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rape in portland...part 3

as an activist community, we need to move beyond the discussion of what is an isn't rape and assault. we need to move towards creating real solutions in our community...in our homes, in our relationships, in our hearts.
we have a tendancy to always be defined by what we are against. we are anti-clearcutting and anti-racist and anti-imperialist. the discussions regarding male socialization, rape culture, sexual assault and what to do about perpetrators need to begin to redefine themselves to be a discussion about:

1- what are effective ways to deal with perpetrators?
2- how can we make EVERYONE, but specifically women, trans and queer folks, feel safer in our community?
3- how do we get around male denial/backlash?
4- how should we define the balance between punishment and rehabilitiation for perpetrators? how do we do that without compromising the safety of survivors?

additionally, i feel we need to start talking about and working on, ALL of us, the question asked at one of the accountability meetings, which is

5- what does a sexually responsible community look and feel like? how do we get there from here?

it has become clear that we have a good idea of what we don't want. we don't want to be assaulted anymore- especially by the people we consider friends and loved ones, and especially not in the places we feel the most safe. we don't want to be disbelieved when we come forward with our stories. we don't want to be blamed for the damage that other people have done to us, or have to defend our right to HURT when someone has VIOLATED us. we don't want the people responsible for it to evade responsibility....we don't want to have to defend our choice to go to the police. or to not go to the police and to attempt a a community resolution.

it is time to start talking about some concrete steps to make these things happen.

for reference, the previous article is:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271150.shtml
what does a sexually responsible community look and feel like? 07.Sep.2003 11:21

thoughtful observer and community member

well for starters, people need to be more responsible about drinking and using drugs. (a more sober activist community would also increase its productivity and emotional balance.) many people don't make good decisions when under the influence. also, the celebration of polyamory that is common in the same circles where these rape accusations have taken place does not always work well -- this celebration has sent mixed messages, and many people have been hurt emotionally besides the rape/assault situations.

generally, i think it's a mix for trouble when you throw away old structures, don't replace them with anything meaningful, and then add drugs/alcohol. an activist culture that spent more time concentrating on personal enrichment and work, and less on partying and consumption, would not have as many of these problems.

my twosense.

10 suggestions for people called out for abusive behavior 07.Sep.2003 12:55

Loki

(This is by Wispy Cockles, it was originally printed in Clamor Magazine)

Ten Suggestions For People Called Out For Abusive Behaviour

1. Be Honest, Stay Honest, Get Honest

If you know that you hurt the person calling you out for abuse, acknowledge it. If you think its a possibility that you might have hurt them let them know. If you have any inkling that some way that you interacted with them might have compromised their dignity and boundaries let them know. The first step to dealing with our abusive tendencies is getting out of denial. Denial is like an infection. It starts in some locality (specific instances and situations, nitpicking at certain parts of an account of the situation[s]), and if untreated festers and eventually consumes us entirely. When we are able to vocalize that we are aware that something isn't quite right with our behaviour it brings us a step closer to dealing with it in a meaningful and honest way.

2. Respect Survivor Autonomy

Survivor autonomy means that the survivor of abuse, and the survivor of abuse alone calls the shots concerning how abusive behaviour is dealt with. This means s/he calls the shots and you live with her/his decisions. You don't get to determine how or even if a mediation/confrontation happens, or initiate action towards a resolution. You get to make it explicitly clear that you respect their autonomy in the situation, and that you're willing to work towards a resolution. They may prefer to never be in the same space with you again and don't wish to speak with you. It is not their responsibility, nor their duty, to attempt for resolution or enter into dialogue with you or take any specific course of action for that matter However it is your responsibility, as someone being called out, to respect their needs and desires.

3.Learn To Listen

It is imperative that you open your ears and your heart to the person calling you out. This will likely be difficult, because people tend to get defensive and closed when they are accused of wrongdoing. Very few people in this world want to be pegged as the "bad apple of the "bunch" To listen you will need to keep your defensive and knee jerk reactionary tendencies in check. These suggestions could be very helpful to you: A) Let the person calling you out direct the dialogue. If they want you to answer questions do so, but otherwise let them have the floor. B) Be aware when you're formulating responses and counterpoints in your head while they're expressing their account of the situation(s), and attempt to stop doing so. C) Focus on their account of things, and save going over in your head how you remember things until after they have spoken. D) Reflect upon the entirety of what they expressed and not just the disparities between your and their account of events. E) Talk with your friends about how you can better listen before you enter a mediation/confrontation.

4.Practice Patience

Sometimes things take time to be resolved. Sometimes it takes months, years, decades for a resolution, and sometimes there is no clear cut resolution. However, there is no timeline for resolution when human dignity is at stake. Be patient and never attempt to force a resolution. a process, or a dialogue. You may ask for a dialogue or a mediation, but if the answer is no it is no until s/he says it is yes. Don't attempt to wear down the boundaries of the person calling you out by asking for dialogue or mediation over and over again. Stay put, reflect, and think about the power dynamics in your relations with others.

