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Indian Rape Victim Was Driven To Suicide (Trigger Warnings For Rape, Religious WTF And General Rage Inducing Hatefulness)

December 28, 2012

Seriously world? What the ever loving fuck? There are days when American rape culture makes me want to scream or go on a taint kicking spree. Then I reading something like this and it makes me feel better about how far we’ve come here. Then I feel like shit because something like this should not make anyone feel better about anything!

Then I think about it for a little while longer and I realize that the differences I’m seeing are really just cosmetic.

I’ve been having a conversation with some friends on LSG about the Boyfriend Bear, which I thought was probably the creepiest non-spider related thing in the universe. This Witch grew up without the joys of organized Christianity, specifically the evangelical kind of Protestantism that seems to spawn these horrors. I really thought I’d reached the limit of crazy for this particular demographic. Then the LSGers told me about Purity Balls and I had to go wash my brain.

This shit? Is dangerous. Totally aside from the fact that the failure rate is massive which leads to pregnancy and STDs from lack of protection, the religious stigma and backlash cause real, lasting damage. Why? Because the farther right a religious group gets the more likely they are to blame the victim for their rape. Don’t believe me? Look At This Shit. Over and over again females in all cultures are given functionally the same messages. Why were you with him in the first place? Were you flirting with him? Did you tell him no? Did you mean it? Did you fight? He’s a good guy! He’s sorry! He didn’t realize! You’ll ruin his life! You brought it on yourself.

When I was a tween I had no fashion sense. I careened wildly from one tragic outfit to another. Thank Universe I have no pictures of myself to post.  Suffice it to say, I dressed like an episode of 21 Jump Street only angrier and, you know not Caucasian.

Here’s the thing. I started developing at 11 and I dressed for attention. So I got it. Cause, effect. Guys made comments and by “guys” I mean males between the ages of tween and death. A lot of those comments were creepy as fuck and when I said something to pretty much anyone the response I got was “Well, look how you’re dressed.” In my mind that translated to “you brought it on yourself.” That makes sense because that’s pretty much what they were fucking telling me. Sadly, at that age, I did not have the vocabulary to respond.

But I do now.

You know what world? You’re right. I was dressing for attention. You know what else? Attention /= harassment. The fact that people want to look pretty or even attractive (which has an inherent element of drawing the attention of other humans) does not give anyone the right to touch or bother them. And that is really the problem because people plead ignorance or comedy or anything else that will let them avoid responsibility for the fact that they ignore these basic truths. This is especially problematic among males.

Hes, I know that females are not the only ones who are harassed or sexually assaulted. But can we not pretend that the victim statistics are anything close to equal? Women are overwhelmingly targeted in terms of sexual assault. That’s just a fact.

After we are targeted we are targeted some more in the forms listed above over and over again as the world tells us that we are at fault for our own suffering. Because when people say those things, what they are doing is telling the victim that not only is she to blame but that the person who hurt her has value while she does not.

Victim blaming is about enforcing the stigma that women who are no longer chaste have been devalued as well as the perception that women are the source of and responsible for all male expressions of aggression or sexuality, even though they aren’t supposed to have any of their own. So the woman is pressured. In India she’s pressured to take a pay off or the other thing that I can’t make myself type without throwing up in my mouth a little bit. In America the woman is pressured with slut shaming and blame and admonishments to think of the reputation of the poor guy who victimized her. It’s the same pressure. The difference is just a matter of degrees.

We must do better.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2012 2:21 AM

    Thank you for this post.

  2. December 28, 2012 4:34 PM

    I’ve just heard that the gang raped woman has died. It makes me so angry to think that nothing will be done to change society’s view of women, and more people will be victimised – raped by those who own the power in the society.

    • December 28, 2012 5:09 PM

      I just read that as well. It’s almost 2013 and posts about women who are violated because society doesn’t value us and who are then further violated by the authorities are still fucking necessary.

