rape culture

Virginity is a patriarchal construct

virginity testing man

(Originally posted here)

It’s difficult to call but I often wonder about the worst places to be a woman on earth. It’s easy enough to point the finger at those oddballs who don’t look like us but there are some issues that pop up wherever one might be based. For some inexplicable reason a woman’s worth is based on the thin membrane near the entrance to her vagina. Some people are born without a hymen, and for those people I fear the worst. How do they prove they haven’t engaged in premarital sex?

An Islamic college in Australia is under investigation for excluding girls from running competitions because it may damage their hymens. They call this ‘losing your virginity’. Do they have a similar ruling on tampons, or is that an icky women’s subject no one wishes to discuss? This concept of losing something taboo isn’t necessarily Islamic in nature, we use this phrase all over the world to indicate that a person has finally had sex and cannot be classed a virgin anymore, or ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’ as many cultures in the east and the west seem to suggest with all the focus on virginity, and slags; women who choose to sleep around in the same way men feel entitled to do so. Men are not judged in the same way when they have sex for the first time. The female partner, even if she is more experienced, will not be taking his virginity in the same way patriarchy takes virginity from women. This is a construct. Males are not taking anything, if anything, they are throwing their own genitalia into the mix.

For patriarchy to maintain power and control, through shame and judgment, they applied destructive emotions to an act to make it seem unequal, to place a value on a human body part that will dictate the level of respect you afford not only the person it belongs to but all the members of their family. Bizarre, no? This is why I brought up the example regarding those born without a hymen, just like there are some assigned male infants born without foreskins, are these people born untouchables, impure and unchaste? Have they been sent here with instructions on how to treat them as people unworthy of honour, being as there is nothing to ‘break’ or ‘take’? Perhaps it is permissible for such people to run to their hearts content, safe in the knowledge their genitals will not be torn asunder from the strain of a relay race.

Rules and regulations on what is deemed acceptable behaviour for females, posited by males is a time honoured tradition that is as batshit as it sounds, especially when considering the dishonest notions applied to our bodies. In some cultures, the hymen is irrelevant compared to the ‘gaping sleeve’ a vagina poses. To protect these women’s honour, they are butchered and stitched together again, leading to infertility and fatality for many. These arbitrary cultural practices are borne from the same twisted minds (not God) that blame women for being temptresses and witches for beguiling rapists into committing sin, by ‘taking’ and ‘breaking’ a thing they believe controls them, and their access to honour in a man’s world. It has no place in the 21st century when so many of us are standing up for the rights to our own bodies; rejecting the controls patriarchy and in some cases the state, has on our bodies. Why is it anyone else’s business what sits inside your pants?

Perversion and deviance in young people isn’t something you can prevent by being a perverted deviant in your beliefs about vaginas you have no business poking around in. Perversely, by administering a virginity check, a practice employed even by the British Home Office in the late 70s, you are actually ‘taking’ and ‘breaking virginity’ as it is defined in your head. It is the people with designs on the contents of your pants who maintain patriarchy and allow for rapists to rape, and get away with it. For as long as we place the burden of chastity and decency on a tag of skin, we allow for violence against women to flourish.

CN: 50 Shades of Wrong

The first time I saw Mr Grey I knew it was the beginning of a queer little crush I knew most people would probably not understand. He was unnecessarily rude to his new secretary, but only to the untrained eye. Following a stay in a psychiatric hospital the female lead character Lee Holloway takes steps to reconnect with society and goes through the motions; finding herself a job and a man to settle down with. She’s invited to an interview for a secretarial post where she meets her new boss Mr E Edward Grey. Despite her limited proficiency for the job he employs her and over the course of the film their flirtations centre on her submissiveness and willingness to do practically anything he asks of her. He is initially perplexed and tests the boundaries of how far she is willing to go but quite quickly they are interacting with each other in what could be described as a consensual BDSM relationship.

Lee is also in a relationship with a childhood friend who bores her sexually. Her attempts to make him understand that she’s not strictly ‘vanilla’ end with frustration and a resignation to the role she must play within that dynamic. As he humps away for posterity, with his eyes closed and his hand outstretched from the sheer intensity of sexual congress with a seemingly consenting individual, she responds in a dull, monotonous fashion, oohs and aahs coordinated with each thrust. I found this scene uncomfortable because she is consenting to sex for his sake and not really considering her own feelings on what she needs from him. He doesn’t even notice she’s not into it and it is this detachment from the activity and from each other, the absence of mutual satisfaction that is worrying, that she allows her body to be used sexually because that is just what we do. Kind of like the dynamic between E L James’ Mr Grey and his victim.

It is no coincidence these two dominant male characters are both called Mr Grey when E L James’ inspiration comes from Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behaviours on which the popular cult film The Secretary is based. However, the similarities end with their name. James Spader’s Mr Grey isn’t a self-assured perpetrator of violence against women; he controls her day to day movements with her consent because she enjoys the sense of belonging (having been lost and alone up until that point) and the strict parameters within which she can satisfy her impulsions (preventing another trip to a psych unit). Lee has a troubled past with eating disorders and self-harm that they explore in detail. Mr Grey controls her but in a positive way; for example making a pact that she won’t cut herself because she can find that release elsewhere, spanking with a paddle brush for example. She wants him to tell her what she can eat, making the focus of this behaviour sexual instead of dysphoric, not so much calorie counting but the notion that the two of them are in it together to the bewilderment of everyone else “one scoop of creamed potatoes, a slice of butter, 4 peas and as much ice cream as you’d like to eat”. He indulges her, it’s not about him. In fact he withdraws from the relationship when he fears he might have taken it too far and stresses that his perversions are not sustainable long term. He punishes himself, taking out his frustrations through physical exercise. It is then up to Lee to assure him that she is a consenting adult in it for the right reasons, because she enjoys their dynamic as much as him. A lot of the communication between them is unspoken. He recognises that she intends to prove her intentions when she storms in on him in her wedding dress (she is engaged to the boring childhood friend) and plays along, telling her to sit with her hands palm down until he returns. So she does.

E Edward Grey isn’t the type to beat a woman up and rape her without her enthusiastic consent. Christian Grey on the other hand revels in humiliating his victim. Whilst humiliation is a turn on for some people, again this is with their full consent; between two people who can legally consent (minors/vulnerable adults – drunk – cannot, in any circumstance). There are safe words and there have to be rules both parties are aware of before anything happens. Everyone, from victims of male perpetrated violence to practitioners of BDSM have reacted with outrage to this framing of abusive behaviour as acceptable sexuality because of how it has been wrongly presented as some kind of celebration of female sexuality when actually it is about the power and control of women by men through dominance and violence. If this book was as progressive as people like to make out then there’d be a whole dialogue around BDSM and other sexual preferences/fetishes but there is not because usually we condemn women for expressing their sexuality. Patriarchy can hyper sexualise whomever it chooses to but it will not allow a woman to present her own sexual identity as she sees herself because then she’s just a slag.

The key issue that raises concern throughout the 50 Shades series is this matter of consent. Why does he have to get her drunk in order to have his way? He even admits to it. Sex with someone who is too drunk to consent is rape, clear cut. Try and explain this to E L James though and you’ll get the stock response that you’re a troll and have no idea what you’re talking about. Yes, even if you have suffered those same patterns of abuse in your own relationships or happen to be a lifelong enthusiast of consensual BDSM, your feedback does not matter. James believes she is the authority on a subculture she has tarnished with her twisted misogynistic views. At the beginning of this month she even chose to brandish actress Mara Wilson a ‘sad fuck’ for objecting to her badly written trash. What kind of person calls another, a stranger and perhaps a victim of male perpetrated violence (it being a patriarchy) a ‘sad fuck’? This abuse is indicative of the kind of mind that believes women are to blame for the violence they experience, that they should just put up and take it like a woman.

I know a lot of people who practice BDSM and they are possibly the safest and most considerate people to be around. I have myself been curious and experimented and even considered things such as consensual cutting, a practice that many might consider to be abusive even with informed consent but might make a difference to my self-image if I do not self-harm when I am in a negative mood. I am also a repeat survivor of domestic abuse. I know there is a pretty fucking wide line between the two but that’s only because I’ve spent a while learning about consent and owning my rights to my own body as an autonomous individual.