5.Never, Ever, Blame The Victim

S/he did not ask for violence or abuse. S/he did not ask for it in how s/he dressed. S/he didn't ask for it, because s/he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. S/he didn't ask for it, because s/he is a sex worker. S/he didn't ask for it because she chose to make out with you or because s/he went back to your place or because s/he is known to be into s/m or because she is a "tease" or because she is a "slut". S/he did not ask for it in anyway. It is not acceptable to write off his/her responses to your behaviour, because she is "hypersensitive" to 'your' threatening of abusive behaviour. It is not acceptable to say that s/he is "exaggerating" the abuse, because s/he is a feminist/queer liberationist/activist/punk/youth/"a PC thug"/etc. It is not acceptable to say that s/he is making it up, because s/he has a history of abuse or any other such nonsense. Making excuses for why someone is to blame for your hurtful actions are a way for you to avoid taking responsibility for 'your' fucked up behaviour. They expose you as a coward.

6.Speak For Yourself

You can account for your experience and your experience and your experience alone. Don't ever assume that you can know how the person calling you out as an abuser experienced the situation(s). People walk down the same streets everyday and have very different experiences. This is a simple fact of life. It is, also, a very different experience to have the winds of privilege blowing against your back than to have the winds of oppression blowing in your face as you walk down those same streets. You cannot know how someone else felt at a certain moment, and so you should never presume that you have the right to judge the validity of their feelings. If they have expressed how they feel, then what you need to do, first and foremost, is to listen. It is important that you actively seek to understand theirs feelings. If you find that you simply cannot understand their feelings no matter how sincerely you try it is still not your place to judge the validity of them.

7. Don't Engage In Silence Behaviour

By telling your "side of the story" you could be creating an atmosphere that silences people who have been abused. If you feel that their are major discrepancies between your account of the situation(s) and their account, and that you are being "falsely accused" take a deep breath. First you need to know that you can never stop sincerely investigating the yourself and questioning how your behaviour affects others ..the case is never closed. With time you might come to realize that, yes, in fact your behaviour was abusive. It is your responsibility to continuously challenge your notions about how your behaviours effect others, and to challenge your understandings of how you hold power over others in your relationships. Read books, enter into recovery programs for batterer'/sexual assailants, seek out a therapist, and discover your own ways of challenging yourself and your conceptions of how your behaviour effects others.

Understand that if you attempt to silence the person(s) by promoting your account of things as "the truth" you will silence others as well. People will fear coming forward with their stories and fear confronting abuse, because of YOUR silencing behaviour. If you are committed to creating a world where people speak freely about the wrongs done to them you will want to avoid focusing on how the accusers are "lying" about you, and you will want to avoid airing your presumptions and theories as to their "motives". One example off the top of my head is how one particular rapist/sexual assailant passed out a list of 40 points of contention at a punk show to refute the stories of three women calling him out. The flyer went on and on about the disparities between these women's stories and the "truth". This is one blatant example of silencing behaviour, but it can act in far more subtle ways.

Silencing behaviour is ANY behaviour which attempts to make the survivor of abuse out to the perpetrator of misinformation. It is any behaviour which attempts to make the abuser out to be the victim. It very quickly puts into question the character of the person calling out an abuser. Often it leads to a backlash against them both explicit (threats, harassment, violence) and implicit (endless questioning, non supportive behaviour i.e. "I don't want to get involved in this" or "I'm hearing a lot of different stories"). Silencing behaviour creates an atmosphere where people fear and don't call out their abusers, and therefore an atmosphere where abuse flourishes.

However, this does not mean that you should not speak of how you experienced the situation(s) differently from the other person(s) calling you out. It simply means that it is your responsibility to do so in a way that is respectful and that does not help to foster an atmosphere of silence around abuse. You may need to relate your experiences to those with which you have close friendships/working relationships and to those that approach you, but as I said above speak for yourself. Do not intersperse their account with yours to illustrate the inconsistencies that you perceive. Do not relate the person(s) stories for them. Do not go on and on about how they should have called you out in a different manner. Do not talk about their shortcomings in the relationship/ friendship. Do not cast yourself in the role of the victim of a "witch hunt" or "cointelpro". Do not assert that they are lying, and if your account differs from theirs make it clear that this is how you and only you account for your experiences(s) of the situation(s). Let what you say be limited exclusively to your recollection. If you feel the need to vent find a good person to vent to whose outside of your immediate social scene/community (if you look hard enough you might find a therapist willing to work with you on a sliding scale basis, preferably find one with a radical/feminist analysis) or someone outside the scene/community altogether (who you know for sure has not been a victim of abuse). If you honestly believe you are being falsely accused your character will have to speak for yourself rather then you speaking for your character.

8. Don't Hide Behind Your Friends

Often the people most vocal in defending abusers are not the abusers themselves, but their friends, comrades, and lovers. "But s/he's really a good person/activist/artist" or "S/he contributed so much to the community/scene" or "The person I know would never do something like that" are some common defensive reactions among many. If you feel that people are trying to insulate you from your problems or from questioning your actions....let them know that it isn't acceptable. You need to hear the criticisms and anger of the survivor(s) and their allies. As well you need to stop others from engaging in silencing behaviour. Let them know that if they truly care about you that instead of defending your character and reacting to the accusations they need to help you examine yourself and figure out ways of transforming dominating behaviours.

