Tag Archives: sexual assault

Pro-Rape T-Shirt? Clearly, The Wearer Has Never Been Raped

Clearly delusional. And inexperienced as a potential victim.

All sorts of kudos to the people who outed the nasty perv above on social media. No name yet – a matter of hours, presumably – but a cascade of comments on the cruelty shown by the wearer of the t-shirt have erupted on social media.

Designed after similar others (another famous shirt bears the slogan “Eat Sleep Juventus Repeat” – Juventus is a professional football club/soccer team based in Turin, Italy) in what I hope is a one-off, self-created shirt, the tee took ignorance and spiteful brutality and put them on display at the well-attended Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in desert California.

It seems hardly necessary to add that – well, taking a wild guess, I’m betting the designer/wearer of this obnoxious shirt has never been raped himself.

Nor should he be. Though others might applaud the educational value of becoming the victim instead of the perp, rape should not be used as a punishment for sex crimes. An eye for an eye has never been more wrong.

Is wearing the shirt a sex crime? As an incitement to sexual assault, sure. There’s also willful negligence and perhaps a sort of group libel.

Just to demonstrate how tough it can be for survivors of sexual assault to take the initiative and report what happened to them, take a look at this English video. Filmed in the Tube, it shows the varying sex assaults common on public transportation (one reason for “women only” train carriages in India and other nations). The filmmaker falls down only in showing the same two people repeatedly. Woman of color, well-dressed white man. The producers should have shown other combinations, since white men are not the only scuzzy Tube-riders.

Then there’s this delightful fellow, an architect who while raping a woman he had met on a blind date, told her that “girls say ‘no’ but they don’t mean it”. Poor women, saying words without realizing their true significance. How kind of him to tell us what we mean. That no means yes, the sky is yellow, and other falsehoods.

When it comes to self-control, then, some men (T-shirt guy, dude on the Tube, deluded architect) are permanently out to lunch. Yet current research indicates that self-control is one of the most essential traits parents can teach their children. Without it, they are at the mercy of emotions. Also, as they age, of error-ridden thoughts like “rape is minor” or “I’m entitled to touch another person without permission” or “people who try to stop me don’t really mean it”.

In all the above offenses there is a distinct lack of good cognitive thought. Of sufficient judgment. Of self-restraint.

Let’s hope the t-shirt wearer is soon found, named and shamed. He cannot learn any younger.

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Let’s Stop Saying Women. Let’s Say People.

These are people, people.

 

 

The minute you say “women”, all of a sudden listeners place them in a separate mental pocket.

 

Close your eyes for a moment. When you imagine people, you see all sorts of humans, right? (Some of you may envision only men. Men are not the default, so go back to your caves.) Nevertheless – eyes open – the humans pictured above are people first. Yes, they’re people who are female, granted. Still, human beings, people, first and foremost.

 

An interesting thing has been happening over the past few years with regard to humans who were bought and sold prior to the Emancipation Proclamation in the US, and those who now live the same tragic existences all over the world, primarily in India.

 

They used to be known as slaves. These days, most journalists and even the guides at Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, refer to them as people held in slavery or enslaved people.

 

You can tell the difference, right? A slave is not as human as an enslaved person. The latter is a person held in a temporary state of non-liberty. The former is, perhaps, subhuman and born to be owned.

 

Huge difference.

 

Think how a similar enormous difference impacts the human beings shown above. Referred to as people, they remain human. Called women, however, and something happens in the mind of the listener, particularly if dangerous cultural or political baggage gets in the way, as in this article regarding the politics of sexual violence in Egypt.

 

They become something less than people, as if we were speaking of dolphins or aardvarks.

 

Farfetched? No. Language carries enormous cultural weight and can cause confusion. In Spanish, for example, mujer is the word for both woman and wife. Asked by authorities if she is the “wife” of an injured man – spouses may give consent for medical care – a woman may well answer “yes” even though she is not legally married to him.

 

Language gives order to how we learn and remember. Language has power, and it offers power, as well. Witness the rise of Welsh-language schools in Wales, the persistent efforts of French speakers to make Quebec a separate country, and the efforts of billions of people to learn and improve their English, the current linguistic coin of power.

 

It’s just not wise to dismiss how we use words when their use either reduces power or increases it.

 

We should not have to keep making signs saying “Women Are People, Too!”. That’s so 20th-century.

 

We do need to begin replacing the words woman/women with person/people as much as possible.

 

It might sound awkward at first to talk about pregnant people, people with breast cancer, people who have survived FGM.

