Tag Archives: rape

Fetishes, Flaming and Facts

A few weeks ago an extremely popular, Canadian interview host, Jian Ghomeshi, was fired from CBC radio. When this first happened, CBC said it was because of information they had received about Ghomeshi. Well, that was rather mysterious. I point out that I also heard this on CBC Radio, not on another station. (I don’t have TV so I get my news by listening to radio.) Then Ghomeshi put out a  statement that he has a kinky lifestyle and indulges in bondage and domination, and that CBC found this “sexual behavior was unbecoming of a prominent host.”

Jian Ghomeshi, rape culture, sexual abuse, kinky lifestyle

Ghomeshi in the Q studio. From: http://www.blogto.com

Jian Ghomeshi hosted the popular radio show called Q. He interviewed many famous personages from writers and politicians to actors and singers. The interviews were good, with depth and Ghomeshi asked good questions. He received at least one award for his interviews. For those who watched the filmed versions, Ghomeshi had charm and women found him cute, handsome or some other mysterious mix of enticing.

Now, it’s a known fact that our current, super, ultra right-wing, Conservative government thinks the arts only consist of artists standing around in evening gowns and tuxes sipping champagne (to paraphrase a comment from our prime minster), which shows the lack of reality in how tough it is for artists to make a living and the disconnect  when even political speeches and political party branding come from artists. It’s also known that Prime Minster Harper is trying to muzzle scientists and get rid of the CBC by drastic funding cuts. These days I’ve heard the same program as many as three times in one week, due to these cuts. Q and The Current are two radio shows that through their popularity have survived so far.

Now, because Prime Minster Harper’s strict and religious roots tend to show from time to time (and unlike the US, Canada has not mixed religion and politics) and from what looked like the unveiling of Ghomeshi’s sexual practices and CBC’s vagueness, it seemed pretty clear what had happened.

I posted the following on my public facebook page:

So CBC fires Jian Ghomeshi because he leads an alternative lifestyle. So what! Let’s get this right. He is not a criminal and hasn’t been charged with anything. This is the same as CBC firing someone because they’re gay, or single, or married, or like to do it in the missionary position. It’s no one’s business.

Let’s not mention how the Harper government has stripped CBC of programming so badly that the nakedness of this national broadcasting station is far more shameful. And as Pierre Trudeau once said, and CBC exec, you should pay attention: “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

And what can I say…the vitriol started to fly. Remember, this was within 24-48 hours of the initial news and it sounded like he didn’t meet their ideal of upright citizen.

One response was this (language alert):

God, I am so sick and fucking tired of seeing this unexamined argument. The CBC fired Ghomeshi because he’s under journalistic (and not far off from a criminal) investigation into multiple instances of rape and a host of things too foul to mention. Ghomeshi is not the injured party.

At this point what I had heard on CBC Radio was that there was no criminal investigation, no mention of rape and no mention of things too foul to mention (Iif they weren’t mentioned, how do we know they are foul?). I have to say I wasn’t doggedly digging up every article coming out and I don’t live in Toronto, so perhaps the super irate people were glued to their media devices (I was at work). I thought it unfair to fire someone on hearsay of a possible kinky and consensual lifestyle as it was presented. I said, what happened to innocent until proven guilty and got even more anger.

…you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, and … actually, fuck it. I’m done. You go do whatever you want.

So, okay…the conversation had only just begun but obviously, according to some people, I’d thrown in with Jian Ghomeshi. More people made it sound like I hadn’t a clue about the world, that abuse doesn’t always go reported, that I thought rape was good, that I didn’t care about women’s rights. No one said this but they sure implied it. I responded with the following (if you want the full thread you can find me on facebook and read it):

Let’s put it this way. Let’s say you jam olives up your nose. While most people don’t (do this) and more don’t like it, it’s not illegal. However someone tells your employer that you’re an olive jammer and you’re fired on the spot, because they don’t like it and it’s shameful. Now let’s say you stomp olives and that’s illegal. Well then you’ll be charged and the courts will rule accordingly. Should you be fired while it’s going on, even if you only sell hot dogs or collect garbage? And yeah, Rob Ford wasn’t fired. They couldn’t wedge him out.

If Ghomeshi is guilty or if there is enough evidence then he’ll be charged for a crime. However, the CBC firing someone because of an alternative lifestyle is no different to when the gov’t used to check up on women on welfare in the 40s to make sure they didn’t have boyfriends. It’s about rights (and yes if women didn’t consent and were abused, that’s an abuse of rights) but the right to free speech and the right to having sex however you like it is there for everyone, unless it harms someone, unless it’s consensual. And sorry, but no matter what the courts say there are many many people who have relationships that are “kinky” however you define it and that’s consensual whether you or I like it or not.

Someone then said well yes, you can fire people before they’re charged and posted about the guy who was fired as a CEO because there was a video of him kicking his dog in an elevator. However, that’s tangible evidence…a video. At this point it was CBC and Ghomeshi saying he’d been fired because of the sexual practices. It was not yet clear on how much CBC knew or believed.

