May 8, 2010 § 11 Comments
Last night I walked into the subway station and pulled out my wallet just as a train was pulling in. I scrambled to swipe my MetroCard and ran into the train as the doors were closing. Settling on a seat and tucking away my wallet, I slowly noticed that the car was empty except for me and a 35-ish-year-old man a few seat blocks over.
My first thought: I should switch cars at the next station.
My next thought: But he doesn’t look dangerous. (What makes someone look dangerous?)
And then: Even if he doesn’t look dangerous, I still shouldn’t be here alone. What a terrible idea. What if something happens?
And then, as we sat in peaceful silence from station to station, I came to the best realization of all: We could sit here, alone, for days and days, and he would not rape me if he is not a rapist.
What a fucking revolutionary idea!
See, women are told from birth that men can’t help themselves. They just can’t resist. Girls and women are supposed to control their appetites, their body odors, their excretions, their facial expressions, their words, their sexual cravings. Men and boys? Can do whatever the fuck they want. Guys who eat as much as they like, burp, sweat, use impolite phrasing, and have sex when and how they please are neither reprimanded nor socially punished; often, in fact, they are glorified. And men who rape? Are usually just “boys being boys.”
Here’s the thing: nothing makes rape happen except a rapist. Not being drunk, not wearing “slutty” clothes, not walking home alone, not leaving your drink momentarily out of sight, not being passed out, not agreeing to some sexual acts but not others, not retracting agreement in the moment. Men are capable of resisting these opportunities to rape, because rape is not about sex, it’s not about pleasure — it is about control.
The threat of violence is a universal experience for women and queer people. It binds us together. And the organization of our lives according to a rape schedule is not easy; it takes mental effort. And it starts early — I remember being concerned about sexual assault as early as 11 years old, and planning my route to the subway accordingly. Can you imagine what we might use that brainspace for? There are so many other beautiful, fascinating and lovely thoughts that might fill the space that we are forced to reserve for violence prevention. Men do not have to negotiate the constant threat of violence in the same way as women; their minds are unburdened by how to prevent attacks — and prove that such attacks were not their own fault.
It is not too much to ask men not to rape; indeed, it is insulting to insist that they are incapable of treating people with dignity and respect.
I refuse to accept a life planned around the threat of violence. I refuse to accept that I should tailor my comings and goings to a rape schedule. And I refuse to accept that rape is anything but a violent, cold-hearted, and inescapably deliberate act.
I’m keeping my seat.
May 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
March 31, 2010 § 2 Comments
You can hear my story below:
February 10, 2010 § 3 Comments
It has come to my attention that there is a Facebook fan page entitled, “Killing your hooker so you don’t have to pay her.” The page boasts such updates as, “Ever stab your hooker with a blunt object to add insult to injury?” The page was created about a month ago.
And, as of today, it has 22,127 fans.
This is a deeply offensive, misogynistic, and outright violent page. Hypothetical violence is not funny, but real violence is even less amusing — and this violence is real. The murder of sex workers is frighteningly commonplace, and all too often is excused under some bullshit pretense that sex workers are expendable, are unhuman.
We’ve seen this tragic ritual so often that it has the feel of a formula. A guy is filled with a seething rage toward women and has easy access to guns. The result: mass slaughter.
…We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.
We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.
Facebook pages like this one are surely a form of entertainment, of shits and giggles, for those involved. For the sex workers who are killed for no other reason than hatred, the amusement fades.
This “entertainment” is what happens when people hate women, hate sex workers, and see violence as a viable solution to their rage.
Please, please visit the “Killing your hooker so you don’t have to pay her” Facebook fan page and report it for its offensive content. (Scroll down and look in the lower left corner of your screen to find the link to report it.)
UPDATE: It looks like the page has been taken down… when you click my original link, it takes you to Facebook’s home page instead of the offensive fan page. Good work, crew.
