The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
We have done this. In fact, we are this. Because we are asexual and we don’t like alcohol so we never drink, we have gone with friends to parties/places where our sole job was to keep an eye out for everyone and be the permanent ‘aggressive man-sheild.’ Not one of our female friends has ever questioned this or found it all strange. In fact, often once they realized we were willing to do it, it would be pre-arranged. Every guy friend we ever did this in front of or tried to explain to looked flabbergasted. They had no idea that this was a) an intentional thing, b) a planned ahead thing, or c) universal.
Rape culture is the fact that every woman understands this. Male privilege is the fact that no guy on earth seems to know or understand.
I’ve been asked to pretend to be my friend’s girlfriend every time we go out at night, just because she wears clothes that show off her curves and guys won’t leave her alone. They only back off when I put my arm around her and act as if we’re together romantically, and sometimes not even then.
i once ran interference for a friend, only to receive the unwanted advances myself. he wouldn’t back off until my (male) friend literally wrapped me up in his arms and acted as if he was my S.O.
It happens online too. A guy I know started Facebook-stalking me after a recent interaction, and my roommate immediately got on Facebook and told him she was my girlfriend. He thankfully backed off after that.
I can’t count the number of times I have pretended to be somebody’s girlfriend or sister in a bar when a guy wouldn’t leave her alone. Both with friends and strangers.
After reading these, I feel like taking a shower. Because I’m the designated driver pretty much every time, not being a big fan of alcohol, but I rarely, if ever, intervene. And yeah, I’m small and pretty physically weak, but I could put my foot down verbally if it came down to it. I’m just too scared.
You’re probably scared of confronting the guys. And you should be. That’s what this whole post is about. Rape culture is so prevalent and socially accepted as the rule of the land that if someone confronts a guy and tells him directly to back off, someone is getting hurt. That’s why all of the testimonies here are examples of how to deflect. How women all learn methods of pulling a woman away from a situation with a guy who isn’t allowing her to say no, by making up some lie that will get the guy to let her go without sending him into a rage and deciding to teach you both a lesson about knowing your place and submitting to rape culture. Men are dangerous in these situations because all of society backs them up as just a nice guy who deserves a chance, and vilifies any woman who refuses to give him a chance. Women are not allowed to say no. So other women have to rescue the women saying no and pull them away with some made up excuse. Otherwise the situation will escalate and the ones who get hurt are always the women.
Women absolutely have to learn rescue tactics for each other, but it’s kind of funny how we describe really obvious facial expressions and body language as “secret signals.” The reality is that women telegraph disinterest in these aggressive men, making it super obvious, but men choose to ignore it. Total strangers who are just sitting nearby or happen to glance their way will be able to see that the woman isn’t interested, but the guy making the advances is somehow oblivious? Unlikely.
What men don’t understand is that women are FIERCELY PROTECTIVE of underage girls because we remember when we were young and some adult man made us uncomfortable or manipulated us or was inappropriate with us and we were powerless.
I have a very interesting relationship with the month of April.
Tonight, I managed to catch the tail end of the local Take Back the Night event. Since the 1970s in the United States, Take Back The Night has focused on eliminating sexual violence, in all forms, and thousands of colleges, universities, women’s centers, and rape crisis centers have sponsored events all over the country.
Every year, I try to attend regardless of whatever I have scheduled for the day. I’ve been relatively open about my experiences with sexual assault, but sometimes euphemisms and hiding behind URLs and screennames aren’t enough. Every year at TBTN, I’m filled with a million different emotions. I relive my trauma, I imagine people’s faces that I wish I could forget, I feel the shame and dirtiness and confusion all over again. But at the same time, I feel the love between all the people there and all the support and solidarity from my friends. I am reenergized by the strength of other survivors and the strength I find in myself.
It took me a long time to realize what had happened to me not once, not twice, but three times. That doesn’t make me an ‘easy target’. That doesn’t make me ‘damaged goods’. That doesn’t make me any less than who I am. And as much as we say that trauma and rape don’t define a person, in many ways it does. What I went through changed me — in ways that I didn’t realize until much later.