If anyone has a doubt about how I feel about women’s rights and sexual abuse and if anyone even presumes to think that I think this okay, then they’re guilty of jumping to conclusions. I was defending human rights based on what I heard, reported by the radio broadcaster that fired Ghomeshi. Perhaps people should think before they grab pitchforks and torches. I’ve been sexually abused by my father and I can say I never shed a tear when that monster died. I’ve spoken about rape culture and sexual abuse in such posts as “She Dressed that Way; She Must Have Wanted It,” and “Rape; It’s Just a Social Media Trend.” So if someone thinks I support sexual abuse, then they don’t know a thing about me.

Since I posted, something like eight women have come forward with allegations that Ghomeshi’s sexual practices were not consensual. I have only heard one interview and while it seems no one was raped, they were assaulted in other ways. I could be wrong about this. I haven’t seen the reports. That’s a lot of people,  even without hard evidence. Witnesses are used in trial and there could very well be a body of information to convict him.  I never said he was innocent except for saying he wasn’t a criminal when CBC was extremely vague about why they fired him. I was defending a person’s rights to be innocent until proven guilty. I saw an infringement on the rights of someone to an alternative lifestyle, not an infringement due to sexual abuse which was as yet not made clear. And now, CBC execs have given more information.

I wonder about Ghomeshi. Someone of his fame indulging in a fetish lifestyle that left marks would have needed to be extra careful. And I know people of many walks of life and of different lifestyles. Some sexual practices aren’t for the faint of heart but there are people who pursue and like variations that might be “too foul to mention” for others. As I’ve always said, if it’s consensual, then it’s no one else’s business. But I”ll stress. IT MUST BE CONSENSUAL (and of legal age).

If Ghomeshi is guilty of abuse, then he must have been arrogant and narcissistic to think something like this wouldn’t surface. Either that, or he wanted to be caught. Either way, the courts will decide. However, it is true that many women never voice the threats and abuse that have happened to them. My father got away with it. And it’s complicated why he wasn’t brought to trial. There were others who were too damaged to go through that. I’ve seen what a trial can do to a woman who was raped, how it’s made to seem that she enticed, that she flaunted, that she taunted, that she was the guilty party. I will never condone sexual abuse, and I’m pretty insulted that people presumed that about me and conflated my comments about human rights with supposedly supporting sexual abuse.

If I’ve made enemies, that’s fine. I’m glad that we have people running trials and gathering evidence. Otherwise, I might already have been lynched by misconceptions. Ghomeshi is on trial on many levels already. This has shed a light on the fact that rape culture still runs rampant, that women are still blamed when they are raped. Let’s not even get into other cultures and how a woman can be stoned if she’s raped or called a slut. It makes my blood boil.

I will however say again, that if someone was fired because they were into spanking, or bondage, or master-slave relationships that were consensual that they have that right to do in their own home as they wish with adult and consenting partners. You and I don’t need to like it. We might find it too foul to mention but that’s not a reason for a person to lose their job. Our private lives are our rights and gay and lesbian culture and relationships were once treated as being too foul to mention.

 

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Women in Horror: Sandra Kasturi

dark fiction, horror, women writers, Canadian authors, horror

Has Elvis entered the building or just possessed Sandra Kasturi? Photo by Weston Ochse

Today’s Canadian woman in horror is Sandra Kasturi. Besides being an award-winning poet, and a fiction writer, Sandra and her husband Brett Savory are co-owners and publishers of Chizine Publications. Not only do they publish dark fiction but they hold a reading series and sponsor the Rannu Fund competition. Women in Horror Month is sponsored by the Viscera Organization.

SANDRA KASTURI

Author of two poetry collections: The Animal Bridegroom (with an intro by Neil Gaiman), and Come Late to the Love of Birds (http://tightropebooks.com/come-late-to-the-love-of-birds-sandra-kasturi/).
I’ve been published in a number of venues, including: Contemporary Verse 2, Taddle Creek, On Spec, TransVersions, Chilling Tales, The Rhinoceros and His Thoughts (titled after my poem), A Verdant Green, Northern Frights 4, Star*Line, Abyss & Apex, Strange Horizons, Body Parts & Coal Dust, Evolve, Evolve 2, Shadows & Tall Trees, and several of the Tesseracts anthologies.
I’ve received the Whittaker Prize, the Lydia Langstaff Memorial Award, the Aurora Award (Best Fan Organizational), the Bram Stoker Award (for editing), and Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year (first prize), and have been shortlisted for: the Rhysling Award, Arc’s International Poem of the Year, THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt, and the Troubadour International Poetry Prize.

1.  Why do you write dark fiction/horror? Some people consider it only a sensationalistic tableau. Why this genre over others or do you span the literary landscape?

Because I read fairy tales and mythology in their original versions at way too early an age. I didn’t get the cleaned-up Disney versions til much later. Plus, my parents didn’t always think about whether or not some movies were appropriate for children…I saw a lot of Hitchcock and other sinister films before I was ten, for which I’m grateful! I do write in other landscapes, but I think my work always has a darker edge. Books about cheery shopaholics really don’t interest me the least bit.