In a world where many women do not even know when they are being raped (having sex with someone who does not want to/cannot consent is rape not ‘non-consensual sex’) is it really any wonder this book has been so successful? For something so badly written it’s sure been pushed as some kind of revelation and I guess it would appear that way in a society that is otherwise shamed and ostracised for having sexual desires that do not conform to the hetero missionary lights off acceptable form of making babies. Of course misinformation around a book which explores those taboo acts We Never Speak Of will be gobbled up by the sex starved masses who are just grateful someone went there in the first place.

Except it’s dangerous when it encourages coercion and manipulation of vulnerable people and you can’t criticise the fact that it does.

guerillafem

The A-Z of Illusion and Reality – Life in 21st Century Britain (CN)

A is for Asian Grooming Gangs

Illusion – In 2011 Jack Straw highlighted a trend where young white girls were being groomed for sexual exploitation by Pakistani men. He spoke of how white females were considered ‘easy meat’ and how this was reinforced through Pakistani cultural norms. Decent British Pakistanis all over the UK rose to condemn this practice and community leaders promised the culprits would be dealt with harshly. Adil Ray (British Asian of Pakistani descent) spoke for them all on a BBC documentary “Groomed for Sex”.

For Pakistanis who deny this is a cultural practice unique to people from that country alone, we must call them out for facilitating abuse. It’s only fair to assume they are complicit in their silence or calls for balance.

Reality – Sexual violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. Asian grooming gangs has a certain racist ring to it and so it is obvious why this term is so popular among the British however it’s a bit fucking rich considering the horrific scale of abuse perpetrated by the British establishment, and for decades, with the full knowledge of all the agencies involved, including the police, politicians (whose job it is to enforce the laws that bind the rest of us) and journalists.

Take Rolf Harris for example, or The Octopus, as everyone called him behind his back in the good old days. We don’t even know where to begin with the paedophiles in power but good old Tom Watson will let us know.

If you’re white, rich and male you literally get a ‘get out of jail free’ card. All of a sudden young white girls don’t matter. It’s perfectly fine for white men to rape and indecently assault children so long as those dark chaps don’t get away with it. When white men are accused of gendered violence, the victims ought to consider themselves lucky they were among the chosen ones. It is only a violation if the perpetrator is brown.

B is for Britain First

Illusion – “Britain First is a patriotic political party and street defence organisation. Here you can join forces with patriots like you”

Reality – Co-founded by racist (and rapist) Jim Dowson, a former leader of the BNP (he was ejected after being accused of rape), Britain First frighten not only the minorities they wish to terrorise but many white people who recognise the fascist element and many layers of bigotry targeting (apart from non-whites) women and LGBTQs. Dowson is famously anti-abortion and generally anti women’s rights. He does not believe that rape can be committed in marriage and wants to bring back this ‘right’ for abusive men like himself.

If a militant group of Muslims drove around Bexley Heath in an armoured vehicle and were forcibly handing Qurans to decent law abiding whites, the government would call a Cobra meeting and there’d be calls for the National Guard. It is also worth noting they publicise the organisation as a Christian army and fancy themselves on some kind of bizarre 21st century crusade. Some people really do never grow up.

C is for Cis

Illusion – Cis is a slur invented by trans people. The correct term for people who are not trans is ‘normal’. This is all a plot to enslave white middle class women even further. To call us cis when we say it is a slur is misogynistic and bullying. This is patriarchy.

Reality – Firstly, the notion that anyone has structural power over white middle class women (other than white middle class men) is in itself offensive and one of the biggest barefaced lies I have encountered in all my dealings with White Feminism™. Moving on, I am cis. This means I feel comfortable with the gender I was assigned at birth. I do not see what is offensive about being labelled cis unless you are the opposite of comfortable with your assigned gender. This is perhaps a thing people should bear in mind.

D is for Disability

Illusion – Disabled people are just after an easy ride. This country is a soft touch and we are only in this sorry state because of the welfare culture Labour encouraged amongst the lazy and unmotivated. Most people on disability benefits are lying; they’re not usually that unwell. Some of them aren’t even sick. We should cut their benefits to make up for the deficit they created.

Reality – It was only a few years ago most people were in agreement that the banks caused the recession. Instead of holding them responsible, Britain chose to bail them out and make up for the losses elsewhere, for example, leaving vulnerable people without any means of income whilst they are made to jump through a million hoops in order to prove their disabilities to medical professionals trained by the modern day equivalent of a Nazi Germany eugenics program; Atos Medical Services.

UK Uncut were onto something when they suggested that big business just paid its taxes (like the rest of us), then we could still take care of our sick and poor but of course, direct action would result in criminal proceedings. The government silenced any dissent, and continued to propagandise the view that the least fortunate are the ones to blame for all of society’s capitalist failings. The British public dutifully lap it up.

A flower for every person who died within 6 weeks of being declared 'fit for work'

A flower for every person who died within 6 weeks of being declared ‘fit for work’

E is for Empire

Illusion – Britain gave the Great Uncivilised culture and trains. It gave the world Lea and Perrins and PG Tips. Of course India was a brutal place to be if you were Indian (Africa for the Africans, and so on); the natives were positively crying out for liberation. They wanted to be civilised and it was the pleasure of our great nation to show them the way. We taught them how to play cricket and they reciprocated by giving us words for things we couldn’t describe. We also acquired a lot of wealth during this time, trinkets and souvenirs fit for a queen’s head and to this day, we enjoy the unavoidable spoils of war because, well, we won.

Our way of life is the only way of life, by any means necessary, for queen and country. So what if our people are poor and their country is broken? They’ve got white skin and ‘heritage’. God is an Englishman y’know.

Reality – Britain is perpetually yearning for the good old days of Empire when mad dogs and Englishmen ruled the planet and the rest of us licked their boots clean. How many of us were chilled to the core when we studied the holocaust for GCSE history? The thought of concentration camps in which humans perished was unbearable and yet, nowhere in the syllabus was it mentioned that the British were the first to deploy this practice (in modern times) during the Boer war. They invented it.

Great Britain is very proud of its minority world status, its relative wealth compared to the billions who cannot safely access clean water and food for basic survival. This is a nation of people happy to feed its own ego and desires, gorge on the finest foods, flash the cash on unnecessary fashions and ornate junk whilst other human beings with exactly the same internal organs and associated functions go without the bare minimum. Some humans have more rights than most. Large numbers of humans are not even thought to be human. It is those with the least humanity controlling the status of all other humans and this is a huge problem. It is social injustice.

F is for Forced Marriage and FGM

Illusion – Women and girls all over Asia and Africa are bought and sold like cattle, they’re considered subhuman for the mere fact that they are female, and this is in fact part of Islam. They are forced into marriages with much older men who keep them pregnant and barefoot. If the woman resists she will be beaten at the very least for disobeying the will of Allah, though most cases end in honour killings (see next entry). This tradition is barbaric and has no place in a civilised society. Islam is a brutal regime that punishes women.

Similarly, the practice of female genital mutilation is also about controlling women under the protection of their religion and it is violence against women whilst they are still girls. Many will die during and after the process with a significant portion suffering poor health when they begin menstruating and there is a high mortality rate for pregnancy and labour. It’s nothing like male circumcision. This is gendercide.

Reality – Most of the marriages thought of as ‘forced’ by the west are in fact arranged, a practice rooted in many cultures all over the world not especially exclusive to brown and black people. Take the British royal family for example. Princess Diana was not the love of Prince Charles’ life, we knew this whilst they were still married but there’s has always been some speculation as to whether it was in fact forced as opposed to arranged with the consent of both parties. Diana’s role as the incubator for the heir and spare has been explored in great detail and it’s no secret she had a tumultuous relationship with her in laws. What if she had not produced boys? Anne Boleyn was not so lucky. What could be more like a forced marriage than the one that was celebrated by white skinned people everywhere? Also, Diana is dead, let’s not forget that..

