A “Rape Culture” Tutorial for the Naysayers

Extract from a Huffington Post article by Toula Drimonis:

Every time I post a link to a cringe-inducing incident (sexist jokes, sexist comments, allegations of violence or rape), it inevitably happens. A well-meaning, yet somewhat unaware, (usually) male friend will comment or contact me in private, attempting to “understand” what’s going on, all the while trying to explain, justify, minimize, and reduce the severity of what was just discussed.

There’s a term for it. It’s called “mansplaining” and it’s slowly becoming an epidemic.

“I don’t mean to downplay it, but…” [Of course you do.]
“All we know about this guy was this one horrible sexist event!” [So I should base my opinion of him on the behaviour I’m not aware of?]
“I get that this incident (like the one before it, and the one before it, and the one before it…) is horrible, but does this really justify the use of ‘rape culture’ as a term to be used so loosely?” [Yes.]
“Boys will be boys… It doesn’t mean they’ll act on their comments.” [Oh, ok. That makes me feel much safer.]

Even men who consider themselves feminists don’t often get it, because they too come from a place of unconscious privilege. They’re inevitably standing on the top, looking down. From the place everything is compared to, measured against, the controlled group that serves as a standard; you know… the status quo.

First off, and since International Women’s Day is around the corner, can we take a minute to define ‘rape culture’ for those who seem to think it’s an irrational and highly charged blanket statement that seeks to vilify all men for all sins? …

Click here to read the full article

Why Raising Strong Girls Is Not Enough

From: http://owtk.com/2014/03/why-raising-strong-girls-is-not-enough/


Strong girls cannot save the world alone.In a vacuum, the notion that we dads and moms and other parties involved in the childhood business will positively impact the world simply by placing more decent, kind, confident, strong, and loving girls into it is a fallacy. A utopian dream. A marketing ploy. A wish upon a star. Raising strong girls is not enough.

Raising strong girls is not enough because a strong girl, even the strongest of mind, body, will, and spirit, can too easily be fractured into a thousand unrecognizable pieces, a glass bottle of glitter shattered on a venetian tile floor, by a physically stronger, drunker, misogynistic boy. We can cobble together and restore some of the sparkle but it’s doomed to be mixed with crumbs, dust, and dirt, no matter how studious we are. A dulling of the shine. A repeal of the magic.

The world isn’t pretty in this way and wishing it were won’t make it so.

It would seem imperative then that we as a nation of dads and moms and parties involved in the childhood business must also, in addition to strengthening the core of our young girls, make a more substantial attempt to soften our boys. Maybe soften isn’t the proper word, not exactly. Does there exist a catchall word for “don’t rape anyone, asshole”? Maybe not. So let’s settle on ‘soften’ for now. One gender gets stronger of mind, body, will and spirit, while the other gets softer, becomes more tender, emotionally connected, and gentle inside and out. We shall then all meet in the middle, in a clearing, and dance. If not dance, at least we might coexist with greater decency than we’ve managed from waaaaaaaaaaay back then until right now today.

Click here to read the whole article.

Involved Fathers and Gender Equity

fatherhood_give_love_get_loveThe Involved Father and Gender Equity project was a collaborative effort between White Ribbon Campaign and Dad Central. The study explored the positive roles that fathers, organizations working with diverse fathers, and the fatherhood sector in Ontario in general can play in promoting gender equality, healthy, equal relationships, and ending violence against women in all its forms. The data for the study consisted of several modalities including focus groups, surveys of fathers who participated in the focus groups, interviews with stakeholders and professionals working on engaging fathers, and a preliminary environmental scan of the services available to fathers in Ontario. Fifty-three (53) fathers took part in nine focus groups in communities across Ontario. The information regarding their experiences comprises the majority of the findings in this document.


This is what everyday sexism looks like….

Here’s a role reversal video to give an “inside” look at sexism. We do not necessarily agree with all the points raised, but it is a good place to start a discussion.

Trigger warning: Simulated violence, partial nudity and coarse language.


