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All men are responsible for stopping male violence against women

ALL men, both violent and non-violent, must be held responsible for stopping male violence against women. Violent men must stop assaulting women.
Non-violent men must not sit by and allow male violence against women to continue. Their inaction-or indifference- is passive male violence against women.
All men are responsible for stopping male violence against women
by Utopia Bold

Men may feel unease when male violence against women is addressed including non-violent men. However, all men, both violent and non-violent, must be held responsible for stopping male violence against women. Violent men must stop assaulting women. Non-violent men must not sit by and allow male violence against women to continue.
Their inaction-or indifference- is passive male violence against women.
Women, who outnumber men, are the single largest group of oppressed humans on the planet. Men have oppressed women nonstop for the longest length of time of any oppressed group, more than 5,000 years (The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler).
In Bob Herbert's 10/16/06 New York Times article "Why aren't we shocked?" he wrote, "We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected." A woman once told me that dealing with male violence "was just part of being a woman!
I don't understand why many people-especially women-resist holding all men responsible for male violence against women. Here are some popular evasions:
1. "Not all men are violent" No one said they were. Since men collectively hold more power than women, non-violent men are still responsible for stopping male violence against women.
2. "Women are violent too" Two wrongs don't make a right. Also, female violence pales in comparison to male violence. Men commit 88 percent of violent crime (US Bureau of Justice statistics). Women don't build rape camps to torture and molest men to death. Women don't control the U.S. government which spends half a trillion dollars a year on mass murder (war). Globally, women can't walk alone without the possibility of men assaulting them. The reverse is not true.
Even though some women may collaborate with patriarchal men to gain power (Condi Rice, Margaret Thatcher etc.) it doesn't change the fact that patriarchal men are in charge and allow selected token "henchwomen" into the boys club-if they act like patriarchal men.
3. The absent referent The "absent referent" refers to something without naming it. Mary Daly in her book Quintessence notes that the agents of rape are men. "Naming the agent is required for an adequate analysis of atrocities," said Daly.
Timid language ("sexual violence," "domestic violence" "gender-based violence," and "violence") don't name men as the perpetrators. Even Amnesty International, which calls it "a global scourge," uses the term "violence against women" instead of "male violence against women." ( http://web.amnesty.org/actforwomen/index-eng).
4. Men also rape men and boys This does not change the fact that in every nation on earth, in all levels of society, men rape women. Rape is a male hate crime against women. Men who rape women have contempt for women and want to degrade them. Even when men rape males, contempt for women is the underlying issue. A man rapes a man to degrade him by treating him like a raped woman, an object of contempt.
5. The duality argument Supposedly, opposing something directly "gives it more power." If racism and sexism were not opposed directly in the U.S., blacks would still be slaves and women would still be men's property, unable to vote, own a business or keep their own wages. If the Nazis were not opposed directly, they would now run the world.
6. Passive grammar Instead of the active voice (men raped the women), the passive voice (women were raped by men) shifts the focus from the perpetrators and their actions (men doing the raping) to their victims (the women being raped).
7. "Boys will be boys" Patriarchal cultures promote "nature over nurture" (biological determinism). Supposedly, men are "naturally violent." This legitimizes and perpetuates war and men's abuse of women. Abnormal violent "manhood" is regarded as the norm.
Men are naturally peaceful. Archaeological evidence shows men enjoyed and maintained 1,500 years of peace in ancient Crete! It's proven today by many non-violent men. It takes traumatic conditioning to make men violent. "Military training camps, police academies and even some self-defense pros are constantly searching for more effective methods of suppressing the human revulsion to taking human life." - The Science of Creating Killers  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/13/INGKFKDJHC1.DTL
7. "Societies were always patriarchal and men have always dominated women"
Marija Gimbutas, the world renowned archaeologist who wrote Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe unearthed relics that prove men didn't always dominate women and that women and men once shared power in non-patriarchal Goddess worshipping societies. Riane Eisler's book The Chalice and the Blade cites many more instances proving this.

Kinds of Male Violence against women
Modern patriarchal cultures are maintained by contempt for and abuse of women. Male violence against women in the media, men's requirement for emaciated super models and life threatening cosmetic surgery, mandated pregnancy in most nations, and billions spent on violent degrading pornography confirm this. Feeling contempt for women makes it easier for violent men to abuse them.

Illogical 04.Dec.2006 19:13

@

Why am I responsible for all individuals with an XY chromosome combination? Are you responsible for the ill actions of every woman? For example, there are many stories in the media about mothers murdering their children. Are all women responsible for this or will you just invent a reason why, in fact, all men are responsible for this too?

I am a male with a wife and a daughter. I see my role in life as protecting and providing for my wife and daughter. Am I to drop those responsibilities because YOU think I should be spending my time liberating each and every woman who chose an asshole for a mate? What do you think my wife's position on this would be? I am certain that she would rather me spend my time and energy protecting and supporting her.

Grow up!

all women responsible for female against men violence? 04.Dec.2006 19:28

yikes . . !

It happens. Mothers beat children. Larger women push around smaller men. And that's not to mention the cruelty that women cause to each other. The premise of this, and other similar Feminist rants, is that there is something unique about women and that there is something special about men. I

In order for Utopia to make his/her point, (s)he must make us believe that woman are only victims and that they can not act violently. While Men can not be violated. Utopia is of course making a highly sexist argument, which is by definition both ignorant and arogant.

Suprisingly, our own collective spirit for violence non-prejudicial in its self. It ignores gender (as mentioned above), ethnicity, ecconomic and political beliefs. Not to mention religous afiliaton. For example, both Europeans and Asians have operated death camps, the poor have pogroms while Fascists and Communists have generated murderous dictators.


