Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rape and unreason

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  • Helen Marie,

    Oh, thank you Lilith. That was plenty meaningful to me. xx

    Auckland • Since Oct 2013 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Much love Helen.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    All of my private reactions to your post were really sad and very shouty, so I will spare you those, Helen, but... I'm sorry. You are so brave.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sue, in reply to Helen Marie,

    oh helen
    you are amazing
    and thank you for sharing

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Helen Marie,

    PS I love you.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Thank you all for this discussion, it's given me and probably a whole bunch of other lurkers a whole lot to think about.

    Helen, especially, thank you for sharing that, it was brave and generous, and wrenching.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Yes. This has become required reading. Thank you very much.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3119 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Yes. This has become required reading. Thank you very much.

    +1

    Brave and powerful words. Thanks.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2434 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    1. Your feelings “as a man” are more important than teaching people what rape is, and how to prevent it.

    No, I don’t think I said that.

    Yes, you actually did. when you said you were shouted at while passing an Anti-Rape protest. I don't like that someone singled you out as a man when you went past, but on the other hand, being yelled at and harassed by strangers is a normal day for most women walking along a street, minding their own business. And if they're lucky, that will be verbally only.

    If I tell my kids that my only expectation of them is that they’ll behave badly then I can hardly be surprised that they do. If we say that we expect men to sexually assault women (and that’s a message that isn’t uncommon, although varies in subtlety) then I think we’re probably making things worse.

    You're not listening to what we're saying. The current victim-blaming way of 'dealing' with rape and sexual assault tells every woman/trans* person to consider any male a threat. Therefore if you don't know a male very well, he could be a rapist. That's not asking men to behave badly, but it sure as heck isn't asking anyone to think about their actions and their words. Saying, hey, don't rape, ask for consent, don't let others talk about this/do this is not blaming all men, it's asking everyone to take responsibility for themselves. Not such a tall order, is it?
    And re: rape jokes being a way to deal with a painful issue? No. I've never heard a rape joke in person that was trying to deal with the issue. If the only rape jokes you're hearing are like this though, then I'll give you a pass.

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Gee,

    darn, sorry missed the edit window. if you can't see the youtube header on the above then a) NSFW and b) probably triggering for sexual assault

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Gee,

    I don't like that someone singled you out as a man when you went past, but on the other hand, being yelled at and harassed by strangers is a normal day for most women walking along a street, minding their own business.

    Oh well that's... alright... then... somehow?

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gee,

    You’re not listening to what we’re saying. The current victim-blaming way of ‘dealing’ with rape and sexual assault tells every woman/trans* person to consider any male a threat. Therefore if you don’t know a male very well, he could be a rapist. That’s not asking men to behave badly, but it sure as heck isn’t asking anyone to think about their actions and their words. Saying, hey, don’t rape, ask for consent, don’t let others talk about this/do this is not blaming all men, it’s asking everyone to take responsibility for themselves. Not such a tall order, is it.

    I'm sorry if I've missed something, but this does not seem very different from Dylan's substantial and repeated contention about not normalizing rape as male behaviour.

    Again, I must ask everyone to assume good faith and to read other people here in the best, and not the worst, light. We're maintaining a tricky balance in a very important discussion. Let's keep doing that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Morgan Nichol,

    Morgan and Russell: you’re right, that came across exactly like that. i apologise to Dylan and all the PASers.
    i meant for it to come across more like: it’s not at all okay that this happened to you (Dylan), and I don’t condone it, and strongly dislike it. but the idea of getting people to talk about consent with their peers and kids, rather than telling women and girls to avoid places at night and wear head to toe coverings, is more likely going to stop all these things happening – blaming of men as always being potential rapists, and blaming of victims, and acceptance of harassment behaviours. (in my earlier post i missed the link between changing to a ‘let’s talk about rape culture and consent’ discourse and how that would hopefully decrease the incidence of such street harassment on both sides. crucial missing part of argument. sorry)

    Re the second part:

    I’m sorry if I’ve missed something

    Nope, you didn’t miss it, I didn’t make it clear enough.

