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No, seriously, please stop bringing up false accusations when we talk about rape

So, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle (trigger warning for victim blaming, rape apologism, ableism, and general fuckwittery if you choose to go to the link) going on over on the Frankie Magazine facebook page at the moment regarding the use of the term “eye-raping” in one of their articles. It started off pretty standard—someone brought it up, it got a lot of likes, the magazine posted a pretty gross fauxpology, people responded to that.

Earlier today, it probably had about a dozen comments. Then I went to take a nap and, while I was snoozing, it exploded into a messy, derailing attempt to fill the anti-feminist bingo card. But at some point in the middle of it, after I woke up and for some bizarre reason decided to give rational discussion a go (before I was told that I should go back to swinging my man decapitator, and that I keep my husband’s testicles locked up in the drawer by my bed), I ended up posting about why it’s fucked up to try and turn the focus onto false rape allegations when rape is being discussed. I’m posting it here for posterity, because it is an important discussion to have, but also because the way that thread is going I’m guessing it will soon be gone.

The reason people get pissed off when someone comes into a discussion about rape with “but some women lie about being raped!” is that it’s a very common derailing tactic. It’s not relevant to the discussion, it doesn’t add anything of value; all it does is shift the focus of conversation from the huge number of sexual assaults committed (seriously, one in four women, one in eight men, one in two trans* people, and 60-90% of people with disabilities is a huge frickin’ number), to a discussion of false rape reports that are very much in the minority. False rape reports occur at the same rate as other false reports, and that’s before you take into consideration that the vast majority of sexual assault goes unreported in the first place. And funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to happen with any other type of crime. When I’m talking about a string of burglaries in my neighbourhood, no one has ever chimed in with “well, you know, some people make a false burglary report to get insurance money”. When someone gets beaten up on Courtenay Place on a Saturday night, I’ve never seen a Stuff commenter talk about their “sister’s boyfriend’s cousin who pretended he’d been beaten up because he wanted to get back at his mate”. Yet, somehow, in every discussion about rape that takes place, people feel the need to bring up false rape reports as though they are somehow just as, or more, important than the fact that, if we look ONLY at the sexual assault cases reported to the police last year (remembering that anywhere from 40-90% of sexual assaults go unreported), then nine people a day were raped in New Zealand in the year ending June 2012.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told that false rape accusations are “the real issue here” when discussing the shockingly prevalent sexual assault rates we have in New Zealand. And I am all for discussing the issue of false rape accusations—as a separate issue to sexual assault. I’m all for it, as long as we’re discussing actual false rape accusations, not reports that are later retracted because the victim can’t face trial, or is pressured into recanting (by family, friends of their attacker, etc), or situations where it goes to trial and the accused is found not guilty.

But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stop derailing discussions about rape and sexual assault with your “what about those bitches who cry rape and ruin men’s lives” bullshit. It’s not helpful, it’s not conducive to a reasonable discussion, and it makes you look like a giant jackass.

Unless, of course, that’s what you’re going for—in which case, carry on, you’re doing a great job.

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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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Man’s disbelief that his brother would sexually assault a minor (alternative title: let me do that journalism thing for you, Stuff)

“Justice has been done,” said the brother of a Nelson man who was yesterday found guilty of indecently assaulting his stepdaughter after a second trial.

The Nelson District Court heard how the man stroked her right breast while watching television in the lounge of their Nelson home, and later in her bedroom indecently touched her and kissed her back on December 30, 2009.

The perpetrator has steadfastly denied the charges, saying the indecent assaults did not happen.

After a three-day retrial, a jury of six men and women yesterday reached a unanimous guilty verdict on the charge relating to stroking the girl’s breast and majority verdicts on the two other charges of indecently touching her and kissing her back.

A long-time friend said: “I just can’t believe it. It shows no matter how well or how long you know someone, you can never really know what they might be capable of.”

The perpetrator’s brother said: “This young woman was incredibly brave, not only to report the incident but to go through with not one, but two trials. What an incredibly difficult thing to do after being sexually assaulted by her stepfather, a man who was in a position of trust over her.”

