STFU, Rape Culture!

A word of warning: This blog discusses the various ways in which our culture excuses, normalizes, and sometimes condones rape, sexual assault, and other potentially graphic topics. Please be aware that posts may be upsetting or triggering.
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Posts tagged "activism"

Egypt’s streets have long been a perilous place for women, who are frequently heckled, grabbed, threatened and violated while the police look the other way. Now, during the country’s tumultuous transition from authoritarian rule, more and more groups are emerging to make protecting women — and shaming the do-nothing police — a cause.

'Vigilante' has a negative undertone I'm not sure is warranted.







Bikers Against Child Abuse make abuse victims feel safe

These tough bikers have a soft spot: aiding child-abuse victims. Anytime, anywhere, for as long as it takes the child to feel safe, these leather-clad guardians will stand tall and strong against the dark, and the fear, and those who seek to harm.

The 11-year-old girl hears the rumble of their motorcycles, rich and deep, long before she sees them. She chews her bottom lip, nervous.

They are coming for her.

The bikers roar into sight, a pack of them, long-haired and tattooed, with heavy boots and leather vests, and some riding double. They circle the usually quiet Gilbert cul-de-sac, and the noise pulls neighbors from behind slatted wood blinds and glossy front doors.

One biker stops at the mouth of the street, parks in the middle of the road and stands guard next to his motorcycle, arms crossed.

The rest back up to the curb in front of the girl’s house, almost in formation, parking side by side. There are 14 motorcycles in all, mostly black and shiny chrome. The bikers rev their engines again before shutting them down.

The sudden silence is deafening. The girl’s mother takes her hand.

The leader of this motorcycle club is a 55-year-old man who has a salt-and-pepper Fu Manchu and wears his hair down past his shoulders. He eases off his 2000 Harley Road King and approaches the little girl.

He is formidable, and intimidating, and he knows it. So he bends low in front of the little girl and puts out his hand, tanned and weathered from the sun and wind: “Hi, I’m Pipes.”

“Nice to meet you,” she says softly, her small hand disappearing in his.


The unruly-looking mob in her driveway is there to help her feel safe again. They are members of the Arizona chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse International, and they wear their motto on their black leather vests and T-shirts: “No child deserves to live in fear.”

I’ll admit - this made me tear up. I’d never heard of BACA before. Now I want to find the WA and OR chapters, and give them some money. I can’t give them a lot - I live hand-to-mouth - but they deserve my support. Surviving abuse is not - *not* - easy. These bikers have taken on a nearly-impossible task, struggling to make it a little easier. Amazing. Absolutely wonderful.

The bikers aren’t looking for trouble. They are there so the kids don’t feel so alone, or so powerless. Pipes recalls going to court with an 8-year-old boy, and how tiny he looked on the witness stand, his feet dangling a foot off the floor.

“It’s scary enough for an adult to go to court,” he says. “We’re not going to let one of our little wounded kids go alone.”

In court that day, the judge asked the boy, “Are you afraid?” No, the boy said.

Pipes says the judge seemed surprised, and asked, “Why not?”

The boy glanced at Pipes and the other bikers sitting in the front row, two more standing on each side of the courtroom door, and told the judge, “Because my friends are scarier than he is.”

This is the most beautiful, awe-inspiring thing I’ve read in a long time. I wanna write a book about these guys, Jesus Christ. Where’s the blockbuster movie about these badasses?

Too awesome for words.

Well I’m crying now.

this wouldve helped me a whole lot at 12

(via thecurvature)


I thought the folks who participated in Just Detention International’s holiday card campaign for incarcerated survivors of sexual violence in prisons might be interested to see some of the responses those survivors sent back. The above is from Ca’Linda, a 28-year-old woman who has been raped numerous times by two different corrections officers at two different facilities. Several other responses can be viewed at the link.


Currently incarcerated persons are probably already the most isolated individuals in the United States. Those who are not only incarcerated but also the victims of sexual violence while imprisoned face little support, few mental health and recovery services, the ongoing threat of violence, and even retaliation should they speak of the abuse. With their support networks ripped from them, their right to safety revoked, and their abusers (who are most frequently prison officials) having control over every aspect of their lives, they are among the most vulnerable sexual assault survivors.