How about we all take a crack at all violence instead of our pet peeve? You know, have EVERY PERSON COME TO GRIPS WITH THEIR OWN VIOLENT HEART.

Let them learn to fight 04.Dec.2006 19:35

Lloyd Hart dadapop@dadapop.com

I've always been an advocate of all women learning marshall arts and weapons training.

missing the point 04.Dec.2006 19:54

ronalso

Um, I don't think the author of the post is trying to essentialize gender and make only women victims. S/he clearly, in fact, acknowledges that men and women both behave violently. S/he then explicates how males and females are different as perpetrators and as "victims"--and uses basic statistical data to support this claim.

I also don't think the author suggested that by being responsible for men's violence, one must stop being responsible within their chosen family unit.

I think the author is pointing out that as long as men, who undeniably hold institutional power world wide, refuse to conside male violence against women for what it is institutionally, it will not end. Thus, the only way to end it is to act to end it. Some of the ways you can do this is to interrupt it/question it/acknowledge it whenever you see it happen. Individual women who are subjected to violence need you to do this. It doesn't require much effort at all. It does require, however, a belief that women deserving of respect and safety equal to men.

Refusing to stand against male violence against women, at the author of the posts is encouraging, is basically one more way you, as men or women, can devalue women.

hmmm. 04.Dec.2006 19:58

fireweed

Y'all seem to be missing a point here.

The point is that it takes ALL OF US to change an aspect of cultural behavior.

Men do not have a better life than women in this culture. Men's lives need consideration as well.

Men do have more economic and political status than women, and societally, this results in greater ability to beat up on, and sexually assault, women and kids to get emotional needs met that MIGHT WELL BE MET if men & women had a more status-equal relationship. One way of getting thevrelationship status-equal is changing the culture of domestic violence.

None of this means that it's fun to be a man in today's world.

The point I would like people to take from this author's article is that tactics that represent the best of "both/and" instead of "either/or" solutions will result in more lasting and broad-based change.

The point I got from y'all's responses was that men would like women's collaboration as well. On what? On the issues y'all mentioned? Can we begin learning about each other's needs, instead of leaping into another round of the oppression olympics?

Please fill in the blanks: I would work on domestic violence if _____________. I would not work on it now, quite yet, because __________________.

It's an online forum. The worst you'll get is flamed.

WTF@@@#?? 04.Dec.2006 20:01

Mother of Sam

I'm all for reducing volence, but who do you think raises these "violent men"? Mostly women. It's silly to reduce it to a problem of one gender. We live in a complex violent world. It's everyone's problem. While I asume you are female, what other categories do you fall in? Do you accept equal responsibility for the crap perpetrated on the rest of the world by the government you live under? If so, apply your own logic, and tell me what steps you are personally taking to fuly address and atone for that....or in the alternative, does it feel a little strange, unfair, ...? Are you following a peaceful path but lumped into a larger society you cannot control, if so, are you less responsible or equally responsible for the things your government does?

Fair enough, but will women start organizing themselves?... 04.Dec.2006 20:02

Pravda or Consequences

You will need to convince many women who let themselves be blind to the belligerence of men to stop supporting them.

The world will never hand you a mature, nurturing, enlightened society to live in.

I am serious, announce the next meeting with a plan that works and I will be there.

women have responsibility too 04.Dec.2006 21:30

a woman

"Women don't control the U.S. government which spends half a trillion dollars a year on mass murder (war). Globally, women can't walk alone without the possibility of men assaulting them. The reverse is not true."

In the USA, women can vote - but do most? In the USA, women can choose not to fill the corporate coffers that fuel the need for militaristic actions globally to protect those same corporate coffers - but do most?

I am a woman and I have walked alone in the USA and in many countries, day or night. Possibilities always exist - a tree could choose to fall and strike me down, but just because the possibility exists doesn't mean I choose to hide out of fear. I walk with awareness wherever I am.

While not the majority, the fact exists that women also commit rape. Every person has a responsibility towards acts of violence. It is not gender specific.

I believe if you do some research, you will find that men are more apt to be assaulted violently by more than one person than a woman is...you've heard the phrase "let's fuck him up" - it doesn't just exist in the movies

Violence against another is never acceptable.

let the excuses continue 04.Dec.2006 22:04

Utopia Bold

"Women are violent too"
"Men also have it rough"
"I dont have to be responsible for other men being violent against women
I protect my family so I'm not responsible for other mens violence"etc etc etc

I addressed all these evasions and excuses.

Lets all keep on tiptoeing around the elephant in the living room (global male violence against women) and passively allow it to continue. It's only been going on for 5,000 years. Hey, its tradition.

"A woman" changed the subject and tells how tough men have it. (So why dont you start battered mens shelters?)

I stand by my belief that ALL men are responsible for stopping MALE violence against women just as ALL whites in the US are responsible for ending racism, since both these groups hold power. Silence is complicity.

I dont expect everyone to have the GUTS of the men who ARE opposing MALE violence against women. Do a google search and many mens anti male violence groups will be found. At least these guys are DOING something instead of just making excuses and legitimizing MALE violence against women.

This is Not a Way to Build Unity 04.Dec.2006 23:38

Verdant

While I do agree with the statements you make, Utopia, I take issue with a couple of things:

1. Your article is incredibly inflammatory. Yes, it's important to set the issue straight as far as the realities of male violence, but it's done in such a way that it practically begs a reactionary response from your target. While you may argue that you have the right to such ire, and you do have that right, using that right in this way's not going to get you any friends, and instead helps perpetuate the breakdown of communication that allows this sort of violence to occur with no moral repercussion. I'm not saying lower yourself, or bow down, or anything like that, but demonizing a group breaks unity; it doesn't create it.