2.  What dark themes do you explore in your fiction?

women's rights, equality, sexism, women in horror, fiction writing, horror

Women in Horror Month, sponsored by the Viscera Organization

Love, marriage, unhappy endings, the dark side of fairy tales, the absurdities of mythology, the humour in anthropomorphizing animals.

3.  Do you feel horror/dark fiction is an important genre and why; what does it bring to the table or allow you to explore? Who inspired you?

I think it’s the first genre that existed. When we first started telling stories (as a species), we talked about gods and monsters–those are horror stories. Horror allows us to explore the breaking of boundaries. It’s also domestic: it hits us where we live.

4. Do you feel women are under represented in any way in the speculative arena or do you think there is more focus on them than on men? (or examples of how there is a balance)

Of course they are. The genres (SF, fantasy, horror) still trend toward white men, at least in the English-speaking/reading world. Is it just that more white men are drawn to these arenas? Who knows. But there are certainly terrific women out there that are helping redress the balance. One hopes that attention is being paid to them.

5.  Abuse against women is worldwide: the gang rape of the Indian woman, women assaulted in various terrorist attacks or protests against regimes (Egypt, Syria, etc. throughout time), domestic violence and murder at the hands of boyfriends, fathers, families and husbands, sexist representation, being treated as second class citizens or possessions and made to dress in a particular way, etc. With all that’s going on, what do you want to say about where women are what we can do to stem the tide?

How about we teach boys not to rape anybody? Teach them at a young age. Boys are still raised with a sense of entitlement–that they will grow up to own everything, that they are special. I’m not sure hammering it into any kid’s head that he (or she) is the most special little snowflake that ever lived is a great idea. Growing up thinking that the world is there for the taking is kind of a rape mentality. So, how to raise boys (and girls, for that matter) so they grow up confident by don’t turn into rapey douchebags? Wish I had a real, workable answer to that. Maybe we should start with a question: Why do so many men still hate and fear women so much?

6.  Lastly, this is your space to add anything else you would want to say.

Buy my wee bookie-wook! It’s poetry that doesn’t suck.

www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth

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women in horror, viscera organization

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Women Were Meant to be Victims

women's rights, abuse, subjugating women, female victims, sexual abuse, spousal abuse

Did you tell your woman that god would disrespect her if she shows her face? Did she believe you? Creative Commons: lakerae, flickr

Did that get your attention? If it did, then what happens every day in the world around you and probably in your city should also get your attention. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems people don’t care to read about such things unless they’re titillating and sexy. As a woman, and a human being, I can do no less than talk about this.

Recently the sexual assaults (which covers everything from rude and suggestive language to groping to rape) in Egypt was highlighted on the news. Some women have created harassmap site to alert others to areas where women have been abused. But this isn’t new. We have heard of numerous nations, groups, and forces who, as part of their terror, overthrowing or rebellion, rape women and girls as part of their undermining of the other side. It’s horrible and we know it’s horrible. Or at least everyone says that until they’re involved, so in fact there are some (and I mean ONLY SOME) men who do not feel it’s too horrible to be a perpetrator in such times of violence.

virgins, sexualization, victimization, women's rights, subjugation

If you’re not a virgin, you must be a slut, and maybe, like this cover, you’ll be both.

How long have women been made victims in one way or another? I don’t know but we know one aspect begins with the Bible when Eve was blamed for taking the forbidden fruit and giving it to Adam. As if he couldn’t make up his own mind. As if he were a child. As if she used coercion that was more than handing it to him. Myth for some, apocryphal for others, yet truth for yet another group, this motif has flavored treatment of women for many ages. Yet Christianity is by far not the only religion to blame. While religion may or may not be the reason women are treated as lesser beings, it also goes to cultures that decided to make cultural rights and practices part of their religion. (the veil is not part of the Quran). Ownership and a man’s superior physical strength made women chattels, or possession or slaves. So yes, there is a long history of women being victimized.

Adam and Eve, sexism, women's rights

Was Adam too stupid to get the fruit for himself, or was he just making Eve do all the work? Lucas Cranach 1538

There are those who, for whatever misguided reason, believe that women belong in these categories. Are you one of them? Should a woman walk behind a man, answer only to him, be kept housed or hidden for only his desires, be blamed for all the faults of humankind? Think about it. Most women are not the perpetrators of war and violence. It is mostly men who go to war.

Let’s take religion out of it for a minute. Yes, women are still victimized. Raped because a criminal won’t control his urges. Beaten because a man is angered. Killed because she leaves her abusive partner or mars something as ephemeral and subjective as honor, in the eyes of a father or brother or husband. She’s the sex kitten who is of course a slut and good for one thing. She is a prude who won’t let a man control her, she is a virgin to be idolized by men because when they get her she hasn’t been tainted by other men, as if she’s a holy relic, as if it’s okay that they have been with other women. She is raped by a gang of men and yet she is charged with adultery or another crime. Look at that poor woman in India. Look at your own city and see how many women and girls have been raped or beaten or murdered or just hit upon. The news doesn’t report even half of them. George sleeps with a different woman every night and he’s just sowing his oats while those women are all sluts. That’s fair, isn’t it?

sexism, sexist ads, women's rights

Ask yourself, why isn’t it a man’s body for a man’s shoe?