I’ve been thinking lately about how I got to where I am today. Where did this blog spring from? Where is my feminism rooted? My thirst for justice?
And then I remember the silence. Feeling like I was going to shake so much I’d fall to pieces if I didn’t tell someone but simultaneously feeling frozen with fear that it would be all people saw when they looked at me. And I wanted people to like me, to not have to step carefully around me, to treat me like any other “normal” person. But the more I learned about sexual assault, the more I realized (to my horror) that I was the norm. It’s something like 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted or has been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
Every April I fall into a little slump because it brings back so many memories. My assaults happened in and around April, so along with the warm spring breezes and longer days come the memories of an older man telling a 15 year old me that he loved me, a person pushing me to drink more and more until I blacked out, my teacher’s son doing things because he took my silence as a yes.
The photo above is from the movie Hard Candy, which I enjoy quoting. "Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does not mean she’s ready to do what a woman does". The statute of limitations expired for my assault. I got a text from one of the assaulters reminding me of that.
I am a strong person. I am tough as nails and I will not take anyone’s bullshit. I will handle myself gracefully and use my words as weapons to defend and fight for myself and my community. I am honored to have the platform that I have today to bring awareness to racial and gender inequalities. I am a warrior. I am a warrior who has panic attacks when people make jokes about pedophilia. I am a fighter who couldn’t handle being called “beautiful” for years because that’s what he called me. I am an unstoppable force that needs to take a break sometimes because something unexpectedly triggered me. I am a strong person, but I am a person nonetheless.
This blog was birthed from the pain that I held inside for years, the shame and anger and unstoppable thoughts of revenge and justice. I clearly remember sitting at my computer crying because I was looking up the statute of limitations on sexual assault in Arizona and finding out that the time limit had expired. I knew that who I was, as an Asian American woman, was intertwined with my experiences.I wanted to be heard, damn it. And I wanted to make things right.
I write this not because I want to go back through every excruciating detail, and not to weaponize my experiences. I write this to ask: isn’t there any way for us to become warriors without having to go through a war? If I could have empowered myself and grown this strong without having to go through the heartbreak and pain that I did, would I still be who I am?
Happy Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Happy April.
[Image description: a tweet by @WhyAmIADumbass that says, “Rape culture tells ‘beautiful’ women that they should EXPECT to be harassed/abused, while ‘ugly’ women should be happy for the ‘attention.’”]
If you think this isn’t the damn truth you should know that a few years back, my campus newspaper ran an article that said fat women should be grateful for rape because it’s the only way they’ll ever feel worthy of a man’s attention.
I shit you not.
Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, on the question “Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?”
Read that again. Read it again, and again, and again. Over and over guys have asked her why Melinda was so upset about being raped. This is a girl who went to a party with friends. She was thirteen. She had a drink, because everyone else was. And a senior held her down and raped her while she was too drunk to get away.
And guys don’t understand why she was upset.
Read that again and then come back and tell me again why I should just shut up and take a joke when a comedian blows off rape as a big deal, or women’s bodies are casually treated as commodities in media. Remind me why I shouldn’t care about the very real harm that society’s treatment of women and sexual assault does.
From Robin Thicke’s latest songs to abortion restrictions around the country, America’s all about men’s desires
So much of our culture caters to giving men what they want. A high school student invites model Kate Upton to attend his prom, and he’s congratulated for his audacity. A male fan at a Beyoncé concert reaches up to the stage to slap her ass because her ass is there, her ass is magnificent, and he wants to feel it. The science fiction fandom community is once again having a heated discussion, across the Internet, about the ongoing problem of sexual harassment at conventions — countless women are telling all manner of stories about how, without their consent, they are groped, ogled, lured into hotel rooms under false pretenses, physically lifted off the ground, and more.
But men want what they want. We should all lighten up.
It’s hard not to feel humorless as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening, it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.