December 26, 2009 § 2 Comments
Here’s a little gem that just popped up in my news feed, courtesy of a new application called Sex Jokes for iPhone:
An escaped convict, imprisoned for 1st degree murder, had spent 25 years of his life sentence in prison. While on the run, he broke into a house and tied up a young couple who had been sleeping in the bedroom. He tied the man to a chair on one side of the room and his wife on the bed. He got on the bed right over the woman, and it appeared he was kissing her neck. Suddenly he got up and left the room. As soon as possible the husband made his way across the room to his bride, his chair in tow, and whispered, “Honey, this guy hasn’t seen a woman in years. I saw him kissing on your neck and then he left in a hurry. Just cooperate and do anything he wants. If he wants to have sex with you, just go along with it and pretend you like it. Whatever you do don’t fight him or make him mad. Our lives depend on it! Be strong and I love you.” After spitting out the gag in her mouth, the half naked wife says: “Dear, I’m so relieved you feel that way. You’re right, he hasn’t seen a woman in years, but he wasn’t kissing my neck…He was whispering in my ear. He said he thinks you’re really cute and asked if we kept the Vaseline in the bathroom. Be strong and I love you, too.”
Who could have possibly thought that this “sex” (read: rape) joke was a good idea? Oh, that’s right, disgusting hatemongers.
October 10, 2009 § 2 Comments
Let’s talk about this New York Times article: In Polanski Case, ’70s Culture Collides With Today.
Roman Polanski’s arrest on Sept. 26 to face a decades-old charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl stirred global furor over both Mr. Polanski’s original misdeed and the way the authorities have handled it — along with some sharp reminders that, when it comes to adult sex with the under age, things have changed. Manners, mores and law enforcement have become far less forgiving of sex crimes involving minors in the 31 years since Mr. Polanski was charged with both rape and sodomy involving drugs. He fled rather than face what was to have been a 48-day sentence after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.
But if he is extradited from Switzerland, Mr. Polanski could face a more severe punishment than he did in the 1970s, as a vigorous victims’ rights movement, a family-values revival and revelations of child abuse by clergy members have all helped change the moral and legal framework regarding sex with the young. [emphasis mine]
Hey, you know what Roman Polanski didn’t do with Samantha Geimer? Have sex with her. He raped her, REMEMBER?!
I acknowledge that current consent laws are a little messy — an eighteen-year-old having consensual sex with her seventeen-year-old boyfriend constitutes statutory rape, a criminal offense. But Polanski’s case is crystal clear. He drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old despite her repeated protests. Why the fuck is more analysis necessary?
Mr. Polanski was treated by the authorities, including Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, not so much as a sexual assailant but as someone in the mold of Isaac Davis, Mr. Allen’s character from the movie “Manhattan”: that is, as a normally responsible person who had shown terrible judgment by having sex with a very young, but sophisticated, girl.
Uh, actually, that judgment would not have been nearly as terrible as what Polanski actually did — which was RAPE HER. And you know what has zero effect on the atrocity of his crime? Her fucking supposed “sophistication.”
October 7, 2009 § 2 Comments
I just got back from an amazing self-defense course, which was organized by my awesome WPC (Women’s Peer Counselor). Each unit (like 60 kids) at my college has a WPC, a Minority Peer Counselor, and a straight-up Residence Counselor. Aholla.
Anyway, I wanted to share the 8 myths about rape that I learned at this self-defense thing. They are very cool. They are verbatim from the packet, because I can’t phrase them better.
1. It can’t happen to me.
2. Women are powerless against rape.
3. Women secretly want to be raped.
4. Only young, attractive women get raped.
5. Only women with bad reputations are raped.
6. Only women who wear sexy, revealing clothing are raped.
7. Only women who are out alone at night get raped.
8. Rapists are sex maniacs- perverts- with overactive sex drives.
“Rape can happen to anyone…Rapists choose victims…not because of the way they are dressed, how they look or what job they hold. Rape is not a crime of sex– it is a crime of violence and control…Why would any person–male or female– want secretly to be raped, humiliated, beaten or possibly killed? That doesn’t make sense. Don’t let anyone tell you it does.”
SUCK IT victim blamers. Yeah.