A police officer recently told women to not dress provocatively if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted. In some Middle Eastern countries anything less than covered in the burqa is considered provocative. In other countries you can be in a loincloth and nothing more and that’s not provocative. Whether a person’s dress is considered to be salacious or not, that is no reason for sexual abuse of any sort. They’re not “asking for it.” If you think your god will disapprove, let him or her decide, not you. If you are afraid it will incite a man to his base desires, then what are you saying about men, that they are only beasts and uncontrollable? And if that’s the case, then it’s they who should be caged. I like to afford everyone the same right. The right to be free, think for themselves and have an equal chance at jobs and life. Men and women. No one group gets painted with a big brush.

That means whether they’re of one religion or none, any color or ethnicity, any gender or gender preference. Unfortunately the world is not fair nor equal but we, you and me, could all do better at ethically getting rid of stereotypes and not feeding into this view. Scoffing and continuing in the vein of labeling women sluts, whores, tramps and seductresses only leads to more women being subjugated, raped, owned or downtrodden as lesser beings because of someone’s beliefs. The only belief that should really matter is that you can do what you want, as long as you do not hurt or subjugate anyone else. Let’s try living like that for awhile.

sluts, whores, tramps, subjugating women, sexual abuse

The slut walk came about because men’s attitudes mean women ask for or deserve whatever they get. Creative Commons: Spanginator

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Interesting Blog Demographics

blogging, writing, clicks, posting, blogs, internet searches, culture

Creative Commons: Kristina B flickr

You know all those fun stats that WordPress gives you if you write a blog; number of clicks per day, week, month and year, search items, posts clicked on, etc.?  Well, it’s really interesting to see trends or what people are interested in, though repeating it doesn’t always work. My first year or two I tried to write 5 days a week. Then I knocked it down to about 3 days a week. Sometimes what I write about may be topical, or just something I’ve been thinking about, but it’s not what others are reading about. Then suddenly, weeks or months later, the post takes off and gets a lot of views. I doubt I could predict what would have been the more popular posts.

If I had to guess I would have said sex, or what my government is doing to me and you. But like the Facebook cartoon that went around (it shows a person posting on serious things, government, political stuff and the post gets three “likes”, then they post on something inane, such as “I like frothy pink milkshakes” and they get 1,000 “likes”) it’s never what you think will be the hit.

My all-time top post is Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend, which just beats out the up-till-recent top post: Traveling in India: Betel Nut Adventures. When I look at the search criteria, people have been searching for “rape” and “betel nut.” I’m always a bit disturbed that so many people are searching out rape, and I wonder why. Is it to be informed, or worse, for some form of warped titillation? In a way I could possibly understand why betel nut might be my top post. After all, the population of India equals 17% of the world’s population.

Weekly totals tend to range but usually these two posts come out on top. This last week it switched to my recent The Skinny on Models, with anorexia being the search term. I’d like to think that this is because people are concerned about an eating disorder that’s being found in younger and younger children and is spreading too far in a society obsessed by looks.

Creative Commons: thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

I’m no big 15,000 hits a day blogger (yet) but it’s fascinating to see what hits the reader is attracted to immediately and what seems to gain interest over time, such as Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion. When The Only Good Thing About Snow was freshly pressed, it gained the most views in a single day to this date, but that tapered down.  I do find whenever I write about transit or the fact that people in greater Vancouver pay 33% taxes every time they park, whether in a parkade or on the street, or about Big Brother watching us, that no one seems to care. Alas. That also disturbs me because it indicates that we live in an age of complicity as well as hyper sexualization. While I’m not a prude, I’m still bothered by these connotations, at least as shown by internet searches.

My other top posts follow. You will see that many of them have to do with sex or sexualization in some way. But not all. I’m happy that people liked The Stones of Ireland: I as well. Oh, and I expect this post to not be popular because it’s dealing with statistics, not breasts or betel nut. 😉

TOP 13 POSTS

Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend

Traveling in India: Betel Nut Adventures

Home page (It’s hard to tell which posts these would be as it’s a daily change, every time I post.)

Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid (How did the Starbucks logo evolve and devolve?)

Incest, Betrayal and Genetic Sexual Attraction

The Only Good Thing About Snow (This one was freshly pressed.)

My Religion’s Better Than Yours

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion

About Colleen (Yes, the about me page, which probably needs updating)

The Disturbing Trend of Sexifying Children (The creepy world of child beauty pageants.)

Tonsil Tales (My adventures on getting rid of my tonisls.)