    the current rape culture makes (all?most?) men appear to be potential rapists at all points (which is clearly not the case, and ignores the not insignificant cases of female assailants). not talking about rape culture and how to fix it is part of what makes sexual assault and street harassment an all too common occurrence. that is, talking about ‘hey, don’t rape, don’t make jokes about rape, make sure you have, and don’t assume, consent etc ’ is something that everyone can take on board and that makes it about the criminal/crime and not the victims. I don’t think that makes it something that makes rape seem ‘normal’, i think it makes something that is all too common and real for a lot of people seem more real to people who only think of rape as violent stranger rape (and there are a lot of people out there like this, consider the 7% mentioned above, who didn’t think what they did was rape). if we talked more about consent, and how people’s bodies are not objects and cannot be owned or owed, then that couldn’t lead to men being portrayed or labelled as ‘evil rapists’, could it? i don’t think asking for everyone to have this discussion and be responsible for what they say and (more importantly) don’t say when something potentially dangerous is said or done is too much to ask, and i don’t see how that could be worse for men than the current situation, where everything suggests men are a danger that can’t resist a woman in a short skirt in a street alone at night.

    no one wants themselves or their male offspring to be considered a potential rapist, of course! what i was trying to say is that i think that the status quo does that already, and that what is being suggested will avoid that.

    i’m rambling a bit to make this clearer, sorry. my original post really didn’t come across the way i’d intended and i’m very sorry for offence caused.

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Helen Marie,

    aroha, and thanks for saying this.

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Also, for victims, it’d be really nice if the message was always, “it’s really shit that this happened to you. Nothing you did was wrong. Feel no shame.”

    all of this.

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    i think that the status quo does that already

    It does. I think the interesting thing about the way in which this conversation has played out is that because most women are hammered with messages constantly and most men aren't, there are these two perspectives that (unless carefully elaborated upon) can end up talking past each other. "But this is going to make us feel so persecuted!" vs "But we feel we are already BEING persecuted!" Understanding the latter perspective can really help with the former, though.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gee,

    Yo Gee - thanks for your understanding. Rock on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I'm all for people saying how they feel, but I think we also have to remember some facts.

    Women occasionally rape men, women occasionally rape women, men sometimes rape men, but the overwhelmingly most common cases are men raping women.

    This is how it is.

    Most men are not rapists and NOBODY here on PAS has ever said they are.

    I hope we can build a future in which nobody rapes anybody. Thank you.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3884 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    build a future in which nobody rapes anybody

    I had this fascitious "if we build it, they will come moment. Which I supressed because it's too serious a subject for trivial jokes. And then I had a thought, what if New Zealand could become 100% rape-free?

    Do you think we could attract tourists simply on the basis that we don't do that in NZ?

    I know it's fantasyland stuff, but we can dream big can't we?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4364 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    “But this is going to make us feel so persecuted!” vs “But we feel we are already BEING persecuted!” Understanding the latter perspective can really help with the former, though.

    I very much agree. But I still think, having read it over yet again, that Dylan's substantive point wasn't that - it was about not normalizing rape (or in the case of It's Not OK, any violence) as male behaviour. That's why I'm banging on about reading each other positively.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But the argument against Dylan's "substantive point" is that sexual assault is *already normalised* as male behaviour by the culture we're currently in! It's like you're loudly asserting "hokey pokey ice cream is so awesome, I wish all you people wouldn't think it was so weird" at the National Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Convention, surrounded by hokey pokey ice cream enthusiasts.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    know it’s fantasyland stuff, but we can dream big can’t we?

    We can.
    ANZ has already shown that it (citizens/nation) will push for things our grandparents believed were set in concrete as no-no's - like universal sufferage. Like protection for the environment.Like animal welfare. Like social welfare for all who need it -(OK, we're still working on that...)

    We can make this a singing land for protection against any sexual exploitation (outside of mutual agreement - I do realise there are people who think otherwise)and absolute safety against sexual violence.

    Pigs might fly?

    As an Asexual Pig, I'd be happy to help make it happen...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Gee,

    If the only rape jokes you’re hearing are like this though, then I’ll give you a pass.

    Funny thing is that I've never read that monologue as a 'rape joke' (standard caveat: plenty of folks disagree, respectably, but I'm not comfortable linking in this context), but... well, you know a African-American woman talking frankly about her experience. It's not without flaw ("You could go visit a professional ball player's hotel room at two in the morning. Sex? My pussy's not even in the building!" - m'kay, sorry for more 'jargon' but that's a metric fuckton of problematic) but what's refreshing is the general absence of slut-shaming, victim-blaming or the idea that silencing someone you dislike with a rape threat is intrinsically hilarious. That the kind of 'rape joke' I don't have time, patience or tolerance for from anyone, ever.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12359 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    You see, I lived all my life knowing there is no dedicated partner, no stalwart person ready behind my back- ever.
    There is just - me.,
    O, and of course, all my family - except, we, of course, are there for us all- always-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Dobelina,

    "Bob – I spent the best part of two weeks in Germany last year, and didn’t retire to my hotel room as soon as night fell. Didn’t find it at all “dumb” to be in cities like Berlin with a civilized night life where women aren’t presumed to have targets glued to their backs."

