Tuesday, June 16, 2009

on rape, domestic violence, etc.

(1) Elizabeth Mendez Berry's "Beyond Gossip, Good and Evil" on domestic violence (and undercutting macho posturing in gangs)

(2) cereta's post "On rape and men (Oh yes, I'm going there)".

There's lots of good stuff in the comments -- including how insulting it is to men is the cultural idea that they "can't control themselves" (e.g., if a woman is "acting slutty" or whatever), and how problematic it is that girls grow up knowing that they're going to need to be a "credible victim" (i.e., if they accuse someone of something, they're going to need to not be vulnerable to counters that they were "asking for it" or whatever), and also the importance of teaching children that "stop" means "stop" and that there's no shame in saying "stop."

Responding to a commenter, cereta said:
Thank you for telling this story. I really believe we should tell them, not because such acts are so worthy of praise, but because boys need to hear such stories, to hear how good men act.

And yes, GOD, if there has been one thing I have learned in my brief time as a mother, it's how much men are sometimes praised for NOT acting like raving dickheads, and how said it is that we do that. Men should be angry about that, not at the women who point it out, but at the men who create that impression.
hubbit and ataniell93 both talked about how problematic it is for people to invoke Orthodox Judaism or political liberalism to insist that women should or should not dress modestly.

In linking to the post, inlovewithnight said:
Her point isn't that men are evil; far from it. It's that a societal problem like rape can't be changed as long as only half the population is working on it. Actually, less than that, because women as a group internalize our oppression amazingly well; I can't find it now, but somewhere in the comments of Cereta's post someone talks about how much of her personality and behavior has been shaped by *wanting to be a credible victim, should it ever come to it*, and yes, hi, that's me. The idea of all the things I haven't done, the experiences I passed on, because nobody wanted to go with me and it just wasn't the smart/good/safe thing to do by myself, hurts so much if I let myself think about it.
In her post, giandujakiss mentioned:
there was a comment about how people - boys in particular - need to be taught that no and stop mean no and stop, even outside the context of a situation specifically identified as "dating." Because the invasion of women's physical space and right to control their bodies occurs in all kinds of situations, not just on "dates."
She talked about an experience at a summer camp pool and how "the only way a girl could effectively signal a lack of consent to be grabbed and lifted and dunked was to not go swimming at all."

coffeeandink posted about a variety of stories of people whose experience of abuse/harrassement is marginalized (because they are not-white, because they are male, because they are disabled, etc.). One thing that really struck me was the problems that come from reading the stories she linked to was, as elle put it, "the fetishization of virginity."  How once you've crossed a certain boundary, your decision about whether to cross it again is given less weight.  (I keep starting to write about formulating a personal sexual ethics and how church and culture don't give us good models and tools for that, but everything I have to say feels just a little too me-centric off-topic for this moment.)

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