  3. Dan permalink
    December 29, 2012 7:46 AM

    I understand, and agree with the sentiments, and think the bear to be a truly horrible display of parents forcing their kids’ thinking that sex is bad, and they should only engage in it after safely married. But I bring another ancillary issue that has cropped up in American culture, that muddies the waters somewhat in regards to males’ perceptions of women, and the boundaries between them. There has arisen in the last few decades a small, but apparently growing subset of women who enjoy rough treatment during sex, and actually advertize for it. Yes, they nearly always state that they seek trustworthy partners to engage, and clearly state what they do and don’t prefer — but my point is that to young males, struggling with their own sexual issues, and even perhaps gender identity issues, it is confusing and contradictory, when they have been raised in a “no means no” culture, and suddenly discovered there are women who like being physically abused for sexual gratification, and who even seek it out. To these naive young men, it’s an odd cultural mix and a cognitive dissonance they have trouble navigating. Yes, rape, is rape. But rough sex (and pantomimed rape, for female sexual gratification) makes the issue less clear, in the minds of young, sexually inexperienced men. They can see it portrayed on YouPorn, or any number of other sites, adding to their adolescent angst. What I’m boiling it down to, is that readily accessable images of consensual rough sex (and simulated rape, for female sexual gratification), is a cultural phenomeneon that lends itself to giving adolescent males the wrong impression, and if women are serious about reducing the instances of rape, this issue also needs to be forthrightly addressed, by women.

    • December 29, 2012 12:05 PM

      Consent is consent. There’s nothing confusing about it. No matter the kink, the responsibility is the same. Further, blaming porn is an excuse. Hogwarts isn’t real, getting bitten by a radioactive spider won’t make me a superhero, and porn is fake. If, at any point, there is some confusion about those facts, that confusion is an indication of a problem with the viewer, not the thing being viewed.

      What I’m boiling it down to, is that readily accessable images of consensual rough sex (and simulated rape, for female sexual gratification), is a cultural phenomeneon that lends itself to giving adolescent males the wrong impression, and if women are serious about reducing the instances of rape, this issue also needs to be forthrightly addressed, by women.

      No, just no. Also, no and no some more. The maligned group is never the responsible part when it comes to institutional oppression. The group suffering from the power disparity, can’t be responsible for affecting change because they don’t have the power.

      • Dan permalink
        December 29, 2012 1:29 PM

        “…and porn is fake. ”

        It’s NOT fake, and you’re ducking the issue with this sort of reply. It is made by INDIVIDUALS and uploaded to porn-sharing sites like YouPorn. They are not actors, and it can get quite graphic. So your point about the observer is off the mark. People know it’s real, and made by amateurs. And the women in the videos at least seem to enjoy the physical abuse. And there are dating sites, as I said that have women who advertise for this. Your “Hogwarts isn’t real” is about what I’d expect, from someone who has already closed their mind to ancillary aspects of the debate. I knew this would be misunderstood, and you haven’t dissappointed me on that.

        • December 29, 2012 2:02 PM

          It’s NOT fake, and you’re ducking the issue with this sort of reply. It is made by INDIVIDUALS and uploaded to porn-sharing sites like YouPorn. They are not actors, and it can get quite graphic. So your point about the observer is off the mark. People know it’s real, and made by amateurs

          Amateur porn made by private individuals, not porn companies, is amateur porn. It is negotiated and consensual and as such still fake. There is no relation between a negotiated consensual act, even if it is caught on film, and assault. Again, the fact that this is somehow unclear does not indicate a problem with the content. It indicates a problem with the viewer.

          And the women in the videos at least seem to enjoy the physical abuse.

          Because what you are viewing is consensual. They aren’t being abused because abuse, by definition involves power disparity. In reality, the submissive (a huge percentage of whom are male) is in charge of the interaction while dominant is responsible for the physical action. They make the rules. They set the boundaries and they say when it’s over. Anyone violating these negotiated rules is committing a crime because they made a choice to ignore the rules boundaries and limitations.

          And there are dating sites, as I said that have women who advertise for this.

          Because they are seeking sex and/or relationships with people who understand the difference between consent and non-consent as well as real and fake.

          Your “Hogwarts isn’t real” is about what I’d expect, from someone who has already closed their mind to ancillary aspects of the debate.

