Tag Archives: sexual violence

Conference Videos: “Anita Hill, 20 Years Later”

5 Nov

Go check out a whole bunch of videos from a conference discussing Anita Hill’s testimony 20 years ago, sexual harassment, and law. The event was from a couple weeks ago and includes many wonderful speakers and discussions.


Website for the conference, “Sex, Power, & Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later”


Our ‘Brethren in Struggle’, I Presume?

18 Oct

Here are a number of stories regarding men at Occupy demonstrations not acting so ‘revolutionary’, ranging from sexual assault to keeping the mic all to themselves.

But first, two photos. (I have circled the similarities.)

Raymond Curtis, a registered sex offender, who is living at the Occupy Portland camp

Julian Assange at Occupy London on Saturday

“Police: Possible sexual assault in Occupy Portland camp”:

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police said they are investigating a possible sexual assault in Chapman Square where the Occupy Portland protesters are camping. [. . .]

Officers were flagged down Friday night at 11:15 p.m. at SW 5th Avenue and Main Street by protesters, Simpson said. Officers learned a woman may have been sexually assaulted in a tent in the square, but she did not want to be identified.

Another Portland item. A California man (pictured above) has listed the Occupy Portland demonstration as his address. . . because he’s obligated to notify the state as a registered sex offender. But don’t worry, because he’s not a danger. Because he said so himself, duh.

“I’m not here to harm children,” said Raymond Curtis. “I’m not harmful to children.”

And, of course, it was all a misunderstanding!

“I was under the impression she was 21, as she was drinking in a bar,” said Curtis.  “I got a misdemeanor annoy, harass or molest of a person under the age of 18.”

It’s probably best that Occupy Portland has a sexual assault advocate group walking around with pink armbands so you have someone to tell when another 99%er tries to rape you in your tent or grope up on you when you’re dancin’ to the drum circle beats.

From Manissa McCleave Maharawal’s piece on Racialicious, “SO REAL IT HURTS”, on her experience at Occupy Wall Street:

I went to the anti-patriarchy meeting because even though I was impressed by the General Assembly and its process I also noticed that it was mostly white men who were in charge of the committees and making announcements and that I had only seen one women of color get up in front of everyone and talk. A lot was said at the anti-patriarchy meeting about in what ways the space of the occupation was a safe space and also not. Women talked about not feeling comfortable in the drum circle because of men dancing up on them and how to change this, about how to feel safe sleeping out in the open with a lot of men that they didn’t know, about not-assuming gender pronouns and asking people which pronouns they would prefer.

That is one sad set of discussion topics.

From the comment section of the Ms. Magazine article titled, “We Are the 99%, Too: Creating a Feminist Space Within Occupy Wall Street”:

I’ve been to OWS four times in the last week and what I have observed and heard about the role and status of women in the encampment is horrifying and raises deep, disturbing questions about the state of the progressive movement and it’s understanding of and commitment to issues confronting women including economic and social determinants that heighten their vulnerability to poverty, poor health outcomes, sexual violence, homelessness, etc.

Visualize this: hundreds of primarily white men, many leftover from 60′s revolutionary groups like Worker’s World, pontificating about their “revolutionary” ideas and a so called “new society” they envision — all of this within and surrounding an encampment where the media center responsible for live streaming of all related OWS events is “manned” by 12-15 men (I only saw one women), where the cigarette smoke (seems like Phillip Morris is off the hook) is thick, the spaces crowded and young women are interdispersed on old mattresses, sleeping bags, tarps etc. among young men, old men, middle aged men, white men, revolutionary men, some men of color, male reporters, male cops (and some women too), vendors (mostly male), reporters (both genders) and then imagine the male controlled “front line” on Broadway where people(almost all men all the time) hold up issue and “protest signs” — now add to that a lack of womens’ input, particularly young women, into the “general assembly” where male voices drown out women’s 7 to 1 and perhaps the most horrifying — imagine these young women reduced by the environment and politic that surrounds them also subject to sexual harassment and even assault (there has already been one arrest) by male predators including men who pass as activists.

