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Tag Archives: victim blaming

Dear Google: “Rapist” is not a gendered term

Until 2005, our legal system stated that only women could be rape, and only men could rape. Thankfully, we have moved on from this archaic definition and acknowledged that rape is a traumatic experience no matter what gender you are. When we as a society say that men can’t be raped, or women cannot be perpetrators, we marginalise, shame, and oppress male victims, and victims of all genders who were raped by a woman.

Google doesn’t quite seem to have caught up with this concept yet.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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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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MJ’s SlutWalk Aotearoa Speech: Civic Square, Wellington, May 20th 2012

SlutWalk Aotearoa was today—and while I need a bit of time to digest before I write up a response, I thought I’d put my speech up now. Following a grand tradition, I wrote this about an hour before the march! Photos and/or video will be added if I get any 🙂

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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Rape/Sexual Assault, SlutWalk

 

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MJ’s SlutWalk Perth Speech: Russell Square, Perth, December 3rd 2011

I went over to Perth to spend some time with my family over there, and I was invited to speak at SlutWalk Perth while I was there. Hopefully there is video to follow, as I did see someone recording all the speeches! Below the jump is my speech in full—minus any cracks I may have made at the start regarding the 37 degree weather!!

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Rape/Sexual Assault, SlutWalk

 

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Who Are You, Bush Bar?

*Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault

You know, I have a fair few problems with the Who Are You? campaign—problems that I won’t reiterate, as I think the main ones are actually already articulated pretty well by Tallulah here—but right now, today, this week, I want to download the video to my iPhone and play it on repeat. I want to play it to every single person framing the rape of a seventeen-year-old girl at the Bush Bar in Christchurch as an issue with teenage drinking. I want to play it to every single person trotting out the tired old victim-blaming lines of Well she was drunk/slutty/underage, what did she expect? I want to play it to the media who are finding it pertinent to ask, “Who should have protected the 17 yr old? The pub, the mother or herself?”**

But most of all, I want to play it to the owners, management and staff of the Bush Bar. I want to ask them who they are, and why they could not walk a teenage girl who was too drunk to stand ten metres to a taxi, or call a friend or family member. I want to know how they can justify a complete disregard for the safety of a vulnerable young woman on their premises by stating that they were “just following what the law states”.

So tell me, Bush Bar: in this scenario, who were you? And who will you be next time?

**There is a very important—one may even say key—player missing from this scenario. Hint: it’s the rapist.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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Highlighting myths about rape

Great article in The Wellingtonian this week: Myths about rape. (And no, I don’t just think it’s great because I was interviewed for it!)

It’s nice, for once, to see an article talking about sexual assault without quoting someone who thinks those brazen sluts should just take responsibility when they’re assaulted, and I’m genuinely thrilled to see someone focusing on the idea that we need more comprehensive sexual education — which was something I was really pushing in the lead-up to SlutWalk, and which no one really seemed to want to listen to.

What really interested me, though, was the statistics at the end of the article. Up-to-date statistics on rape and sexual assault in New Zealand aren’t easily found, so it was great to see such recent figures:

Rape Crisis client statistics for the period July 2010 to June 2011 (statistics include reported cases of both rape and sexual abuse):

– More than half of sexual abuse victims reported the offender was a partner, family member or friend.

– Only 2 per cent of attacks were attributed to someone the victim met on the night of the offence.

– Just 3 per cent of attacks were attributed to strangers.

Using my powers of advanced mathematics, if 3% of attacks are committed by strangers and 2% are committed by someone met the night of the attack, then that leaves 95% of sexual assaults committed by someone previously known to the victim.

So can somebody please explain to me why the hell we are still framing rape and sexual assault in terms of stranger-rape? Those numbers are actually pretty damn hard to ignore.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Media, Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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