this site to reflect gender neutrality when discussing both victims and perpetrators,  please be patient while I update the rest and accept my apology for being misinformed.

I still, however, hold that squabbling over gender pronouns when discussing the overall epidemic of rape is highly derailing to the topic at hand. Please show patience and compassion when people are catching up with the new information and trying to alter the way they speak to incorporate gender neutrality. If someone defaults to “he” as perpetrator and “she” as victim, allow the conversation to continue about rape and sexual assault without forcing the conversation to be about gender binary pronouns. When you contribute to the conversation, use the pronouns relevant to your experience or gender neutral. By shouting “women rape, too,” does no one any good. However, if you say, “Amy raped my friend Sam, and he had a difficult time because of cultural misunderstandings about how a man can be raped on top of all this rape culture stuff,” you gently remind those engaged in the discussion that women also rape, obviously more than previously thought, and you don’t derail the conversation from the subject at hand.

Here are a few articles that I’ve recently come across:

The Word You Are Searching for Is Rape

When Men Are Raped

The Hard Truth About Girl-on-Guy Rape

The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions

Male Sexual Assault – RAINN

-_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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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

Oppressed Majority

Powerful video.

Brilliant, really.

“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.

May you find peace.

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Filed under Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture

I’m Taking Responsibility for Being Raped

A courageous woman named Coco Jones was the first to say it. She’s right. It’s all our fault. I’ve been in serious denial this entire time. All those people who said I needed to take some responsibility for what happened to me, here it is. My apologies to the neutral third parties who violated me, as it was completely my fault for being in the same room with you and trusting you. I’ve seen the error of my predator-blaming ways, and I apologize.

You truly must read the entire post, “I’m Taking Responsibility for Getting Raped,” but here are a few excerpts of things I’m particularly guilty of:

  1. I let people in my life. I have relationships and friendships. I allow them in my home, I eat food they prepare for me without watching them cook it. I open the door when I am alone. I leave the house by myself to meet them places. I even let my partner tie me up and believe he won’t rape me on MERE TRUST.

I see now that it was truly my fault to be alone with my boyfriend, with whom I had had great sex with before I let myself get raped. He had told me he loved me and adored me so many times that I just really let my guard down. It’s really my fault that I didn’t push him away forcefully enough. Same goes with The Musician, silly of me to trust a colleague. My goodness, I’ve just let myself be a victim left and right.

I’ve learned a great lesson here. To not get myself raped or betrayed or discarded, I truly need to stop letting anyone in my life. Even therapists. No more friends. I’ll lock myself away in my room with my dog and cat, because then I’ll be safe. Indeed. Even my husband after 15 years together…one never knows. So, here is my first mistake. No doubt.

  1. I dress like a fucking slut. No, really. I wear clothes that touch my body. I have hair. Sometimes it is up, sometimes I wear it down. I accentuate my eyes and lips with make-up. I go out in the world like this. Regularly.
  1. My reflexes are not cat-like. If you throw something at me, it will hit me. I will not deflect it with a sudden, practiced movement. Things can catch my by surprise and I am not always ready for them. I should be sharpening my instincts daily. Instead I forget to because I’m usually doing something less important.

Me, too. I’ve made these same mistakes. In fact, I’ve got clothes on right now that touch my skin. I had better change before I go to the post office. I haven’t put make-up on yet, but I did already fix my hair. Maybe a bulky hat will help.

Additionally, I have an open heart and a tendency to believe people at their word, especially friends, colleagues, and lovers (the roles of the three men who violated me between 2010 & 2012). Foolish and careless of me, really.

In fact, I’m convinced that the only reason I haven’t been sexually assaulted since 2012 is that I have kept myself so isolated. I see no one other than my husband and therapist, which turns out was a waste of time and money for trauma recovery. All I ever needed to do was accept responsibility for the sexual violations. I do now, and how. I see the error of my ways. As long as I stay locked away in my house, venturing out only for Starbucks and to go to the movies alone (as long as I’m dressed properly), I should remain safe.

Good plan.