9.Respond To The Wishes of The Survivor and The Wishes Of The Community

Taking responsibility for our harmful actions is an integral part of the healing process. You will need to respond to the wishes of the survivor and the community not just for their healing, but yours as well. If s/he or they wish that you be suspended from certain projects/activities or that you engage in a batterers/assailants program or that you do book reports on books about ending rape and abuse or if they want you to do anything within the realm of possibility don't argue with them....give them what they ask for. You need to show the survivor and the community that you are acting in good faith and that you are ready to deal with your problems of abuse or at the very least that you are willing to sincerely investigate the possibility that you engaged in abusive behaviour. You need to show the survivor and the community that you respect their autonomy and their ability to make decisions that meet their needs and desires for safety, healing, and ending oppression. Again if you want to live in a world free of abuse,rape, and oppression you will support survivor autonomy and community self-determination even if you feel you are being "falsely accused". . Do not engage in the silencing behaviour of attacking the demands and process of the survivor(s) or the community. This is what abusers and their supporters typically do to create a smokescreen of issues to take the heat off of themselves.

10.Take Responsibility....Stop Abuse and Rape Before It Starts.

It takes a lot of courage and self-knowledge to admit that you've hurt someone, that you compromised their dignity and self worth, or that you used power over someone in the worst ways. It takes a lot of sincerity to make an apology without expecting to be applauded or thanked for it. However, this is what it will take to start overcoming our abusive tendencies. To know that you have wronged someone and to do otherwise is to perpetuate the hierarchy. It is to be more than simply complicit within it, but to actively support it. It will take honesty, diligent self investigation, and compassion to start to overcome our abusive tendencies. Once your able to admit that you have a problem with (sometimes or always) abusing people you can begin to learn how and why you do it. You can learn early warning signs that you're slipping back into old patterns, and you'll be better able to check yourself. My life has been a life of unlearning such patterns of abuse, of learning to reject the roles of both the abuser and the abused, and it is far from over. Bad habits are easily taken up again, and many times it is easy to assume that we are not wielding power over someone. We must persistently question this assumption just as we would demand that any assumption be questioned, lest it become dogma.

It is crucial that we learn to ask for consent from our sexual partners. It is crucial that we learn to recognize aggressive and passive aggressive abuse in its various emotional, economic, physical, and sexual manifestations, and that we stop it before it escalates to more severe and harmful levels. We need to call it out when we are aware of it in other people, as well as ourselves This process is a process of overcoming of oppression, of rejecting the roles of oppressor and oppressed. It is a path that leads to freedom, and a path that is formed by walking. Will you take the first step?

wispy cockles currently resides in Richmond VA where he organizez with the Richmond Queer Space Project and spins records with the 215noise crew. He can be contacted at 120 w marshall st or by e-mailing  wispy@defenestrator.org

creation v destruction... 07.Sep.2003 13:04

x

i think it's interesting that the other two posts about rape got a million and a half comments. i guess it is true that it's much easier to shit-talk and destroy things than it is to build something else...but unless we can figure out how to PREVENT these things from happening in the first place, and unless we can create a culture in which people WANT TO DEAL WITH THEIR SHIT, i supposed we are doomed to keep have these gender wars.......

i would like to see males honestly considering their socialization. i would like to see them talk to eachother about it. these are conversations i can't have with them, because i can never understand what it is to grow up being told not to cry, just as they cannot understand what it is to not be able to walk alone without having strangers comment on and stare at their bodies. i want to see more women trying to explain that to men, and i want to see men telling us what it feels like to have to "be a man".

people need to talk about sex more...well, maybe not more, but differently. not gossip...but maybe honest discussions of desire. and fear. and body issues. and power dynamics. and their histories of being raped. and their histories of being unsure of the other person's consent. i want to see other people what i have started doing recently- contacting the other person/people and discussing those incidents where you were unsure on consent. i've found in my own life that whatever happens in a potentially abusive situation, what happens immediately after is almost as important as what happened in the first place. does the person realize what just happened? do they ask you about it? apologize? NEVER DO IT AGAIN?
or does it fester for months? does it keep you awake at night? does it ruin your relationship or your ability to have sex with that person or other people?

and when it comes to these "calling out" situations, are we keeping in mind that the end result should be a stronger, healthier community? how do we check our own human desire to make life hell for someone? or is that appropriate sometimes? when?