 

Though we do speak of pregnant whales, giraffes giving birth, and elephants that have survived poachers’ attacks.

 

If one, why not the other?

 

Doing so would point up the humanity of people who are female, rather than consign them to a lesser status in the mind of the listener. Calling them people gives primary acknowledgement to their personhood. Qualifiers – like the word female – are the secondary identification. Then again, speaking of people means that if they carry XY chromosomes, they too will need a qualifier. Male.

 

When we talk of people, we’ll make more sense than if we used words that mistakenly relegate others to a status below humanity.

 

Words like slave. And, unfortunately, women.

 

Stand firm. Use words with care. Up with people !

 

 

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Off The Snow

Risk on the snow, even more dangers off it.

 

I had the television on the other day while doing holiday things, for-other-people things. So I got to watch an event I would have otherwise missed: The 2013 Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, where snowboarders – mostly male – compete for prizes.

Amazing. They were amazing! If I were the parent of one of those guys, I would be thoroughly impressed and very proud of his courage and ability to do tricks in the air at speed. The contest was a distinct and refreshing contrast to the ritualized-battle American football matches available to watch at the same time.

I am a big proponent of using testosterone in wise ways – and while snowboarding doesn’t get crops planted or criminals jailed, it is infinitely better than bashing a man you don’t even know on a football field.

It occurred to me while watching, however, that while male snowboarders probably know everything about the risks their sport presents – falls and slips can result in broken bones, concussions, even death – they, like other young men, have no idea of the risk they take off the snow.

Research among young men holds that virtually 100% of them watch online porn. A hefty number of those watch it daily, and some have become addicted to the stuff.

“It’s relaxing.” “I can turn it off anytime.” “I still like real girls.”

What, me worry?

Though the latest research indicates that online porn affects the brain, the full dangers of watching porn have not even been identified yet. It’s like drinking a substance that someone says is vodka, but is it? It could be any clear liquid. It could be toxic. Who would do that? Why would you do that?

The real test of porn’s effect in how young men act in the real world, out of pixel range. Their actions can be judged by the confusion and outrage of young women – real women – who encounter them. These men, they say, have few social or sexual skills, and feel an enormous sense of entitlement. They pre-assume a script and tend to become angry and aggressive when it fails to materialize. In their minds, an encounter should go the way they’ve watched it, and when it doesn’t, they assume something is wrong with the woman at hand.

Way to avoid taking responsibility, guys. What are you, five years old?

Another view is that perhaps, without their knowing it, something happened in their brains when they watched porn. The brain is malleable. Events influence it. When garbage goes in, garbage can come out. If young men’s brains are being affected by porn, that may account for their poor behavior.

Not that that is an excuse. They still need to be held accountable for their harmful, aggressive behaviors.

But if their brains have been hurt, and if there is no corrective technique to heal those brains, then we are all in very big trouble.

There’s a saying that parents who fail to civilize their children leave civilization the task of defending itself.

Participating in any physical activity – snowboarding, skiing, diving – your sons probably know the associated risks, and how they may be hurt. But when it is the brain that could be affected . . . well, it can take decades for that harm to be acknowledged, as with concussions and the National Football League, an organization that has strenuously denied any link between football-acquired brain injuries and belligerent behavior.

Once they get online, parents of all ages, your sons may be affected more than you know by what they see. So warn them to stay away. Porn is not a casual, harmless hobby. It could devastate the only brain they will ever have.

 

 

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Why Do It?

 

A slum in Mumbai, India, where rape suspects were found.

 

 

Why do men rape? A recent survey of 10,000 Asian men (from Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka) published in The Lancet gives some disturbing answers. One 18- to 49-year-old man in each household in several communities was surveyed. The men were asked if they had ever forced sex on anyone.

 

More than 10% answered “yes”.

 

When asked why they did it, as the New York Times reports, “73 percent said the reason was ‘entitlement’. Fifty-nine percent said their motivation was ‘entertainment seeking’, agreeing with the statements ‘I wanted to have fun’ or ‘I was bored’.”

 

So this is what they’re saying:

 

“I was bored”, so I hurt someone else, causing them trauma and PTSD.

 

“I needed entertainment”, so I inflicted pain and terror.

 

“I felt entitled” to create fear, panic, and torture.

 

That’s horrifying.

 

In Kenya, rape has become such an epidemic that it results in a sort of “femicide”, as the Guardian reports.

 

India, whose capital, Delhi, has long been known as a dangerous place for a woman, is now confronting the reality that rape, especially gang-rapes, is rife in other towns.