The Danger in Demonizing Male Sexuality

Interesting article by Alyssa Royse. Excerpt below:

“Yes, girls are told that boys are predatory and somehow out of control. The corollary there is that boys are told they are predators, and out of control. Therefore, not a desirable thing, but a thing to defend against. From the get-go, we are teaching our kids to fear male sexuality, and to repress female sexuality.

As they age, and their media exposure extends beyond the protective (and crappy) bubble of children’s programming, we see example after example of men having to pull huge gestures to lure women into sex, or catch them, or trick them. Just off the top of my head: In Superbad when one of the guys talks about getting girls drunk enough that they can be “that mistake;” in Spiderman when he shoots a web to catch the girl who said “no” half a dozen times, pulling her in for an epic kiss that leaves them both breathless; in Anchorman when the guy uses a cologne made with “bits of real panther” that “60% of the time works every time” to get the girl. I could go on and on, but that point is that popular culture sets up this idea that men are sexual predators who need to resort to trickery and cologne to fulfill their one and only mission, which is sticking their penis in a girl.

It’s sad. It’s insulting. And it’s damaging.

This way of looking at male sexuality conflates sexuality with predation. It means that he who possesses sexuality is assumed a predator.

That is obviously damaging to the vast majority of men who simply are not. They want and like sex just as much as the rest of us. However, it’s downright dangerous when you extrapolate that out to situations like the horror of Stubenville. It is this line of thinking that allows people to say, “boys will be boys.” As if this kind of predation is just natural for guys, when in fact it is not normal for guys to be predators. Most men are not predators.”

See the full article at http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-danger-in-demonizing-male-sexuality

How porn is rewiring men’s brains

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

“There’s a scene in Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new comedy about a womanising New Jersey stud with a rabid porn habit, in which Julianne Moore’s character gently breaks it to Jon that the sex they had was, well, not that good. That, actually, she felt like Jon was pretty much masturbating using her instead of his hand. Jon is stunned, mortified and finally completely confused by his sex life. Because, the truth is, he’s not enjoying it much either. Porn is what he really loves. Porn, porn and more porn.”

No one asks to be raped – “Not Ever” campaign

From the YouTube description:

With “Not Ever, Rape Crisis Scotland has launched Scotlands first ever TV campaign aimed at tackling women-blaming attitudes to rape. The advert was launched on Monday 28 June, and was broadcast for the first time that night during coverage of Brazil’s World Cup match. It will continue to be shown over the next 9 weeks on STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

“Not Ever” addresses women-blaming attitudes towards rape such as claims that dressing provocatively, being drunk or flirting with men are contributory factors. Its hard-hitting approach is intended to make people stop in their tracks, and to shake out and challenge ingrained prejudices many people have towards women who have been raped.

Recent research reveals that almost one in five Scots believe a woman is partially to blame for being raped if she is wearing revealing clothing – a survey of 1,040 Scots carried out by Cello MRUK in February 2010 for the Scottish Government found that:
• 23 per cent think a woman can be at least partly responsible if she is drunk at the time of the attack
• 17 per cent thought that a woman bore some responsibility if she wore revealing clothing
• 15 per cent say there should be some burden of responsibility for rape if the women is flirting
• 8 per cent think rape can be the woman’s fault if she is known to have had many sexual partners

These attitudes can make it difficult for women to speak out about being raped, because of fear of being blamed for what has happened. There are also significant concerns about the impact these attitudes might have on rape survivors’ ability to access justice, in terms of attitudes which jury members might hold.

Although many people genuinely believe they wouldn’t judge a rape victim by what they wear, how drunk they were, or if they had been flirting all night, they often actually do; particularly when sitting as a juror in court. Not Ever wants to prompt people to keep their judgments in check and to remember that there’s only one person who is responsible for rape and it’s not the victim. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how many sexual partners you’ve had, or if you’re out getting drunk with friends – no one deserves to be raped – ever.