Just think, for nearly two years I’ve been saying how the rapist is responsible for choosing to rape and the communities for making excuses and embracing said rapists (ooops, neutral third parties, I mean) at their parties and conventions, when all along it’s been my fault. Huh.

Yep. I got myself raped, too.

Please read the post by the courageous woman who has just freed all of us “survivors” from years of recovery. We have nothing to recover from, as it was all our fault. Let’s start practicing victim flagging and rapist apology across the board. Let’s show sympathy for those poor neutral third parties who get labeled “rapist” for merely having nonconsensual sex and purposely blowing boundaries. It’s not their responsibility, after all.

Have some compassion!

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Quite Clear Lines

I’ve had more than one heated, triggering discussion about the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” and mostly what I hear just before I completely disengage from the discussion in self preservation is rape apologia, victim-blaming, and other such rape culture rhetoric.

An amazing person by the name of Sezin Koehler put together this undeniable proof that “Blurred Lines” not only promotes rape culture, it also attempts to normalize rape. In fact, his lyrics are things that repeatedly come out of real-life rapists’ mouths, as shown by selections from Project Unbreakable. There is absolutely nothing blurry about these lines. What Thicke sings about is coercive rape, period.

The following is a long excerpt, but please visit the source for the entire comparison, as well as the very eye-opening and highly disturbing comments that illustrate our rape culture more than anything else.

Robin Thicke’s summer hit Blurred Lines addresses what he considers to be sounds like a grey area between consensual sex and assault. The images in this post place the song into a real-life context.  They are from Project Unbreakable, an online photo essay exhibit, and feature images of women and men holding signs with sentences that their rapist said before, during, or after their assault.   Let’s begin.

I know you want it.

Thicke sings “I know you want it,” a phrase that many sexual assault survivors report their rapists saying to justify their actions, as demonstrated over and over in the Project Unbreakable testimonials.

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You’re a good girl.

Thicke further sings “You’re a good girl,” suggesting that a good girl won’t show her reciprocal desire (if it exists). This becomes further proof in his mind that she wants sex: for good girls, silence is consent and “no” really means “yes.”

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Calling an adult a “good girl” in this context resonates with the the virgin/whore dichotomy. The implication in Blurred Lines is that because the woman is not responding to a man’s sexual advances, which of course are irresistible, she’s hiding her true sexual desire under a facade of disinterest. Thicke is singing about forcing a woman to perform both the good girl and bad girl roles in order to satisfy the man’s desires.

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Thicke and company, as all-knowing patriarchs, will give her what he knows she wants (sex), even though she’s not actively consenting, and she may well be rejecting the man outright.

 

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Do it like it hurt, do it like it hurt, what you don’t like work?

This lyric suggests that women are supposed to enjoy pain during sex or that pain is part of sex:

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The woman’s desires play no part in this scenario – except insofar as he projects whatever he pleases onto her — another parallel to the act of rape: sexual assault is generally not about sex, but rather about a physical and emotional demonstration of power.

The way you grab me.
Must wanna get nasty.

This is victim-blaming.  Everybody knows that if a woman dances with a man it means she wants to sleep with him, right? And if she wears a short skirt or tight dress she’s asking for it, right? And if she even smiles at him it means she wants it, right?  Wrong.  A dance, an outfit, a smile — sexy or not — does not indicate consent.  This idea, though, is pervasive and believed by rapists.

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And women, according to Blurred Lines, want to be treated badly.

Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you.
He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that.

In this misogynistic fantasy, a woman doesn’t want a “square” who’ll treat her like a human being and with respect. She would rather be degraded and abused for a man’s gratification and amusement, like the women who dance around half naked humping dead animals in the music video.

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The pièce de résistance of the non-censored version of Blurred Lines is this lyric:

I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two.

What better way to show a woman who’s in charge than violent, non-consensual sodomy?

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Ultimately, Robin Thicke’s rape anthem is about male desire and male dominance over a woman’s personal sexual agency. The rigid definition of masculinity makes the man unable to accept the idea that sometimes his advances are not welcome. Thus, instead of treating a woman like a human being and respecting her subjectivity, she’s relegated to the role of living sex doll whose existence is naught but for the pleasure of a man.

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Filed under Misogyny, Rape Culture