These are just songs. They are just jokes. They are just movies. It’s just a hug. They’re just breasts. Smile, you’re beautiful. Can’t a man pay you a compliment? In truth, this is all a symptom of a much more virulent cultural sickness — one where women exist to satisfy the whims of men, one where a woman’s worth is consistently diminished or entirely ignored.
Or I could put it this way. Let’s say this is simply the world we live in. If there is a spectrum of misogyny with pop culture on one end and the disrespect for women’s boundaries in the middle, on the other end, we have our nation’s lawmakers who implicitly encourage this entire spectrum to thrive.
one of my favourite articles this year so far. ‘Men want what they want’ sums up SO much of the rape culture that we live in and live with. Very well done, and another great article about why the Blurred Lines song and video is not just good plain fun, but sexist fun.
Our cultural canon is built on the backs of young girls.You can’t read about any artistic history or movement — from punk rock to 18th century poetry — without reading about someone’s teenage mistress or girlfriend. Men with big egos and senses of entitlement combined with a lack of boundaries have always chewed up and swallowed emotionally immature young girls.Off the top of my head alone: Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin, as did Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley was obsessed with 14-year-old girls (like his would-be wife Priscilla, who was 14 when he met her) and lost interest in his sexual partners once they were no longer virgins.Ted Nugent has admitted to a fondness for underage girls, and at one point became 17-year-old girlfriend Pele Massa’s legal guardian to avoid hassle. Marvin Gaye was 33 when he started dating 16-year-old Janis Hunter. The Eagles’ Don Henley was arrested when police found a drugged, naked 16-year-old girl at his house. Salinger dated teenage girls.Iggy Pop allegedly slept with Sable Starr when she was only 13, then wrote the song “Look Away” about her. Starr went on to have relationships with Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls and Richard Hell, all before turning 17. Chuck Berry went to jail for transporting an underage girl across state lines, and allegedly appeared in in a video urinating on a young girl in a hotel bathtub. Rob Lowe made a sex tape with a 16-year-old girl.Roman Polanski plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, then fled to France to escape imprisonment. Cher was 16 when she met 27-year-old Sonny Bono. Jimmy Page had a relationship with Lori Maddox, a 14-year-old groupie he proceeded to keep behind closed doors for years to avoid legal trouble. She was linked to David Bowie a year earlier.Charles Dickens left his wife for an 18-year-old and then publicly slandered his betrayed wife in the newspaper. Fifty-one-year-old Doug Hutchinson married 16-year-old Courtney Stodden. Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones’ bassist, infamously “dated” 13-year-old Mandy Smith. Mackenzie Phillips’ musician dad first raped her when she was 17 or 18.The above are not only just the ones that come to mind quickly, they’re just the ones who got caught. Our cultural canon is built on the backs of young girls.
Calling out the names. Fuck this shit. STOP THIS SHIT.
Gross apologism in the comments what. When will we stop making excuses for these men?
“Repeat Rape: How do they get away with it?”, Part 1 of 2. (link to Part 2)
- College Men: Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists,Lisak and Miller, 2002 [PDF, 12 pages]
- Navy Men: Lisak and Miller’s results were essentially duplicated in an even larger study (2,925 men): Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel, McWhorter, 2009 [PDF, 16 pages]
By dark-side-of-the-room, who writes:
These infogifs are provided RIGHTS-FREE for noncommercial purposes. Repost them anywhere. In fact, repost them EVERYWHERE. No need to credit. Link to the L&M study if possible.
Knowledge is a seed; sow it.
Reblogging because I mentioned this study in a post the other day and someone reblogged & replied insinuating that I’d made it up, but I didn’t have the citation on hand right then. As I said then: rape culture is what teaches rapists that they aren’t rapists.
^ bolded for emphasis
More and more I find myself disgusted with gay men, especially white gay men (not just cis men either to be honest). And something that is never talked about among gay men is that part of the reason that we need rights outside of marriage and somewhat tolerance is that there’s a whole mess of abuse and disgusting behavior that never sees the light of day, is never addressed, is never rehabilitated, because it involves men who sleep with men.