Question for Loki 07.Sep.2003 14:59

heimdallr

For the most part, your suggestions look good, but you seem to operating on the assumption that there is no such thing as a false accusation of sexual abuse or aggression. Is there, in your opinion, a way for someone to behave respectfully toward an accuser despite harboring doubts about the validity of an accusation. Or is any skepticism or reservation of judgment considered "male denial"? I'm in all honesty merely curious.

not loki but... 07.Sep.2003 16:11

be careful

be careful in grabbing onto the idea of false accusations. yes, it happens, but it is rare.

think of it this way....there are a VERY limited number of circumstances in which ANYONE would want to wreck their life the way one's life gets wrecked when you go public with an accusation. your sexual history is the topic of everyone's conversation. your sanity is publicly questioned. lines are drawn in the sand and people are asked to take sides. it' s not exactly a party.


more likely is that one party feels hurt and violated while the other honestly never intended such a thing to happen. maybe communication was absent, maybe people were drunk, maybe they were partners and just doing what they always did (but this time it was different because one person did not want to).

one of the many scary things about assault and violating people's boundries is that it is possible to do so without even being aware, or only becoming aware after the fact.

i wouldn't exactly say that asking questions or having doubts is "male denial"- but i would think long and hard about WHY those doubts are there. is the accused your friend (my friends have been accused-sometimes i see it, sometimes i don't)? if so remember that everyone has many sides of themselves and what you know of this person is but one aspect of them. everyone has an ugly side, everyone has a selfish side. do you think the survivor in question is crazy? if so, ask yourself where that comes from. ask yourself if it really matters if they ARE crazy- EVERYONE can be assaulted. do you think the accusation stems from vindictiveness? ask yourself if maybe you have the order wrong- that the anger and hostility could be the RESULT off having been assault, not the CAUSE of making accusations. and finally; are you looking at the situation and thinking about how you would feel and react, then judging the survivor for not feeling and reacting the same (for example, people have said that Rich Mackin's survivors should not have felt violated by what he did)? remember that it's not your call. everyone has a past that affects their present. sometimes events trigger past abuses, and what would not freak me out will destroy another. remember that everyone has their own boundaries and noone deserves to have them violated. remember that nothing exists in a vacuum, and there is no way to separate the female experience in general (men staring at your tits instead of looking you in the eye. strangers grabbing your body inappropriately at shows. 12 year old boys yelling "bitch" at you for no reason. always looking behind you when you walk alone at night....etc etc) from the experience of the moment.

it's good to ask questions, but i would encourage you to also ask questions like "why would this survivor feel this way?" "what are the differences in socialization and life experience that make me feel i wouldn't react like that?"

and when it comes down to it, to remember that no matter what anyone wants to call it, and regardless of what happened, if someone is being called out, someone else has invariably been hurt deeply.

people's experiences of assault is subjective 07.Sep.2003 16:45

Loki

To add to what Be Careful said, i would like to emphasis that people's experiences of sexual assault is subjective. Whilst one partner may think they're engaging in consensual sex, their lover may be experiencing it differently. This society encourages men to think that (on the most part) women are always open to, and desirous of, sex. Especially if they are wearing 'revealing clothing', are sharing a bed with them, cuddling with them, in a relationship with them...the best way to make sure that sex is 100% consensual is to ask before moving to another level of intimacy (ie going from cuddling to kissing, from kissing to touching breasts/cunts/cocks etc.) This can be done in really sexy or romantic ways. It can also be done in ways that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsure about saying no (like if you are being aggressive, if one of you is drunk, if they are relying on you to get them home or give them a place to stay). Consent is something that is freely (in all senses of the word) given.
I think the focus on false accusations is dangerous. Personally, i don't like the term, i don't even like the use of the term 'rape accusation' in general; because it implies that the accusation can be proved 'true' or 'false' by looking at evidence. Someone's story of rape is their truth, their reality. Which often clashes with the reality of the perpetrator. But since these realities are influenced by patriarchal society, i believe that in order to help dismantle patriarchal oppression we need to support the reality of the person who is sharing their experience of rape. Even if it does not fit within our experiences of the rape perpetrator.

We live in a rape culture which we must fight against 07.Sep.2003 16:52

GRINGO STARS

Think about the responses to the calling out of perpetrators in earlier threads:

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271150.shtml
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271109.shtml
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/08/269157.shtml

See the responses? Many very doubtful responses, and many of those essentially blaming the victim, as the saying goes. Despite the fact that these posts were made in order to protect women (in these cases) that might fall prey to these perpetrators. What does someone gain by making a "false accusation?" Nothing. Except for the supposedly "progressive" community's scorn, abuse, distrust and mockery.

Male privilege is a real aspect of our culture, which is a rape culture. Since a survivor gains nothing but their name smeared when they call out the person who raped them, it can be seen that the "progressive" community has a lot of progressing to do. Yes, survivors must be believed. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say you've been violated. These survivors who call out perpetrators are doing so for the safety of the community. Doubt of survivors is a real side-effect of male privilege and rape culture. Survivor-doubting is acting in solidarity with rape culture and with cops.

Even the fact that these calling-out posts (which have *way more* comments than anything else on the thread, and are original compositions instead of cut-and-paste reposts) are not featured makes me question the current editorial bent of the Portland IMC. I know; I should attend the saturday meetings instead of complaining. But it speaks to how little importance sexual assault is accorded even within the activist community, and how entrenched rape culture and male privilege are, even amongst self-proclaimed "progressives."

If you harbor doubts about a survivor's word, ask yourself why you doubt her/him. And realise it's not up to you to judge whether the survivor is lying. Your doubt might consist of "Well I wasn't there, so I can't be sure" - and you are right. You can't be sure the accuser is lying, so educate yourself about why you see fit to give in to the cop in your own head.