Joking aside, forced marriages are a problem for many not just for the usual suspects depicted in the mainstream western media. It is a problem in countries like Russia and Portugal among the peoples native to those countries. This framing of this method of violence against women as being a barbaric tradition associated with brown men alone (which therefore legitimises any wars against them) is outdated and racist and it ensures that many other victims are abandoned because they do not fit the stereotype. Also it is a fact among migrant communities that we would rather protect the people (who look like us) disproportionately demonised by the west than disclose the crimes perpetrated against us and give racists the satisfaction of being ‘right’. Every time a white person jumps to save one girl from a cruel Eastern practice, they silence many more. White saviours do more damage than good and often, this is the intention.

You should probably note the many ways in which racists specifically target women; whether they are murdered for wearing traditional dress or criminalised by governments for again, wearing the wrong clothing, women are easy targets for the brave white menz.

G is for Government

Illusion – We live in a democratic society where we get a say in the way our country is run. We, the people, are born free and our society sets an example to the rest of the world. We need the government to maintain our cities otherwise there would be chaos and all hell would break loose.

Truth – It doesn’t matter who you vote in, they all went to school together and their lives have lead up to their governments. They don’t care about us, they just enjoy the power. We can function without leaders, bosses, judges and Gods. We’re just being told we can’t, every time the government insists we need more CCTV, more police, more restrictions on our free will to ‘save us’ when actually we are being controlled because we are a threat to their power. Nothing more, nothing less.

H is for Honour Killings and Hijab

Illusion – The savages respond to female disobedience with extreme violence, in many cases they will kill the victims so as to preserve the family honour, or their ‘good name’ within the extended family and community. If females put a foot wrong they can be punished under the umbrella term ‘Izaat’ (meaning honour). The same cannot be said for male family members. This also goes for hijab which means ‘partition’ and boils down to segregation of the sexes probably because they believe females to be tempting and impure. The men, however, can behave in whichever way they please, so they target white girls they believe to be ‘easy meat’.

Reality – This is a subject I have often thought about, to try and dispel the myth and untruths portrayed by the west on all things not white. Most importantly one must recognise that words have a huge impact on perceptions and used in the right way can add to a collage of feelings around an existing issue.

Honour killings are used to explain non-white male violence against women, as though the 2 white victims a week of domestic homicide in the UK were murdered for reasons not pertaining to the ego, honour and respect demanded by white abusers. What’s in a word other than centuries of political history and propaganda? It is because hijabi women see this propaganda for what it is that they vehemently refuse to remove their (what the west has in fact enabled) symbol of freedom and resistance to oppression. No one truly believes the west’s attempts to liberate oppressed females by oppressing them and restricting their rights to religious expression and bodily autonomy. Wherever women choose to be a certain way, there will be men telling them they are not doing it right. The intention is to rile the men who ‘own’ the women in hijabs. “Their men target our women for being too easy; we’ll target theirs for being ugly, hairy and mannish. No wonder they need to cover up like that” cos women are property like that.

This report by Tell Mama confirms what I have been saying for years; racism is patriarchal violence, racist violence against women of colour which is perpetrated by predominantly white men. If this is not a feminist issue I don’t know what is.

I is for Immigration

Illusion – Britain is a soft touch for lazy opportunist immigrants who want to invade our country and bleed it dry of all its resources. They get preferential treatment for housing and British citizens are losing out on their benefits cos of all the immigrants claiming most of the money honest hardworking British men and women have contributed into the system. Asylum seekers are driving around in their flash new cars whilst British children are forced to beg food from food banks.

Reality – It was the European elections and the BBC was unabashedly promoting the prospect of a far right party coming into considerable power for the first time since the Nazis. Of course the BBC needed to justify its endorsement of real life fascists so there were infographics to cover the reasons for such a huge shift in the political paradigm. The words being spoken were suggesting that immigration was getting out of control and increasing year on year YET the chart shown actually demonstrated a reduction in immigration. This, for me, sums up the UK media and politicians and the tactics employed to secure votes for political power; barefaced lying and cheating.

Immigration is falling not rising. Students are choosing to study elsewhere for the first time in 16 years, people are not migrating here for work as frequently and asylum cases make up a fraction of the total number of immigrants. Asylum seekers are not even allowed to claim benefits. They get around £40 in vouchers a week, which they must spend on food. They are not allowed to work and so must survive on this meagre amount for an indefinite length of time. Nobody would choose this life as a cushy alternative. The only other real alternative is death and we as a country routinely send people who came to us for help back to this reality. Britain is sick.

J is for Jihad

Illusion – Extremist Islamists are preparing for the 21st century holy war. They have camps set up in all the brown countries and they are training agents to infiltrate our society and annihilate us from within. They pose a danger to our civilised way of life and we must do everything we can to fight this war against terror. Our home-grown terrorists should be easy to identify. Notice any suspicious behaviour from a Muslim neighbour? Perhaps they sit indoors with the curtain closed or own a suspiciously large number of backpacks? Do what’s right, make that call and help us help you win the war on terrorism.

Reality – Jihad is just another example of a word co-opted by the dominant culture to express something it doesn’t really mean, like Izaat for example. Jihad means struggle, and it refers to the control one must have over their own feelings and actions as a Muslim. Sure it includes holy war but the meaning is not restricted to that alone. Even in a holy war, you have the right to defend yourselves but there are rules of engagement. You’re not permitted to hurt a single innocent, an ant for example, or the surrounding shrubbery. Destruction is not part of ‘struggle’.

K is for Kill All Men

Illusion – This phrase is hate speech and incitement to violence against men, murder in fact. It’s dangerous and anyone using the term must be cautioned that they could be committing a criminal offence if it is intended to cause distress and alarm. In a tolerant society there is no call for such a statement and one can’t expect people to understand its political roots if the majority of people are apolitical.  It’s all Sam Ambreen’s fault.

Reality – Over 40 years ago Valerie Solanas wrote the SCUM manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men) and ever since then women have been cutting them up left, right and centre. Joke, this hasn’t actually happened, we can barely cut them down without a huge drama. I got about halfway through hearing the manifesto (a friend read it to me) when I had to ask her to stop because of the violent transphobia and somewhat naïve understanding of biology (not everyone with a y chromosome is male) but then it was the 70s so I’ll give her that. Up until that point I had listened in rapture at the ways in which Solanas expressed her deep hatred of men, the people who control and abuse women in a society that enables and rewards them for doing so. I recognised her as a survivor; I saw the same wounds in her.

When you’ve been raped, beaten, harassed, stalked, manipulated and used all the ways you can be by men pretty much your whole life and you just do not have the physical strength or capability to give them back like for like, or defend yourself (and we’re always being reminded we’re not very good at this), it’s helpful mentally to turn to words. They can make you feel like you are not completely at the mercy of your abusers/oppressors. The more men whine about how harmful saying these three little words is, the more empowered we feel as women. We don’t need to kill all men, as if that was even possible, we just need to make them afraid that we might (although this might be a tad optimistic). They’re not afraid of those words; they just don’t like the fact that we have the nerve to say them.

L is for Lefties

Illusion – White middle class guilt is everywhere and dragging this country down from the great nation it once was. Under Labour, criminals were given more rights than victims. Lefties have destroyed the once proud and almighty Britain by opening its borders to the lazy and greedy we once ruled. Socialism is a vindictive plot by spoilt Oxbridge types intent on deconstructing the establishment because they’re just jealous.

Reality – They say you should judge a country on how it treats its prisoners/animals/poor. Whilst this makes sense, in recent times I’ve found a better way to measure the state of the collective conscience. You can judge a country on how screwed it is by the comparative wealth of its lefties/socialists and the gap between them and the poorest of the working classes. The disparity highlights the incongruence between what they say they’re about and what they’re actually about.

Champagne socialism is a serious problem in Great Britain. The leftie commentariat, the socialist academics and indeed the people supposedly representing our best interests in parliament have amassed wealth that the true working class proles amongst us cannot access even if we do as we are told. When you have a significantly better than average paid job and a reasonable mortgage, a book deal and at least 4 holidays a year, you lose the right to vocalise on working class issues. You’re too far removed from the truth to make cogent arguments in the interests of the least privileged in society. Your words and actions take on a vulgar tone. Instead why not use your relative privilege to redistribute some of that wealth and amplify those voices that have no chance of being heard? Perhaps resist the urge to opine on the lives and bodies of people you don’t understand?

The descent into fascism is historically enabled by those posing as socialists and it begins with othering, something most people who are not white cis and heteronormative have been subjected to the past few years.