What is needed is comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive education on respectable male relationships. It seems like most gay men see advice and education centered around cishet relationships and do a complete 180 and believe that that is the proper way to treat another person and they honestly see nothing wrong with that.
There is so much romanticized abuse and predatory bullshit masquerading as ideal relationships. And it is invaded every representation of men who sleep with men today, popular or unpopular.
Trust me when I say that I am the last person that wants to embrace to heteronormativity but that is no excuse to embrace pedophilia, abusive relationships and just unhealthy relationships with friends and family that are informed by a media depiction of what is expected of them based on their sexuality.
When I was a member of the Queer Student Union at my college, every year we would get a new bunch of gaybies whose only interaction with their interaction with their sexuality came from TV and old movies. When confronted with that and the realizations that there was more to life that trying to fit themselves into a character from some sitcom, reality TV show or worse Queer as Folk.
Then to not only get them to see beyond that, but to see that they were not the ones who had drawn the shortest straws in life, that they were not the most hated most oppressed being on the planet, and to get them to recognize what privilege they still had and how it often overshadowed the rights that they still did not have, and it was like we were trying to tell them that all of their loved ones had died.
Gay inc, has convinced alot of people that the world is all honky dory but still out to get them when they need money. Its Annoying and every year it gets hard and harder to de-brainwash these fucking knobs. I still have “friends” my own age that still believe that the only way for everything to work out is if we hold hands with allies and sing barney and circle jerk while we just blatantly ignore the police coming to bash our heads in, like fucking seriously.
Its that much harder trying to get through to 17 and 18 year olds when they are more interested in trying to fuck everyone that smiles at them. And don’t get me wrong I’ve probably fucked my way way into the triple digits, and never will I tell someone not to have a good time or shame them for doing so But the difference is : I know that no means no, I know the difference between just wanting to be friends, I know the difference where and when is inappropriate, and I know when I should have other priorities besides getting my bits wet.
And even then that sex is usually disappointing and mis informed based on popular porn. Let me tell you, among gay men (again not just cis men) there is a huge needs improvement all around. There is a huge and seemingly unrealized need for sexual education that doesn’t just list off stds but instead teaches proper health and maintenance (washing, regular health and sexual exercise, etc) but also the what,when, where, why and how’s of arousal and pleasure.
What is being taught now is either be “ashamed of what you do like and never do it”, or “if you didn’t like what someone else did then something is wrong with you because everyone else loves it” and that’s pretty fucked up. At the very least I was lucky enough to eventually realize that I wasn’t too turned on by some jackass jackhammering into me, sweating up a storm on top of me and like wise wasn’t too happy with a guy jackhammering his ass or other parts into my pelvis either. I thought the problem with me because I wasn’t actualizing my own orgasm or whatever other bullshit.
Turns out its not that hard to have an orgasm if both you and your partner agree to do the stuff you both like. It took me alot longer to start demanding what I wanted out of sex and not feel selfish for it. And by that, I made a list of what I wanted or what needed to happen for me to enjoy myself and like wise I’d asked what they needed and if the terms were agreeable we’d fuck if not it wasn’t the end of the world if we didn’t fuck.
Alot of the problem is that so much of male, and by extension gay male, sexuality is built on conquest and taking what is not yours. Being through convincing, refusing to except a no, convincing and/or forcing someone to do an act they are uncomfortable doing or in a way that they are uncomfortable doing. And its interesting/horrifying because so many men who sleep with men are convinced that they are so much better, more evolved, more sensitive, more sophisticated than their cis hetero counterparts yet spend most of the time emulating their sexist behavior.
There is a whole culture built upon preying on younger men and infantilizing them and pretending that they are even younger. All forms of porn and other entertainment constantly feed into this mirroring the exact same way women are treated.