What I am describing is OWS at Zuccotti Park – it’s there, it’s happening and some of us have been witness to it. As I went around yesterday distributing condoms yesterday to young women since they are at particular risk for HIV and Hep C infection in such a chaotic, oppressive environment, I was overwhelmed with despair and anger. How could we, who survived the various male dominated social movements of the 60′s and 70′s fail our young sisters? How could we allow our young women to be so oppressed, so disempowered, to have their voices silenced, to be subject to neglect regarding their safety in an environment that professes to create change?

How can we allow our concerns to be met with the same old divisive arguments from men and other women who fear male reprisal — with patronizing rationalizations such as “Well Amy Goodman spoke at our rally”? WTF? Have we, the feminists of the 60′s and 70′s who have raised daughters and sons in a new feminist paradigm, who run our organizations in matriarchal tradition and who fought so so hard for autonomy for 30, 40 or 50 years, how can we allow this to happen? If we are unwilling or incapable of changing this paradigm, shame on us. Perhaps if we could confront the leaders we could change it. But wait there are no leaders of “leaderless” OWS. Perhaps that is part of the design.

From the Occupy San Fransisco site forum, on a thread brilliantly entitled “DUDES!!! Seriously”:

What is going on at Occupy SF General Assemblies? I know that we are all many different people with many different experiences and points of view, etc, but seriously! There is some real un-checked manarchy happening and it needs to end before it destroys the small Occupy SF movement. Now, manarchy/patriarchy are not exclusive to this particular movement, but they are intolerable to this particular person and her comrades.

The following is not meant to devalue or de-legitimize the very hard work so many have done to set up the encampment and keep it going. It is my hope that these concerns will be taken into consideration and that lessons learned may be applied in the future.

I’ll break down what I have viewed in my experience at two separate Occupy SF GA’s:

*An overwhelming number of men speaking.
*Women being signaled to “wrap up” – and respecting the sign – while many men did not.
*A facilitator was continuously attacked verbally as the single source of all of the GA’s procedural problems by two men in particular. (The group assumed the facilitator used the pronouns “she” and “her”.)
*Three women of color (by my count) were not afforded the mic-check or “people’s mic” when speaking.
*One man on three committees dominated each committee’s mic-time.
*One proposal was reaching the 45 minute mark when I left. I left because 4 men continued to interrupt the process and again, verbally confront the facilitator.

I will be stepping away from Occupy SF GA’s until I feel safe enough to return. My hope is that in the mean time, the GA takes itself seriously enough to hear these critiques and to implement some better strategies for dealing with the aforementioned.

These are just a handful of things I was able to find overnight. I’m sure there’s lots more. Post ’em if ya got ’em.

Also, for those who want to try to take some feminist literature down to your local Occupy event, FCM has created an awesome pamphlet with radfem-ness galore. FeminismNowOWS has a copy of their flier on their website as well.

Update: I just found this video from Occupy Richmond while I was looking up more info on the “progressive stacking” that’s being used at some of the protests. Naturally, a white guy pipes up to say how this kind of process is unnecessary because we’re all equal here, blah blah blah.

#LawsMenShouldFollow: Be Consistent!

27 Sep

[Trigger warning for prostitution & sexual violence.]

#LawsMenShouldFollow is currently trending on Twitter. I went a-searching to see if others shared my take on the hashtag. And lookee what I found!

A few misconceptions:

1. That rape is simply “stupid” rather than an act of soul-crushing dehumanization used systematically and globally by males, against females.
2. That paying a prostitute is something other than tactical coercion to get a woman to “consent”.
3. That rape is about being sexually “desperate” rather than about men asserting dominance and control over women.

Now, as a humorous palette cleanser also in the vein of “men are awful hypocrites”:

Yeah! The Situation is totally correct, ya’ll. As is the juggalo who agrees with him. Dudes shouldn’t be high maintenance!

