Thursday, February 26, 2015

One snap too many.

*You can assume that I yelled every word of this, anything in CAPSLOCK is probably loud enough to burst eardrums. Contains extra swearing, and potential triggers.

Everyone, EVERYONE, has the right to expect that they will not be touched in a sexual way without invitation. Not just people you have respect for, not just your mates, not just people you have things in common with. Not just boys. Not just adults. There is no JUST about it. 

There's a story doing the rounds on Facebook. Of a school girl who punched a school boy for snapping her bra strap, and the unfolded story of both what actually happened and what the school was doing about it.

But here's the thing. Before we even start with the details it needs to be understood that IT ISN'T FUCKING OK TO PING A GIRL'S (or a woman's) UNDERWEAR IN PUBLIC (you know, unless you know she likes that shit). It's UNDERWEAR. It covers those bits that we get upset about. Our SEXUAL organs. To mess with it is invading our sexual privacy. FUCK YOU if you think it's just HILARIOUS, letting it slide when the girl is upset about it is so, SO VERY VERY FUCKING NOT OK.

But this isn't about a bra twang, or at least not JUST about a bra twang. It's about every douchebag who thinks it's ok to tell me to smile while I'm walking down the street. It's every dickbag in his car who thinks it's manly to yell obscenities at my very pretty teenage daughter. I assure you she does not want to fuck you, and shouting it at her is what completely assures me of this fact. Perhaps if you learn some respect and self restraint you might have a shot. It's every bastard son-of-a-douche who thinks they can touch someone up at a party because they've had too much to drink. It's every stupid frat-boy dickbag who thinks that 'lack of no', is the same as yes. 

It's every blind politically backward wanker who says that "oh, boys will be boys". It's every courtroom that errs on the side of caution when there is FUCKING VIDEO FOOTAGE of what happened. It's every school that decides it's ok to tell girls to "just ignore it" when it is FUCKING SEXUAL ASSAULT. And after that it's every school that chooses to cover it's own ass rather than see a prosecution through. It's every parent who covers for the kid they KNOW did something terrible, but they just love them so much. It's every community that bands together to dump on the victim because the accused is popular. Popular people do shitty things too, and it's equally not ok. It's people who each and every time there's a rape case in the media bring out the same old bullshit. 'Girls lie about this stuff all the time'. 'She provoked it'. 'She shouldn't have been dressed like that'. 'She was drunk'. 'She went on a date with him'. 'She shouldn't have walked home at night'. 'She shouldn't have been alone'... The list goes on and on and on, and FUCK THE LOT OF IT.

The discussion on whether one should protect oneself from potential harm is actually completely irrelevant to the discussion of the committing of the crime. If I walk home alone, I may be stupid but I have not broken any laws. If someone takes the opportunity to rape me BECAUSE I'm alone they HAVE broken the law. The end. All this situational BS is just diversionary. If she was wearing a short skirt and got raped then what happened was a rapist raped her. The skirt is not actually relevant to the discussion. So why do we keep letting it get in there?? Do we think that men cannot control themselves and hence should be allowed some leeway? Do all the men who manage not to rape the girl in the short skirt probably deserve a medal? They aren't asking for one, because the majority of them don't think they're doing anything amazing. They just AREN'T RAPISTS. 

So we come to the point where sometimes a girl strikes BACK. Sometimes someone crosses the line and we're left with no choice but to defend ourselves. Let's leave the school girl out of it - because like all second hand stories; we can't KNOW exactly what went down. Instead I'll give you a story from my past, because that IS mine to share.

