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Lavender Labia
Lavender Labia
Oh please. Taxes are not *your* money. If people could give up the idea that it’s THEIR money being pried out of their hands, rather than just another bill, there’d be a lot less whining. You want lights, you pay the electric company. You want a place to live, you pay the bank or landlord. You want food, you pay the grocery store. You want to live in a civilized society, you pay taxes. Get. Over. It.

hellotampon

Taxes make the kind of world you want to live in.

(via cocoku)

Not to mention that the sums in question (I’m referring to ones that always cause outrage and cries of “wasting my taxpayer dollars”) are absolutely minimal when averaged across the entire tax-paying population.

And if it really, really bothers you then just pretend *your* tax is going on a service you do find worthwhile. But seriously - once the money leaves your hands it’s indistinguishable from everyone else’s money. 

[TW: rape, rape apologism, rape culture, prescriptivism as related to surviving sexual violence, victim blaming, discussion of motivation behind rape]

fromonesurvivortoanother:

afternoonsnoozebutton:

Did you see this piece Jezebel did about the reddit “other side of the rape story” thread? This is why we can’t have nice things. Quote from the article: 

“We have to acknowledge that the people telling these stories and making these decisions are the men (and women) next door, not necessarily inhuman savages. Otherwise, anti-rape campaigns will continue to tell victims to dress and act differently as a matter of “prevention,” college campuses will continue to report high rates of sexual assault, and people will continue to take advantage of others without even looking them in the eye while doing so.”

Yes, Jezebel, that’s right. Sympathy for rapists is what will really solve the problem here. Instead of acknowledging the dehumanization of the victims, let’s just focus on the dehumanization of the victimizers. 

Okay, so some people in the reblogs for this post have said that this article is not rape apologia ad nauseum, and that someone should at least give it a read to see what they are trying to say. So I did. Here are some specific parts that I want to reply to:

But it’s impossible to talk about the reasons people rape without involving rapists in the discussion.

Wrong. You can discuss rape and the reasons why people rape without involving rapists. Indeed, given the emotionally volatile (and sometimes physically dangerous) nature of survival, it is a necessity 95% of the time. Otherwise, most of us would never speak out to begin with.

Criminologists and sociologists have discussed these issues for several decades now by studying convicted rapists in controlled settings— interviews, journals, one-on-one counseling, memoirs, etc.— and it has given us enough information already. This has informed the majority of discourse that we have today surrounding anti-sexual violence activism. Through an academic and professional lens that summarizes the gathered information, there is no need for anyone who has survived these things to have to directly (and traumatically) read it first-hand. Furthermore, professionals have already profiled rapist archetypes tens of thousands of times; these archetypes encompass 99% of all assailants out there. Again, there is no need for anyone who has survived sexual violence to have to hear these things directly. To suggest that a space needs to be made for these stories (without massive critique and social penalty) is absolutely a type of apologism.

It’s a mistake to think we’re justifying rapists’ actions by listening to their stories. Some of them are tough to read, but their brutal honesty effectively illustrates how a lack of communication and education perpetuates rape culture. Ignoring or dismissing these men (and women) out of hand may be an effective coping strategy for a given individual, but not for society. It gets us nowhere.

The huge flaw in this argument is that Western culture at large is already a space for rapists to talk about “their side of the story”, period. If you don’t get that then you should not be talking about sexual violence, at all.

The writer here uses an incredibly patronizing tone: “some of them are tough to read”…they clearly have no understanding of how triggering content works. That they can even suggest that people can read this content without having violent and/or physically/emotionally dangerous reactions reeks of privilege. The editors of Jezebel have flat-out refused to provide trigger warnings for any of their content in the past, so it’s no surprise.

As I said in the response to the previous section, not reading these stories is not “ignoring” anything; again, these stories and perspectives have been studied to death.

Also note the cissexist language which erases non-binary folk who are assaulted.

