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Rape is caused by rapists, part 496

*trigger warning for sexual violence*

Trigger Warning Space

The Sydney Morning Herald has as its most-read story today a horrifying article: a 7 year old girl gang raped in New Jersey.

Her ordeal gets its proper name of rape. The class and/or race of the rapists and the victim may have something to do with that. I’m unfamiliar with the area and the article doesn’t explore it. But the other reason it qualifies for ‘rape’ rather than ‘had sex with’ is that the focus of the article is to contend that the girl’s rape is all the fault of her fifteen year old sister.

Let that sit with you a minute. Gang rape of a seven year old child. Who do we blame? Well, sure as hell not the rapists. Instead, blame the 15 year old girl who, reading between the lines, was probably the original intended victim of the rape. The article says the little girl worried about her sister going to meet these men and went with her. Then it says the older girl accepted money for the rape of her younger sister – by rapists who threatened death if anyone told.

Right-o. A fifteen year old child in fear of her life and in fear of sexual assault is not the guilty party here. The pack of men who chose between raping a fifteen year old girl and a seven year old girl are. The fifteen year old may not have made what some people might call the admirable or the brave choice, but we are not in a position to know her history or circumstance. There is no right choice she could have made. She is a child. Very probably, she is a child who has been sexually assaulted herself.

Rape is the fault of rapists. No one else. Put that blame where it belongs, and stop trying to find any excuse possible to exonerate rapists. That’s the subtext of this article: the men wouldn’t have raped anyone if only the older girl didn’t pimp her sister out. Bullshit. They were going to rape someone, and they chose to do it.


ETA: Jo Tamar posts about this article: So, who are you blaming?


Today’s Asshole

Small rage-outlet of a post. Ada Lovelace Day post in the works.

Client just walked into my office, his phone ringtone blaring Eye of the Tiger. I joked that he had entrance music. His totally resonable response was to start doing a striptease at me.

Fucks sake. He will, I am totally sure, interpret my embarrassed, threatened laugh and covered face as approval, and will do it again in the future.

Rape culture means that even as I began writing this, I had to admonish myself that the qualifier ‘stupidly’ did not belong before ‘joked’. I did not cause this incidence of harassment by noting his ringtone. But victim-blaming rape culture means that I consciously have to tell myself that. And it means that I will remain the embarrassed person every time he walks into the office from now on – not him as it ought to be. Not the man who walked into a professional service corporate office and began a striptease in the foyer. What the fuck.

How do you even write about this?

**serious trigger warning for sexual violence**

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Feeling grateful for being treated with respect

I’m feeling grateful almost to tears this morning, and the feeling is accompanied by sadness that this is remarkable.

See, I’m hoping to head away camping soon, and the place my partner and I are thinking of is pretty remote. When I go to remote places, I like to know that I’m not going to be freaking the hell out in the bush because a condom broke. Probably on Easter Sunday, for maximum panic. So, I make sure to have a morning after pill on hand just in case. So far I’ve never had to use the emergency measure, but I feel so much better knowing it’s there.

This morning, I took myself off to a chemist that’s a bit out of my way. I’ll probably still be driving there when it’s really, really out of the way, because of the man who runs it. The first time I went there, horribly embarrassed because I needed thrush treatment after a course of antibiotics, I almost walked back out the door when I saw I would have to speak to a man in his sixties about my vagina. But. It turns out that this man is kind, respectful and considerate. He comes down from his dispensing area to speak quietly to me, explains everything I need to know, and makes sure I’ve chosen the right option for me.

I went back to him the first time I wanted the morning after pill, and he once again came down to me, asked me how long ago the intercourse had happened – completely without judgement or salaciousness, accepted my statement that I wanted the pill ‘just in case’ without question, told me what to expect, and sent me on my way with no fuss. I got the same kind, personal service today.

In contrast, when I had to go to another pharmacist last week for more antibiotic-related thrush (thanks, body, I’m really thrilled that this has become a standard reaction), she yelled across the store about it from her dispensing area, pointedly asked me if I was sure it was thrush, with the implied “It’s totally an STD, you slut”, and didn’t ask any questions to make sure I’d asked for the right kind of treatment. Angry and embarrassed, I took my purchase and left without asking her for the morning after pill I’d been intending to get at the same time.

My other pharmacist, though, him I think I’ll write a letter to, thanking him for being a decent, kind man who supports my right to manage my own reproductive choices.

Down Under Feminists Carnival: Happy Anniversary!

Chally at Zero at the Bone hosted this months’ Down Under Feminists Carnival, and it has the distinction of being the twelfth, cake and all!

She’s done a great job, and the roundup is awesome. Go read.

Researching another post, I Googled “rape conviction rate”. Google suggested a few other related, popular searches. Among the five suggestions was, “false allegations rape”.

Enough to make you cry, some days.

There are no free passes today. You’re still an asshole.

Australia Day, Invasion Day. Apparently there’s a move to blog for it, and here I am squeaking in at 11:30pm after spending the day doing housework and hanging out with friends around the BBQ, listening to Triple J count down the year’s Hottest 100. (I think I’m getting too old for Triple J’s main demographic: I thought this years’ top 10 pretty much sucked.)

That’s Australia Day to me: Hottest 100 Day, and that’s my privilege talking – I can choose to consider or not that today is a day of mourning for Indigenous Australians, that January 26 marks the start of European persecution. So it seems a no-brainer to me that if we want to celebrate what we say we want to celebrate, ie, being proud of being a nation, then move the damn holiday. Plunk it on the anniversary of Federation, and stop rubbing all our faces in apparently being proud of the actions of the first colonisers. Inclusiveness: y’r doin it rong.

I went for a walk this evening, and my blood is still boiling from the asshole behaviour I witnessed. A flag-bedecked – and by flag-bedecked, I mean they’d managed to stick at least six made-in-China flags on the outside of the car –  Ford full of young, white, male assholes sped down the local shopping strip street, occupants screaming out the windows at non-white passers by:  “Go home, you fucking faggots, if you don’t love this country!” Oh, yeah, you classy fucking dropkicks.

I was too far away to yell back that they should go the fuck home themselves and keep their toxic, racist, homophobic bullshit to themselves. I hate that that behaviour went unchallenged in the eyes and ears of the non-white Australians who experienced it. Ugh.

Australia Day, huh. What a great holiday. “Let’s be racist fucksticks: we’re allowed today!” is just what we need here in a country too damn prone to jingoism.

Australia Day makes me ashamed far more often then it makes me proud. And I say that as one of that multitude who sport Southern Cross tattoos.

For a bit of an antidote, Hoyden About Town has a cheering anecdote re: assholes losing the fight.