M is for Men’s Rights Activists

Illusion – Protect the male and his interests from violent women who dominate in the boardroom and the bedroom, female harassment of males is at an all-time high. Who will make our sandwiches? Who will take care of our children? Who will do all the ironing? Where will we be without a woman’s touch?

Feminism is a hateful ideology created by lesbians who hate men and want to murder all of us. We must fight this depraved and unrealistic idea they have of equality. They say it’s about equal rights for all but then why call it feminism? Why not egalitarianism?

Protect the male and his interests from the sinister feminazis and their plans to exact revenge for all the ways mankind has allegedly hurt them. They make all those statistics up.

Reality – In the year 2014 it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population of women is or will be experiencing gendered violence and yet MRAs would have us believe that they are at risk of having their needs eliminated by those very women. Perhaps it is the 30% of women existing free from harm that control all men by harassing them in the street and docking their wages if they refuse to play the sex game?

When the menz are protecting their rights and it is that apparent for most people with an ounce of integrity to admit the menz actually hold most of the power, does this mean protecting the right to behave like an entitled dick? Are they fighting for the right to take up two spaces on public transport cos their balls are too big for a little courtesy towards their fellow passenger? Are they protecting their rights to exclude women from ‘gentlemen only’ clubs? Maybe they enjoy the right to control and manipulate women into serving them by chipping into their self-esteem and making them paranoid about other women. Perhaps they are afraid that we might relieve them of their right to cheat on their wives without fear someone might tell the wife if we no longer call those disclosures ‘gossip’? I’d like to do away with ‘bro code’ and rape culture as a transitional demand.

Make those men learn consent; take away their rights to anyone’s body or personal space so they have to work at attracting and keeping female company. I can see why they’re so afraid and why they are even a thing in the first place.

N is for No justice No peace

Illusion – The British justice system is among one of the finest in the world and if you have nothing to hide, you’ll happily allow the authorities to take from you what they need in order to establish your innocence, which goes hand in hand with conformity. We have an equal society where everyone has the right to exist free from harm and there are structures in place to allow for accountability processes. Justice is blind; it doesn’t see gender, colour or race.

Reality – Over 800 people have perished in police custody or following contact from the police. Not a single officer jailed since 1969. We have the IPCC whom we are told to approach if we feel we are denied justice but the revelation that a number of their officers are ex forces does not inspire confidence in the average complainant.

As (politically) black people we notice the stop and searches of young black people wherever we are in the country. We notice that white children are not treated in the same way. We protest at the media coverage when the perpetrators are believed to be black, presumed guilty for no other reason than the colour of their skin and when they are executed in broad daylight despite not posing a threat. Precedents are set when black people are punished in ways that do not even make sense; when they are denied justice because admitting a defenceless black man was murdered for no good reason is admitting that institutional racism led to his demise.

We are encouraged to report our rapes to the police but when we do they tell us we’re lying. Why didn’t we defend ourselves if we were being attacked? ..Why does the alleged perpetrator have scratches to their face? A real victim would be too afraid to fight back.

The tightrope to worthy victimhood is invisible. There’s no sure way of knowing how one must behave when access to justice is reliant on the officer in charge (and he might be racist, sexist, a homophobe).

O is for Oppression Olympics

Illusion – Gosh all these people obsessively disclosing personal details as a way to diminish any responsibility they have for their words and actions, no one cares. I have mental health problems too but you don’t see me going on about it. I wasn’t always this middle class either, y’know. Of course you don’t want to hear about my tragedies cos I’m white and I can afford to eat and heat and holiday. Life wasn’t very kind to me either y’know? I’ve got children and society just sees me as some kind of breeding chook. Who cares that your ancestors were displaced and you’re still feeling the repercussions? My family was Irish originally but the past is in the past.

Reality – Even when white people are poor, mentally unwell and female, they are still not as abused and consequently afraid, as women who are black and poor with mental difficulties. White women do not need to fear violence for their religious dress when they step out in the Home Counties.Working class white women are spoken to with a level of respect when they go shopping whereas brown women (for example my twin sister) are told they are “pushing it” when they politely ask for service. White women do not need to be told to reconsider what they are wearing when they take their child to A+E (after they got something stuck in their ear) in case the attending medics feel the hijabi mother has been neglectful instead of the mother of a lively toddler who just cannot be pinned down.

White people are free to navigate the world without having to plan their interactions within frequently changing parameters. They can just ‘be’. If the same white people calling intersectionality Oppression Olympics (and it is white people) were subjected to the abuse and scrutiny we face on a daily basis, well, actually, it is not even possible to consider what they might do because it’s an impossibility. There’d be white tears, I know only this much.

P is for Patriarchy

Illusion – Men are stronger, smarter, fitter and just better than women at almost everything. Almost because we cannot give birth but if we did, we wouldn’t whinge as much for a start. Patriarchal society has benefited us all in many ways. For example, where would we be without the male engineers, and the male architects, philosophers and law makers? Where would women be without the internet we made for y’all? Male scientists have given us a better understanding of the world. If we weren’t here to protect you, you’d be lost and starving within hours. Those men with tans would steal you away.

Reality – As women we know this is all bullshit. On the back of centuries of male domination where we were told we were weak and feeble, our brains unable to cope with the harsh realities of existence, we were quietly biding our time because witch hunts and being burned at the stake for being a free thinking woman was a surprisingly effective deterrent. Then came The Enlightenment and women’s rights eventually came to the fore. We were ready to die for our cause and that I guess is the turning point in any oppression.

Patriarchy likes to bash back whenever there is a monumental step forward. We are experiencing the latest wave in response to the normalisation of intersectionality. They initially tried to undermine the process by labelling it too academic. Most of us willing to understand understood it so they changed tactics and took to demonising the less privileged proponents of the ideology; the people of colour and those outside of the (very much western) gender binary. The kyriarchy is the contingency plan. White feminism decided that the people who had brought intersectionality to the mainstream didn’t deserve to call it their own and actually tried to steal it from under our noses.

White women can do a better job of convincing everyone they’re doing the right thing instead of doing the white patriarch’s work for them. White women want equality but they want the privileges of whiteness too. They’ll take a little less equality from white men if it ensures white supremacy, and keeps the rest of us beneath them.

Q is for Queer

Illusion – All these pretendbians and fun fems with their twisted views on feminism and womynly solidarity are harmful to the movement and we have no space for people like them. Stop the queerios and their bizarre attempts to have us recognise their humanity and the rights to do as they so wish with their own bodies. If you want to be noticed, fall into line, stop wearing that ridiculous get up and being so greedy; make your mind up and stick to the sex you fancy. Social justice isn’t supposed to be ‘cool’.

Reality – Queer is the radical notion that a person’s genitals say less about them than their beautiful personality. It means falling in love with a person’s virtues first and is less about getting laid than it is about loving fully and honestly. Often radical feminists will bully the queers who are also trans advocates by insinuating we wouldn’t be so supportive if we ‘had to fuck one’. This is a rather strange statement because it reduces love interests to a sexual organ and is kinda the issue radical feminists have had with the patriarchy since the 70s. I’m just seeing a cycle of abuse.

R is for Rape Culture

Illusion – India has seriously fallen from grace. The amount of gang rapes in the last few months alone is shocking and there is global condemnation for the law as it currently stands. Many people, at home and abroad are asking for a maximum penalty of death and this goes some way to show they are taking the matter seriously over there but what are they doing to prevent rape from happening in the first place?

We’ve asked our Indian correspondent to explain why it is Indian men are allowed to behave in this way and they’ve confirmed India has a serious rape culture. We also need to think about war rape and those men in the Congo.

Reality – Rapists are everywhere, from every creed, colour and race. Some places are worse than others though. Under the guise of western liberation and civilised society where “we don’t treat our women like that” Great Britain’s pervasive culture of sexism has raised concerns as far as the United Nations. Their report into the truth of sexual harassment and rape culture confirmed what I have been saying for years; that the illusion we have of women’s rights over here is far more damaging than a culture where rape is accepted, in marriage, for example (a practice only outlawed in this country during the early 90s). In foreign cultures the women being raped don’t think of it as a violation because of the antiquated belief they belong to their husbands. It’s no different to many places in the west, the many millions of cases that no doubt go unreported because of our appalling rape culture in which we make it impossible for women to come forward (for a current example of how victims of abuse are treated, see Vanessa Feltz).