          Thank you. As a person who understands the difference between consent and non-consent as well as real and fake, I am proud to have lived up to your expectations.

          I knew this would be misunderstood, and you haven’t dissappointed me on that.

          I understood you perfectly. You’re engaging in the exact kind of victim blaming that I was talking about, you’re making excuses and you’re wrong. That’s totally different that being misunderstood.

          As I said previously, in cases of institutional oppression, the responsibility is always on the power group to make the changes. Society must stop blaming women for the constant message that chastity equals value and grow the hell up. We’re done holding your hands and walking you through this.

      • Dan permalink
        December 29, 2012 2:02 PM

        “No, just no. Also, no and no some more. The maligned group is never the responsible part when it comes to institutional oppression. The group suffering from the power disparity, can’t be responsible for affecting change because they don’t have the power.”

        This has absolutely nothing to do with institutionalized oppression. You are saying that women in the country are afraid to even discuss their sisters who enjoy physical/sexual abuse, because it fulfills some basic sexual need in their psyches, for fear that such discussion will empower some knuckledragger to indiscriminately rape and abuse women. Is that it? Sorry, I didn’t know that just debating this issue might cause an explosion of violent rape against women. I’ll shut up, if that’s the case, and let you be safe.

        • December 29, 2012 3:25 PM

          This has absolutely nothing to do with institutionalized oppression.

          You might want to read that main post again. What I actually said was

          The fact that people want to look pretty or even attractive (which has an inherent element of drawing the attention of other humans) does not give anyone the right to touch or bother them. And that is really the problem because people plead ignorance or comedy or anything else that will let them avoid responsibility for the fact that they ignore these basic truths.

          What I also actually said was

          This is especially problematic among males.

          Thanks for proving the point I was making so definitively.

          What I further also said was

          Victim blaming is about enforcing the stigma that women who are no longer chaste have been devalued as well as the perception that women are the source of and responsible for all male expressions of aggression or sexuality, even though they aren’t supposed to have any of their own.

          If you would like people to stop pointing out that you are engaging in victim blaming and, in fact, absolutely part of the specific set of problems I was talking about, stop victim blaming and engaging in the other problematic behavior I was talking about. Failing that, and let’s be clear, you’re failing at that, your job is to sit quietly and listen so you can maybe learn a thing. Consensual sex, no matter how rough /= assault. Further, failure to recognize the difference between real and fiction /= a problem with pron or women. Slow your roll, Dan. Commenting is a privilege.

          Sorry, I didn’t know that just debating this issue might cause an explosion of violent rape against women.

          Dear Readers,

          Moments like this are the reason my moderating policy is so open. Such a policy offers innumerable opportunities for real life examples.

          This right here? It’s called “playing the victim.” It’s a standard technique in online discussions, one distantly related to White Woman’s Tears. Please allow me to translate. “I came to your blog and said a stupid series of things but I am not able to take responsibility for my behavior so I will, instead, attempt to paint you as having victimized me in calling me on my bullshit.”

          The answer to any attempt to play the victim is always “Wrong. Not fooled. Take responsibility.”

          Love,

          Isobel the Witch

      • December 30, 2012 2:40 AM

        @Dan
        I think you raised your point really well, and it gave me some thought, but ultimately, I have to disagree. You’re saying that women need to consider that their natural sexual urges and proclivities are putting them in harm’s way, and thus, they should change them. You are advocating for control of women through them realising their actions place them in danger, and then adhering to an “acceptable” form of sexual expression. Plus, it seems you are raising another “he couldn’t help it” arguments. Us blokes really have to step up. “No” really does mean “no”, no matter what the fucking circumstances.

        @Isobel
        I respectfully disagree with some of your “porn is fake” argument. Consent and choice exists on a spectrum, where the choice for some women to engage in porn is sometimes not an expression of absolute consent. Porn may present to them a way to pay the bills and feed their kids, if only they submit to the sick mind of some Max Hardcore-type individual and allow themselves to be degraded for the pleasure of males all over the globe.