10 things men can do to stop rape:
 http://www.mensresourcecenter.org/article_rapeissues.html

Roughly speaking, a rape culture is one in which:

1. rape and other forms of violence against women are common;

2. rape and other forms of violence against women are tolerated (in that prevalence is high while arrest, prosecution, and conviction rates for the crime are low);

3. victim-blaming and racist myths of rape and other forms of violence against women are commonplace;

4. images of rape and other forms of violence against women abound;

5. images of sex and violence are intertwined; and

6. women do not enjoy full legal, economic, and social equality with men.

 http://research.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/rapeculture.html

Challenging Rape Culture:
 http://research.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/rapeculture.html

What does someone gain by making a "false accusation?" 07.Sep.2003 20:12

-

Many people are irrational and/or do irrational things for various reasons. The simply truth is that women have made "false accusations" in the past -- some had reasons and others didn't. We should always be conscious of that possibility. Who knows Gringo, you may be blaming the wrong "victim". Act with caution. That's all that's being asked.

nice stereotyping, "-" 07.Sep.2003 21:41

GRINGO STARS

Your stereotyping propaganda of "hysterical women" is typical of those who defend rape culture. After all, they're all nuts, right? *Incredibly* rare is the instance where a "false accusation" is made. Of those that get to court, less than 2 percent are deemed by professional authoritarians (who are quite keen on upholding "mens' rights") to be "false accusations," and of those, given society's prejudices, who knows if they really are or are not "false?" Sometimes things are so very rare as to be ignorable. Maybe you *might* have quintuplets, but don't plan your whole pregnancy around that possibility. The full weight of the establishment and society at large defends mens' rights in this matter, and even finds its way, like psychological-second-hand-smoke, into "progressive" communities that seem to be much more interested in mens' rights than survivors' rights. Of the instances reported on here on IndyMedia, I have been quite cautious enough.

Hellish, isn't it? 07.Sep.2003 21:41

-

"In my experience as a criminal defense attorney, I've found that false 'acquaintance rape' and 'date rape' accusers tend to fall into two rough categories.

First, there are those who seek revenge against the accused: the jilted lover, disgruntled employee, or custody-seeking ex. Their reason for wanting to cause harm to the accused is transparent. Fortunately, that usually means it is also easily exposed to both judge and jury.

Second, there are those who seek not to annihilate another's reputation, but instead to preserve their own - albeit at another's expense. Some are young women who are trying to cover up, to their parents, the fact that they are already sexually active. Others are men or women in relationships who are trying to cover up, to their partners, that they have committed an infidelity."

[from  http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20030811_spilbor.html ]

"According to a study conducted by Eugene Kanin of Purdue University, the correct figure may rise to the 40 percent range. Kanin examined 109 rape complaints registered in a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987. Of these, 45 were ultimately classified by the police as 'false.' Also based on police records, Kanin determined that 50 percent of the rapes reported at two major universities were 'false.'"

[from  http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0722.html ]

"But Allison and Wrightsman weren't so unequivocal. Noting that the frequency of false rape reports is difficult to assess, they didn't do their own study; instead they looked at a synthesis of research findings from a 1979 book, Understanding the Rape Victim, by Sedelle Katz and Mary Ann Mazur. Katz and Mazur, it turns out, had reviewed studies dating back to 1956 that showed the frequency of unfounded and false rape reports ranging from a low of 1 percent to a high of 25 percent. Allison and Wrightsman simply chose the study that showed 2 percent."

[from  http://archives.cjr.org/year/97/6/rape.asp ]

"Women may lie about consensual sex, calling it rape. But men may also lie about rape, calling it consensual sex. Thus, every accusation must be treated with respect without losing sight of the fact the line between rape and consent may be fine. Each complaint needs to be judged only on the basis of full and unbiased discovery of facts, and every defendant is, and must be, presumed innocent until proven otherwise."

[from  http://www.backlash.com/book/rape3.html ]

Some facts about rape and false accusation:
 http://www.ncfm.org/fact1.htm

those are very weak sources, "-" 07.Sep.2003 23:09

GRINGO STARS

Your first link is a defense of Kobe Bryant in the corporate news. Gee, how surprising (not).

 http://www.ncfm.org/
"The National Coalition of Free Men" has a disgusting call out to "STOP CEDAW (Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women)" and is horrified that "civilian men in AFGHANISTAN have been brutalized,
while governments fight for women's rights." Horrors!
It's a neandrathal site that defends men because women oppress them.

 http://www.backlash.com/
has a hotlinks section which says it all. Bill O'Reilly factor. Arnold for governmor. Gross. Another site defending men from evil oppressive women.

 http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/
"Ifeminists" is the auxiliary site for the mens' movement. They are pseudofeminists that agree with everything typical conservatives do, including a libertarian-style celebration of pornography and prostitution. Gee, how feminist of them to support rape culture by continuing to objectify women and support unchecked capitalism. Much like the CIA funding of the "parallel left," this is a so-called "individualist feminist" site which actively defends the male status quo.

