Tag Archives: victim blaming

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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Filed under Misogyny, Rape Culture

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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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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“I Am A False Rape Allegation Statistic”

My heart broke all over again when I read this post by Stephanie Zvan. Just when I think I can no longer be surprised by the callousness of the police, I read something like this. I’m utterly astounded that these police can get away with making this woman act out her rape with one of the officers playing the rapist. How is that not sexual assault on its own?

Also when I read things like this, I feel less alone and darkly lucky, in a way. The assaults I endured and reported didn’t have physical evidence like Stephanie’s did. They were all by people I knew and trusted and even loved. Mine were not the “stereotypical rape” that everyone pictures when they hear the word rape. Stepanie’s was. Horrific and violence by a stranger. Loads of physical evidence (“deep tissue bruising on my arms, burns on my labia, tearing that went from my vagina to my anus”)…and even with all that, this is how she was treated. This is how she was bullied into recanting, forcing her, like so many others, to become a false rape allegation statistic. It’s also a prime example of how people who suffer from a type of mental illness are stigmatized and blamed for their own victimization.

Here’s an excerpt:

Over the next few months, I submitted to multiple, horrific “interviews” that really felt like “interrogations” as time went on. I was also dealing with a serious medical condition at the time (I almost died; my intestines ruptured, but was almost certainly not a result of the rape, just bad timing). But I still believed in the system. I still didn’t want the man who raped me on the streets. I did everything they requested, answered every invasive question (the were really focused on my mental health history!), even got on the ground and acted out the rape for them, with the head detective on top of me acting out the part of the rapist. Not only was I absolutely hysterical by the time we were done, I’m positive that aggravated my PTSD for a long time after.

And after all that, I was called in for an “interview” to discuss “a new lead in your case”. They didn’t let my rape counselor in the room–again, against the law, I found out later! For about an hour (I think; my sense of time was not that great) they were no longer even pretending to be supportive. They accused me over and over of making it up. They had very flimsy “evidence” (which I won’t go into because it’s both complicated and ridiculous) but mostly it was their “instinct”.

Because I have a mental illness. Because I was hospitalized after attempting suicide. Because I “claimed” I had been sexually assaulted in the past. Because I was crazy, and he was sure I was just looking for attention. He had a bipolar ex-wife, you see, and she made his life a living hell. He told me how he understood mentally ill women, and how we need to create drama. How we’re liars, and we crave attention.

And over and over they accused me of lying. Alone in this tiny room with two large, angry men, I was doing everything I could to keep from having a panic attack. I couldn’t respond to what they were saying; again, I think I was in shock. And they threatened me with jail time, with a felony on my record, destroying my family, public humiliation (he threatened to call the papers–something he did anyway, because, quote, “the community needs to know there was no threat to public safety”). They said I would be charged with a false report, with terrorizing the public (there was a public awareness campaign initially after my attack, though I didn’t have anything to do with it. After the rape, I did everything I could to maintain anonymity, and only told two people–beyond my family and the cops–hat I was attacked. But…I did it for attention, which was why I didn’t tell anyone? I’m just sneaky like that, I guess!). Accusations, threats, anger, pounding the table, over and over and over.

The detective looked at me. His whole demeanor changed; he tried to seem kind, avuncular. “Tell me you made the whole thing up. This whole thing will disappear. Nothing will happen to you. You can leave, if you just tell me you made it up. Tell me you made it up and you’re sorry for lying, and I’ll let you leave.” I tried to hold out–but I didn’t last long. Honestly, at that point, all I wanted in the entire world was just to get out of that room. There are very few things I wouldn’t have done, if I could only leave. So I looked at him and lied. I said, “I made the whole thing up. I’m sorry.”

Next time you hear someone spout the false accusation rhetoric, you can not only tell them that false accusations account for less than 2% of reported cases, but even some of that 2% has been coerced and bullied into recanting.

Please read the entirety of “I Am a False Rape Allegation Statistic” on Freethought Blogs.

-_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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Woman Sexually Assaulted in Front of Judge

This video is highly disturbing, but it shows how victims of sexual assault are habitually ignored, shamed, and punished for reporting assault.

Wear a white feather and vow that you will never do any of these things to a person reporting sexual assault and/or rape.

Court Marshall Sexually Assaults Woman, Then Arrests Her

Thankfully, albeit two years later, the judge and marshall have been fired. The marshall should be tried for sexual assault and the judge for accomplice after the fact, but losing their jobs and shaming them are a start.

Excerpt:

The family court hearing master that allowed two court marshals to abuse, degrade and sexually assault a woman that was in court for a divorce matter was quietly fired last week.

Patricia Doninger is no longer employed by Clark County Courts after an alleged investigation into the August 11 incident in her court, during which she turned her back on a disgusting situation to play with the victim’s underage daughter. Doninger heartlessly ignored the young mother’s plea for help while two Clark County Court Marshalls tortured, groped and viciously attacked the Hispanic woman that was in court for a routine divorce case.

A court video of the incident was obtained by Las Vegas Tribune, and after reviewing it for several days, the newspaper was ready to begin a campaign to demand Hearing Master Patricia Doninger’s termination – but that is no longer necessary.

Doninger was clearly seen on the video playing with the woman’s daughter and ignoring the woman’s cries that the marshal was assaulting her right under her nose, under the guise of searching for drugs.

Read the rest of “Clark County Court to Patricia Doninger: YOU’RE FIRED

-_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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Victim Blaming & Slut Shaming

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

But I didn’t.

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

But I didn’t.

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

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

It didn’t do either of those things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take these one at a time.

Continue reading

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Misguided Community Response

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

Remember: Believe the Victim. Question the Accused.

First, the mockery:

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

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