The Stones of Ireland: I

Sexy Cartoons: the Cutesifying of Society

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Movie Review: The Woman

I’m not a big gore and horror film watcher, which you might find surprising because I write a lot of darkly disturbing fiction. But I find often in movies, they’re going for the shock factor and splatter more gore than an abattoir. They’re disgusting but not necessarily penetrating, nor disturbing because of the story they tell. Maybe this is why zombies have become so popular. You can heap on the gore, entrails and gnashing of human flesh without much conscience. After all, they’re just undead, mindless animals and the real world has horrors greater than a shambling (or even fast running) zombie.

murder, feral people, cannabalisim, horror, Lucky McKee

Pollyanna McIntosh stars in the disturbing movie, The Woman

When I watched The Woman directed by Lucky McKee, written by horror writer Jack Ketchum, and McKee, I didn’t even know it was horror. I’d borrowed some movies from my neighbor and was just clicking through the unfamiliar ones. Right away I’m thrust into a situation that’s not what I’d call your every day world. Sure it looks like it. Streams, woods and sun filtered through the leaves. Except there’s a filthy feral woman, in tattered rags. These rags cover the essentials and she carries a knife so you know she’s been around civilization at some point.

The official site has the following description of the film: Family man and lawyer Christoper Cleek (Sean Bridgers) must do what he can to protect his family when he comes into contact with a feral woman (Pollyana McIntosh) living in the woods near his isolated country home. Through a series of harrowing encounters Cleek and his family quickly discover there is more to this woman than anyone would suspect and that sometimes the devil wears a handsome face.

This is actually an intentionally misleading write-up. I’ll be giving spoilers so if you want to watch this without prejudice skip to the last paragraph. From the beginning you see this very smiley family man but there is something wrong with the family. At the jarring switch from feral country scene to garden party you see a girl who ignores the boys flirting with her and looks back at another man. You see a man whose subservient wife gets him his drinks. His wife seems timid, his daughter cowed. But you don’t know the situation yet. As the story progresses you get the sense that there is something extremely wrong, yet Cleek seems a reasonable guy who loves his three children, who helps people out and believes in democratic decision making in his family. That is, until they disagree with him. When he goes hunting he finds the feral woman and decides to bag her.

While one could think he wants to help and humanize her his first thought is to keep her captive and of

The Woman, horror, abuse,

Zach Rand as the emotionally broken Brian Cleek

course chain her, hand and foot. Well, we’ve been shown she is an animal and will kill anything to survive…anything. But never is there any thought to calling some city service to help this injured and degenerate being. Cleek’s methods of cleaning her are already brutal, cold and suspect and when his wife questions keeping her he casually backhands her. Intimations of incest are also evident and his son shows a cauterised emotional state that reflects the father’s ideals. There are dogs locked away in the barn, never let out and a growing sense that even the son is damaged.

The males become obsessed with the feral woman. She’s beaten, tortured and raped, and she is unrepentantly hostile. Pollyanna McIntosh’s portrayal is stunning. She is so animalistic that the best acted zombie cannot compare. But she is a thinking intelligent if wild human in this film Her acting was all the more stunning because the actor/model is stunning in real life.

The movie slowly, horrifically spirals into more nastiness, with reveals of just how deep the depravity really goes. The depravity isn’t the feral woman, it is of course the smiling, reasonable Cleek who is really a subjugator of women, a rapist, and more depraved than a beast could ever be. The movie ends with mayhem, murder and some gore. One reviewer said they would have liked it bloodier but I think this made it more realistic.

There were a few things that didn’t ring quite true for me. The feral woman has bangs and if she was cutting her own hair with a knife they should have been more jagged. Otherwise McIntosh is more than convincing as uncivilized. Sean Bridgers as the father is convincing except possibly at the end when a few lines rang as untrue. The concerned school teacher is naively trying to help in the disastrous situation and when she is victimized I felt she gave in too easily and did not fight back when it was her life about to end.

Overall, this was a truly disturbing film that piled one horror on another. There is a comeuppance at the end for those who are the perpetrators and those too weak to stand up to them. This movie caused some outbursts and outrage at the Sundance Festival. But then, that is the sign of a horror film doing what it should. Often they’re filled with gratuitous violence and gore, and far too many women always the victims. The Woman turned the tables on that trope though it starts out that way. It definitely makes you think and shudder.  Yes, there was a bit of gratuitous violence and blood but actually fairly restrained. I’d give it seven blood splats out of ten.

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She Dressed That Way, She Must Have Wanted It

Creative Commons: catatonickid.wordpress.com

The title of this piece is one of the most common excuses given by a rapist who’s been caught. We hear variations on the theme such as “She was dressed provocatively; what did she expect?” “Why didn’t you fight him off?”  “I knew she wanted it.” “Saying no is just a game; she was playing hard to get.”

Over three years of writing this blog I have seen trends as to what becomes a popular post. Sometimes it’s a few months after the original date. Some of my more popular posts were on Polygamy: I Do, I Do, I Do, and Polyamory: I Love You and You and You, as well as Starbucks and the Censored Mermaid, Travels in India: Betel Nut Adventures (who knew betel nut was such a popular search item) Incest, Betrayal and Genetic Sexual Attraction and Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend. Except for the Starbucks and the betel nut you could say that my top posts are about sex in one form or another. It’s not that I’ve written exclusively on this topic but when I look at the daily search topics that bring readers to my site the top one, since I wrote “Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend,” is “rape.”