Our rape statistics may seem impressive compared to a war torn far away land but that is because there is a focus on recording those cases because history (and perhaps racism too). Over here, we ensure they never speak of it. As long as we keep pointing the finger over there, the entitled of this island will continue to rape women and children (also men). Through their silence they become detached and cold from the hurt. The effect on wider society deepens; the war of the sexes will never end.

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S is for Social Justice Warriors

Illusion – Bloody do-gooders, what’s in it for them? They’re just a bunch of narcissistic, fame hungry whiny little nobodies. So your dad died and then you broke your back and your home was repossessed, happened to me and you don’t see me complaining do ya? Bring back National Service. A good clip round the ear never did me any harm. I do the same to my kids and they never put a foot out of line. That’s how you get respect. You don’t bleat on about making the world a better place; you shut up, get your head down, pay your way. Bring back hanging. Got no time for attention seekers and lily livered little whinge bags. Grow some balls.

Reality – Do-gooders as a word has always confused me (to do good is a good thing?) It suggests meddling and getting involved in things which shouldn’t concern anyone else. On the contrary we get involved because we are all human and what happens to one of us could happen to us all. It requires only a little empathy and compassion for even the things you don’t understand, but can in some way relate to the pain others are feeling. Doing good is humbling. It is the ones causing the pain that cannot abide by our attempts to change the status quo. The rapists, misogynists, abusers and narcissists; those who won’t be silenced by anyone, not even victims of cruelty; they must man up or switch off. For as long as we breathe, we will point out the unfair systems of oppression that hurt the ones at the bottom and make responsible the ones pushing down on them for laffs.

T is for TERFs Illusion – This term is used as a slur to make women feel inferior by men who are pretending to be women. This is patriarchy on steroids and the worse part of it is they’ve a load of women born women supporting them, like the ‘fun fems’ they are. They say that we are divisive or that we are leaving them out, actually, it is they who’ve ostracised and othered us. We are being excluded.

Reality –Terf is merely an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminists which, as the name suggests, means they are radical feminists who exclude trans people. That’s all, really.

U is for (Left) Unity

Illusion – Intersectionalists have ruined The Left with their bizarre identity politics, a consequence of capitalism and self-interest. It’s not like the good old days when were able to unite on the important factors and get things done. Labour may not be the working class party of our parent’s era but they still represent the proletariat and if we don’t get behind them then we get the government we deserve. Incidentally, that would be UKIP (which also begins with U).

Reality – UKIP have grown rapidly BECAUSE of the fact that white working classes of Britain do not feel adequately represented by Blue Labour. The worker’s party is made up of public school educated toffs entirely disconnected from the people they traditionally appeal to. There is no Right or Left in parliament, there are only rich white men. This trend continues with our rich and famous lefties; people like Billy Bragg who’s about as Left as my right elbow. They talk the talk but goosestep all over your urban projects.

V is for Voting

Illusion – We operate a democracy here which means freedom and liberty in a way it just doesn’t abroad, for example, in Afghanistan which is why we must give foreigners democracy whenever the opportunity arises. How else can people expect for their views to be heard and society to change for the better if they do not exercise their right to vote? It is political apathy that is the scourge of modern times, when those with extremist views are allowed a platform because moderates cannot be bothered to put a cross next to their name. People died for your right to vote.

Reality – It’s simple, vote Tory if you inherit a lot of wealth you don’t want the state to get its hands on. Vote Labour if you’re a worker of any class despite the fact they take home salaries that would take a decade for you to earn yourself, and of course the Liberal Democrats if you don’t want to take sides. Ignore the Greens, they’re just there for decoration and don’t worry about any of the Nazi parties, they’ve never been voted in before, it’s just posturing.

It doesn’t matter which party we vote for over here, rich white men will always occupy those seats of power. Rich white men who are only chasing votes and would slander their own grandmother in the same way they’ve scapegoated immigrants.

W is for White (Feminism, Narrative, Supremacy, Tears)

Illusion – White people have dominated the world for a reason; we’re just better in every respect. We’ve produced the best science, our economies are the strongest in the world and we are more attractive than people who are not white. The fact that they refuse to recognise this is preposterous and we’ll beat some sense into them if needs be. We gave the world capitalism, where would they all be without mobile phones and fashion? Obviously this means we also do the best feminism and any criticisms of our praxis are borne from jealousy at being inadequate or self-interest. We cry because nobody thinks about how we might be feeling, it’s hard being right about everything.

What’s the point of doing anything for these ungrateful non-whites if they throw it back in our faces all the time? So my ancestors gave your ancestors a hard time.. It’s not my fault, is it?

Reality – It would be nice to let go of the past and move on but that’s hardly an option when the past haunts us in the present. White people have not stopped enslaving non-white people; they just call it something else. They would have us believe success is the reward for anyone willing to put in the time and effort but only we know, from a lifetime’s experience that the opportunities are few and far between and intelligence and diligence do not go as far when your skin is the wrong colour, when your name has more syllables than white people can pronounce.

We change our names, we eat their food, we listen to their music and we learn all of their words better than most of their natives and yet, still, we can be abused in the street, at work and online with a single word (if we’re lucky) that brings back the centuries of subjugation at the mercy of our colonial masters. We feel the pain of our great grandparents who had even less of a voice than we do now. This infuriates us so we bash back but in doing so we are told we brought it on ourselves.

There is no recourse to safety for non-white people who object to the kyriarchal controls white society places on us. They seem to think that our defiance is indicative of a sinister plot to take over the white peoples in the same way they incarcerated us. This in itself is an odious allegation, being as we are fighting for the basic recognition of our humanity, nothing more. We just don’t do stoic like the great whites; our anger is raw from pain, not insane and uncivilised. When we cry, they mock us.

X is for Xenophobia

Illusion – When Brits are abroad on holiday, they’re reminded of what true patriotism is about, when all the other countries display their flags proudly and yet, here at home, you can’t wrap your house in the St George’s Cross without someone calling you a racist. Of all the nations in this world we should have the privilege of celebrating our national identity. We are after all better at sport than say, France. We smell better for a start. Don’t even get me started on the foods some of these people eat. Have you seen the lengths the Chinese will go to for a bit of meat?

I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t be anything else but British, we are somewhat a superior breed.

Reality – The St George’s cross is tainted by a past that is splattered with the blood of all the peoples raped and pillaged by the ancestors of the white people we challenge today. It reminds us that the people still holding those flags proudly have the same intentions for us as they did then, that they are proud of their murderous history and that they have no shame when they thrust it in our faces at every conceivable opportunity. The Empire left a dark stain on the nations’ flag, one that cannot be white washed even if they re-write history and frame brutal slaughter and looting as a positive thing for whites that enriched their lives, monetarily and culturally (leaving out the bit where it was to the detriment of the rest of us). fash Y is for You

Illusion – You are born in an NHS hospital, your birth will be registered with your local council. You have a place in a local school in your catchment area and attendance is mandatory from age 5. You will be assessed and graded at regular intervals for the course of your state funded education and if you study hard and put in the extra time, keep your head down as a model pupil and citizen, one day you’ll be rich and well-travelled and satisfied.

The onus is on YOU to shape your future though, don’t expect any hand-outs. If you are not very successful in life it is because you simply do not make the grade and trying to suggest it is anything but slovenliness you have no one to blame for but yourself, is nonsense and a cop out from someone who is not used to taking responsibility for themselves.

Reality – You were born an organism, not yet a person. Without your prior knowledge and consent you were signed up to a system you couldn’t yet understand. You went along with it knowing nothing else and for a long while believed everything you were told about the ways of the world. You swallowed the idea of YOU as a person in a wider society that boasted people with more talent, more grace and beauty than you could ever have wished for. Of course those people should be rewarded for their superiority but with time you started to resent the inferiority that came with this positioning. It suddenly dawned on you that if you’d had the same money, the same access to education and resources as those with inherited wealth, you’d have probably achieved a whole lot more than they did. You start to resent the demands society puts on you to perform when increasingly, you feel less and less like the person they say you are. With these thoughts, your whole persona changes and you even look different in the mirror. You’d never noticed the smoothness of your skin before or the contrast of your dark hair against your skin.

