sexual violence

An Undefined Question

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

Lynsi Burton, for SeattlePI.com:

A 32-year-old man is accused of following a pair of women on Capitol Hill, holding his exposed penis, before knocking one of them unconscious.

Police reports say that Derron Wiggins then tried to run from cops but was caught while appearing to shove cocaine into his mouth.

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The Pervert from Ward Four

City Council member John La Tour, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, in detail undated, uncredited image via Planet Transgender.

At some point the question arises why it is that the outburst of perversity we’ve seen in recent years, resulting as such from the advancement of gay rights, actually comes in the form of the conservative, family-values crowd (ahem!) letting it all hang out?

Fayetteville Councilman John La Tour, a tea party member and recipient of Josh Duggars campaign funding, is being accused of threatening to expose himself to a female employee of a city restaurant. People who witnessed the incident say he approached the woman assuming she was transgender and told her that he was man and that could prove it by dropping his pants

(Busey)

Naturally, it’s everyone else’s fault; the Planet Transgender report notes he was in a restaurant where, “The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said”. And why does it always start with some version of, “There I was, minding my own business, being oppressed for no reason, so I decided to just go along with it, and hey …”?

No, really.

La Tour said the incident began during his regular Friday morning stop at Arsaga’s to meet a group of acquaintances. The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said. He intended to ask the employee to dance with him but wanted to confirm she was a woman first, La Tour said, citing the ordinance.

“You can declare you’re a man or you’re a woman, whatever you want to,” La Tour said. “I’m not going to ask a man to dance with me.”

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An Opportunity We Cannot Afford to Pass By

The Black Dot is a call for help, your call to action.

The point of the Black Dot Campaign is pretty straightforward:

One in four women in the U.S. has experienced severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner, yet asking for help is often far too dangerous for victims to even consider. That’s what inspired a new grassroots campaign that allows survivors to open up about their experiences without even having to say a word.

Domestic violence victims are most at risk for getting killed in the moment that they decide to leave their partners, Cindy Southworth, executive vice president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told The Huffington Post in June. To help survivors signal to others that they need help, but are struggling to ask for it, a new initiative is encouraging victims to paint a tiny black dot on their hands.

The goal is for the black dot to serve as a subtle, yet urgent, message to agencies, relatives, friends, doctors and others that a victim is in need of services to help them escape the abuse.

Please read the rest of Eleanor Goldberg’s report on the Black Dot Campaign.

And please stop by the Black Dot Campaign Facebook page.

This is your chance to help. This is everyone’s opportunity to help. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tell your family. And when you see a Black Dot, please remember what it means.

And please …

please

… do not pass by. Do not walk away.

There is too much at stake.

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Your Drug Enforcement Agency

DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington April 14, 2015. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Let us face a simple fact: There are plenty of reasons to disdain the Drug Enforcement Agency.

For some, reading through the latest list of scandals to rock the DEA is a perplexing exercise. The War Against Drugs in general has been an ill-conceived disaster, and after all the infamous zeal and excess it is, in fact, another sort of excess that brings the Drug Enforcement Agency to infamy. You know the sort: “sex parties”, suggestions of bribery, beating prostitutes bloody, that sort of thing.

Still, though, Joe Davidson’s reflection on last week’s House Oversight Committee hearing includes a striking consideration:

The lack of authority cited by the Oversight Committee holds ramifications that go beyond the DEA. For a Congress that seems increasingly uncomfortable with the sometimes lengthy due process that must be followed to fire federal employees, the light punishments for DEA agents and Leonhart’s inability to discipline them is reason for Congress to act.

“I can’t fire,” Leonhart said. “I can’t recommend a penalty .... I don’t have the authority to intervene in the disciplinary process.”

To some extent, the members of Congress seemed to hold her responsible for not exercising authority that Congress has not given her. Don’t be surprised if Congress moves to make it easier to fire not just DEA employees but also other federal employees, as it did last year with Department of Veterans Affairs Senior Executive Service members.