The perpetrator had been found guilty of the same charges after the first trial in May last year.

He was then sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment but did not go to jail as he was released on bail when an appeal was lodged.

At the second trial this week the jury was told it was a retrial, but not why.

It can now be revealed that the Appeal Court quashed his convictions in the first trial and ordered the retrial.

His previous lawyer Jonathan Eaton made the successful appeal but the Appeal Court in its judgment last December suppressed publication of the proceedings and the result until the outcome of the retrial.

The man has been remanded on bail for sentencing on November 13.

Or if you hate yourself, read the actual article on Stuff: Accused’s brother ‘in disbelief’ at verdict. I’ve cut out the twelve lines that were dedicated to the perpetrator’s sob story.

Oh, and special props to Laura Bisham for not once, not twice, not thrice, but four fucking times referring to a man who has now been found guilty twice of sexually assaulting a minor as “the accused”. Thanks so much for that not-at-all-biased-or-victim-blaming language you used, there.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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Yet Another “Opinion” On Same-Sex Marriage

On the Rotorua Daily Post website (which is clearly the pinnacle of journalism) today, Garth George cannot figure out why homosexuals and lesbians (because everyone is either gay or straight) want to be allowed to “marry”.

And no, I’m not putting those scare quotes there. Garth George is.

Garth George can’t seem to comprehend that adopting as an individual, rather than as a couple, is not actually the best option for the rights of the adoptive parents or the rights of the child being adopted.

Garth George states that “by their very nature, homosexuals and lesbians cannot reproduce, except through IVF treatments or by the use of surrogate fathers or mothers”. He conveniently ignores that, once again, there are people who are neither gay, lesbian, or straight who are in committed long-term relationships. He also ignores the fact that there are plenty of opposite-sex* couples who also cannot reproduce except through IVF treatments or by the use of surrogate mothers or sperm donors (who, FFS, are not “surrogate fathers”), and yet we allow them to get married willy-nilly.

Garth George seems to be under the impression that the reason the nice, normal straighties get hitched—sorry, “cleave to one another”— is to “among other things, have children and to bring them up in a traditional family environment”.

Excuse me while I vomit.

Garth George apparently does not know the meaning of “two freely consenting adults”, considering his now overly-tired slippery slope argument—there is clearly no need to acknowledge that Louisa Wall’s Member’s Bill has specifically updated the schedule that contains the list of forbidden relations to cover non-gender-specific incestuous relations. Apparently, we as a nation are incapable of separating same-sex marriage from incest from polygamy. Apparently all these things are directly comparable.

Garth George would like us all to know that “it is disingenuous to complain about rights being taken away when they have never existed in the first place.” I think Garth George should have explained that to the suffragettes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, or to those involved in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. Because, you see, no one can complain about a lack of rights if we’ve never had them in the first place!

Garth George feels that this “is another step in a decades-long campaign to convince everyone that homosexuals and lesbians are no different from the rest of us and deserve all the rights and privileges known to mankind”, which is actually the first correct thing he’s said in the entire article. The difference is, of course, that Garth George doesn’t believe that “homosexuals and lesbians” actually are no different from the rest of us. Garth George doesn’t believe that the queer community deserve all the rights and privileges that we give to heterosexuals.

Garth George has also apparently never met a homosexual who is light-hearted and carefree. I think I can safely say that I would not be particularly light-hearted or carefree if I were forced to have a conversation with Garth George, as it’s surprisingly difficult to remain light-hearted and carefree when talking with someone who sees you as a lesser human being for no other reason than the fact that you sometimes like to sleep with women.

Garth George refuses to wear the appellation of ‘homophobe’ as he has “no phobias about homosexuality, male or female”. And I agree with him; I don’t like the word homophobe, as I have genuine phobias that are not comparable. Garth George is not a homophobe. He is a bigot with poisonous and vile views, who has far too much investment in denying human rights to strangers and far too much interest in relationships that have nothing to do with him whatsoever.

Garth George doesn’t understand male homosexuality. He understands, though, that “it makes homosexuals different from [him] and the rest of heterosexual humanity”.

If the rest of heterosexual humanity is like Garth George, then I want nothing to do with them.