2. You offer no solution. You don't even set a standard. I am an activist; I acknowledge that power today is violent, patriarchal, racist and elitist, and I work against it. I work in my life to bring egalitarianism to those I interact with, equally, and I treat my partner with the utmost respect. But because I have no basis to work on in this indictment, all I can see is it being a railing against me, being white and male. I will work to bring every bit the equality I know this world needs and peoples deserve, but I'm not going to do it by debasing myself. Patriarchy is not the sole evil in this world; it is a conglomeration of imbalances that have created the world as we know it. Working directly against male violence is admirably, yes; necessary, definitely; but please don't degrade the other aspects of activism that do take place. They are just as important. Class, the environment, race all are intertwined with gender, and it is intertwined into them as well.

Misogyny, patriarchy and gender are all major issues that need to be addressed, but NOT at the exclusion of all others. It requires a wide net to be cast, to understand the interconnecting issues and address them all, because no one solution exists.

I do share your anger at the gender-biased shit that goes down today, and I want to find a solution, and am trying to. But this article does nothing to "bolster my morale" or even spur me on. It beats me down. And before you say that's just what a male needs, a taste of their own medicine to understand, you said it yourself: Two wrongs don't make a right.

Ridiculous reactionaries fear facing their complicity in White Male domination 05.Dec.2006 00:39

A Man

Sorry boys....you're wrong. The author says that we are responsible for stopping male violence against women. Excuses relating to women committing violence against males is weaker than weak. You need to face the fear and do some hard thinking and research into this issue. Progressive males are guilty of trying to pretend that this is not a fact.
If you think you can handle it...get yourself over to www.stangoff.com and wade into the deep discussions on this issue there. No one is spearheading change with regard to these issues more eloquently than Stan and his female collaborators.
This should be the number one issue for anyone concerned with turning this handbasket around before we all go up in infernal flames. The roots of racial opression start with gender as much as anything. Race is a close second and intimately bound up in this as well.
Every male benefits from the inequalities perpetuated by the system we all participate in. Just as all Americans are responsible for the actions of their government and responsible for stopping the imperial violence. Just as all Whites benefit from the racism implicit in the American Way of Life are responsible for putting an end to it.
This is not about making men feel bad. It's about making them change and speaking up when their fellow males make sexist and racist jokes as a very basic start. We need to change the way we express ourselves, the way we act, and help those around us come to these realizations as well.
The anti-"PC" backlash is a reactionary impulse to retain the advantages we were born into.
Don't be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.
Please copy and paste that link into your browser and take some time to learn. Stop clinging so desperately to the racist and sexist status quo. You may think you know but you have no idea...

Don't let them get you down 05.Dec.2006 00:54

A Man

The article is not inflammatory. Men's delicate sensibilities do not need to be handled with kid gloves. There is nothing in the original article that should offend any male or female reader. Taking offense is a choice. If you choose to find it demoralizing that is your responsiblity as well. The article is talking about actual violence. Words can be a form of violence. Language can perpetuate this violence. Don't stop someone from telling a sexist or racist joke because it offends you. (Taking offense is an act of self importance.) Stop them because it is a means for perpetuating the Dominator Culture. Even if no woman is there to hear the sexist words they will reinforce the sickness that dwells in the listeners consciousness. Laughing will encourage such misbehaviour. Think about why you enjoy such things. Think about ways you can reprogram your own consciousness. Do not attack someone for trying to raise this issue that is so rarely explored even among progressives and Leftists. Don't tell the original writer that she needs to come up with creative and user friendly ways of effecting change. Put your heads together with me and let's all do it collectively and individually.
No, you alone can't change the entire world. We can't each save every victim. We must do what we can though. Then we must do even more...

I appreciate the article 05.Dec.2006 01:33

feminist

Rarely is this type of voice heard. And why must it be shouted down? ( to maintain the status quo?)

I like that you point out that women do not create camps to rape and torture men to death. Get that there is a profound difference here folks?

IT SHOULD BE VERY OBVIOUS TO ANY SANE INDIVIDUAL.

It is not an over played voice, the one that is calling men to stop each others violent behavior. Do you see it on tv? Over represented in popular culture?

No you do not.

One voice on portland indymedia. it is not shocking, not inflamatory.. it is the bone guts truth that men are responsible for a huge chunk of violence. They should take responsibilty for it. Not tolerate it, or encourage it in each other. Fuck survival of the fittest. Fuck competing with each other.

And do not attack a woman for expressing this. It may be one view point she is having within a very complex and mature understanding of many many things. It is one truth amongst many, and one I am very happy to hear. I hear you, I love you sister. You are right.

Utopia Chicken 05.Dec.2006 10:33

Shred Factor 10

Utopia', stereotyping any one demographic for all the responsibility for a serious problem like this is not cool.

You know something, I spent years in a metal band playing hunreds of gigs in seedy locations. Some were just bad areas in LA, Oakland, etc; some were just tough working class bars in Tacoma, Springfield, wherever. There were probably a dozen times over the years when myself, band or crew saw some guy getting violent with a girl. Every time we would step in. That's easy when there is three or four of you to break it up, but I've got in the way of guys much meaner and bigger than me to break up violence against women, and put myself in considerable danger. In some of those situations, I wouldn't have had any more physical ability to defend myself than most women. On one occasion not related to the band, I saw some guy really beating the crap out of a woman outside my apartment and I had to draw down on the guy with my glock to stop it. What if the guy charged me and I had to blow him away to save myself? Would the law have backed me up because I was a man? No, I'd go to jail. I could have been shot by the guy or by a cop showing up, but I did it so this lady wouldn't need major cosmetic surgery.