The Columbia Journalism Review site explains how ALL "false accusation" statistics come up short, statistically speaking. Which is typical, because all statistics are incomplete by nature.

As always, it seems that corporate media is working overtime to keep rape culture intact. I have a hard time taking sites seriously when they have articles such as "Feminism Exposed: Our Blindness to Feminine Evil" and constantly bemoan the "overwhelming power" women in society have, and constantly abuse.

Bias 08.Sep.2003 10:30

-

Are those sources any more biased than you? Most of us have a hard time taking you serious.

ALL sources are biased, but your sexist sites are heavily biased *against women* 08.Sep.2003 11:15

GRINGO STARS

Your sources are corporate defenders of rape culture. Sources that claim that women are in control both socially and politically are sources that have little to do with reality. Because women are NOT in control either socially or politically. And when you say "Most of us have a hard time taking you seriously" it is not surprising, given the fact that you cite anti-feminist sites, and that "most of you" believe women are powerful arbiters of society/politics, which is totally not the case. I would say that most of the IMC readership would identify as feminists rather than anti-feminists. It is a real problem that the sexist sites you link to deny that any oppression of women is happening in society. Admitting the problem is the first step to a solution, but those misogynist sites actually go so far as to say that women have *too much* power? Try freerepublic.com - they'll swallow your propaganda whole, without questions.

Old Habits Remain Depply Imbedded -- Gringo the Oppressor 08.Sep.2003 16:04

James

I've been avoiding these threads, since I have nothing more to offer other than what I said previously, in the Rich Mackin thread. But I have been reading, and I just want to point out an observation.

Gringo is an oppressive hypocrite.

In all these threads over the past few days, Gringo immediately jumps in, launching into strangely vitriolic diatribes. He suffocates the free thought of everyone else in the thread, labelling anyone who dares to post the slightest admonition a cog in rape culture, or else stuck deeply in "male denial."

From my perspective, it seems you face an interesting conundrum. It's plain that there's a problem in your community, because many have been hurt. But what to do? The judicial system is fucked, that much we know. In the activist community especially, it's understandable that victims would not want to goto the cops. They don't want to be investigated themselves, or perhaps they disagree fundamentally with the concept of inprisonment.

So maybe these threads are helpful. If you don' want to goto the police, for whatever reason, but you do want to do something, this is about the best thing I can think of to do.

But people will naturally want to ask questions when they're presented with such an accusation. Because they need to understand the degree of the charge being levied, especially if they're involved with the community.

But none of that can be discussed with Gringo around. He flies in and suppresses any discussion. You're a sick pervert interested only in getting-off on sordid sexual details if you ask what happened.

And like Gringo says, false accusations are infrequent. I'm sure that's true enough, but unfortunately it doesn't matter. Even if a false accusation had never once occurred, you'd still need to question it. For obvious reasons.

Sometimes there is no good solution to a problem. I think it'd be an interesting discussion of what makes people do the things we do in the first place. But once whatever happens has happened, the harm has been done. Going public with an accusation undoubtedly makes things worse for the victim, which is why they are brave. But the questions asked of them, while maybe intrusive and harmful, are only harmful as an extension of the original attack. It's the perpetrator who causes the harm; not those who seek clarification.

So stop oppressing thought, Gringo. It's fine that you're trying to educate people -- I may have learned a thing or two from these past threads. But stop labelling everyone a male denier, and instead actually address the accusations and questions put forth.

bravo, James 08.Sep.2003 16:38

SCH

I seldom comment on the threads, for the same reason I rarely throw gasoline on a fire. But you've summed up my feelings on the entire series of endless-loop rape threads with your last comment. Congratulations.

Now, prepared to get your ass flamed off...

I' am in solidarity with survivors - and nothing more or less than that 08.Sep.2003 17:10

GRINGO STARS

I am not suppressing any discussion. Each of my comments are responding to this or that concern. If I suppress anything, yes - it is rape culture and the hold it has on so many people. My vitriol against rape culture stems from personally knowing how survivors are affected by sexual assault, and my vitriol is well placed. It's difficult to see yourself as "part of the problem" but everyone, including me, has to deal with this eventually if they haven't already.

The calling out of a rapist is done for the benefit of the survivors' healing process. As I've said repeatedly this is not about retribution or imprisonment but done so that the survivor can help other women be safer and make well-informed decisions - it is therapeutic for the survivor in many ways. I act as an ally of survivors in order to facilitate their getting on with their lives. I will not divulge any details surrounding any sexual assaults without the express consent of the survivor concerned. The details do not matter. What matters is that the survivor has been raped. To question or demand details is not supportive or healthy to the survivor. To assume that there is no real damage is to dictate how a survivor should feel, and to force them to re-experience a very, very stressful experience is also extremely counter-productive. In these cases, all the perpetrators have admitted to wrongdoing YET run away and avoid responsibility for their own actions and try to cover up what they have done for skethcy, selfish reasons. The fact that these particular assaults have or have not happened has not been a question.