At first it upset you when people wrote you off as an academic who was just throwing fancy words around for kudos, not actually wanting to affect social change. Then you realised they thought you were educated beyond degree level when in fact you left school aged 16. Suddenly you realise they are afraid of YOU because you understand true liberation and you didn’t have to set foot in a posh university to learn about it. This makes you unpredictable. This makes you powerful.

This is why they go out of their way to abuse you.

Z is for Zionism A subject I do not feel I can actually comment on (in light of recent events). I will however blame everything on the BBC. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions.

TW: Rape Culture the British Way

Another day, another rich white man acquitted of rape. I’ve developed a psychic ability for predicting the outcome of these trials, without listening to a shred of evidence I can say without hesitation, they are all not guilty (well, at least the ones without photographic evidence).

It doesn’t matter that there were SEVEN victims. Nigel Evans, Conservative MP was found not guilty on one count of rape, FIVE sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults.  The seven victims clearly colluded to dishonour the former deputy speaker, what other reason could there be for this miscarriage of justice? Perhaps it was all a big misunderstanding. For example you say “indecent assault” but of course it has been established that it was merely a case of “drunken overfamiliarity”. The victims clearly couldn’t take a joke or make allowances for the fact that Mr Evans was so inebriated he could not possibly be held accountable for his actions. Unless of course he was in fact female, then he’d have to avoid getting drunk in case someone stuck their hand down HER trousers. “What do you mean you don’t remember consenting to sex? Why get so drunk you can’t remember?” In this scenario being drunk means you are asking for it but hey ho, one rule for women.

I like how Evans, not guilty on all counts, found the presence of mind for a little humour in the courtroom. “Do you appreciate how absurd that sounds?” He enquired of the prosecution in reply to a question regarding his non-consensual touching of another person. Non-consensual touching is hardly absurd, it’s called indecent assault but somehow you’re either innocent of any wrongdoing or a “cross between Alan Clarke, Oscar Wilde and Benny Hill”. Did he mean to invoke an image of a rampant gay sex pest? What a massive leap but in a surreal twist, this endeared him to the occupants of the courtroom. Imagine that eh? He didn’t behave like an innocent man accused of such a heinous crime, casually, nonchalantly putting the QC back in his box, a ripple of laughter giving the accused the approval he desired, no, he was bold as you like. But let’s not split hairs on what it means to behave in a guilty or innocent way; that is how we treat victims remember?

Patriarchy is brazen enough to label your violations with words to suit their agendas. Take Richard Dawkins for example; his belief that victims of religious indoctrination suffer more than childhood victims of sexual assault where the violation can be described as ‘icky’ compared to the damnation one fears belonging to a religious order. I’m sure Dawkins is convinced this is the way innocent children feel when they are touched without knowledge of why they are being touched in a place no one else seems to bother with. Especially when they are told it’s their little secret and if they do disclose then someone close to them will die. Yes, this is a tactic used by child sex abusers to silence their young victims and having actually worked with some of them I can say ‘icky’ is not a word that has ever been used. But y’know, rich white men know all there is to know about what is and isn’t a violation against individuals who are asking to be controlled (and of course one victim will feel exactly like all the others, no..?).

They like to stick together, these not guilty men of considerable power. In a not-bizarre-at-all move, Evans nodded to the exoneration of a man not unlike himself, “As William Roache said on this very spot, there are no winners in these cases, so no celebration”. I think this is a bit disingenuous. I think this was another huge victory for the rape culture. Despite the information we have been bombarded with the last couple of years, on the back of campaigns such as Everyday Sexism and #Ididnotreport in which the information was made clear enough for even the most stubborn to understand, society is still giving us the loud and clear message that victims lie. There is no clarification of law for the public, that a not guilty verdict does not mean the incidents did not take place (because if this was the case then we’d be looking at a trial of the victims for perjury). No, instead there is this blind belief that being accused of rape is a “horrid experience to go through”. I’ll tell you what’s even more horrid; being touched without your explicit consent, living in a system where rich white men can behave in any way they see fit so long as they describe it in a way that presents them as the injured party. “I’ll accept that he’s tactile,” said Brian Binley MP (Evans’ flatmate), words that echo a similar sentiment to the supporters of that other definitely not guilty sleb David Lee Travis. Oh, that’s all it is, just some friendly touching that people should be grateful for.

What is it with the entitled class, that they can just get away with painting this picture of an innocent man who is just too goddamn nice for his own good? It’s rape culture if you’re wondering. The kind of culture that breeds the attitude where people accuse each other of rape to “settles scores”, and victims are “vindictive liars”.

Let’s say, hypothetically that one would be cautious to treat all allegations of rape with the highest level of suspicion, that victims routinely make false allegations cos they have been spurned or in some way jealous of the successes of the accused. What motivation would the CPS have for bringing forth a case? Given my extensive experience of working closely with the CPS in cases of rape and sexual violence, let me assure you that they do not take these decisions lightly and in fact only take cases where they are mostly sure of a conviction. This means actual evidence of harm, numerous witness reports, DNA. The CPS does not want their conviction rates affected by unreliable (traumatised) witnesses or incidents where the defence can successfully prove the victim was asking for it (drunk, asleep, in their underwear).

There is a precedent being set here. In the aftermath of the Savile enquiry (where members of the British public accused 1300 victims of “making it up”) and Stuart Hall was imprisoned for just 18 months for his crimes against 13 victims (which was obviously not as serious as Savile’s 1300 and therefore deserving of a much lesser sentence), subsequent alleged offenders have been able to successfully claim there is a “witch hunt” and with their adoring colleagues and fans have silenced the victims of these perpetrators. Well of course if they don’t even “regard themselves as victims” then is there a case at all? Not everyone feels comfortable with the victim label. It suggests you must behave in a certain way, that you will always be labelled in this way (so long as you tread the fine line of what it means to be violated). Some people prefer to think of themselves as survivors because of how it is empowering following an incident where they were powerless. Most of the time people do not even regard unwanted touching as an offence because of court cases like this where it is reinforced that some people are just misunderstood. Yet this is still being used as an argument to prove ill intentions against perpetrators of sexual abuse.

I cannot say for certain whether or not something happened if I was not witness to it myself. But I do know the rape culture inside out. I know victims and I believe all of them. Every case since Savile has been a lesson in rape culture 101. The same excuses are churned out and the savages of this great green land lap it up with the cruellest of intentions; to maintain the hierarchy of patriarchy and kyriarchy, where rich white men do whatever the hell they like whilst those with far less privilege have the rule book thrown at them, often with little proof.

We won’t end rape by pointing the finger at India, or Sudan or the Arab uprising, no, not at least until we accept the very sick notion of what it means to be entitled in this country and what it means to be the right sort of victim. Without this very basic first step, one that recognises autonomy of EVERY individual and enthusiastic consent as the only way of conducting sexual relations, we are the international leaders in the maintenance and evolution of power and control and coercion. Nothing has changed.

If you don’t believe a survivor of abuse because of some ‘instinct’ or ‘hunch’, remember these feelings are part of the rape culture we all live in, that tells you to doubt survivors, that tells you that abuse is rare, that people, especially women lie about abuse and that abusers are never people who you would know. If the abuser is someone you know, or someone who shares your politics, it’s more convenient for you to think they’re NOT an abuser. This is why it is really important to think about abuse politically. To find out how abusers operate. To educate yourself about how common and well hidden abuse is, and how survivors do not always act in the way you expect them to. Also, educate yourself about how rare it is for someone to lie about abuse. Look at how women who have come forward with accounts of abuse have been treated. Ask yourself if someone would put themselves through that without good cause. Ask yourself why you are so convinced that it is bound to be one of the incredibly rare cases of ‘false allegations’ when it involves your friend, a member of your party, the candidate you want to support in a election. Yes, any time someone tells you anything, they may be lying, or if not, they may lack the evidence to prove what they are saying in court.”

 

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TW: Would you report your rape to the police?