That is the most direct and personally risky way to stop violence--the ultimate test. So take your prejudice anti-male drivel elsewhere. Do you think 100% of women would get involved in that situation, even if it were just going inside and finding someone to help or by calling the police? Here's a big reality alert for you, apathy transcends gender, race, age, income bracket, and everything else. Your seven points are perfectly valid, but they are hardly supporting premises for your conclusion that "all men are responsible." Rather they represent counter-arguments to challenges to premises that aren't there. However, I do credit you for doing something to get some good discussion going on Indymedia. I miss the days when this site was a much more effective forum for progressive discourse.

Appreciation 05.Dec.2006 12:22

fireweed

And I appreciate this article as well.

Let me be very clear. When I wrote "It's not easy to be a man" I meant only to draw the distinction between "amount of pain" and "amount of power". In my experience, everyone is in pain in this system, no matter how powerful they are.

This in no way changes the fact that it takes everyone to change, and there seem to be far more women & other genders working on domestic & sexual violence than men! Guys, what would it take to realize that what hurts us, hurts you in the long run?

If someone in the activist ranks speaks out about abuse w/in the movement, and if they are for even a moment outside of other people's comfort levels as they do so, the (equally dysfunctional) response has generally been to blame the person (supposedly for how they are doing things rather than what they are doing) and demonize the perpetrator, without even referencing the fact that the signs of abuse were learnable and visible, and that a culture of prevention would require behavioral changes of everyone.

Such as:
* Learning the signs and symptoms of abuse (all too common among us)
* Finding out who is already successful in transforming abuse (for perpetrator, "bystander", and survivor) and learning from them (and yes, Virginia, people and organizations like this do exist in Portland, Eugene, Olympia etc.)
* Learning and perfecting the difference between assertive communication and passive or aggressive communication
* Learning about aversive prejudice and how to transform it within self and others
* Learning how to support and delight in each other more than ever (so that people engaged in these learnings find it easier to keep faith with each other and the process)
* Learning anger management
* Learning how to perform subtle and major interventions (again, learning from the people who already do it well)
* Learning to nonjudgementally listen (an essential skill w/ survivors, perpetrators, and other community members)
* Learning to encourage other people all around us to say "yes" to learning these things and "no" to behaviors associated with the culture of (sidestepping, allowing, ignoring, perpetrating, and putting up with) abuse.

In my experience, when I've learned more about this, I have felt personally far more powerful. In the part of the activist community I used to be involved with, I have felt incredibly lonely, since what I was learning about was considered - by comrades- very "irrelevant" to activism. (!!!!)

I now realize that I didn't take the skills to the whole activist community...and that it's not too late to start.

ALL HUMANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIOLENCE 05.Dec.2006 13:32

Ecotopian Yeti

All humans are responsible for all the violence we do to eachother, to other animals, to plant, to Our Mother Earth and so forth. And violence in not just direct violence we are all especially responsible for the structural violence. The very fact that anyone reading or writing in this thread is using energy or a computer is using resources that cost the lives others be that the exploitation of people for cheap labour; destruction of salmon habitat for cheap hydropower; the use of privilege to have personal computers or a "first-world" lifestyle at the expensive of medical care or basic education or even food for children around the world; being "good little Germans" that passively supports corporate imperialism from the privatization of the Commons and even ownership of the genetic code; by being "little Ikemans" in our doing our civil duties in the face of military imperial actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, covertly in Iran and other conflict zones. We are all responsible including me!

Rape Culture and Revolution 05.Dec.2006 13:50

repost

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Rape Culture and Revolution

This blog was written by my partner and love, Jemma-

Over time, I am coming to see more and more ways in which the greatest thefts from us as people, and the genocides and atrocities of our past, are connected and complicit in perpetuating cycles of violence. This is one step in creating a dialogue about how to change the system and not just the symptoms, of our oppressions.

MY LINE OF MOTHERS

Dropped Eggs in the Kitchen

Eggshells on the floor
For lack of a beginning
Fallen there open
For lack
Of a beginning.
I could start with my
Round smoothness, sharded
But long before even my birth
Was a mother with a face round and hard,
Mine own, yet distant and unknown
Before she was frozen
Landgrabbed and pregnant
Man and captor
Framed in sienna or umber
And her name forgotten, broken connections.
Then there was her daughter
All time a war between patriotism and motherland.
Her duty was silence
Silvery sharp at her neck.
My mother told me her own story
In the rain, and I could smell her tears
The salt was like the parched ground
And this flood was quenching a drought.
It rushed into my ears
And dripped down deep
Like I was bleeding
Like her blood was flowing in my veins.
She had no specifics
But lots of fear
And I never told her
My blood stains a mattress like that.
So, for lack of a beginning
I rant and rave as I walk
Down the sides of streets and conversations
About the cuts of the cords
Vocal silence reflecting on in deep eyes
And for lack of a beginning
I rage at the assumptions
And all the kings horses
And all the kings men
If we all lived unforgotten
I could find a home in my skin
And for lack of a beginning
We could call eachother kin.