*I hate this term, but I haven’t yet found a better one. If anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate them.

ETA: New Zealand statistics for the woefully uninformed.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in LGBTIQQA

 

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When I hate myself, I search the feminism tag on Tumblr

Content note: rape, abortion

The feminism tag on Tumblr. It’s, like 50% awesome feminist people saying good things, and 50% fuckwit MRA-types. The better half knows when I’m on the feminism tag, because at least once, I’ll start beating my head against the headboard.

And then, today, there was this. (Emphasis mine)

Rape is hard. Rape is life ruining and rape is tough. It’s horrific and cruel and any human being who has done it is clearly sick in the head. But sweethearts let me tell you that curling up and screaming over the internet is not going to get that person in jail. Screaming and yelling is not going to make you feel any better. Having that abortion only makes you weaker. Why? Because you basically gave up. You threw in the towel and quit the fight.

Let’s just say you get raped and you get pregnant. You’re broken and depressed and you feel useless. You have two roads. You can a) have an abortion because it’s easier and it’s simpler and you’ll have your friends to back you up. Or b) Keep that child. Because you know that deep in your heart that even though that child came from horrific circumstances, you will raise him/her to be better than his/her father.

If you take that first road, you are giving your rapist the power. You are telling your rapists that he won. You’re telling your rapist that it was fine that he violated your body because you were going to give up anyway. Because you are “strong”. No. In this case you are weak and spineless. You couldn’t stand up to a nameless face.

Now if you take that second road, I promise you dear you will shine in whole new way for me. Because you showed your rapist that you don’t care. You have shown him that you will not be defeated. Think about that. While you’re on your way to getting an abortion. If you keep that child, you are telling your rapist that you are stronger than the obstacles he has thrown your way.

On the topic of rape…

Like I said before, rape is a horrible and miserable thing. But it’s not an excuse to wallow in self-pity. It’s your time to shine and prove that you have a backbone.

Again if you are raped you have two roads, a) You give in and cry and scream and wallow in pity. You get coddled by friends and family. You write in a sappy diary. You eat tons of ice cream. But you have also given up. You (just like the pregnant victims) are telling your rapists that you can be walked over. That you aren’t strong. You’re breaking your own heart. You have proven yourself to be weak and spineless.

Now path two will always be brighter. Because then you’ll be showing your rapist that you don’t care. You’ll be walking with your head high. You won’t be at Slutwalks, because you’re too busy moving on with your life. You don’t have time to cry to the internet, because you’re too busy learning to love again.

Trust me on this. Having that abortion or just giving in will never help you. Because you’re not being a strong man or woman. You’re being weak, afraid and frail. And last time I checked, human beings were meant to be none of those things.

I. Can’t. Even.

I really want to write a coherent response to this, but I’m too busy shaking with rage.

I really want to make “rape is your time to shine” a tag, though.

 
 

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How To Get Away With Murder (or at least sexual assault)

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault/paedophilia

This is a blog post for all the rapists and paedophiles out there. Next time you are planning on sexually assaulting a four-year-old child—even if you plead guilty—there is a surefire way to make sure you are discharged without conviction.

See, according to Judge Philippa Cunningham, you just need to be “a talented New Zealander” who “makes people laugh”. Because “laughter’s an incredible medicine that we all need a lot of.”

We need laughter more than we need to protect our children from being sexually abused, apparently.

Here we have a man who pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on a child (after originally being charged with unlawful sexual connection with a person aged under 12). Here we also have a judge who, despite this plea, has discharged him without conviction—which means, despite pleading guilty, this will not appear on his criminal record—because the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the gravity of the offence.

Take note, abusers. If you’re famous and funny and talented, it’s totally okay to sexually abuse your child. Because we need more laughter in the world, and that’s more important than convicting people who sexually assault children.

Also just a housekeeping note, because this has already cropped up on the SlutWalk Aotearoa Facebook page: while this case and everything surrounding it makes me fucking furious, the permanent name suppression does stand and as such, comments that name the comedian in question (rightly or wrongly) will not make it through moderation.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Media, Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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