I have a Google email alert for sexual offences police corruption. It’s been a busy week for a few bastard coppers. I created the alert after the case brought against Ryan Coleman Farrow who was convicted of 13 counts of misconduct in public office (THIRTEEN) yet received only 16 months in prison for his crimes despite the fact that one of the victims killed herself following his negligence. They described him as a ‘rogue officer who set out to deceive’ implying that victims should not be alarmed by his practice, as though he was the exception not the rule (even though there was some vague reporting of a coinciding case where the defendant could not be named for whatever reason). Another of Coleman Farrow’s cases involved the rape of a 96 year old woman (she died without justice) by her son, in her own home. I would imagine if you were going to make an example out of anyone to serve justice as a reminder to the rest, this would be the one but I cannot say that 16 months is a particularly effective deterrent especially given that he could be released in half that time.

I want to prove that this kind of conduct is endemic in police forces across the world. I want to point out how ridiculous it is for us to expect these people –among the most likely to demonstrate their entitlement – to protect us from the worst of violations. We can start by having a look at this pig. Here we have the judge using the Polanski Defence in his ruling; the poor sod was so grief stricken due to the death of his wife, he couldn’t help but molest a 14 year old child. He was given a reduced sentence because of the effect on his own 11 year old. Here is a court identifying two counts of indecent assault against a minor yet all the while subtly condoning his behaviour in the form of a lenient sentence of 18 months and actual fucking praise for having done “so much for the public in North Wales”. The defendant, Donnelly, had told the girl she reminded him of his late wife. Now, I cannot be the only one alarmed at the fact that this man has been given a reduced sentence because of his own underage child (who is probably more likely to remind him of his late wife if the child is from that pairing?). The judge said that he hoped the public would understand “the balance the judge has to make in these cases” to which I put this; he is now a schedule one sex offender. Will social services and probation follow up these offences and supervise his contact with any minor given that he has a conviction for subjecting a child to cruelty, exposing them to ‘moral and physical danger’ and will be on the sex offenders register for the next decade? Doubt it.

A lot of victims don’t get to court because of how the system is set up to favour perpetrators (rape culture) or through fear that the case will play out as the one above. Many more make the decision to report abuse but then fall back after their first encounter with the cops. I can understand why. As a general rule they aren’t the most sympathetic in nature nor friendly, their job is to contain disorder so that it protects the surrounding area (buildings mainly). It is a huge leap to entrust these (mainly) men with sensitive information when we are afraid they are capable of the same things.

As a DV worker I was aware of a few ‘rogue officers’ in my line of work. We knew one of them was quite a sadistic abuser, all the while giving the impression he took domestic violence seriously but we couldn’t let on because his victim was also a colleague. Imagine that; working for a domestic abuse organisation, unable to point out the perpetrators in your midst because mendacity. If the truth had been outed, she would have probably lost her job. Imagine reporting your abuse to someone like the copper I worked with. What do you think he’s going to do? I would think he probably couldn’t care less and depending on how vulnerable you were, might try this. Then imagine that the Met refuse to accept responsibility for an on duty uniformed police officer (one who has been convicted and dismissed from the force for his actions) for taking advantage of a vulnerable drunk woman who was unable to consent. What will their defence entail? She shouldn’t have been so drunk she was unable to protect herself? But.. The police are supposed to protect us. We don’t see them as individuals; they are the police (plural). With this stance are they in fact reminding us that the police are free to act with impunity? No accountability? No responsibility? It certainly seems like it. I’m yet to see the term ‘rogue officer’ applied with this recent spate of predatory coppers. Perhaps because it would be an unashamed blag and at this juncture, career suicide for anyone stupid enough to stand by it. The Sapphire Unit (since “overhauled and renamed” allegedly) has been exposed for its corruption yet again. A detective constable and police constable facing claims that they faked records (perhaps in a bid to boost detection rates a la Coleman Farrow). The public are not waning in confidence, they are livid with anger at this blatant disregard for victims of patriarchal violence. These perps are not just the knuckleheaded cap toting Neanderthals we find at demos but senior officers; detectives at the top of their game. Like this prick. Of course the police will not be commenting at this stage because anything they do say, can and will be given as evidence.

This isn’t just A Thing we have to endure in Britain, police officers in forces all around the world are guilty of almost identical crimes. The intention is to maintain patriarchy, by keeping vulnerable people afraid, teaching them that the state controls what happens to their bodies, it decides your value and whether you can access justice. The same people we are consistently forced to trust with our most intimate violations are in fact the same ones who keep rape culture alive. These officers in America used their authority in exactly the same way ‘rogue officers’ do in every corner of the world. They are in a position of immense power (one where they are perceived to be fighting the forces of evil) and instead they use it for its intended purpose; one of power and control in a hierarchy determined by the patriarchy. Even when they are caught red-handed the preferential treatment they receive in sentencing compared to say, black males, is an overt display of double standards and a reminder that they still win even when you throw the rule book at them. We need a different system.

This is what silencing looks like

I didn’t celebrate International Women’s Day. I didn’t feel I had the right to. I’ve known for a while that maybe I’m not allowed to call myself a feminist because of the way feminism isn’t really much about real equality (justice), or hasn’t been for quite some time even though I’ve always believed it was my calling in life, to be a professional feminist, to ‘be the change I want to see’. The movement is so fractured and ugly, there is no solidarity and as I’ve said before, what are we without it?

I am trying to understand where I’ve gone wrong and coming up with a blank. It is my belief that I trust survivors, no exceptions. I stand by that belief, I put it into practice. Of all my feminist principles, believing survivors of patriarchal violence (entitlement that is positively encouraged by society as opposed to other forms of violence/’hate crimes’) is the most important and mandatory. ‘I believe them’ was not a new concept for me, my politics didn’t suddenly change for the better when I got a Twitter account; this is the truth I have been living ever since I escaped my own abuse. I have worked in refuges, I have worked incognito in the community, provided court based advocacy and accompanied survivors to the police station, the rape crisis centre, the homelessness office. I believed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I didn’t ask for proof, I knew there would be many occasions where my severely traumatised clients would have to retell the events that lead them to the authorities. I became an advocate because I wanted to make that process gentler on the women who would be painted as liars and cheats and because they don’t behave like victims.

Trauma does extraordinary things to people.  Perhaps silencing is one of its most visible effects. When you are repeatedly violated and you’re not sure people would even believe you if you told them, you physically lose your voice. It’s not possible for a victim to issue a statement covering every last detail of their own assault as soon as it is over. There is a period of time before a victim makes a decision about whether or not to pursue a criminal trial and it is in that short space of time that we MUST believe survivors or we risk silencing them for good. Now, for all the people quick to defend their friends/partners against rape/harassment ‘allegations’ this past week, the ones who failed to comment on the survivors lifelessly falling away from Twitter, your actions have meant those survivors have probably been silenced forever, not just with perpetrators of the incidents discussed here but also for future violations). The processes we were muddling through on Twitter were radical because they have never really been implemented before; a survivor led process that would let people speak about their concerns, their highly tuned antennas picking up on ‘nuisance’ men (because we’re all repeat survivors right?) who it turns out didn’t just make one of us feel uncomfortable, rather pretty much every single one of us in the group. I see you all talking to these people. Twitter has effectively become a safe space for patriarchal perpetrators. Argue the toss all you like here, speaking on behalf of myself and advocating on behalf of the few people who stand by their principles, this is what has been achieved.

The system meant we could keep an eye on prolific perpetrators and warn potentially vulnerable targets. Just because you’re ok with sexual attention despite your own experience of patriarchy does not mean that other people will think certain things ok. So your partner isn’t a perpetrator of anything because you love them and they’re just not like that.. How do you know? You don’t.

A few months ago one of my own partners was implicated in a scenario involving male entitlement/privilege. I still don’t know the full details of what happened but I don’t need to, I believed the survivor. I still haven’t spoken to him because of how I was triggered by this. I am no stranger to my romantic partners being misogynistic with other women but also, from the few bits of information I was able to glean, she felt her personal space was violated. You set your own parameters; it doesn’t matter whether the other person had good intentions. You get to call your own violation and I will always believe you. It called into question a lot of uncomfortable truths about myself and the sort of behaviour I allow in my life but I’ve accepted I am somewhat shaped by the experiences in my life and sometimes, bad stuff is what makes us feel good. So long as it’s consensual. Imagine then being told to grow up and speak to your lover about the false allegations by a white woman you believed to be an ally these last few years. Now, she may have had ‘the best of intentions’ but in my brain, you tell me to ‘grow up’ or call me a ‘girl’ or assume that I am not a thoughtful and considered WOMAN and need you to make me think with your superior wisdom being the white saviour you probably are, is a huge trigger for me and one that anyone who knows me will testify is among one of the worst. I fell out with white feminism over that, it’s not minor.