The first thing I know about my family besides all those family claims of historical men ("we are related to Robin Hood... to Shakespeare... to French royalty") is the story of my great great grandmother. She was a woman stripped of her name, culture, land, and freedom by the kidnapping, subsequent rape and marriage by a white settler in Montana. They lived on a farm, poor with their gaggle of kids, and I can imagine the burden in her life growing heavier as her world was stripped of hope and future. In the one photograph of her that I have seen, her face reflects mental and physical hardship that I can't even imagine.
Her only daughter went to serve, patriotically, in WW1. I once read her diary, filled with her 18-year-old desire to get out of the farmland and dust of a future of the one room schoolhouse teacher and a marriage of convenience. She left one day for Washington DC. In DC, they would not let her join the nurse corps, because her documentation was questionable, and the state suspected divided loyalties and racial impurity. She was crushed by the rejection, and on her way to the boarding house from that interview a man followed her, grabbed her and dragged her under some bushes where he raped her at knifepoint. A soldier with bright red hair heard her muffled screams and came to her rescue, scaring off the rapist, and soon after she married the soldier. "Never again" she wrote, "will I be without a husband's protection".
Her daughter was my grandmother, who was abused by her father, that very same hero, now an alcoholic. What I know of my grandmother is that she drank a lot of liquor, was tough as nails, she had a sharp ironic sense of humor. She left home at an early age, moving north to New York City. She married a man who was an orphan, and commenced to mass porducing a family, 50s style. The family was fragments of emotions. My mother once said she had no recollection of nursing or of being held, no faint memory of smell or touch.
This brings me to my mother, and me. I am her only daughter, and it has been up to me from a very young age to be the unbending support for her. I knew as a child that my mother hurt herself. I knew that in her moments of desperation she was compelled to the oblivion of blades- but eventually she could stop at just cutting her hair off. I knew that she would never physically hurt me, but she often threatened to leave us. One night when I returned home after a long time away we sat out on some hay bales although it was a thunderstorm. This was the private space available for us to talk, I suppose because there was baseball on TV and the men had a vested interest in business as usual.
My mom's fašade of unending durability collapsed and she yelped out, "I was RAPED when I was 18 years old." She had nothing else to say, but tears were streaming down her weathered face, mixing with the dust and rain. I held her, and had no idea what to do next. The one thing that was absolutely out of the question was to complicate this moment of her admission by telling her that I have been raped too. There is a certain amount of self-sacrifice on my part that is the glue of our comfortable relationship. She, under all her experienced strength, is that 18-year-old. A brilliant, awkwardly tall girl. I don't know what happened, but I do get the feeling I'm the only person she has ever told. I don't think my family wants to know. I know they don't want to hear about my experience.

Myself, well, I was very young. I was very confused and under the impression that there was something wrong with me that could only be made right by pleasing other people, making them feel good, saying what they wanted to hear. I had never even been out on a date, when I let myself get talked into getting drunk with a twenty-something year old man who I didn't know well. At first it was fun, riding around dizzyingly on the handlebars of his bike, in the liquid sunset of summer. But soon he began making me uncomfortable, touching and kissing me, and I told him to take me home. Instead of giving me a ride home, he took me to his house and yanked my clothes off. He carried me into his room, and broke me into pieces relentlessly. It hurt physically, but the confusion and mental anguish of being powerless and invisible in my own body was equally as impacting, and it all combined into something my mind has learned to deal with like a bad dream. I was saying "no, no" and "stop". I was struggling with my body that I suddenly didn't understand. I kept thinking, "what is happening? Am I different, am I flawed now that I am not a virgin?" When he stopped there was my blood all over the place. Tears were sliding down my face, and I burned, and was too sore to move. Shooting pain that left me breathless and dizzy, like I was passing out. And he smiled. Then he asked me- did I romp you too hard, baby? I remember feeling offended that he knew I was a baby, and yet he still did that to me. These things are like symbols, engraved in my memory. I never told anyone until years afterward. The rapist lives his life, and I try to. For a long time, I used my anguish narcissistically, as if it somehow validated my new adulthood, my womanhood. But I also gained a respect for the art of escape as self-defense, and protected myself from subsequent molestations by jumping out of a bathroom window and a moving car.
From my experiences, I've learned I can only run away from specific circumstances-but danger is often latent. I know a lot of people who endured things I can't even imagine, at an even younger age, and in parts of their lives they could not run away from.

FEMININITY

Femininity in its long-nailed fine-tuned delicacy has always evaded my touch. My family is made up of working people, self-sufficient, and strong. The ultra-feminine women in my life have always made me very insecure. I remember standing in the lunch line, and a couple girls from the suburbs comapring their hands to mine. ("oh, your hands are gross, and dirty, and all rough!"). I feel slow and clumsy and stupid around them, or unworldly and bumbling. I am none of these things in reality, but the feeling is hard to shake. Judgement is deeply worn into all women's minds. Why should I find it so difficult to be proud of my hard-working hands? Or my strong back or the round face that has carried across the generations despite the cutting of so many cords?
Growing up, my best friend was a small blonde wonder-child. She had the heart of everyone we met, and I piqued their interest as the "weirdo", like in "Friends". We have drifted apart, into different conceptions of womanhood. Her only interactions with me now have been marked with coercion and attempts to hold my emotions hostage. I see her graduating into a strong woman, exercising the kind of strength that is sold as "feminine"- emotionally coercive force. It is a girly-girl's only legitimate force, in the eyes of our society, because by its nature it keeps the balance of power stable. The choice of whether or not to change a situation is always left up to the one that the woman uses her emotional coercion upon. She herself must wait and depend upon the conscience of those she accepts as powerful.
The option of physical self-defense is strongly discouraged by law enforcement, if not by word, at least by deed. Victims do not practice self-defense. Statistically, women face longer prison sentences for self-defensive violence than men do for domestic abuse. It all fits nicely into a package of patriarchal sin, with its serpentine women and their devious darkness; the lunacy and blood of "nature", and the primacy of patriarchal "civilization" and the Godhead above them.