        And even if we could ensure that all porn productions were absolutely consensual, there is still a question as to whether the content is acceptable to be accessed by anyone, anywhere. I don’t believe in absolute freedom of speech, because I do believe that fictionalised media content has the ability to inspire and to shape our beliefs. I agree that there is a problem with the viewer, but when that viewer is a 14-year old with limited access to more didactic forms of sexual education; a 14-year old who is impressionable and without significant faculties to process the notion of “fact” and “fiction” (especially when confronted with a media that he has been socialised to view as arousing), then we do have to question whether or not the content might not play some role in all this awful shit.

        • December 30, 2012 6:36 PM

          What you’re saying is technically true, in that there are people on many point on the gender line, who also fall somewhere on the line between reluctant consent and full throated, critically thought out consent. This happens for a lot of reasons, most of which are also connected directly to sexism. That doesn’t change the larger point. What you’re seeing on screen is either consensual or it’s evidence.

          I agree that there is a problem with the viewer, but when that viewer is a 14-year old with limited access to more didactic forms of sexual education; a 14-year old who is impressionable and without significant faculties to process the notion of “fact” and “fiction” (especially when confronted with a media that he has been socialised to view as arousing), then we do have to question whether or not the content might not play some role in all this awful shit.

          No. In the same way that the NRA is wrong when they blame video games and movies for guns, asserting that porn causes rape is wrong. Rape is not an act of confusion or mixed messages. Rape is a decision by the rapist. Porn is often used to justify that decision but it does not change the fact of the decision.

          And let’s be clear here, porn is as available to females as it is to males. And don’t convince yourself that it is less attractive to us. Yet, females are far, far less likely to rape than males. Unless we are pretending that males are somehow more easily influenced than females the porn excuse does not stand against cursory critical analysis.

      • December 30, 2012 7:52 PM

        I’m not saying porn causes rape. Rapists cause rape. But I do believe that some porn can create an environment where assaults and rape are accepted. Some porn adds to the rape culture. I believe in the power of the media to shape our beliefs and actions. This is not to offer a reprieve to the rapist, because no matter their excuse, they are the ones solely responsible for their actions. You are right to say that there is no “confusion or mixed messages”. This is because some porn instructs boys and men that women are only good for one thing. That are not confused to that fact.

        Look, this conversation thread is a different topic altogether from the thrust of the piece you wrote, and I won’t detract from it further. I think we stand opposed in how we view the influence that porn has on the beliefs and mores of young people, and I would like to get a better understanding of your perspective. I’m writing my honours dissertation on this subject and think I will post something shortly on my blog that summarises my thoughts on it. Perhaps you might be keen on writing a response to it? At any rate, Happy New Year.

        • December 30, 2012 8:04 PM

          Rapists cause rape. But I do believe that some porn can create an environment where assaults and rape are accepted.

          You’re reversing the causal relationship. Society, which values and protects males and their reputations over the safety and physical integrity of females causes porn which celebrates the same things.

          Look, this conversation thread is a different topic altogether from the thrust of the piece you wrote, and I won’t detract from it further.

          I’m actually writing a bit about this now, for tomorrow’s post, interesting discussion leads to blogging topics. So, we can revisit it then.

          • December 30, 2012 9:41 PM

            “You’re reversing the causal relationship.”
            Yes, you’re right. I shouldn’t have said “create”; rather “reinforce”. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

    • December 29, 2012 12:12 PM

      Dan, I’m sure that your intention is to try and offer a reasonable alternative point of view. What you are doing is in fact reinforcing the “blame the victim” trend that the Witch is speaking against.
      The fantasy of nonconsent is a pretty common one, and over the past decade a lot of kinksters have come out of the closet. This includes bondage, foot fetish, scat, infantilization. The internet allows for a wide range of information and easy access to images, videos and stories about all of these kinks. It’s a fantasy, and someone who cannot seperate the images on the internet and TV from reality is already in the wrong.

      I take offense to your statement “and simulated rape, for female sexual gratification”. The correct statement would be for the sexual gratification of both partners. Because the male involved in this scenario is not an innocent victim who is forcing himself into a simulated rape situation to appease the insatiable appetite of his female partner, And yet, the young male who views these images on the interwebs will be so confused by these images that he will rape an unwilling female partner because he is confused?

