rape

My Reality: My Rapist Was a Feminist

by Lola Davidson

Trigger Warning: Rape, Mental Abuse

When I first met my rapist, I was 18 years old, I was independent, I believed in equality, I hated the idea of men paying for my dates with them, yet I didn’t consider myself a feminist at the time. I had never been taught about feminism in school or growing up. I knew very little about feminism except that a girl in my school who constantly harassed and physically assaulted me was a feminist, so when I met the man who would come to be my rapist and he asked me whether I was a feminist, I said: “Oh, God no, I am so not a feminist.”

“Why not? Feminism is amazing, it helps so many people,” he responded. I felt embarrassed then, and later on I did my research on the topic, took classes on Women’s Studies and realized that feminism was in fact amazing. Feminism helped me deal with my eating disorders, with past abuse. It helped me understand life so much better. I felt so much admiration for this man because in a world full of misogyny, here was a man who actually took the time to be on our side. What an amazing guy, I thought.

He was constantly praised for being a feminist, especially by me. He started grooming me to act a certain way so that his sexist remarks would fly under the radar. He acted from an unconscious belief that feminism wasn’t supposed to protect all women, just the ones that he felt were worthy of it, and I did not fit into that group.

I always felt the need to laugh off any microagressions he made towards me because if I didn’t, he would point out how flawed I was for getting my feelings hurt. He would praise women who were successful and belittle women who had any chink in their armor.

He was a feminist but girls who went after modelling were stupid, he was a feminist but when I wore a dress and stockings I was asking for it. He was a feminist but my bisexuality meant I owed him a threesome with another girl. He was a feminist but when he was aroused and I was asleep my consent was unnecessary. He was a feminist but calling me a dumb slut and penetrating me while I shook and cried was “not a big deal”. He was a feminist but he mentally abused me for two years because of my gender and how inferior he believed it was to his.

My rapist doesn’t know he raped me because he thinks the label “feminist” protects him from being a bad person – Hell, if someone told him what he did to me was rape, he wouldn’t believe them because I did not physically push him away. To him, my fear was a flaw in my character, not his. However, it doesn’t matter what he believes because your labels do not excuse you from being a monster.

Posted on by Lola Davidson in Feminism, My Reality 1 Comment

Global Lessons from the UN Study on Violence Against Women in Asia

Cover of UN Report "Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?"by Jarrah Hodge

A new study on violence against women in Southeast Asian countries, by UN Joint Programme Partners for Prevention, is making headlines around the world.

Although the study also has interesting findings on non-sexual, physical violence against women, the findings that seem to have shocked most people were the high numbers of men admitting to rape.

Just under a quarter of men interviewed in the study countries (Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka) admitted to raping a woman or girl. It’s important to note the percentage varied widely between countries, from a low but still troubling 11% in Bangladesh to over 60% in Papua New Guinea. More than half the men said they committed their first assault between the ages of 15 and 19 and nearly half had raped repeatedly.

It’s safe to assume one of the reasons men were so open to admitting assault was that the questions never used the word “rape”. Instead, researchers asked if men had ever: “forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,” or “had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it.”

About 10 per cent said they have had “non-consensual sex” with a woman who was not their partner, but another 14 per cent admitted it when partners were included in the question.

Less than one quarter served jail time.

So here’s how not to respond to this, white Westerners (with examples from news site comments):

-      ” the study was only done in some of the most backward places on Earth. So it says absolutely nothing about the male of the species.”

-       “and yet we keep letting them come to America on H1B work visas, where the later prey on children.”

-      “Typical Asians, bout time the media reports on these deviants.”

-      ” Dont compare the West to Asia. Ever wondered why all the Asians (Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Pakkis, Koreans etc) are trying to immigrate desperately to the West & not vice-versa ?”

First of all, you can’t make those kind of blanket statements about the region from this (and not just because it’s super racist). The study doesn’t cover all of Southeast Asia, stats varied between countries, and only in Cambodia does the report claim there was balanced geographic representation in the sample.

Second, though there are different issues between and within various countries, there are some common themes that we see happening here. And that means we can’t get on our high, white horse. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism Leave a comment

Letter to the Province on Unhelpful Sex Offender Warnings

by Victoria Redlon

Dear Editor of the Province newspaper,

Every few months your newspaper publishes an RCMP warning regarding the release of a sex offender into our communities (An example can be read here). I am writing to explain how these stories fail to create awareness about the reality of sexual violence towards women and to offer suggestions. This kind of coverage contributes to the disassociation of rape culture for the following three reasons:

1) The RCMP reports are not informative enough about the threat these men pose.  The release areas are so vague that they aid in creating a heightened sense of threat with no sense of location. The nature of their crimes remain a mystery; if they target – say-petite Asian women in their early twenties, or what area and atmosphere they typically troll (such as a local pub, park, etc.). This information along with their method of luring women would make a far better warning to women than a small, softly-worded warning issued by the RCMP. Help women stay safe by informing them of the latest approaches of sexual predators, the exact locations, and who is most likely going to be targeted.

2) Stranger Danger. The focus that this kind of report places on fearing a stranger distracts from the reality of rape. A woman is sexually assaulted every 17 minutes in Canada, of these attacks 80 percent occur in the woman’s home, of this percent 70 percent are committed by a man who is not a stranger. In fact approximately half of all rapes occur on dates. Thus, warning women about a stranger who is being released somewhere for some sexual offense, without reporting on the more common situations, creates a distorted image of sexual violence towards women.  I believe it creates the feeling of isolation amongst women who have fallen victim to non-stranger attacks. The majority of women who are attached then feel alone because they were attacked on a date, or by their local grocery store clerk, or by their father’s friend. The reality of rape is that it happens right in our homes by the men we trust.  This issue seems to elude mass media coverage and public knowledge. Read more

Posted on by Victoria Redlon in Can-Con, Feminism 1 Comment

If Rape is Part of the Culture, Change the Culture

by Jody Dallaire. Originally posted at jodydallaire.ca, re-posted with permission.