Snakes witches angels
Whores priestess infidel
Quiet wife of intimacy
Or unleashed into hell
Fire of desire dark
Fierce amazon unbounded
To chain of command.
Safer, high-heel secretary
Holder but not owner of
Secrets, titties, children and "to do" lists.
Resplendent diamonds buying
Blood flesh, bought and buried
As the blight contagious,
Danger dirty, Smile seductive,
Is betrayal imminent and belongs in a whorehouse.
He said "hold the viper closer"
In a cage and not a hand
A soul of darkness shown in
Dark eyes, reflective of
Madness and hysteria.
He said we need limits
Chaos plowed for flowering order
Motions of love decried
Flag planted, tear slipping
She said he said she was the one
Who lied.



CONSUMED

A big part of why I thought I was "bad" for a long time was that my love poured towards my closest friends, regardless of their gender, but I did not at all enjoy flirting with, or being fucked by, the people who I was "supposed" to be attracted to. I thought that what makes the woman is how desirable she is, and my reluctance at being with the people who wanted to consume me, made me feel worthless. This kind of mindset really reminds me of the World Bank definition that insanity can be gauged by the measure of "days out of role". How can your commodification be any measure of sanity? It is as though our legitimate right to exist is contingent on our usage by others, or the extraction of resources.
I used to just go numb and apathetic whenever I felt that I was about to be used; I would shut off my emotions and my senses. My sadistic lovers loved it- I would take anything, as it never had any meaning to me. I prided myself on a high tolerance for pain. One day, I realized that I was taking pride in my bruises- I liked how they showed that someone had touched me. I realized that this is really messed up. That night I had a dream where I became a landscape and it was as dead as a political map; every part of me was unsensing and passive. I was watching my history like a PBS history special, all the different touches that had attempted to claim my body as conquered, each wave of conquest followed by the extraction of resources, my mind, my heart, my body, my time and energy, my health. I realized when I woke up that my senses were colonized, and that in a way they were silent not for my own protection, but as though they were imprisoned or enslaved to serve rape culture. That was the beginning of the thaw of my emotional frostbite. It stings to have to work through my inner problems and patterns, and my relationships with people from my past and my present, but it is ultimately making me happy. I have succeeded in making my body my home once again, and understanding how to love and be loved.
Rape culture is a consumer. It is one in the same with consumer culture, where people are objects and ideas of people are sold in the mall just as much as the clothes are. Where shoppers get the goods, not knowing where they come from, and throw them out as disposable when the trend is over and the function worn out. In consumer culture, value is a price tag, and no value is inherent. As a belligerent man I used to know always said, "women be shopping... " and it's true, but the voracious consumption of stuff serves only to sell the women AS stuff.


VICTIMHOOD

This seems to me to be a society of victims. Oppression is rampant for everyone except for the very elite few. For those who don't experience the harshness of growing up poor and making a "living" in the underclasses, there are other types of cages. So many middle class kids are on psychiatric medications, it would be a mistake to ignore such a screaming canary in the mineshaft. If freedom is a lack of regulation, as Ward Churchill has suggested, United States citizens can call ourselves some of the most un-free people in the world. The US has the highest proportion of its population in prison of any country in the entire world. And of course, divided and conquered, we all oppress each other all the time. There is a constant battle among people and institutions for power. This idea -power-, and the dynamics of scarcity and oppression that it creates, makes fertile ground for racists to organize lower class whites against poor people of color, for management to set workers in competitive relationships with one another, for white feminists to disregard the struggles of women of color, for middle class people to always ally with the upper classes in the hope of getting there. Each, for all the power they can get for themselves. Most of all, these divisions and acts of violence between oppressed people decimate communities and other forms of self-sufficiency for people. The existence of the oppression creates the existence of victimhood, in which the victim is damaged goods of the state, and the state is the only force the victim can go to for some kind of restitution. I don't want to use my pain to strengthen the role of power for the authorities and organizations I am told to go to for help, who actually support the nexus of oppressive forces in society.
Many people are now calling themselves "survivors" instead of "victims". I like the optimism of the term- it implies that a time will come when we will have outlasted rape culture. We are all, whether or not we have been raped or otherwise molested, survivors of an inhumane system. The taking of the precious and highly personal has been as much a part of genocide as it has of rape (and those two have come hand in hand). The desperation of isolation from vital necessities, and impending death has haunted the dreams of those starving on the streets, isolated from family, kicked off their homeland, psychologically mutilated, or locked in prison. We all need to practice self-defense, for this is a culture where rape, genocide, slavery, and prisons are symptoms, and not the original causes.