Charlotte Shane put it well in a recent essay for The New Inquiry on moving past rape by being able to talk about it in non-victimizing terms:

And here we see Jezebel being utterly prescriptivist and suggesting that there is one right way to deal with rape or sexual violence, implying that those who have not moved to this point (or who cannot) are somehow wrong or flawed. If that is not rape apologism and victim-blaming then I don’t know what is.

The rest of this article is basically the same old, same old that has been said 1000000000 times before by anti rape/SA activists. The problem is not that there are these poor ol’ misunderstood rapists out there who just need to be heard; the problem is that people are not listening to the survivors and victims of these predators. All of the information is out there, and all of the research has been done. We just need to make it more widely known.

I leave you with my hierarchy of discussion when it comes to these issues (because for the sake of safety and protection of those who need it the most, there absolutely must be one in these situations):

  1. Survivors/victims
  2. Close friends/family/peers of survivors
  3. Police, academics, other officials invested in anti SA work
  4. Anyone who may have been missed
  5. Rapists

THAT is how a discussion on sexual violence should go. Those directly affected speak first and above all others, because they alone know the experience and can offer the most valuable insight. By talking over these people, you are devaluing the wisdom of their experiences and effectively contributing to how these people are not taken seriously.

Jezebel would ideally fall along 3 or 4 here, except they really don’t give a shit about these issues so it’s more like a 10; they are a business first and foremost, and their corporate ties and blatant racism, sexism, and transphobia have always been obvious.

These are all very excellent critiques of the article and of Jezebel in general. I would like to make a couple of points and clarify a few things:

1. The groups you have listed in 1-11 are not distinct and very often overlap. For instance, many of the academics I have studied criminology with are also survivors.  Not to mention that a certain percentage of rapists have been victimised themselves. 

2. I really think this comment needs to be revised: "All of the information is out there, and all of the research has been done. We just need to make it more widely known." Yes, criminology and psychology have made plenty of inroads into understanding why rape happens but a lot of the research has been done by white, cis, radical feminists (Dworkin, et al). It’s the ideas pioneered by such people that really need to be reframed and rewritten, and a lot of current criminological work is seeking to do just that. This is one of the main reasons we can’t say that we know everything there is to know. The other reason being that - even with this ongoing research - that are still gaps in our understanding of who rapes and why, and how to best counteract/prevent rape. 

My general thoughts on the Jezebel article: 

1. A distinction needs to be made between understanding someone’s actions and sympathising with what led them to act that way; the former involves analysis and the latter involves apology. Considering where society is at present with rape culture (i.e. saturated in it) we cannot afford to take the mainstream focus away from survivors. It is because victims are silenced and ignored that we need to reverse that dynamic. We need to reverse whose voices are heard. That should be our primary focus as a society if we want to dismantle rape culture. 

2. There are risks when society dehumanises offenders (rapists or otherwise). Once you have dehumanised someone you remove all hope of changing that behaviour. Dehumanisation involves complete dismissal of the fact that behaviour is socially constructed (and can therefore be socially deconstructed). Dehumanisation means the offender is cast as unable to control or change their behaviour. And once you accept the premise that someone is a monster or non-human, the focus then becomes “how can we prevent these attacks by changing the victims’ behaviour”. The focus then becomes on how potential rape victims can avoid being raped. And that is rape culture. Perhaps the most pertinent distinction should be made between survivors dehumanising their rapists (completely and utterly okay) and society as a whole dehumanising rapists (arguably obfuscating the issues that really need to be addressed like our culture of entitlement that produces rapists in the first place).

3. One of the most unsettling things I found when I started interacting with rapists and child sex offenders is how normal they are; how indistinguishable they are from non-rapists. That is a scary and really fucking difficult thing to come to terms with because it involves the realisation that anyone has the potential to become a rapist if the right conditions are met. And it’s crucial that we understand those conditions so we can prevent these conditions from producing other rapists (note this isn’t the same as saying we need to understand the rapist as a person, or that their feelings should be taken into account).