In light of this, sending a 250 character message of support and greeting during the holiday season may seem a truly underwhelming gesture. It is precisely these same conditions, however, that makes such a small act able to speak volumes. Incarcerated persons are cultural pariahs, socially treated as subhuman, and/or told that they deserve sexual violence as a condition of their detention. A few kind and compassionate words, under those circumstances, could mean the world.

I don’t care whether or not you link to my post, but PLEASE help spread the word about this campaign.

I did a little reading at the link and it sounds like a great cause. A quick and easy way for us to brighten up someone’s day with a few kind words.

[Hi! First, I would like to see that I really admire you for speaking out against rape culture. Second, I was wondering if you could maybe suggest a few ideas that I could do for an event to support rape victims/speak out against rape culture for my university. I recently joined our chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance and am in the Gryffindor House (the Equality committee), and I would really love to do something regarding this issue. Thank you!]

Sounds cool. If you’re looking for educational programming ideas, I saw some things that might be helpful here. If you want more supporting survivors type events, how about some of the things that Take Back the Night does? You can have a rally, forum for people to speak about their own experiences, candelight vigil, etc. You can any combo of those. Maybe your event can be fundraising and you can donate your funds to a local organization that combats sexual violence?

Do others out there want to share ideas from events they’ve attended and found helpful?

I love HP, but not sure how to make it HP themed… Does it have to be related?? I am not having any creative thoughts at the moment, I’m sorry. D:

[I am a substitute at the middle/high school level. Today I had a student who started yelling about being raped during horseplay with his friends. I stopped the horseplay, but I wish I had said more about how rape is not a punchline. What’s out there on how to talk to adolescents about rape culture? Part of the issue was that I didn’t want to a. completely distract the class from their assigned work or b. start on an issue that I as a temporary instructor can’t reliably follow up about.]

Yeah, that’s tough. My google fu is strong, but I can’t find much about talking to teens about rape culture. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has some publications I found that you could check out—I haven’t clicked extensively through the resources they list, so please let me know if you find anything questionable and I won’t recommend the site in future.

Does anyone know of any resources specifically for this person to check out?


From the article:

On Wednesday November 2nd, more than 15,000 people participated in Oakland’s citywide general strike as part of Occupy Oakland.  And I wish I could write about that right now. I wish I could write about the 100,000 protestors that were there. I wish I could write about how amazing it is that demonstrators effectively shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth largest port in the U.S. I wish I could write about how the media keeps treating the day as a violent outbreak or justplain-up dismissing it. I would love to expand on the metaphor handed from the gods of how a white man ran over two protesters with his Mercedes Benz because he was “frustrated” and was then given police permission to drive away scot-free.

Instead I think we need to occupy some goddamn rape culture. Let’s start from the top.

Read more at Persephone Magazine.

Another excerpt:

Here’s the thing, though. What does it mean if those who say they are fighting against the system are recreating the system? What does it mean when rape and sexual assault are excused because there are “bigger things than us”? What does it mean when you disenfranchise the same folks you are claiming to fight for? Why are specialized spaces having to be created for those affected most by rape culture or gender based violence? Why can’t everyone be able to be full participants in the same space? Where is the miscommunication about that whole 99% thing happening?

[As a male who is sick of rape culture, what can I do to help stop it? How do we handle people who are ignorant and won’t listen to logic and who will end up teaching their children that rape is okay and that women are second rate citizens?]

It can be really disheartening to be exposed to people who, as you say, won’t listen to logic and/or dismiss your (valid!) points over and over again. Everyone has a burn out point where you just get sick of talking and not being heard. When that happens, you recharge your batteries and then you get back into things, basically. We can’t go in to people’s houses and teach their kids necessarily, but there are many things we can do. One of the most important is talk to (and call out!) the people in your life when you see them perpetuating rape culture. Let them know that rape joke wasn’t funny. Give them the facts when they point out what someone who was assaulted was wearing at the time. Tell your friends how uncool it is if they start street harassing someone. This can be the hardest action to take because a lot of people don’t want to make waves or annoy their friends. But it’s important, and it has the potential to really get through to people.

Outside of affecting people you know, you can take action in your community. If you’re in school (for any age) or you have kids who are in school, get involved there. Push for more comprehensive sex ed that talks to kids and teens about consent and rape culture. Get involved in your college and bring programs there that discuss this stuff. In a gender or a sexuality class? A politics class? Psych? Any class that you can work it in really—pick rape culture as your presentation topic. Talk to your classmates about it. If you’re out in the workplace, what kind of training and info does your job provide on sexual harassment? If it’s woefully lacking—let them know how it can be improved to encompass these topics! People leave their houses and they’ve got to interact with us sometime. Vote for leaders in your community that share your values and talk to them—let them know when you support what they’re doing and let them know when they pissed you off.