COMMUNITY RESPONSES TO RAPE

Amongst revolutionaries, radicals, anarchists, and other change-seeking groups, there have been efforts all over the country recently to hold rapists accountable for their actions, without involving the state. It seems there have been different degrees of success. There have been healing processes, and there have been bloodthirsty lynch mobs aimed at innocent individuals, and there have been insulated self-aggrandizing rapists claiming that they're the ones being victimized by the circumstance. My take on all this is that by approaching this responsibility in a purely reactionary way, the "community" is replacing the state. In my opinion, the ultimate goal is to have the state and the role it plays be obsolete. But, we still exist in a society defined by of the social dynamics of victimhood. When our "communities" are really only an interest group of people who come to meetings, the only work we can do is reactionary. In these circumstances, someone must be made into a victim in our minds in order for rape to be addressed.
What we need are communities that can support emotional and physical healing, and that can foster respect and self-defense. This is inherently opposed to the state, for the interests of those people the state "victimizes" are directly opposed to the interests of the state. I come from a community where everyone was very interdependent and identified with one another, despite ethnic and cultural fractures. It was not a community that I could have expected a radical analysis from when I was raped, with the exception of certain individuals. Few of the women or men felt empowered to address rape as a social and political problem and not just an act of individual taboo violence. One crucial part of creating a social revolution is for those of us who are a part of a community to foster deeper communication within those communities so that we can all recognize the interconnectedness of our personal and political struggles- and the power of our collective actions. That is one aspect of why I am posting this article so publicly.
I never brought my specific injury before my community as a whole, but I did become part of a dialog about domestic abuses in our village, from which we all learned a tremendous amount. One thing that we discussed is, this is not a problem of "us" and "them". We should not impose ostracism or invisibility on rapists as a blanket solution, even though that is what "taboo" things usually do. We should not push them into dark corners, because that accomplishes no more than the state's "correctional institutions". Abusers are weak points in the fabric of a community, and instead of ignoring and withdrawing resources, they need more, focused, attention. Darning or patching, if you will. This is also a safety concern, since abusers who are pushed out can pop up in another community or location without needing to remember the lessons they should have learned.
I think self-abusers are the same way. Having been introduced to the patterns of abuse from various sources in my life (including the rape psychology built up in my matriarchal line, and pop-culture), I have been fighting the impulse to self-abuse since I was a kid. I have also been fighting the feeling of obligation to let others control and abuse me. No, this doesn't mean I need to be locked up in a mental institution. Yes, it does mean I need my community to listen to me and express connection to me, and dialog about the underlying dynamics that foster these maliases.

HOSTAGE CRISIS

These statistics come from the US Department of Justice. I've added commentary.

*The number of women under the jurisdiction of State or Federal prison authorities increased 4.9% from December, 2001 to December, 2002, reaching 97,491. The number of men rose 2.4%, totaling 1,343,164 at yearend 2002.
*The female prison population has risen 275% since 1980. 90% of women in prison are single mothers - there are 167,000 children with incarcerated mothers.
*In 1995: 80% of women report incomes of less than $2000 a year; 92% less than $10,000 in 1994
*At yearend 2002 there were 3,437 sentenced black male prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,176 sentenced Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 450 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.
*Prisoners with HIV have little or no access to qualified medical attention
*1995: whites account or 52% of all crack users, African Americans: 38% However, of those sentenced for crack offenses - 88% were African American, 4.1% were white.
*Private corporations like Eddie Bauer and Lexus employ prison slave labor. Prisoners work without rights or laws to protect them.
* In 1994 92% of federal inmates were incarcerated for non-violent crimes.
. *Over 100 political prisoners in the United States are serving long terms not for crimes committed but for political beliefs and activities

The Fraternal Brotherhood of Police draws allegiance from police of all ranks, prison guards security guards, and those inside and around the court system. And what is the proportionally fastest growing population in prisons? It is women of color, for non-violent offenses.
When women are separated from their children, and children from their mothers, because police and courts judge them to be a part of the "criminal class", we know slavery has not ended. We, the people, are not numbers. We are not statistics, and we are not barcodes. We are individuals in relationship to one another, and in struggle for the survival and well being of our families and communities. It is becoming a harder and harder struggle, as social services and schools are having their budgets cut out of existence. It is getting harder as housing, food, and medical care become too expensive, and drifts out of reach for the majority of families. Petty crime is a reaction to poverty. And logically, it is poverty that is the crime if robbing a convenience store carries a harsher sentence than stealing millions of dollars from your employees' retirement funds does. It is a propagated poverty, because community structures that support people are intentionally torn down by those who would profit from our desperation.
Through the prison system, and other systems of enforcement, our communities become divided, and held hostage. Those inside prison worry about their families, and try their hardest to stay connected without hurting them. Those outside worry about their families that are inside and try their hardest to stay connected and support them without hurting them. Our ability to support one another and ourselves is essentially bought by the state for the price of incarcerating our loved ones. And though that price is greater than it would be to send that prisoner to a fancy upper-class university for a year, it is worth it to the state and its henchmen corporations, for the profit of prison slave-labor and the continued disempowerment of prisoners' outside communities.
Rape is perpetrated in epidemic proportions within prisons. Rape and sexual abuse is perpetrated in epidemic proportions in the military. It is an expression of oppressive power, most horrifically expressed when some hold much more structural power than others. This dynamic is mimicked on other scales, echoing through the streets, our workplaces, and our families by racist, classist, sexist, ageist, and ablist behavior. A radical solution to rape and other forms of oppression must address the power structures that enable its expression, as well as the psychological and social strongholds.

THE BEGINNING

Beyond just reacting to the horrors occurring in our everyday lives and all around the world, we need to create social and political revolution in this country, to stop the power structure's enforcement of inequity, and corporate capitalism's commodification of all our inherent value and gifts. The structures that uphold the oppressive power of this society must be abolished, and at the same time communities must be filling the void with support systems that empower us all. We can not deny that the political is personal and vice versa. We can not say that "sexism, racism, and classism must be abolished, and then we can have a revolution" or the other way around. The structures that support this unjust system are both external and internal to each and every one of us, and we must work effectively against oppression, on all fronts.
I don't want to be a part of the great forgetting that the government and its social system are attempting to impose. I don't want to ignore that look on my great great grandma's face, or my grandma's face, or my mother's face, because I see it reflected all around me, and I know that the truth is often hard to take, but ignoring it allows problems to keep growing. I want to build on the strength these lifetimes have instilled in me, and I hope desperately that the current generations will not shed their responsibility to the future generations. We NEED to stop the cycle of rape culture and a system that oppresses us all in order to make a profit.

Rape Culture and Revolution 05.Dec.2006 19:22

Utopia Bold

Great Goddess! What an article! and the poetry was powerful. (Rape Culture and Revolution)

Mary Daly calls global patriarchy "rapism" and a "clockocratic phallocracy." (Even TIME is divided up -like women and nature. )Patriarchy is a 5,000 year long disease which has just about run its cource.