Why do people need to understand what James calls "the degree of the charge being levied?" The fact is that the survivors have been violated and hurt, and they say so. To dig deeper for unnecessary, embarrassing, personal details is to further violate and hurt them, which is the last thing that they need. Those who "seek clarification" are doing extra work on the behalf of the perpetrator by further violating and harming the survivors' sense of privacy and individuality; what was stolen from them in the first place. To go public about being sexually assaulted is one of the bravest things a human can do, because you will be second-guessed and invalidated at every turn by those who want "clarification" at the expense of the survivors' already-precarious sense of well-being.

I am not oppressing thought at all. I am encouraging thought. New modes of thought must be adopted to defeat the rape culture that everyone, women included, are indoctrinated into from an early age. I am directly addressing the calling out of rapists by standing in solidarity with all survivors, who have historically remained silent precisely because of the oppressive police state mentality we have all suffered under. Certain modes of thought actually perpetuate rape simply by totally disrespecting survivors' rights and giving admitted perpetrators "the benefit of the doubt." I'm not "labeling" those who haven't yet dealt with their own male privilege as "stuck in male denial" but I will always point out when peoples' behaviour knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate rape culture. Whether or not they become defensive is a question of their ego, and I can do little about that. There is no "gentle" way to point out when someone is acting harmfully. Far from "suppressing all discussion," I am pleased to see this problem finally being seriously addressed on IndyMedia.


The following is written by Robert Jensen and explains how rape culture is ingrained in everyone:
CHALLENGING RAPE CULTURE


It is not surprising that we want to separate ourselves from those who commit hideous crimes, to believe that the abominable things some people do are the result of something evil inside them.

But most of us also struggle with a gnawing feeling that however pathological those brutal criminals are, they are of us-part of our world, shaped by our culture.

Such is the case of Richard Marc Evonitz, a "sexually sadistic psychopath," in the words of one expert, who abducted, raped, and killed girls in Virginia and elsewhere. What are the characteristics of a sexually sadistic psychopath? According to a former FBI profiler who has studied serial killers: "A psychopath has no ability to feel remorse for their crimes. They tend to justify what they do as being OK for them. They have no appreciation for the humanity of their victims. They treat them like objects, not human beings."

Such a person is, without question, cruel and inhuman. But aspects of that description fit not only sexually sadistic psychopaths; slightly modified, it also describes much "normal" sex in our culture.

Look at mass-marketed pornography, with estimated sales of $10 billion a year in the United States, consumed primarily by men: It routinely depicts women as sexual objects whose sole function is to sexually satisfy men and whose own welfare is irrelevant as long as men are satisfied.

Consider the $52-billion-a-year worldwide prostitution business: Though illegal in the United States (except in Nevada), that industry is grounded in the presumed right of men to gain sexual satisfaction with no concern for the physical and emotional costs to women and children.

Or, simply listen to what heterosexual women so often say about their male sexual partners: He only seems interested in his own pleasure. He isn't emotionally engaged with me as a person. He treats me like an object.

To point all this out is not to argue that all men are brutish animals or sexually sadistic psychopaths. Instead, these observations alert us to how sexual predators are not mere aberrations in an otherwise healthy sexual culture.

In the contemporary United States, men generally are trained in a variety of ways to view sex as the acquisition of pleasure by the taking of women. Sex is a sphere in which men are trained to see themselves as naturally dominant and women as naturally passive. Women are objectified and women's sexuality is turned into a commodity that can be bought and sold. Sex becomes sexy because men are dominant and women are subordinate.

Again, the argument is not that all men believe this or act this way, but that such ideas are prevalent in the culture, transmitted from adult men to boys through direct instruction and modeling, by peer pressure among boys, and in mass media. They were the lessons I learned growing up in the 1960s and '70s, and if anything such messages are more common and intense today.

The predictable result of this state of affairs is a culture in which sexualized violence, sexual violence, and violence-by-sex are so common that they should be considered normal. Not normal in the sense of healthy or preferred, but an expression of the sexual norms of the culture, not violations of those norms. Rape is illegal, but the sexual ethic that underlies rape is woven into the fabric of the culture.

None of these observations excuse or justify sexual abuse. Although some have argued that men are naturally sexually aggressive, feminists have long held that such behaviors are learned, which is why we need to focus not only on the individual pathologies of those who cross the legal line and abuse, rape, and kill, but on the entire culture.

Those who find this analysis outrageous should consider the results of a study of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses. Researchers found that 47 percent of the men who had raped said they expected to engage in a similar assault in the future, and 88 percent of men who reported an assault that met the legal definition of rape were adamant that they had not raped. That suggests a culture in which many men cannot see forced sex as rape, and many have no moral qualms about engaging in such sexual activity on a regular basis.

The language men use to describe sex, especially when they are outside the company of women, is revealing. In locker rooms one rarely hears men asking about the quality of their emotional and intimate experiences. Instead, the questions are: "Did you get any last night?" "Did you score?" "Did you f-- her?" Men's discussions about sex often use the language of power: control, domination, the taking of pleasure.