I’m sure we both agree though, that this conversation/research is only appropriate for certain contexts, and that survivors shouldn’t have that discussion imposed on them unless they wish to participate. 

4. Jezebel says: 

It’s a mistake to think we’re justifying rapists’ actions by listening to their stories. Some of them are tough to read, but their brutal honesty effectively illustrates how a lack of communication and education perpetuates rape culture. Ignoring or dismissing these men (and women) out of hand may be an effective coping strategy for a given individual, but not for society. It gets us nowhere.

No, it isn’t a mistake. When you listen to someone’s “stories” you are sympathising with their behaviour. What’s more, rapists are hardly ever “brutally honest”. In fact, almost every rapist and sex offender will continually and repeatedly deny, minimise, justify, shift responsibility and concoct bullshit to avoid owning up to their actions. Most rapists don’t even think of themselves as rapists so we should definitely not be listening to their stories. We should, however, be analysing their thought process so we can change/prevent it. 

5. All of the quotes presented in that Jezebel article are revolting, rape supportive and should never be given public airtime. They tell us nothing we don’t already know and they tell us nothing that isn’t already being said by survivors and victims (that rapists rape because they feel entitled to use someone else’s body). And they tell us nothing about how to prevent rape (it isn’t an individual’s job to prevent rape; it is a rapist’s). What I’m trying to say is this: rapists and their behaviour should be critiqued and analysed but they should never be listened to or validated. They should never be heard

6. The best thing we can do to prevent rape is to deconstruct and remove the pervading culture of sexual entitlement. We need to teach active consent. We need to restrict how the media report sexual violence. We need to prioritise the voices of survivors. We need to legitimise the act of survival. We need to teach people that there are no circumstances where it is okay to infringe on the bodily autonomy of other people. We need to enforce physical boundaries. We need to stop reinforcing bullshit like the friendzone. We need to eradicate the concept of implied or non-verbal consent. There are a million things we need to do but none of them should involve publishing quotes from rapists in a popular culture forum

7. I want to end by reiterating a few of the excellent comments made on this thread: 

afternoonsnoozebutton:

Through an academic and professional lens that summarizes the gathered information, there is no need for anyone who has survived these things to have to directly (and traumatically) read it first-hand. 

fromonesurvivortoanother:

You can discuss rape and the reasons why people rape without involving rapists. Indeed, given the emotionally volatile (and sometimes physically dangerous) nature of survival, it is a necessity 95% of the time. Otherwise, most of us would never speak out to begin with.

fromonesurvivortoanother:

There are a lot of people out there who absolutely must have proper warning before any discussion of abusers. There are also people who cannot have a safe space to talk about their experiences, period, if abusers are let in.

[…]

There’s 1) absolutely no reason to post them without some sort of proper warning, 2) Very little good reason to do it en masse when society is already giving space to these people 95% of the time, and 3) Even less good reason to when these archetypes have been expressed and studied thoroughly and can be processed without having to delve into horrifying, blaming bullshit.

You personally want to understand where these people come from. I do too. But the tone in that article explicitly shames other people who, for very good reasons of self-preservation, do not ever want to have to learn about the people who hurt them. Ever. There are people out there who cannot even think about their abusers without risking serious personal danger and self-harm; that you wrote that off as “political correctness” is just fucked up and 1000 kinds of terrible.

Some survivors literally cannot deal with even the concept of giving their abuser(s) some kind of humanity. Some people might be this way their whole lives. That is not anything that we should be shaming them for, and it certainly doesn’t encourage more abuse :\

In a move that is sure to go down in adorable bear history, the BBC has named a female panda named Sweetie one of its female Faces of the Year. 2011 was either lacking severely in girlchievements or a banner year for lady pandas. So what was Sweetie’s glorious achievement that elevated her, a bear, over that of all female humans who did stuff? She got off of an airplane in Scotland, to great fanfare. That’s it. Hooray for Sweetie the panda, woman face of the year.

I’m usually the first one to support and encourage cute animal stories at the expense of real news. But HONESTLY!