In a way this disturbs me because I’m wondering what people are looking for when they  are searching out rape. I would hope that it is a concern for women (and men) the world over who have been victims of rape, a violent physical crime that can leave a lifetime of emotional (as well as physical) scars. I would really hope people are trying to find solutions and ways to protect themselves and others from such crimes, as a way of education to stop the perpetration of such violence. But I worry because I know the internet, when it first started, was a big pit for people to look for sex, talk about sex, seek out all things sexual.

Sex is never a bad thing when between consenting adults and I’m certainly not against sex. However, rape is never a good thing and never consensual. It is the forcing of oneself on another. It may be less or more violent (resulting in death at its extreme) but it is never nonviolent. Holding a gun or a knife to someone’s head is still a violent assault when coupled with rape.

Rape is used by men to denigrate women in countries under unrest, being overthrown, destabilized by guerrilla warfare. It is far more horrible than being shot dead in a war. It is a crime against the defenseless, because of strength and/or weapons. A culture does not have to be so different from ours (in fact it can be and is the same as ours,) for it to perpetuate the stigma of rape. Some Middle Eastern countries put all the onus on a woman. If she is raped, she must bring witnesses. In other cases she’s charged with adultery, no matter that she couldn’t resist in one way or another. It’s always the woman’s fault.

But even here, we see the onus put onto the victim for the crime. As my first paragraph indicates, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a burka or a mini skirt, somebody will decide that you are a) nothing but the possession of a man, b) dressing to bring about a violent act upon your person and/or c) having to cover up because men cannot control themselves. If these atatements were true, then in fact it would show that men are more like animals than women and really, if that’s the case it’s obvious who should be running the world. But I want to point out that not all men are rapists and should never be considered so.

Yet, any man who is a rapist, is responsible for his acts. Not his mother, not his teacher, not his father, not the woman he rapes. Especially not the woman (or man) that he rapes. They are victims. It doesn’t matter if they’re naked or in a parka. If they say no, it’s no. In our western culture our ads and our lifestyle pumps up sexuality all the time. It’s pretty much the norm but it shouldn’t condone rape. And ads, like the Dolce & Gabbana piece that I mentioned in the earlier blog, are more than offensive. They’re criminal because they try to say that rape is sexy. And there are computer games where one can rape animated characters over and over again. Sure, a real person isn’t being hurt but there is no justification (as there is in shooter games where you might be shooting aliens or the enemy) that justifies such reprehensible acts.

This following site is by someone studying trends of crime against women and has some good information. How to Justify Rape No one should ever make rape acceptable or feel responsible if they’re raped. If you were specifically searching about rape, please take a moment to fill out the anonymous poll.

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Uttering Threats Can Get You Arrested

In one of my recent posts someone sent a comment that is both disgusting and offensive and shows the problem with the attitudes of some people towards women. I have set my filters to approve comments before they are posted, so I will not give the person the satisfaction of seeing their horrid comment. But be forewarned, anyone who threatens me in any way will be reported.

This did bring up an interesting issue about internet and abusing people online. If you do a search you will find sites for cyber bullying (a form of harassment) and for cyber luring. In fact there is a lot of information on protecting children who maybe be lured, raped or otherwise abused through internet stalkers. There is cyber stalking and information on internet fraud, Nigerian scam letters and viruses. But there isn’t much on being threatened by someone on the internet.

In fact, I checked both my local police and the RCMP websites and it was very unclear. I did find that the comments the person made fall under section 264.1 of the criminal code, that of “uttering threats.” Threats are indeed considered a criminal offence and I will report all such threats to the police and did so with this comment. The police said that should this happen to any of you, you should call the police in the jurisdiction in which you reside, unless you know there is a specific task force set up for such reasons.

These attitudes, whether as a sick joke or someone who is intent on harm, should not even be tolerated. I will never condone jokes about rape because to do so makes the attitude more acceptable. I will never accept that women are chattel, lesser creatures or deserving of abuses because they are women. I will never agree that one race, religion or gender is superior over another. There are fine lines on jokes but those of a violent nature are not only in poor taste but set up precedents for increasingly violent behavior.

If you feel threatened by someone making suggestions to you on the internet, contact your local police on their non-emergency number (unless the person says they’re going to attack you on a set date or time). Keep all information so that you can give them as much evidence as possible. And don’t ever think you should just take it. I will not be intimidated by a jerk in any way.

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Women: Neither Poison Nor Possession

I’m getting extremely tired and pissed off with women getting blamed for a helluva lot. In fact it’s almost enough to turn me into a rabid feminazi. The only problem is that I’m an egalitarian and I don’t believe one race or gender or religion should get special rights over another.

Creative Commons "Her Eyes" by Ranoush (flickr)

With that in mind, women are not your property. They don’t belong to you, or me or any man or any religion. They belong to themselves. On a good day we’re called the fairer sex. On a bad day we’re called the weaker sex and taken advantage of, raped, murdered, abused, locked away and chastised, to name a few. I’d like to think we live in a world where women are treated equally and get equal pay for equal work. Unfortunately that would only be a microcosm and even in Vancouver women are raped and murdered, or considered the chattels of men.