I saw your threat re libel laws. How very right wing of you. I see you activists burying your necks in the sand. You’re not ready to tackle rape culture or violence against women; you fell at the first hurdle. Whatever else you may think of me, whether you try to control the words I utter with legal sanctions or think of me some kind of loon, you can never stop me from speaking the truth. You might silence me for a short while but I will come back with screenshots.

I have no allegiances with anyone; all I have is my principles and it seems once again, I am being excluded because of them.

Britain’s Bitter Culture of Rape and Violence

A close friend of mine packed her life up and relocated to Norway recently. She has Norwegian roots but the reason for making the move was one borne from fear of things to come, here, at home in the UK. Tory Britain was one of the contributing factors but it wasn’t the motive. She moved because her 5 year old daughter was slut shamed for wearing a vest during PE. Little one looks like most five year olds, a round-faced baby with an impressive vocabulary but this seemed to have escaped the attention of the teaching assistant at her school in the London Borough of Lambeth who decided, for whatever reason, she would make a 5 year old child cry for exposing her shoulders. Little one didn’t know why she was crying, she just knew she’d been accused of doing something wrong. I hoped she was upset because she could not understand and not because she had internalised the feelings of shame as something she was guilty of, that her body is disgusting or she is asking for it, whatever ‘it’ is. When the school were challenged about this they denied it had ever happened. This was the last in a chain of events that prompted my friend to withdraw her little girl for her own safety. She wept at the time that it was only another 6 years before her baby would be openly harassed on the streets, remembering how it was for herself aged 11. I remember that time too.

Can you recall the first time a boy called you a slag? I was still very much a virgin. I was used to that word already; it was commonly thrown about when referring to women; in my home, on the television, in the street. It meant they thought you slept around, that you were easy, loose, diseased. This, before I’d even kissed a boy. I can remember my grandfather spitting at the TV and accusing Princess Diana of being one, despite the fact she’d been cheated on for the duration of her marriage. It wasn’t Prince Charles who was accused of being an adulterer, there was no scarlet letter for him, no, long-suffering Diana was the nymph to blame for the Royal family’s bad image. It is easy to slander a woman in this way when as a society we do not trust them. It is easier to blame a woman for having breasts, for wearing makeup, a short dress than it is to admit that men violate because they desire not us, but control. Patriarchy controls even the most privileged women of all; we cannot be so surprised when it affects the rest of us in this way.

Why don’t we trust women? Why is it our word against theirs? Watching the film Lolita, it was stomach churning to witness paedophilia through the eyes of a perpetrator. The rapist reads sexual messages in every one of her actions. As a teenager I was frequently told that I was too nice and I ought to watch it as I might be giving people the wrong impression. I was admonished for being too tactile by my male friends. I internalised this. So much so that when I once woke to find one of these friends attempting ‘non-consensual sex’ with me as I lay inebriated, I believed it was my fault for sharing a bed with him. Men are so used to reading everything as a come on, because they are entitled to feel this way through male privilege, we blame ourselves for being too tempting. We are taught this from a very early age; we are not autonomous.

As children, we won’t get the same rights to express ourselves as our brothers do. This is not something exclusive to only some non-white cultures; the same is true in the West. When boys fight, when they leave a mess, they are being unruly and boisterous and we love them for it. We make excuses for them when they develop at a slower than little girls, from whom we expect so much more. We dress our daughters up in little frocks and put things in their hair. Anyone who has ever made a trip to a children’s clothes store will see aisle upon aisle of pink frilly stuff with which to adorn our girl children. We objectify them from the very start. We coo at little girls and throw boys up in the air. We train girls to be conscious of their looks. When they misbehave we respond with disbelief and the punishment is more severe.  We don’t react in the same way to boys. It doesn’t matter if we do, they may behave in a certain way at home but then we have to let them go; exposing them to secondary socialisation in a rape culture where pop culture presents men as strong, courageous and intelligent, the world is his oyster, there for the taking and women as submissive, in supporting roles (manic pixie dream girl, mother, whore, virgin). I’ve listened to mums cry that they fear having to raise boys because of the way they are swept away in the pervasive narrative, that they are not born ours, patriarchy claims them. Of course, how could they possibly resist when conforming has so many rewards? The admiration of peers for being a stud, the kudos of being the alpha male, it is no wonder they respond to this conditioning because the alternative is being thought of as a wuss, a girl, and isn’t that a disgusting thing?

Patriarchy hates femininity. It hates our ability to create life. It can’t do the same so it controls it, claims ownership. I can’t be the only one who feels disgust at the role of the father who plays gatekeeper to his daughter’s vagina; the one who vets boys for suitability, the one who loses face if his baby girl becomes pregnant as a teenager. Where is her autonomy? Why aren’t mothers as fussed about it as fathers? Mums probably do get in on this sort of parenting but I bet it’s largely down to what the father thinks “wait till your dad gets home”. Perpetrators frequently seek out women who do not have a father figure in their lives. They have no one to prove their worthiness to, they can control these women as they see fit. What does it say about us as a species that we are only safe if we have a man to protect us? If not our fathers, then our spouses? Why do some countries have rules around chaperones? Simple, men make the rules, they know what it is to rape but they don’t want you to rape ‘theirs’. It is where the concept of hijab comes from; if you can’t see the ‘goods’, then they can’t be spoiled. It is the origins of female genital mutilation too; if the vagina is not open “like a gaping sleeve” then they cannot gain entry. We know this is nonsense because rapists don’t care what you or your vagina look like, they only care about raping you cos control. Still, it helps them to exercise their patriarchal control in other ways. Males cause war, war means rape, impregnating the women by force so they can conquer and claim property and patriarchy loves war but it doesn’t want you to take what is not yours, especially if you’re not the right colour. The practices against women on both sides of the planet are a response to the fear and paranoia men have for each other. Women are a commodity, vessels for furthering the bloodline of people that were born on the same patch of soil as them. Pathetic, really.

When rape is used to control and shatter the lives of the people it affects (of all genders, ages, etc.) how can anyone claim that it is humorous and the problem lies with the victim/survivor traumatised by the ‘joke’? Are men that entitled they can elevate their need for ‘dark humour’ over the suffering experienced by real people in real time? People who are probably suicidal. When you challenge these pricks, they dismiss you as man hating feminist who is always trying to change people. As a woman and an aunt, a sister, a daughter and maybe a mother someday, I will never stop trying to change this rape culture we are in. My nephews are too precious to send out in a world where they will either become victims or perpetrators themselves. I do not want our boys or girls to face the consequences of living in a patriarchy they have absolutely no control over. I do not want them to cut themselves, self-medicate (like I did) because a few fuckhead ‘comedians’ think their pain is funny. I want them to step out into the world empowered; with a sense of autonomy and consent. I want them to recognise the apologists (perps by any other name) who are so forceful in their defence because they possibly exert some of these behaviours behind closed doors.

From the Yewtree operation, the insufficient sentencing, ‘rogue’ sexual offences officers at Sapphire to the music we listen to and the comedians we worship; as survivors, we are under constant attack. I cannot be the only one sometimes afraid to leave the house on my own.

There are no grey areas with rape. You can’t be a gentle non-abusive human being and find sexual violence funny. There are only those who are for it and those who oppose. Let this inform your interactions and act accordingly.

*Clothes, looks, booze, nightlife, the number of sexual partners you’ve had, mental illness, shoddy housekeeping, “didn’t make the sandwich”, the company you keep, your sexual orientation, the natural state of your vagina, the hair on your head, the size of your breasts, your bank balance do not cause rape. Rapists do. Also, minors cannot consent and therefore can never be a ‘willing’ party. The only way we can end rape is to end misogynistic perceptions of entitlement. We know Britain has a huge problem there.

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