 

Clearly, a minority of men commit sexual assault, but they often harm many women and children. And because these males do not bear a visible mark, no one can identify them before they attack and thus shun them or call for them to be isolated.

 

In the past, rapists relied on their victims’ feelings of shame, and on the fact that in many societies, the victim would be more blamed than her assailant, even killed. That taboo is falling. After a recent gang-rape in Mumbai, the victim and her friend went straight to the hospital and informed the police. Mumbai police – perhaps appalled at the thought that their city would be compared to Delhi – went on the hunt.

 

According to the New York Times, they “initiated a broad, high-level response, as if an act of terrorism had taken place. The police lighted up their networks of slum informants and all five [rapists] were arrested and gave confessions in quick succession. Several made pitiful attempts to escape. [One] went to the visitor’s room of a nearby hospital and covered himself with a blanket, trying to blend in with a crowd of relatives. ‘It is incredible how quickly the whole thing unraveled’.”

 

If only other police forces worked as diligently on their backlog of rape kits.

 

While alcohol often plays a strong role in rape – some men drink in order to commit rape – it cannot account for the callous, heartless, cruel reasons quoted above.

 

Entitlement. Seeking entertainment. Boredom.

 

Those are frivolous excuses for monstrous acts, acts that carry lifelong implications for other people. In a few seconds rape alters a life, making a survivor of someone whose peace of mind is stolen, and causes changes in the brain that can last forever.

 

This is not a petty crime, nor is it “he said, she said”, when only 6-8% of rape reports are false – the same proportion as with false reports of other crimes, like robbery.

 

I foresee a day when rape will carry the death penalty. It will likely start in China, where fewer girls are born every day. The death penalty would be an easy way for the Chinese to rid themselves of turbulent men and at the same time make life safer for women and children.

 

The more we examine rape, the worse it looks. At long last.

 

 

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Really, Chile?

Sebastian Pinera, making life-and-death decisions one 11-year-old at a time.

 

If a child is too young to adequately consent to sex, with all its emotional and physical ramifications, then surely she is too young to make life-or-death decisions, right?

 

Not in Chile.

 

An 11-year-old girl repeatedly raped and impregnated by her stepfather has been praised by Sebastián Piñera,  the nation’s president, for her “mature” decision not to seek an abortion. (Note that this scenario occurs all over the world. A recent case in China involved an abused 12-year-old.)

 

Now, leaving aside questions of what abortion options would be available to this young girl in Chile (few), the amount of pressure a Catholic country’s therapists and families might place on a vulnerable child (huge), and the fact that the girl’s mother is obviously not the person who should be raising her (the mother initially called the rapes “consensual”), how is a child whose frontal lobe is still under construction to be regarded as mature enough to decide to continue a process that can easily kill her?

 

Two things: first, the age of menarche — a girl’s first menses — has been dropping since 1840, as has boys’ sexual maturity since 1750, even though mentally and emotionally they are still children; and, second, the brain research being carried out at the National Institute of Health (NIH) by Dr. Jay Giedd and by other researchers in other countries, clearly indicates that even in healthy humans, a child’s brain differs from an adolescent’s brain differs from an adult’s brain.

 

This 11-year-old is therefore two whole steps away from having an adult brain. She should not be asked to make an adult decision, since she does not yet possess the frontal lobe capacity to do so.

 

In addition, pregnancy and childbirth are risky. Even in wealthy nations with excellent healthcare and follow-up, grown women die during fetal growth and delivery. The US is hardly at the top of the list for maternal mortality (that’s where people die as a result of pregnancy or delivery, including within several days after a birth), but US statistics demonstrate that overall, maternal mortality is 8 per 100,000. In Chile, the figure is almost three times higher: 23 per 100,000. In both countries, that is an average. In certain geographical areas and among certain populations, death rates soar.

 

That is especially true of people who are pregnant before they reach age 20. Among teenagers, pregnancy is horribly dangerous. Imagine what the risk will be for an 11-year-old who can only picture a baby being like a doll to “take care of”.

 

Amnesty International asserts that this child must be provided with an abortion in order to save her life. While Chile stalls, an evasive scenario is likely to happen. Because the young girl’s body is immature, something is almost certain to go wrong with the pregnancy. At that point, doctors can intervene and decide to “deliver early” in order to keep the 11-year-old alive. Early enough, and the fetus will not survive.

 

That’s what you call prevarication. In a society where a raped child is praised for “maturity”, that’s what happens.

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Filed under Chile, Grooming, Jay Giedd, Menarche, Menstruation, Misogyny, NIH, Pregnancy, Rape, Sexual assault