Here are just a few ways in which women have not yet been accorded equality as human beings:

  • Honor killings–rarely do you hear of the man being killed but it does happen in conjunction with the woman’s death and seems specific to certain cultures (but I’m not a cultural anthropologist). The woman is interested in someone not of her station and the family, usually the father or brothers kill her to avenge the wrongs to their honor. What BS that is. Honor is what you make it and you’re responsible for your own not for anyone else’s.
  • Adultery–like the famous Ashtiani case in Iran, which isn’t exactly treating many of their people fairly, women get charged with adultery in certain countries where they will be stoned or likewise killed for their indiscretion. Again, rarely do you ever hear of the man being called to task whether he’s the one married or the one with a married woman. Regardless of such draconian measures it’s always the woman’s fault and she suffers the brunt. Adultery takes two as does sex. In these countries a woman rarely can even say she was raped because the men have more rights and say she was loose or cheating, not matter what they did to her.
  • Female circumcision–don’t get me wrong, women are also responsible for this because they’ve bought into this dominance over women and castrating them so they get no enjoyment from sex. Because gosh, yet again it’s only men who get to be the ones sowing their wild oats all over the place.
  • Murder–it’s such a large category, from such monsters like Picton preying on women to a man who kills his wife because she’s leaving him, as if she ever belonged to him, as if murder ever makes sense for such an offense should she even have just been a bitch. If we killed every bitch and bastard out there, we certainly wouldn’t be worried about overpopulating the earth.
  • Seductress–she dressed like she was asking for it. She deserved it the way she was dressed. This of course puts the judging of women’s fashion into the eyes of the beholder and one person’s acceptable clothing (think Amish) is not another’s. This presumes an attitude based on clothing that can be completely false.
  • Hiding, cloistering or veiling women–Yeah we hear about the burkah and the naqib and women locked away where only their men can see them. But I ask as always, why don’t the men have to veil themselves. It’s no affront to whatever god a person worships. It’s a way for a man to control or own a woman, and be jealous enough he wants to covet her. I don’t care what any woman says; at heart is a gender different treating them like their poison or possession.
  • Poison–a woman’s period is filthy and bad and of the underworld. She taints things. I went to some Native (First Nations/Indian) healing circles through one year. Women who had a period had to wrap their lower extremities in a blanket because their energy would “ground out” the energy of the eagle feather. If it’s that powerful, can’t it be used to loft things higher too? And sweats; a man could go in, in just shorts. A woman had to wear something down to the ground (in some sweats their arms must be covered to the wrist too) because they might entice men. These sweats were 3-feet high, black as pitch and hotter than hell. No one is thinking of touching anyone let alone themselves. Yet again, the onus was on the woman to hide herself but the men could be half naked.

Eve’s lot in life wasn’t being weaker or inferior. What it was, was having to bear the brunt for the fact men can’t control themselves and are animals to women. Do I believe this? Not really. But it’s what’s put out there, if you lift the veil.

Again, I am an egalitarian and I think each person should be judged on their own merits, not their skin color, gender or religion. All of any group isn’t bad or good or evil or stupid or whatever. I love men but not the stupid, bigoted, racist, misogynist ones. The list above is by no means complete but I’m seriously getting pissed off hearing over and over how women are the ones who suffer the worst for crimes of the male or for just being female. It’s up to each of us to stand up against this sort of attitude.

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Prostitution Isn’t Going Away

This week an Ontario court struck down a law that had made certain aspects of prostitution illegal, citing that it jeopardized the safety of the prostitutes by forcing them onto the street. (I’m paraphrasing.)  There are many laws about prostitution. In Canada it’s not illegal to be a prostitute but depending on where you are it could be illegal to sell sex, buy sex, live off the avails of prostitution or run a common bawdy house (known as brothel). I think pimping falls under human trafficking laws.

Harper’s government may fight this change because of right-wing religious views, but when it comes down to it, and with William Picton torturing and murdering various sex trade workers, there is strong evidence that sex trade worker lives are jeopardized by these laws. The arguments on both sides have already begun and will never end.

There are those that say that these changes open the doors for pimps and human trafficking. However, I would think there are already explicit laws about trafficking other humans that makes pimping illegal. Others argue that many women are forced into the sex trade, and at an early age, and this is true. However, the laws do not allow anyone under the age of 18 to be a prostitute anyways.

The moment that people started civilizing themselves (and I use the term loosely) by making laws and rules for living in communities, was the moment prostitution began because men could not just take what they wanted. I should point out that various cultures and religions today still turn a blind eye to men taking what they want even if it’s other people’s rights and livelihoods. And as long as we have men on this planet we are going to have prostitution. That means forever.

No matter how one makes laws against this aspect or that of prostitution, or shames the johns or imprisons the sex trade workers, it’s still going to continue. The more laws against it, the more it will be driven underground, but never away. I have a problem with this, like many aspects of laws that are meant to not keep people safe from each other but limit a person’s rights.