A new campaign website has been set up to allow people to share their thoughts and seek support at www.notever.co.uk , and people can also show support for Not Ever on the campaign’s Facebook page at http://bit.ly/blMIu2 .
There is also a Not Ever Twitter stream: @Not_Ever to keep people updated with the progress of the campaign.

What is Patriarchy???

“There is a problem with feminism in today’s cultural climate.  Many women who are angry about patriarchy are blaming men; and many men who are angry about patriarchy are blaming women.  It is impossible to hold an intelligent conversation and find plausible solutions to a problem if we can’t stop bickering about what the problem is!  And we will never be able to stop bickering until we stop placing blame and start taking responsibility.  All of us.  In a defensive stance, with guards up and swords drawn, no truce, understanding, or agreement can ever be reached.”

See http://queerguesscode.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/patriarchy-is-not-your-fault-but-it-is-your-responsibility/ for the full article.


***Trigger warning***

After Tina Mion’s “Pinata” painting

To the man on the bus I overheard tell a woman in conversation – presumably a friend:
“you are too ugly to be raped…”

…Dear man on the bus,
Tell the one in five women of this country, that they are beautiful,
their four counterparts, spared torment ugly.

Tell the one in three women of this world,
That you will not make piñatas of their bodies.
Watch morsels of them, spill greedily
to the famished smiles of your ignorance
Shaped like bloodthirsty children. How your words
Hit repeatedly, until they broke open
Like shattered papier-mache cradle
How their blood flowed like candy until Hollow insides
Jaws mangled into misfortune from when they tried to scream
For Legs torn crucifix
Loud cry of eyes muted
Tell them how beautiful their silence is.

…Dear man on the bus
From smothering cat-calls,
to quickened pace of trek home
Rape with a dress on.
Rape without a dress on.
Raped as children, who couldn’t even dress themselves.
Tell them how ugly their consent was.

Tell the depression, the post traumatic stress
The unreported. Tell Mahmudiyah,
A footnote in the history of crimson Iraqi sands
How beautiful the military’s silence is
Cloaked in how we don’t ask, and they
didnt tell, in the name of country.

Tell Elizabeth Fritzl
How pretty the flame of her skin was,
that turned her Father a torturous moth of incest
‘til she gave birth to 7 choices she never had

…Dear man on the bus
Tell my 11th grade student, Lauren
That she wanted it, her beauty had them coming.
Tell my 7th grade student, Mickayla
That she wanted it, her beauty had him coming.
Tell my 3rd grade student, Andre
That he wanted it, his beauty had him coming.

Tell the 8 year old me,
The God in me I loved fiercely was so gorgeous,
that cousin twice my age,
wanted to molest the Holy out of me,
Peeled raw
until I was as ugly as she was.

Rape is a coward hiding its face in the make-up of silence.
A murderous fruit, that grows best in the shadows of taboo.
A Vietnam prostitute with red white and blue skin,
A murmur of bodies left vacant
by the souls that spend years, pills, poems, and death
trying to learn to reclaim them.

…Dear nameless assailant
How this bus carries the burden of your stick and blindfold Patriarchy
that has only taught you to treat women like ceiling strung jugs
Violence claws up from your throat,
Like a monstrous accomplice to the 97 percent
that will never see jail

…Dear man on the bus
As these words fall out of your mouth,
I pray no one finds your children beautiful enough
to break open, making a decorative silent spectacle out of them.

From the Toronto Star:

“Through a series of interviews with professors, lawyers and public health officials, the Star has attempted to unpack the idea of “rape culture.” What emerges is an invisible circuit of social attitudes, laws and cultural phenomena that normalize and even encourage rape.

It starts in schools, where an outdated sex-education curriculum doesn’t address consent, new technology or sexual assault. It then gets exacerbated on social media, a forum that eggs on sexual bravado and shames victims into silence.

The cycle is completed with a justice system that has difficulty prosecuting sexual assault cases, despite progressive laws, because of prevailing social attitudes toward women and sexual activity.”

See the full article at: http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/10/19/rape_culture_what_do_steubenville_rehtaeh_parsons_and_frosh_chants_have_in_common.html

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