Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And people wonder why Coruscating Feminist Jo gets angry...

A fifteen year old girl was raped outside a school dance for two hours, to the point that she needed to be hospitalized in the ICU for her injuries.

As commenter Hooplehead said on Jezebel this morning:

And this is a key example of why guys need to go past giving lip service and actively help to dismantle the rape culture. You in particular not being a rapist is no longer sufficient. It is about you in particular being strategically situated to help potential victims and spark change in situations where women are viewed as nameless, faceless pieces of ass, to be used and exploited as men see fit. This is the patriarchy, right here, and it is high time that it was toppled. I hope they press charges on all of those worthless bystanders as well for aiding and abetting these gangraping assholes.

I cannot say it any better than that.

The more I hear about the world, the more I am thankful that I'm surrounded by men I know and love and can trust: guys like My Brother In Beer, The Towering Inferno, The Beard, Pastor Paul, Zombie Boy, Max, Chef Boy, my dad.

But that does not help the fifteen-year-olds of the world.

Let's say you're offered a drink. You're fifteen. You like the boy who's offering it to you, and you have no idea how strong that drink will be, so you drink it.

Then you realize that there are other boys around, all telling you to keep drinking. You want to be cool, so you do. And before you know it, you're sick. You're sleepy. Your father is looking for you, but you don't know that. If you did, you would get up and go to him. The security people who were supposed to keep you safe were told to go home a half-hour ago; if you'd known that, you would've gone looking for them earlier.

I have been very, very lucky. In the times that I've been drunk and vulnerable (as I am now; nothing makes Jo the Coruscating Feminist kill a bottle of Becker Vineyards 2007 Chardonnay like a horrible story), I've had male and female friends around who said, "We're in the drunk-and-vulnerable part of the night, and I am putting you to bed." Even through four years of college, where alcohol was essentially unavailable and thus binge drinking was common, I was never raped, let alone gang-raped while my fellow students stood around and watched.

This is the patriarchy. This is the paradigm that lets men and boys see women and girls as things to be used, rather than as full human beings to be respected. This is the root of gang rape, of date rape, of stranger rape, of rape as a war crime, of genital mutilation, of objectifying women, of beating women up. This is the root of the thought process that says that women are, by definition, commodities to be traded and possessions to be owned.

This is the paradigm that lets a dozen boys watch a girl be raped and allows them all to not do anything about it.

Years ago, when I was first divorced, I made a list of qualities I wanted in a partner. Top of the list, right after "must be larger than I am in at least one dimension", was "Must be feminist." As in, not only believing that women are human, are worthwhile creatures, but must work for that end. And as in, must treat the women he knows as human, worthwhile creatures. I have been lucky to build a network of male and female friends who treat women as human, worthwhile creatures instead of as commodities or pieces of ass.

I really, really hope that girl finds people like that in her life in the future. It takes a lot to kill a human, and it takes a lot to keep them from fully recovering, even from something like this.

Still. . . . there are times when I believe in the death penalty. Administered by women. With boots on.


Luis said...

Love ya, Jo. Wish I could be getting drunk with you, but I'm several states away, I think. If I were there I could tell you how frightened I am that my baby daughter could have something like this happen to her.

Every time something like this happens I think, "We fucked up. We all fucked up bad." That's our daughter out there, and we failed her, all of us.


Coruscating Feminist Luis

Moose said...

Have you seen this?


It really gives me hope that maybe the human race isn't doomed by "people" like the rapists and those who stood by and watched or ignored it.

Brian said...

What this was, was a bunch of psychos doing horrible things because they thought they could get away with it.

It's not the patriarchy. It's not a fucking paradigm. Don't blame culture for this kind of shit. Blame the horrible, disgusting individuals who committed the crime.

bobbie said...

I was blown away by this story too ~
Love that video ~

Bardiac said...

Yep; those of us who've been lucky enough to have friends take good care of us during our vulnerable times were incredibly lucky.

I hope she recovers in body and spirit.

It's times like this I wish there really were a hell for the rapists and voyeurs.

Penny Mitchell said...

You ARE That Woman, Queen Jo.

An Open Heart said...

OMG. This is heinous. I am fortunate also that I have a great group of male friends who are feminists, too. My niece just started high school and I worry about all of the pressures she will have to face.....so far, she seems to be completely repulsed by the idea of drinking and partying....that aside, an attack could even happen to someone who wasn't dibilitated with alcohol.

Even celebrities don't find rape a heinous act, didn't Whoopie Goldberg qualify "rape, rape" recently regarding the roman polanski case......


Anonymous said...

Thank you. You have encouraged me to "be that woman!"


Anonymous said...

That is so fucking hateful. It's only 1 pm and I need a glass of wine or ten. I think rape is worse than murder~it is the murder of something special that you live with forever. I'm so sorry for her.

Rat said...

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.....*snap snap* grrrrrr...

And that is all I have to say.

Jose' said...

I read something somewhere recently that pointed out the fact that we are all born into the stone age. We learn what we see, what we are shown, what we are taught. Unfortunately there are too many out there that are allowed to live, that should be 'thinned out of the herd' and are allowed to procreate. Unfourtnate.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I never did quite figure out why feminism became such a dirty word and women were all of a sudden embarrassed to be called feminists anymore. And guys who "get it" are awesome.

This whole story made me so sad.

caroline said...

Hello! I am loving this blog-- You seem a lot like me-- I am a feminist, and take frequent cute-animal breaks in order to decompress. thanks for saving me the google image search time by including the elephant video. :-)

Someone called Brian commented earlier about "Don't blame culture for this kind of [bad stuff]. Blame the horrible, disgusting individuals..." but I think that's really oversimplifying this act...I mean, those men, and that woman, do not live in a vaccuum. Culture shaped their actions, influenced their decisions, etc. I think this is proven everyday, since every 2 minutes, someone in the US is assaulted (RAINN.org). That adds up to a culture, not just some random "dudes who make bad choices." (I say this with a caveat- I don't mean to infantilize men, plenty of them live in this same rape culture and thankfully, are able to reject that mentality. We just need to build a culture around THIS attitude, not frat-boy machismo and patriarchy.)

One thing that these comments brought up was what men can do; it MUST BE MEN WHO STOP RAPE. Victims can only do so much to *prevent* rape (but should they even have to??), it it must be the perpetrators who stop actually commiting the crime. This is a real "Duh-ism" to me, but apparently its just dawning on some folks. Anyhow, check out http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

Thanks for letting me onto my soapbox on your site!


PS. in the interest of being totally transparent- i happened upon your blog while researching nurses who blog-- hoping to find people interested in our project- speakhealth.org So, forgive the shameless plug: check out speakhealth.org!