I had recently broken up with my boyfriend, so recently that we were still living in the same house. Which was ok because he was a decent guy and we had just grown apart. We were still friends so it wasn't a big deal for one of us to hurry up over the moving out. (Irrelevant background... my ex isn't the bad guy in this) however a friend came over to cheer me up, so he said. To be on my side, because my ex had a new girlfriend and was bringing her over to meet me, so that she wouldn't have to feel totally weird that we were still living in the same house. I should have seen the warning signs probably, because our friend was a complete bastard to the new girlfriend right from the word go. But instead of telling him to stop being a douche and GTFO, I steered him away from the lounge to my room. Because there he wouldn't be making constant digs at the poor girl and he was a friend, he'd been in my room before... when it had been OUR room. Maybe that was the difference, now he didn't have my ex, his friend, hovering over his choices. My friend thought trying it on with me was a good move, and in a vulnerable state I let him kiss me, but then he tried to go further very quickly, and I told him to stop. But he didn't stop. Telling him to stop was not enough. So I grabbed him by the throat and squeezed, and told him to get the hell off me. He hesitated and I squeezed harder, drawing blood. He GOT THE FUCK OFF ME. He apologised and he left. 

Could I have dealt with it without violence? Possibly, but probably not. He was heavier than me, and under normal circumstances physically stronger than me. He didn't know that I over react to adrenaline turning into a miniature HULK. He would not have stopped because he didn't think he had to. I am usually a mild person, he did not know that I have another side. Only showing him that I COULD hurt him was going to stop him. And maybe showing him that I could, made him think twice before trying it again. He said it has. He told me that night made a big difference in his life. That it hadn't occurred to him that he goes too far until someone MADE him stop. People who get away with things sometimes fail to realise they are doing something wrong. 

If we continue to send the message that victims are at fault, what message do the perpetrators learn? Putting yourself in an unsafe position does not offer an open invitation for you to be victimised, it is STILL on the attacker to NOT be the criminal. Maybe I should think twice about the length of my skirt, but the rapist following me should DEFINITELY think twice before he rapes. And then just not do it, because it's literally NEVER ok. 

The first person to say "not all men" or "men are victims too" or any variation on these will provoke a DERAILING ARGUMENTS IS A DICK MOVE blog. I fully understand that men are occasionally victims of sexual assault too, BUT in the vast majority of cases the victims are women or girls. And assault on men makes me angry to, it's just a hell of a lot easier to argue about one gender at a time. Please work from the assumption that ALL of this applies to the other iterations of sexual assault and to ALL offenders. 
Yes I fully understand that rapists make up a small portion of the male population BUT, with stats like 1 in 6 women are victims of sexual assault I think the problem is rather bigger than whining about the good guys. See there's 2 *other* issues with that problem. 1) A lot of NOT RAPISTS, do those objectionable victim blaming things. Which frankly creep me out. And leave many women in a position where we simply don't know who we can trust. Which leads to 2) Rapists don't tell you they're rapists under normal conditions. If they wore matching shirts with RAPIST in bold type on them I'd know who to avoid. But they don't. People who wear those shirts tend to be douchebags who think they're incredibly funny (they aren't) so no help there. Except that having douchebags identify themselves is also a bonus. 
So I can't write this from the perspective of only talking to the rapists and apologists because I don't know who all of them are. Get a grip. If you're a nice person, I'm probably not aiming my yelling at you personally. Pat yourself on the back for not being a douchebag and move along. Because the second you stand up and say but I'm not, you've put yourself squarely in the pointlessly derailing the argument pile and thus joined the douchebags. Have a nice evening.

Peace. Out.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, a disturbing number of rapists will tell you that, as long as you don't say "rape". Look at the OKCupid rape test questions, for example, and the horrifying number of people who go "yes, sometimes a person is obliged to have sex with me". There's a tool for finding those and flagging users, BTW. And there's been academic work along those lines, where the survey starts with "have you been raped" then goes through a bunch of scenarios with "has this happened to you" and whaddayaknow, lots of never been raped people have been held down while someone had sex at them against their will.

    It's like the "secret racist detecting kit" of asking whether this video of a comedian mocking someone's race is funny. If you just say "are you a racist" most people will say no. Show the video, watch them laugh and share it... different answer.