      Do you see the problem with your logic?

      Simulated rape and forced sex is a kink that some people participate in, in the same way that some people like to dress up as a sexy nurse and play doctor, or others eat food off of their partner. Responsible kinksters will take the time to make sure that it’s safe and clear about both partners are consenting to the “abuse”, and they will find a way to indicate the lack of consent.

      If you continue to say that rape and sexual abuse arises from confusing images on the internet then you are contributing the rape culture. If you truly think that only women are aroused by the simulated rape and the men are confused or coerced then you are contributing to the rape culture.

      • Dan permalink
        December 29, 2012 1:41 PM

        “What you are doing is in fact reinforcing the “blame the victim” trend that the Witch is speaking against.”

        Simplistic twaddle. I merely introduced an aspect of the debate you seem to want to ignore, because it doesn’t re-affirm your beliefs.

        “Simulated rape and forced sex is a kink that some people participate in, in the same way that some people like to dress up as a sexy nurse and play doctor, or others eat food off of their partner. Responsible kinksters will take the time to make sure that it’s safe and clear about both partners are consenting to the “abuse”, and they will find a way to indicate the lack of consent. ”

        I’m talking about adolescent males who can easily view this stuff, not people who engage in it. They are the impressionables who must be reached. You seem to be off on a tangent, and not addressing the points I made.

        “If you continue to say that rape and sexual abuse arises from confusing images on the internet then you are contributing the rape culture.”

        Now there’s more simplistic twaddle. Are you suggesting it plays absolutely no part in fashioning the minds of present-day adolescent males? You have taken an easy road, which doesn’t force you to examine this cultural anomaly, but paint over it with high-sounding rhetoric. But you still aren’t dealing with any and all factors which might be contributing factors, because it might cause you to address the contradictory messages being sent by women, to men. Do I even suggest that watching violent porn makes one a violent sexual predator? No, I did not. Can violent porn cause some confused teen to act out what he’s seen adults do? Can you honestly say no? Does the presence of such violent amateur porn in our culture give conflicting signals to impressionable minds? Damn ziggity.

      • Dan permalink
        December 29, 2012 1:50 PM

        “Because the male involved in this scenario is not an innocent victim who is forcing himself into a simulated rape situation to appease the insatiable appetite of his female partner.”

        Now you’re on shaky rhetorical ground with me, since I’m speaking from personal experience, with a female who would not engage in sexual behavior unless it was of this variety. Was I forced? No. Was it done to gratify her? Yes. Would she have engaged in sex, without the expectation of abuse? No.

        I’m an adult, so I’m old enought to separate these conflicts, but an adolescent teen, swimming in hormones? Women’s forums need to address this openly, if they want to lessen the very real violence against women.

    • ann permalink
      December 29, 2012 2:39 PM

      Here, Dan, I’ll forthrightly address the issue for you: some people (of all genders) enjoy fantasizing and enacting scenes of forced sex. Some people fantasize about being the recipient, some people fantasize about being the aggressor. When sane, responsible people play out these fantasies, they do it consensually, with agreed-upon boundaries that have been negotiated in advance. If one person violates those boundaries, that person is a rapist. If one person attacks another person without consent, that person is a rapist. It’s really not difficult.

      That, Dan, is all a “confused” adolescent boy needs to understand about the porn that worries you. The people on screen agreed (for any of a myriad of reasons) to be there. If they didn’t, you’re watching footage of a crime. You do not then get a free “confusion” pass to become a criminal yourself.

      And news flash: many of the pioneers of modern kink are women. We do address the issue you’re so worried about. We address it a lot. We address it online, in print, in movies, on television, with our kids and our partners and our students. You may not have been paying attention, but your refusal to seek out knowledge does not constitute our failure to provide it.

      • December 29, 2012 11:32 PM

        Ann I read your comments and wanted to throw my hands in the air and yell “preach on!” .. . in other words, very well said. And I am TOTALLY stealing ” You may not have been paying attention, but your refusal to seek out knowledge does not constitute our failure to provide it.”

  4. Dan permalink
    December 29, 2012 2:09 PM

    “Amateur porn made by private individuals, not porn companies, is amateur porn. It is negotiated and consensual and as such still fake.”