"A Women" posted and wrote "everyone" should stop violence. This tactic is called "Universalism" by Mary Daly. The specific crime of MALE violence against women is diluted in gender neutral language (violence is a "human" problem etc)

Broken Mothers, Broken Daughters
"Yikes" wrote:" It happens. Mothers beat children. Larger women push around smaller men. And that's not to mention the cruelty that women cause to each other. "

As usual, women are blamed for their own degredation. As Mary Daly wrote in her book Pure Lust, (page 365) " Within the Virulent State of phallocracy, women have been attacked and divided against our Selves. From the earliest times of the patriarchy, countless mothers have been broken and the resulting broken daughters have carried on the chain of fragmentation.. . . They have been reduced to responding to the fettered/fathered urge to reproduce their altered-that is, patriarchally identified selves in an endless circle of Self destruction. Such forcible altered women have appeared to be normal within the man made milieu."

I appreciate the encouraging words from several men and also from "feminist"

Naming MALE violence against women is HERESY (Her Essay) Naming an atrocity is the first step in ending it.

To maintain patriarchy, "Women's agony at the hands of men must never be revealed. If women steadfastly and courageously began to tell the truth and would not stop, would not be co-opted, would not become afraid, the truth of our enslavement would be undeniable and the jig would be up" "Telling the Truth" by Sonia Johnson

Mary Daly calls women writers Websters and Spinsters (as in Spider Woman) spinning threads of truth. "Stamina" comes from the word meaning the threads of life controled by the Three Fates (Maiden Mother and Crone) Writing is powerful. Speaking out is powerful. Hence all the biblical bablical rules about "women remaining silent"

"We must reach out to our sisters, all of our sisters, and ask them to share their truth with us, offer to share our truth with them. . .The last treasure we have, the secrets of the matriarchy, can be shared and honored by women, and be proof there is another way, a better way -and some of us remember . . . " Women are bringing the pieces of truth together. Women are believing again that we have a right to be whole. Scattered pieces from the black sisters, from the yellow sisters, from the white sisters, are coming together, trying to form a whole and it cant form without the pieces we have saved and cherished"- from Daughters of Copper Woman.

Great Books-there are many more.

The Demon Lover by Robin Morgan
anything written by Mary Daly especially Beyond God the Father
Woman and Nature by Susan Griffin
The Womens History of the World by Rosilind Miles
A Womans Book of Choices-Abortion, Menstrual Extraction RU-486 by Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer (controlling your own reproduction)

double standards 06.Dec.2006 11:59

a male

Reading critiques here seems to prove a large point of this article: that claims to sexism are treated in a different manner than pretty much all other forms of oppression.

You will almost never on activist sites or at activist meetings see:
"Your critique about the policies on Iraq are well intended, but "incredibly inflammatory" and "offer no solution"".
"Your critique about racism are well intended, but "incredibly inflammatory" and "offer no solution"".
"Your critique about the authoritarianism in our society are good, but "incredibly inflammatory" and "offer no solution"".

or how about:
"I didn't cause the situation in Iraq, stopping it isn't my responsibility"
"I didn't cause racism, stopping it isn't my responsibility"
"I didn't cause authoritarianism in our society, stopping it isn't my responsibility"

But when someone brings up sexism, you get dozens of people piping up and discouraging people from making "inflammatory" criticism that "offers no solutions" and saying it "isn't my responsibility".

Would someone like to explain to me why that isn't a massive double standard? Why is sexism regarded differently than other forms of oppression?

WTF??!!! 06.Dec.2006 14:05

ma

Some of the feminist ideas on this thread are way extreme and I would advise caution in giving them too much energy. Of course most compassionate people realize that rape is wrong, and violence is wrong, these mind melds serve only to divide a community and switch the focus. They have totally destroyed many groups and movements in Eugene.I am highly suspicious of this crap. I have given birth to a son and a daughter,and have experienced first hand that gender roles are irrelevant.In my experience most women in abusive relationships won't leave no matter how much support you give them. female empowerment would be a much more affective direction than "looking for rapists" in the activist community.This is the one and only time I will respond as this serves only to distract from unified opposition.

Support 11.Dec.2006 22:48

Andrew

Keep telling it, Utopia.

For Ma 12.Jan.2007 01:09

anonymous

Ma, is that you?

Yes ma, I won't talk about rape. I won't make you feel guilty because you could have done something, anything, to protect me, but didn't do anything at all because you "needed" daddy to stick around long enough to fix the leaky plumbing once a year and didn't want to drive him away with accusations. I won't talk about how it feels every day, wondering if it will happen again. I won't talk about all the opportunities I turned down because I was afraid to be alone with a man, any man. I won't talk about it in order to make you feel better. I'll even let you say it happened because "the slut was asking for it" if that will make you sleep better at night. As long as you can find a reason for why a girl was raped, and you never do that thing, maybe you too will never be raped.

Ma? Why do you think this is about you at all? There's a reason I grew up and moved away, ma. There's a reason I haven't seen you in 20 years and I heard you were dying but I still won't call.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My theory about rape is that it's a form of control, and I don't just mean one on one. I mean the whole male society benefits when women are afraid to compete because those acts necessary for competition will invariably place women in situations where they must be alone with men and deal with their fear. It's better for men when women are hesitate to speak up for themselves, when women are trained and groomed through fear to be submissive and docile. Men can't handle competition. They are the ones who are afraid, afraid some little women will show them up, and they can't stand that. Better to keep us down, only it's not working so well. Ha! Screw that, my head is held high, and I carry a grudge like you wouldn't believe.