So why is the first thought to mind a shrugging sense of, “Sounds about right”?

And then, you know, something about how unequivocal support of law enforcement is required.

____________________

Image note: DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington April 14, 2015. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Davidson, Joe. “DEA agents had the fun, now boss pays the price”. The Washington Post. 17 April 2015.

Your Lede of the Week

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power.

“Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power said she received a rape threat as a result of her support for a Seanad motion recognising the state of Palestine last year.”

Órla Ryan

Our apologies. Normally we do a sick joke of some sort for the Lede of the Day. And while this certainly fits the bill for sickness, there really isn’t anything of a joke about it.

And let us also take a moment to dismiss the question of Palestine from this issue in any context that might be construed as what those wicked Israeli something or other whatnot but anyhow, you know? Because the truth of the matter is that human societies will invent any excuse to threaten a woman with rape. And while on this occasion we might find any excuse to wonder at the obvious question―“Really? No, I mean, really?”―there is also the obvious counterpoint: “Why not?”

For being a Muslim. For being a Jew. For being an atheist. For having an opinion. For dressing like that. Or for dressing like that. For being a bitch. For being a wife. Because she owes it. Because our team lost. Because our team won. Because her eyes said yes. Because her voice said no. Because she’s a woman. Because she’s alive.

Because Palestine is a state? Why not? It makes just about as much sense as any other reason we might think of.

Which, in turn, brings us back to the problem.

And who needs that part explained?

Anyone?

Oh, come on. It’s clear somebody, somewhere needs this explained to him, because otherwise this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

Easy enough?

Figure it out.

____________________

Ryan, Órla. “Senator: I was called a Nazi and threatened with rape for supporting Palestine”. The Journal. 4 March 2015.

The Republican Obsession

To: American Republicans

re: Rape obsession

"'Obviously rape is awful...' says Delegate Brian Kurcaba, R-Monongalia. 'What is beautiful is the child is that could come from this.'" (David Gutman, 5 February 2015)

Please stop.

Now.

Look, I don’t know what it is you think you’re up to, but at some point the rest of society has to take you seriously. That is to say, as we witness the parade of elected Republicans taking their turns tugging on Excalibur, each hoping to be the first to finally convince us to look at the redeeming side of rape, there comes a point where we have to accept that you really do want us to find an upside to sexual violence.

So just stop.

“Republican” is fast becoming one of those words that sets off alarms in people’s heads: Republicans should not be trusted around children.

That’s what it comes to. You send rape abettors to Congress? Yeah, that’s what it comes to. You want us to reflect on the beauty of rape? That’s what it comes to: You are a danger to society, and especially our society’s most vulnerable.

So, you know … just … stop.

____________________

Gutman, David. “Obviously, rape is awful …”. Twitter. 5 February 2015. Twitter.com. 10 February 2015.

A Note About Rape Culture

Bill Cosby performing in Melbourne, Fla., on Friday, 21 November 2014. (Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Marc Lamont Hill offers a useful primer on the idea of rape culture:

Over the past few weeks, new attention has been paid to longstanding allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted multiple women over the course of his career. As new information and accusers are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.

By “rape culture,” I refer to the ways that our society and its institutions normalize, promote, excuse, and enable sexual violence against men and women. While I cannot definitively say that Cosby is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused, the conversation about him epitomizes some of the most pernicious aspects of rape culture.

There are reasons assertions of rape culture are controversial, and it is important to recognize the two primary drivers of objections to the concept of rape culture are pride and, well, it would sound weird to say “capitalism”, and that isn’t quite right, but it has to do with opportunity and reward.

In the first place, rape culture isn’t something to be proud of; our contributions to such outcomes are often conditioned behavior, and in the end, even if we carry conscious misogyny, it is not like we would admit we have wrong ideas. Nobody enjoys self-indictment.