    *Sigh* It’s as fake as any sex act — that’s filmed. Just because a camera is rolling, doesn’t mean it’s not real. The abuse is real, not faked. The welts? Real.

    I’m coming from a distinctly different perspective than you, as you can see. And I don’t appreciate the effort to lump me in with “the oppressors,” so I’ll be leaving now, hopefully giving you a little different perspective.

    • December 29, 2012 2:18 PM

      I would like to add real welts, real abuse, and real sex. Between two consenting adults who choose to participate.

  5. December 29, 2012 2:17 PM

    Dan
    Everything about your comments supports the rape culture and the blame the victim mentality.

    You describe a large collection of young men who are confused by the images that they see in pornography, and as a result they don’t know how to obtain consent from potential partners.
    Further you heavily imply, if not outright state, that the responsibility is upon the female that participates. You are reinforcing the rape culture.

    PORN, even home movies, is a fantasy created between two adults who CONSENT. In professional porn there are contracts and other legal documents that reinforce the CONSENT.

    You express a serious concern for the young men who view these images and then don’t know how to deal with women. But where is your concern for the young women? Are they less impressionable? Are they less the victim?

    It’s people who dismiss others as “ignorant twaddle” that reinforce the rape culture. Not the abundance of porn available with a simple google search.

  6. December 29, 2012 2:51 PM

    Dan, “Now you’re on shaky rhetorical ground with me, since I’m speaking from personal experience, with a female who would not engage in sexual behavior unless it was of this variety. Was I forced? No. Was it done to gratify her? Yes. Would she have engaged in sex, without the expectation of abuse? No.”

    So what? How is this relevant?You are pulling from anecdotal evidence, and your personal experiences have tainted your situation.

    If you were in a position where, in order to gain sexual favor or some form of connection, your were forced to perform sex acts that made you uncomfortable then you were violated. Forcing someone to do a sexual act against their inclination is immoral at best and abuse and rape at worst.

    That being said, don’t blame women as a whole for the discomfort that a single woman caused you.

    Nonconsent pornography is a fantasy, and someone who cannot tell the difference, 15 or 50, is mentally deficient. The gender should not matter.

    • December 30, 2012 3:04 AM

      @RCP
      “someone who cannot tell the difference, 15 or 50, is mentally deficient”
      That’s a bit rich. Are you really stating that if, by age 15, a young person does not understand that the reality they see in porn is just a harmless fantasy – concepts of “reality” being quite complex notions to grasp – that there is something wrong with them? Come on. Some porn is a PART of the rape culture. The consent that you says exists – consent, too, being a complex notion, hardly ever existing in totality – is not shown in the porn video, nor is it taught in high schools, advocated for in peer groups, or presented in other fictionalised media. Some porn is a key component of a socialising system that instructs boys and men to view women as objects to be taken. If we are to address this socialisation, we need to critically examine all aspects of it.

      • December 30, 2012 10:28 PM

        Critically analyze, absolutely. There are many aspects to pornography and other forms of entertainment that reinforce a lot of negative stereotypes and bad behavior.
        However, I still take offense to any statement that asserts that young men are vulnerable innocent victims and viewing this makes them rapists. Because that creates the paradigm where they are not responsible for their own actions.
        I will again point out, if you cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality then something is wrong with you. 15 or 50.

  7. December 29, 2012 4:03 PM

    Hi, there. Rush Limbaugh here. You are just the sort of woman I always refer to on my show as Feminazis. Why not try staying pregnant and in the kitchen for a while, like the Bible says? You probably belong to N.O.W., the lesbian lobbying group. I bet you contribute annually to anti-baby groups and I’ve been told that your girl friend is a thespian.

    • December 29, 2012 4:07 PM

      Dear Rush,

      Why yes I am, thank you! Sadly, my girlfriend and I haven’t managed the pregnant thing yet. Perhaps if I am devout enough I will be blessed despite not having a superior male in my relationship. Fingers crossed! However, my girlfriend is not a thespian! That’s me!

      Smooches,
      Isobel the Witch

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