You’re also in position of privilege—which can be a benefit when discussing rape culture. You and I could say the same thing and my words would be dismissed as feminist hysteria while you could be taken more seriously. Our words and small actions like I described above are the best weapon we have right now and as frustrating as it can be sometimes, I think it does make a difference. Some people seem willfully committed to ignorance, but other people’s minds can be changed once they have more knowledge. It’s worth the effort to keep plugging along.

Submitted by Rachel.

This is pretty cool, I think, other than the name (really?). There’s a form you can use to submit ideas on how to make campuses safer for students.

Apparently they’re also doing this:

‘Apps Against Abuse’ technology challenge – a nationwide competition to develop an innovative software application that provides young adults with tools to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence. Since many incidents of dating violence and sexual assault occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances, the application envisioned will offer individuals a way to connect with trusted friends in real-time to prevent abuse from occurring.

Blame Joe Biden for the sexism and cissexism in that blurb. I am a little more skeptical about how this part will work, but I give them credit for trying. What do you guys think of this?

Where justice and authority let victims down, solidarity, activism, and a massive effort to create awareness will have to fill the breach.

Sarah Seltzer in an AlterNet article about rape culture and victim blaming. Obvious trigger warnings at the link. (via happyfeminist)

Relevant. Cissexism in the article was glaring though, so TW if you do check it out.

(via happyfeminist-deactivated201208)

[Trigger warning]

Nazma is one of the dozens of Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi young women who have been sexually assaulted by supervisors at Classic Factory in northern Jordan, which makes clothes for American brands like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s.

Leading up to next week’s trial against a Classic supervisor charged with rape — the first such trial — managers are escalating abuses. Supervisors are locking victims and witnesses in the factory, threatening and intimidating them to ensure they will not testify.

And although the Jordanian government promised that Anil Santha, the manager accused of rape, would not be allowed to return before the trial, he’s back on the factory floor.

Despite global outcry over Classic’s abuses and the tactics they’re using to dodge justice, international customers like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s are still buying Classic clothing.

Target and Macy’s have claimed that they are investigating conditions at the factory, but they’re deferring to the Jordanian Ministry of Economy and Labor — which claims there is no evidence of sexual abuse.

Instead, conditions are getting worse. In addition to imprisoning women inside the factory, managers are removing all the males workers — in some cases even deporting them — cutting the staff to older male supervisors and vulnerable young women.

Given the critical situation on the ground, Classic Factory workers, consumers, and human rights organizations, are urgently calling on these high-profile companies to immediately condemn human rights abuses and force change. Click here to sign the petition now.


Abuse uncovered at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, is a shocking example of how widespread crimes go unnoticed and unresolved. The incidents took place at a facility ICE promotes as a model of its detention reforms. At Hutto, a resident supervisor molested detainees as he was transporting them to the airport after they were released on bond. Not only did ICE fail to prevent these abuses from occurring, but the agency was also uncooperative with non-governmental organizations in identifying all victims after the abuse came to light. Despite this, the Hutto supervisor was convicted in state court last year on charges involving five immigrant women victims, sentenced to one year imprisonment, and has now been indicted on federal charges concerning four more female victims. But ICE’s lack of transparency and unwillingness to take action to prevent such abuse demonstrates the need for strong, effective standards to protect those in immigration detention.

Disappointingly, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed a rule that explicitly excludes immigration detention facilities from coverage under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Congress enacted PREA to protect all persons in custody by setting standards for preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse. But without PREA’s protection, immigrants in detention remain vulnerable to abuse. For a population at such high risk of sexual abuse, this is unacceptable.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing [Friday] morning on the Violence Against Women Act, which is due for reauthorization this year. This reauthorization is an opportunity to finally ensure that immigration detainees receive the same protection as other prisoners by clarifying that PREA applies to them too.

If your senator serves on the Judiciary Committee, please contact his or her office today to support a legislative solution that applies PREA to all detainees, including those in immigration detention. Call 202-225-3121 and ask for your senator’s office.

My senator is on here, but Dianne Feinstein kicks everyone’s ass so I’m sure she’s already on top of it.