What harm would there be if prostitution and buying it was legal? Just think, the government could make money off of it, like it does with cigarettes, and alcohol (also once outlawed). Women could work in brothels or establishments where there was protection from murderer and other abusers of people. The workers could have regular health inspections, as well as the establishment so that the johns were likewise safe and the women were healthy (I use women here as the most common sex trade worker but understand that this can affect men as well). Prices could be controlled. Pimps would be eliminated. Sex on the streets, including the used condoms, and the violence would be lessened. And if a prostitute was found on the street, she’d probably be underage, unhealthy, addicted or something else that would identify quicker a solution for helping.

Prostitution exists and men use it. Some are single, some are married. The ways a person cheats won’t go away if there are laws against it. Legalizing prostitution would protect everyone better and the money the government made through licensing could go back into the system for education, health, addictions programs and other ways to get women out of the trade who are there more by circumstance and less by choice. And courts and prisons could be used for the true crimes.

This is such as win-win situation that I cannot understand why countries don’t implement it, except because of religious views. And the problem with someone’s religious view is that it’s not everyone’s. False morals just don’t make sense to me and if anything this creates a system where resources are used needlessly in the wrong direction, and the government can’t make statements about having wars on crime, even when the crime rate is dropping. Hype for using money where it could be used better elsewhere? Absolutely.

I’m hoping that this case in Ontario might be the first step towards a saner look at prostitution, the laws and the rights of the people involved. Because when it gets down to the nitty gritty, everyone is entitled to live their life how they wish as long as they do not hurt others.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/28/prostitution-law028.html

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Rape: It’s Just a Social Media Trend

Our civilization is truly sliding into the cesspool and presumably will meet its Waterloo in the next hundred years, if it makes it that long. I talk about a rape that happened recently in what we call Greater Vancouver, actually being an outlying city in the Greater Vancouver metropolis. Unfortunately rapes happen far too often but there are several things that made this one different and indicates an even more frightening trend toward a disintegrating society.

The girl (sixteen years old is still legally a girl in this country) was given a date rape drug, taken out to a field and raped by at least five men. If that wasn’t bad enough, one news report said that up to 500 people at this rave stood around and watched.* Five hundred! Just watching. Not one of them called the police on their numerous digital devices. Not one of them seemed to think there was anything wrong with this scenario. Perhaps some did. Perhaps another girl did and she might have felt if she said anything she would be the next one raped. But really, five hundred of our up and coming generation had no respect for a person, let alone a sense of morality or right and wrong.

But this is not the only terrible aspect. Someone, if not several someones, took pictures of this rape and then posted them to Facebook. Hooray for social (or should I say antisocial) media. As fast as the police tried to move through and get these images down, they were re-posted. Not only was that young woman repeatedly victimized that night but she is victimized over and over again in social media. And the police seem to only be able to threaten people who re-post these images by saying that since she was underage it is considered pornography. Which really makes me wonder, is it then okay to post pictures of the rape of an adult woman? Can no one else see what’s wrong with this picture?

Our society has become so in-your-face with trashy reality TV shows of everyone’s drama (whether real or not and I doubt it is) and knowing what someone is doing every minute of the day through Facebook, texts, Twitter, you name it, that we can’t seem to separate true reality from the fake. And not only that, but morality has slid out the window.

While I do believe a healthy dose of reality, proper upbringing, conscience and a perspective of right and wrong will make most people discerning individuals, I also believe that we can blame the visual media for much of the blase attitudes and continuing (if not increasing) denigration of women, and people in general. Girls Gone Wild, and numerous other porn shows on TV or the internet show a free screw-anything-in-sight attitude that usually makes the women look like sluts and the men look like studs…or that’s what many believe. Add to that numerous shows that show sex only in a perverted or violent way, coupled with every form of violence and murder shown explicitly for almost any age and we have a society numbed to indifference.

rape culture, rape ad, sexual assault

Dolce and Gabbana thinks it’s sexy to show symbolical rape.

How bad is it? Am I just crazy? Well the few images on this page make a statement of how people might start to get confused as to whether rape is good, bad or sexy. Dolce and Gabbana thinks it’s cool to make it sexy, while others just think wearing a T-shirt is a funny ha-ha. A search of the internet shows spoofs of motivational posters with Rape in the title and some sick comment below. I’m not posting any here because I’m not aiming for adult content and I’m not willing to give one site any more traffic because of its complete disregard for the seriousness of this crime. Some of the captions say, just consider it surprise sex.

Unfortunately it is not sex of any kind for the person being assaulted. It’s pure and simple violence and an assault on a person’s life. Those that laugh would not be so free if the same happened to them, and the men who raped this girl, should they go to prison, might end up on the receiving end. Perhaps it really is time for women to be able to wear vagina dentata and if you don’t know what that is, all the better. I’m getting pretty sick of various crimes and supposed societies, cultures and religions that treat women as chattel, second class citizens or otherwise as something to be used.

I really hope the police charge every single person who stood around in that field watching, as accessories after the fact or accomplices. It’s a pretty sad state that supposed civilization has sunk to.

Update: According to the news today, (09/23/10) it was not 500 people at the rave but maybe only a dozen watching and maybe not 5 or 7 men raping her but just several. This does not lessen the severity of the crime at all but maybe still gives a faint hope for humanity that there weren’t 500 ghouls.

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