Can you name the 3 Canadian cities with the highest reported sexual assault rates?

Most of us would guess large cities or certain municipalities with reputations for toughness, a large transient population. Places in B.C. or out West maybe, or Ontario. Maybe Halifax is among them, we think.

Well, we come to find out, the 3 Canadian cities with highest sexual assault rates include two in New Brunswick.

Fredericton & Saint John ranked second and third among Canadian municipalities, for the highest number of sexual assault incidents reported to police in 2011.

Using Statistics Canada data about police reports of sexual assaults, Maclean’s magazine established rates per population among communities with a population of 10,000 or more in Canada. Maclean’s only published the “top” 15 cities, and no other New Brunswick municipality made it in the group.  The magazine called their list, “Where Canadian criminals go to play – A look at the cities with the most lawbreakers”. Ugh.

The highest rate of reported sexual assaults per capita was in Belleville, Ontario, with almost 137 sexual assaults per 100,000 population.

Fredericton and Saint John, respectively had rates of almost 130 and 115 incidents per 100,000. Halifax was 12th, with 87 reported sexual assaults per 100,000 population.

New Brunswick’s showing on that list is shocking, mostly because it seems that our province is not aware of the extent of the problem nor doing much to prevent the crime.

It is also shocking because we know that, here as elsewhere, most victims of reported sexual assaults are children.  In 2009, in 61 per cent of cases, the sexual assault victim was a child in New Brunswick – a child younger than 12 in 21 per cent of cases. That’s about 350 children in New Brunswick in 2009 who were victims of a sexual assault reported to police. Read more

Posted on by Jody Dallaire in Can-Con, Feminism Leave a comment

My Reality: How to Become an Orphan

Child's_drawingby Roxanna Bennett

[Trigger Warning for discussions of child rape and molestation]

I divorced my entire family in 2005 and it was the healthiest action I’ve ever taken for myself.

In 2004, I started getting panic attacks every time the phone rang. I had never had them before so at first I was convinced I was dying, that I was having a heart attack or something was wrong with my brain. I broke out in hives a lot. Had nightmares. Found myself spending entire days in bed, just staring at the ceiling, unable to play with my son. Sometimes making his dinner and staring slack-jawed at the television was a challenge. I’m not sure when I made the connection between what was happening in my family and what was happening with me but when I came to the realization that they were the source of my pain, I had no choice. It was them or me. My son or my mother. I chose my ability to function as a healthy parent over the feelings of my family and this is why.

I was raped by my uncle, my mother’s brother, when I was four years old. My mother is an identical twin, her sister was like a second mother to me. My biological mother was distant, anxious, sometimes cold. Her sister, my aunt, was more outgoing, warmer. My mother moved out of the province when I was 18 and it was my aunt who was my source of support during my early adulthood. She nursed me when I was sick, let me sleep on her couch when I had nowhere to go. She stayed with my son every night for a year while I put myself through night school. We were very close.

My uncle, who had damaged me beyond measure when I was a child, had been living in British Columbia for years when I made the decision to orphan myself. And this is why, and it sounds small to say it but it wasn’t, it was because of a family vacation. Read more

Posted on by Roxanna Bennett in My Reality 21 Comments

My Reality: To Want to Kill a Rapist

cryingby Rachael

[Trigger Warning: rape]

People say that there is no right way to break, there is no right way suffer, no right way to get over things as traumatic as this. Yet growing up I got the distinct feeling that there were certain expectations. That there was a certain degree to which “Yes, this is normal”. But if you crossed that unspoken line, then you were either in denial or maybe it just wasn’t such a huge deal after all. If you reacted in the wrong way, people might think that maybe you yourself were ill.

Women aren’t supposed to feel the rage that men do: that would be wrong [insert sarcastic tone here]. That was the subliminal message I got as a child and a young woman. Hence, if I didn’t break down the way I was “supposed to”, I would force it. I was always scared that people wouldn’t take my pain seriously if I didn’t. I knew they wouldn’t because they hadn’t in the past. The irony of this, of course, is that in following the unspoken script put out for us girls I never really dealt with anything. Things don’t go away if you have to force yourself to cry, they don’t get resolved if you have a faux nervous breakdown. If you don’t embrace your own unique way of letting things go they will stay with you endlessly.

While for life’s smaller injuries and incidents the rules have become more relaxed, society still hasn’t fully accepted that there are more reactions women can have when it comes to things like rape than denial or teary breakdown. There is a standard narrative put out for us rape victims. Even today we are often times expected to behave a certain way, and feel certain things. Thing is, not all of us fit this narrative. In fact many of us don’t.

After I was raped, I expected the reaction to happen like they said it should. I’ve spent the last 4 years feeling like damaged goods because it never did. I was supposed to cry, I was supposed to have the perfect breakdown like all the women I’ve seen on TV. I was supposed to go through steps A, B and C. I couldn’t fake a reaction to this, though; funerals sure, breakups no problem.

Not this. Read more

Posted on by Rachael in Feminism, My Reality 8 Comments

Franchesca Ramsey on How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming

Franchesca Ramsey shares her experience with date rape to talk about how slut shaming turns into victim blaming. It’s pretty powerful and comes with a trigger warning and a NSFW language warning. If you’d like a transcript you can find it at Racialicious.

-Jarrah

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism Leave a comment