These men have almost no recourse for preying on these young men, it gets waved away as a “gay thing” the same way many case of “rape” and “sexual assault” are waved away as a gay thing or some sex act gone too far, or just regret after a night of typical gay promiscuity.The only widely investigated crime (among men who sleep)is statutory rape and its more because of the wildy/widely believed idea that there exist an age that is too young for you to know if you are gay or straight and we can’t have those gays preying on straight people. But if you are gay 18 yr old man who sleeps with men and you are facing unwanted advances from a man twice or three times your age, good luck because you are now old enough to be gay and abandoned by the law, you better hope you are white and possibly middle class enough to get someone to care.
Don’t get me started on reporting spousal abuse, they might laugh you right out of the police station. Ever have a cop ask you “well how did he hit you if his wrists were bent” and have a bunch of other cops laugh? This story is unfortunately more common than you think.
fuck people who think they get to tell us when/where/how to talk about rape
fuck people who think they know anything about me from those experiences of sexual assault
fuck the people who tell me “I know what’s like, my sister/brother/friend was raped”
fuck fake ass allies who say NOTHING when rape culture is convenient for them
fuck friendzones and guilt
fuck every fucking person who has ever laughed at a rape joke
and finally, fuck people who tell me to ‘stop being so sensitive about rape, it happened over a year ago, it wasn’t that bad’
I hate you, and you are directly responsible for rape culture
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.”
She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying.
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, indoctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
Pop culture and art are just the cherry on the top of the icing on a huge cake. The United States is among the most religious of all countries in the industrialized world. So, while some people wring their hands over hip hop, I’m more worried about how men like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli explain to their daughters why they can’t be priests. I know that there is hip hop that exceeds the bounds of taste and is sodden with misogyny. But, people seem to think that those manifestations of hatred are outside of the mainstream when, in reality, it’s just more of the same set to great beats. Hip hop has nothing on religious misogyny and its political expression.
An entire political party’s “social policy” agenda is being pursued under a rubric that insists women need “permission slips” and “waiting periods.” The recent shutdown? Conservatives holding the country hostage because they want to add anti-abortion “conscience clause” language to legislation. Whose consciences are we talking about? All the morally incompetent and untrustworthy men who need abortions?
It’s no exaggeration to say that distrust of women is the driving force of the “social issues” agenda of the Republican Party. From food stamps and “legitimate rape,” to violence against women and immigration policy. “We need to target the mother. Call it sexist, but that’s the way nature made it,” explained the man who penned Arizona’s immigration law. “Men don’t drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do.” I could do this ad infinitum.
A Republican elected official in Maine actually said this. But what war on women? (via whitegirlpolitickin)
I think this is something I’m going to point people to when I tell them that the pro-life position is directly related to rape culture.
It’s not against the law in Massachusetts to secretly take photos up a woman’s skirt, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday. The court dismissed charges against Michael Robertson, who was arrested by Boston transit police for taking photos and videos up multiple women’s skirts or dresses on the subway.
The judges sympathized with the notion that a woman should be able to have a reasonable expectation not to have secret photos taken up her skirt when she goes out in public, but ruled that current state law does not address that. Massachusetts’ “Peeping Tom” laws, as written, only protect women from being photographed in dressing rooms or bathrooms when they are undressed. Since upskirt photos are taken of fully clothed women in public, they don’t count, according to the court.
“A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” the court wrote.
Robertson’s lawyers defended his actions by arguing the photos were a matter of free speech.
Upskirt photos are becoming increasingly common with the spread of camera phones, but the law is slow to catch up with new technologies. Under most voyeurism laws, women must have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” which is difficult to prove when she is in public. The Massachusetts court is hardly the first to acquit men who take these photos; perpetrators in Oklahoma, Indiana, and Washington have all been cleared by judges because the laws on the books did not apply. In response to one case in which a man legally took upskirt photos of a 10-year-old girl, Indiana lawmakers passed an upskirt ban in 2011. Other states have considered but not passed similarly updated voyeurism laws.