Born & Raised

4 Jun

[Trigger warning for prostitution and sexual violence.]

“Since patriarchy began, prostitution is the only work for which men pay women enough to support themselves.” – Marilyn French, “The War Against Women”

The above quote sums up, essentially, what exactly men value in women. Prostitution is the ‘job’ that nearly any person who was born female can do. The prerequisites for such ‘work’ are that, as a female, you will likely have a history of abuse and/or have few or no other options to earn money.

When men do allow girls and women to make some amount of money through prostitution, it is still always conditional. The john could outrightly rape you with no intention of paying you. Your pimp could take all of your money in exchange for his ‘protection.’ You could become ill. Not every girl or woman who is prostituted actually does make enough money to support herself (or her family/children), of course, though it is often still the best option for income out of a number of other terrible options.

Prostitution remains one way of making money that females are uniquely conditioned for their entire lives. Being told — subtly or overtly — your entire life that you are inferior, that you are made to service and care for men, that your needs always come second, the presumption of heterosexuality. . . even if raised as part of a higher economic class, girls are taught that they do not exist for their own purposes. Add the common psychological effects of sexual assault (believing that your sexuality is all you have to offer, etc.) and the stage is entirely set.

Growing up female under patriarchy, though, is all one needs to fall into prostitution either willingly or not.

Links: May 10, 2011

10 May

This will be a special “Slut Walk” edition of links. Cuz I’m topical like that.

Woman On A Journey: “‘The sluttier the better’-that’s what men think, anyway”

Guardian: “SlutWalk is not sexual liberation” by Gail Dines & Wendy Murphy

RMott: “The Ultimate Slut”

EasilyRiled: “Slut-Walk. Sigh.”

I Blame the Patriarchy: “Toronto activists take back the slut”

Video from “The Agenda”, featuring Gail Dines (35 minutes).

Audio from “World Have Your Say”, also featuring Gail Dines. Listen online or download the mp3 (download only available for 1 week). Big ol’ trigger warning for victim blaming from (especially from callers and other people who sent in comments to the show).

Video: “Slut Walks and Modern Feminism”

7 May

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence and pornography.]

File this in the overflowing drawer marked “Gail Dines BRINGS IT”.

The video wouldn’t embed, so go watch the 35-minute program on the website for “The Agenda”.

Here’s just a few of my thoughts on Slut Walk and the video:

– Slut is a construct made up by males in order to demean women. Sluts do not exist. You can’t reclaim a word that was never yours to begin with.

-Jaclyn says that slut walk sends the message that “if you call one of us a slut, you have to call all of us sluts”. Yeah. MEN ALREADY DO THAT. They call all of us sluts because that is what most men thing of women.

-The interviewer’s framing is odd at times, and it seems that the pro-slut-walk guests are incorrectly understanding what Gail meant when she brought up male sexuality. She’s talking about porn culture, something that really hasn’t been confronted by liberal feminists.

-Finally, as a younger feminist who is a victim/survivor and who has been harmed by pornography, Gail Dines does speak for me.

[Updated May 10, 2011 to add the following additional comments:]

This whole thing is just so bizarre. I mean, totally in keeping with liberal feminist sex-pozerism, but really… you’re actually calling it a Slut Walk? I was thinking today about what Suzanna Walters says in her “From Here to Queer” article about reclaiming language. Could you imagine something like a “Nigger Walk”, “Kike Walk”, or even “Faggot Walk”? Allies welcome to join! Ugg.

I’m absolutely puzzled as to why the response here to being called a slut is, “Yup, we are exactly what you say we are! You’re right. Women ARE sluts!” As if the police or dudes give ONE shit about your ‘nuance’.

Links: April 18, 2011

18 Apr

Rad Fem Crafts: “Don’t Piss on My Head and Call It Privilege”. . . not only does this post win the Post Title of the Year award, but it also succinctly describes what’s wrong with big tent politics.