When I was a teenager, I remember boys joking that an effective sexual strategy would be to drive a date to a remote area, turn off the car engine, and say, "OK, f-- or fight." I would not be surprised to hear that boys are still regaling each other with that "joke."

So, yes, violent sexual predators are monsters, but not monsters from another planet. What we learn from their cases depends on how willing we are to look not only into the face of men such as Evonitz, but also to look into the mirror, honestly, and examine the ways we are not only different but, to some degree, the same.

Such self-reflection, individually and collectively, does not lead to the conclusion that all men are sexual predators or that nothing can be done about it. Instead, it should lead us to think about how to resist and change the system in which we live. This feminist critique is crucial not only to the liberation of women but for the humanity of men, which is so often deformed by patriarchy.

Solutions lie not in the conservatives' call for returning to some illusory "golden age" of sexual morality, a system that was also built on the subordination of women. The task is to incorporate the insights of feminism into a new sexual ethic that does not impose traditional, restrictive sexual norms on people but helps creates a world based on equality, not dominance, in which men's pleasure does not require women's subordination.

 http://www.mensresourcecenter.org/article_challengingrape.html

Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and coauthor of
Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality.
A complete archive of his articles is available at
 http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Erjensen/freelance/freelance.htm

A brief response 08.Sep.2003 17:50

James

"Why do people need to understand what James calls 'the degree of the charge being levied?'"

Because some assaults are crimes of violence. Others are abuses of trust. They are different, and in as much as they are, so should they be treated. For some perpetrators, perhaps honest and open talking will effect change. For others, perhaps they should be avoided altogether.

I think what you need to keep in mind, Gringo, is that "standing in solidarity with the survivors" is the easy-out. It's the idealistic solution that everyone could easily choose, and thus keep the moral high ground. Choose to always believe the accuser over the accused, lest you have reason to doubt them. It takes no great paradigm shift in thinking; everyone would want to take such a position.

If the claims are truthful, as they almost always will be, you were supportive and helpful, and can feel good about yourself. You didn't further abuse the victims; you helped and supported them.

If the claims were less than truthful, well that's not your fault. It's the fault of the accuser, you were merely offering your support and help.

If that accurately sums up your thought process, I think you need to re-examine whether you're helping the situation, or whether your actions are merely reactionary, with the potential to cause much harm.

The only real solution 08.Sep.2003 20:59

Pumice

Castration is the only real solution to these problems. I am amazed from reading the comments on this thread and others how these perpetrators/abusers/rapists really suffer no punishment for their behavior.

Nullification as a solution to rape 08.Sep.2003 21:09

James

Not a bad idea.

Unfortunately, it's also a solution to human reproduction.

Indeed, Gringo Stars, as you say, “nice stereotyping,” 09.Sep.2003 03:25

hmmm

Your bringing up the phrase "hysterical women" is certainly a good one. (Is your intention to stereotype women or people who discuss rape issues with you?)

"Sometimes things are so very rare as to be ignorable." I've heard that one before. (In regard to speaking of my father's physical abuse at the hands of my mother, I was told it was an irrelevant observation because it's so rare.) How are we to learn how common or rare something is if we're not allowed to discuss it? (I've also been told that gay male pornography is irrelevant to the statement that "All pornography demeans women". I wasn't told why it's irrelevant; I can only assume it's because gay males are irrelevant.)

I would think that ten or thirty or a hundred years ago, false accusations of rape were extremely rare. I would also think that, as coming forth as a victim of rape becomes more common and less stigmatizing of the victim, it also becomes easier for confused or unscrupulous individuals to accuse others of it falsely. Fortunately, I've never been accused of raping a woman - only of being a misogynist, by true believers of a particular women-as-victims party line.

I perceive Gringo Stars as being in solidarity with people who have a victim-mentality. Victims and survivors deserve rational, compassionate support and defense. "Survivors" (those with a positive self-image) would surely not want to stereotype all accussed, or all men, or all who try to dialogue rationally.

hysterical-patriarchal Gringo 09.Sep.2003 12:05

Doc

The problem seems to be that the accusers deny the information that would give the readers the ability to judge these situations for themselves, or think for themselves. Such accusations that lack information but still call for action are naturally suspicious. How the psuedo-feminists have missed this is beyond me. Gringo serves as the perfect hysterical-patriarchal guardian to this lack of information with his stereotyping of those wanting more information as sick and perverted, or "doing extra work on the behalf of the perpetrator." Thanks, Gringo. Keep dominating these threads with your big dick.

In response to "hmmm":

Most anti-porn feminists will consider gay porn as demeaning to women because it supposedly has men playing submissive (hence female) roles. Of course, this is all horseshit. There has never been any proof that pornography has any connection to violence against women. The anti-porn (or should we say "anti-sex") feminists tried and tried to provide proof, but failed. Of course, pornography can, like any other commodity, disrupt the consumer's sex life and sometimes replace it, but most people use pornography to enhance their sex lives, not to replace them. Pornography is one of those rare commodities worth buying because it has the power to inspire. For more read Pat Califia, Carol Queen, Susie Bright, Whores and Other Feminists (ed. Jill Nagle), Defending Pornography (ed. Nadine Strossen), etc.