    That doesn't relate to my point and makes no sense.

    "Jesus, Bob… And how would you suggest this woman should have “regulated her behaviour” to align with the reality that being a 62 year-old woman in the middle of the afternoon didn’t protect her from being savagely assaulted in Nelson’s Victory Community Gardens on New Year’s Day? To paraphrase Helen Clark, dude you’re in a hole. Time to stop digging. Please."

    No I wouldn't suggest that.

    "Given the vast majority of assaults don’t happen in dark parks at all, but at home and work, I assume you’ll be finding her a cave and some padlocks so she can properly regulate her behaviour?"

    Absolutely and good point. The biggest threat is from people who are known to victims. So while that is extremely difficult to regulate, what is known is that you can be safe by taking precautions like not wandering around drunk in the dark.

    Excellent point; thanks.

    "And if your son came home and said he’d been wandering around town late at night on a Friday or Saturday night and had happened to run into some guys who gave him a bashing….? Well, wandering around town where you know there are drunken yahoos is just a dumb thing to do, right? It’s unfortunate but that’s the reality of it. He should regulate his behaviour to align with reality."

    Absolutely and it is a conversation with my son I have rehearsed. If you wander around near the Viaduct at night you shouldn't be surprised if you come out of it with a brain injury and a stutter after being gang stomped by a bunch of drunk morons.

    I'm actually more worried about my son getting dealt to like that than my daughter being interfered with in a park.

    "Oh, and ‘Bob’? If you really have the courage of your convictions and aren’t just trolling, how about using your real name?"

    Yeah, yeah. Fair point.

    "So lets all just lie back and accept the realities of life as they are.
    Is that what you are saying?
    All I see is lowlifes justifying their position. And that goes for Bob Jones as well."

    Absolutely not. But that's like saying you should go walk into the DMZ between North and South Korea for world peace. Go ahead but if you get shot no one will be surprised.

    "Oh, good lord. That’s extremely disingenuous."

    No, it wasn't. It was completely sincere. I have strong feelings on this subject.

    "Priestley offered “the foolishness of your two victims, venturing out alone at night in a park in a strange city, dressed as they were” as a potential basis for the acquittal."

    No, you don't get it, which is too bad for an old school journalist like you. Priestly J is sentencing after a verdict with which he disagreed. He's trying to say the jury got it wrong. He's trying to justify talk back. Don't you get it? Priestly was a family lawyer. Counsel for the child. Get with it yo.

    "I’m sorry, but the victims being “dressed as they were” is a basis for acquittal? Are we living in Saudi fucking Arabia?"

    No, you're in 2013 NZ. That is almost always the basis of a sex acquittal. A huge problem.

    "And is an indecent assault not really an indecent assault if two visitors to a city choose the “wrong” path home to put themselves in the way of it?"

    An indecent assault is not an indecent assault if a jury acquits the accused of indecent assault.

    "The idea that two young tourists contributed to a traumatic and demeaning assault by walking that way not only misses the fucking point, it’s offensive."

    I absolutely agree; you can't contribute to the intentional actions of others, only their carelessness.

    "Indeed. It’s not uncommon to have one’s car stolen from remote locations, but that doesn’t mean that stealing a car is magically not a crime just because the owner dared to park their car somewhere perfectly legal. Also, dairies get robbed all the time. Is someone who gets assaulted in their dairy to blame for provoking the robber by having cash in their till? Is the robber to get off scot free because the provocation is so obvious to any red-blooded male?"

    Crimes are crimes. Agreed.

    "Dude, the moment you criticise her behaviour in those circumstances – when she’s just experienced the most traumatic thing possible – you are telling her it’s her fault. I hope to every god you actually wouldn’t do that, because it’s repulsive. Have a proper think about lecturing a rape victim. "

    Why am I the troll here?

    "You are not Just Being Sensible until you ground your views in the reality that the most dangerous place for a woman to be is AT HOME. Accept that as reality, because it is, and then ask yourself, how does someone “align their behaviour” with actual reality, not the incredibly dangerous fairy-tale you’re perpetuating?"

    But then I totally agree! But a park is not home, much less in the wee hours in a strange city. You're message is mixed and confusing. My point is this: protect yourself against the foreseeable. When it comes to Uncle Bully....well that's difficult and I don't have easy answers.

    Since Mar 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

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