Scum-o-Rama: “Tasty Privilege”. . . on the crap that is ‘vanilla privilege’.

We Won’t Submit: A guest post by Bev Jo, “Would A Vulva By Any Other Name Smell  As Sweet?”. . . on male language for ‘female parts’.

Gender Trender has a simple graphic, providing a RadFem 101 lesson: “MOAR Simplr”.

Undercover Punk: “Trans childrens”

Ball Buster: “Imagine”. . . [TW for violence]

Imagine, if you will: If every time a female porn star got beat up, that it would make national news.

FAB Matters: “the problem with fun feminism”:

What the malestream and funfeminism offer women is the same, only the funfem version is more nervous and complicated.

If she chooses to roll with the malestream, in return she will get male approval. If she chooses to roll with funfeminism she will get some (more limited and highly conditional) male approval, quite a bit of male ridicule, and … ?

Not much else.

The Nation: “Will the Justice Department Stand Up for Women Raped in Prison?” [TW for sexual assault]:

[F]or women, one consequence of sexual violence is pregnancy, especially for those who are forced to endure repeated rapes. More than 200,000 women are imprisoned right now, and many more pass through prisons and jails over the course of a year—each one vulnerable to sexual assault, and to pregnancy resulting from it. Despite the years of hearings, testimony and research, the Justice Department’s PREA rules still fail to protect the reproductive rights and health of women in this situation.

Links: March 2, 2011

2 Mar

Easilyriled’s Blog: “feminist lesbians argue for the abolition of prostitution”. . . succinctly laying out arguments, one by one. Seriously go read it.

A new essay by Robert Jensen: “Consciousness rising, world fading”

New York Times editorial, Saturday Feb. 26: “The War on Women”. . . regarding the House Republicans trying to defund everything that helps women not be pregnant.

Juxtapositions: “A Radical Feminist Dictionary, A to Z”. . . I can’t believe I missed this post, especially considering my little dictionary series.

Brave Lucky Game: “In Defense of the Rights of Brutes”. . . on carnism and veganism.

Ded Gurl Cingz the Blooze: “Individualism and Human Destruction” (audio)

A Salon article by Tracy Clark-Flory: “The twisted world of ‘ex-girlfriend porn'” [TW for sexual assault, massive hostility to consent]

High Dudgeon: Linda provides us with a list of ten “Handy Anti-Porn Arguments”

RMott: “You Said What”. . . on the betrayal of women in prostitution by supposed Leftists. “Empowerment”. . . on ‘healing’.

“Welcome to Our World”

26 Feb

Yes, trans women are beaten, killed, and raped. So are female women. Everyday, everywhere. As other radical feminist bloggers have said, “Welcome to our world.” This stuff isn’t surprising to us. So welcome to what it means to have your body read as ‘woman’: open season for male violence.

I want it to be , “Welcome to our world. It’s awful. Let’s change it together,” but that’s difficult when trans women demand focus be solely on them and the harms of “trans misogyny” and how it is so different from what FAAB women go through*. But it really isn’t.

This should be a touch point – yes, for radical feminists and trans women – rather than a divergence. But folks need to examine their years of accumulated male privilege before something like that can happen. A good first step? Actually listening to what FAAB women have to say about their experiences of being treated like women. Blogroll is on the right.

*Focusing solely female issues also can get you labeled transphobic, cissexist, or even a ‘cis supremacist’. Quick tip from a female person: talking about my uterus is not oppressing trans women.

Radical Feminist Dictionary: Harm Reduction

20 Feb

Harm reduction: measures taken to lessen harm done by inherently harmful practices, institutions, and systems.

Example: [TW] “Guess that’s right, not much else you’re good for, there, sister. We’ll work on getting you more condoms and bitty alcohol swabs so you can get fucked but keep clean. Here ya go, here’s a coffee and a sandwich and a clean needle. Enjoy your choice.” (via Easilyriled)

[Previous entries: Strip Clubs, Gender, Anti-Prostitution, Alphabet Soup]