The second is the idea of a marketplace hungry for comfort. And this downright sounds silly until one pauses to consider the idea of men’s rights advocacy, and the basic controversy about what that phrase actually means. Paul Constant of The Stranger reminded earlier this year that there are fewer of these types than we tend to imagine, but “those few activists are exactly as terrible as you think”.

He referred to an event in Michigan earlier this year, the first “International Conference on Men’s Issues”, and for those hoping that such a gathering might produce something more than the usual misogyny we hear from this manner of asserting men’s rights, well, more fool you. Or, perhaps, in the context of a marketplace hungry for comfort:

The crowd broke out in laughter when one speaker suggested most alleged rapes on college campuses are fabricated.

“The vast majority of female students allegedly raped on campus are actually voicing buyer’s remorse from alcohol-fueled promiscuous behavior involving murky lines of consent on both sides,” said Barbara Kay, a columnist for Canada’s National Post. “It’s true. It’s their get-out-of-guilt-free card, you know like Monopoly.”

† † †

Janet Bloomfield, an anti-feminist blogger and spokeswoman for the conference, has suggested in the past that the age of consent be reduced to 13 because of a “mistake of age” can get unwitting men in trouble.

“The point being that it can be incredibly difficult to know, just by looking at someone, how old they are,” Bloomfield wrote, calling some teenage girls “fame whores.” Bloomfield also called protesters of the event, “Wayne State cunts.”

In a marketplace society, you can always find someone willing to sell what other people want. One of the foremost purveyors of what this market wants to hear is Wendy McElroy who wrote earlier this year:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and it will be used to promote a big lie — namely, that we live in a “rape culture.”

Such an approach is not helpful, especially when it relies entirely on fallacy:

The idea that America is a rape culture is a particularly vicious big lie, because it brands all men as rapists or rape facilitators. This lie has been successful despite reality.

And there you have it. To the one, no national culture is monolithic; to the other, the only person asserting that “America is a rape culture” would be Ms. McElroy, in the course of building a windmill to tilt.

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Slog on Stephen on #GamerGate

The Colbert Report, 29 October 2014

Imagine that.

Much in the same way Colbert recently dragged the whole Hachette vs. Amazon dispute into the mainstream, this is a significant turning point for Gamergate. I don’t suggest you ever visit 8chan, but the Gamergate boards are in absolute dissaray over Colbert—who for some reason most Gamergaters believed was on their side—making a strong statement in support of Sarkeesian. (He even broke character somewhat at the end there to confirm that he is, in fact, a feminist. This is only something Colbert does when he really believes it’s necessary.) It’s turning into cartoon-villain territory in Gamergate-ville, with people making “you’ll never take me alive” declarations ....

(Constant)

And there is an important point in Paul Constant’s note about how important Colbert’s segment is.

...the Gamergate boards are in absolute dissaray over Colbert—who for some reason most Gamergaters believed was on their side ....

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More #GamerGate Fun

Detail of Matt Bors, "GamerGate Contagion Spreads", 29 October 2014.  (via Daily Kos Comics)And then there’s this.

At any rate: What do you call two GamerGaters swapping fantasies about how they want to rape a woman to death?

Closet cases.

What? What were you thinking?

Note to #GamerGate: Seek immediate help.

(Detail of Matt Bors, “Gamergate Contagion Spreads”, 29 October 2014. Via Daily Kos.)

The FOX News Way

Bob Beckel

To the one, we shouldn’t laugh. To the other?

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Beckel:

Earlier this week, a video showing actress Shoshana B. Roberts getting 100 catcalls as she walked through New York City for a day went viral. The point of the video was to show what women go through, and how uncomfortable this form of verbal harassment can be.

But the point was lost on “The Five” hosts.

“She got 100 catcalls, let me add 101,” said cohost Bob Beckel in video posted online by Mediaite and Media Matters, among others. “Damn, baby, you’re a piece of woman.”

(Mazza)

Sigh.

Yeah. About that.

#NotAllMen are smart enough to figure it out.

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