08 December 2006

WTF?!?!?!?!? i've got your terrorism.

i thought that all of this had changed. i thought that things were different now for women. i thought that if a woman was raped that there were special safeguards in place assuring her of her rights. i thought that if a man, against a woman's wishes, decides to invade her body with his penis and fingers - that there were all of these new and improved laws and procedures that weren't available to women when i was raped 16 years ago. i couldn't have been more wrong.

even after a night and part of day's worth of time to calm down.

a dear old friend that i count amongst those members of family that we find throughout our lives called last night. i'm going to try and be vague enough with the events, to protect her and not muddle up any future prosecution possibilities when all i really want to do right now is plaster the city with this beast's picture and name. the system we so tout to be the best is failing her. horribly failing her.

she had travelled to her hometown in the summer to visit family and friends. after a night out with friends, she awoke to find herself in a place she didn't recognize with a naked man on top of her, inside of her. she couldn't move her body, but she could speak a little. she'd been drugged. he was surprised when she woke up. he bragged to her that he'd done this to her a few hours before.

she went straight to the hospital, still hazy from the drug, and a rape kit was completed. her urine was taken to be tested for the drug. the beast was picked up and questioned:

he didn't know what the cops were talking about.
oh wait, yes he did, but it was consensual sex.
oh, never mind that - he did it and was really sorry. he knew that he shouldn't have. he cries.

pending the results of the urine test, they let him go. (?!?!?!) drugged or no - it is NEVER OK TO INVADE A WOMAN'S BODY.

she returns to where she lives now and starts making phone calls. the prosecutor says they won't be prosecuting. WTF? the detective on the case laughs out loud when he hears this, as he was there when the beast confessed, and is certain that they are kidding. she keeps on it, going higher up. no, they won't do it. she tries again and is told that the urine has been sent off to be tested and they are awaiting results.

then, come to find out, there is no urine. the hospital has thrown it away. ?!?!?!?

she keeps going higher and higher until she finds someone in the prosecutor's office to take her case - but it could take up to 1-2 years!!!!! justice system, my ass. the system asks her instead:

does she realize how difficult and gruelling the process will be?
does she realize how many of those accused of rape still walk?
does she realize what hell this will all be?

her reply?
"i'm already in hell. bring it on."

meanwhile, this beast is still out on the prowl, doing godknowswhat. and it appears to me that this bullshit system - when it comes to rape - is still in place to protect the rights, not of the victim, but of the criminal. meanwhile, my sisterfriend can't work - she's taken a leave of absence. she's in therapy and going to group. she is also transforming her anger into action and speaking out. she is one of the bravest women i know. and i'am proud of her beyond words. i wish that i would've been able to tap into that kind of strength 16 years ago... i know, that in all of the horribleness in what has happened to her, she will go on to do great, inspiring, healing things. she already is!

but back to my sheer, unadulterated anger.

WTF is wrong with this society? we say that it's bad to rape a woman, yet NOTHING is actively being done to stop it, and once it does happen, you're met with this! women STILL have to live in fear that there may be some twisted control freak fuckhead just waiting... terrorists ain't got nothing on that kind of fear. N O T H I N G.

according to statistics, every two and half minutes in america someone is sexually assaulted.
how many don't even report? and why should they given the way that rape cases are handled? this message still says, "we don't believe you" and "you must've done something to deserve it." and all the while, we are inundated daily with these horribly degrading images of women that we have fooled ourselves into thinking aren't degrading - but should be the societal "norm." this problem ultimately has many levels to it. many. another that i think is pressing is porn. while i'am far from a prude and i can find the aesthetic beauty in the nude form quite easily - i think that roger housdensays it best:

"...pornography divorces body from soul and turns body into a thing, which can be used like any other thing for profit in the marketplace. pornography is a caricature of the erotic; it can only exist by demanding anonymity, and substituting fantasy for relationship. without relationship, there is no soul. there is only sensation, for its own sake; and sensation is no more than skin deep. sensation on its own - however orgasmic - fails to deliver the goods. to skim the surface of life ultimately leaves us on our own, and predictably, lonely. one reason we seem to be such a pleasure-hungry society is that we are habitually looking for it in all the wrong places."

i think andrea dworkin had the right idea when she chose to deliver a speech about violence on women to an all male audience. teaching women self-defense, telling her to watch what she wears, telling her to not act a certain way - none of these things will even matter if men don't stop using violence against women. how is it that it is up to women to make sure that men don't go sticking their penises where they don't belong? again, it is the woman's fault and responsibilty. so twisted.

i should be able to walk down the street alone at night and not fear.
i should be able to be in my home and not fear what that man creeping around my alleyway may want to do to me.
i should be able to smile without someone thinking it's a come-on.
i should be able to have someone look me in the eye when they speak to me and not stare at my chest.
i should be able to...

we ALL should.

when i worked in the bar, i can't tell you the number of times that men would order looking at my chest. or try and slap my ass as i walked by - or touch me. or get mad when they'd call me honey/baby and i wouldn't respond to their advances or agree to go home with them. and this was a bar that drew an overwhelmingly fancy crowd, mind you. i wish that i could say these were isolated events, but they weren't. they were daily events. on really bad nights, hourly.

how will i ever teach bebe the importance of respecting women? that gender roles are given to us by society and not always neccesarily true?

i know that andrea dworkin is considered to be somewhat of a radical and is easily dismissed - but i think that much of what she wrote and spoke about is spot on. i leave you with a few of her words for thought. and an after thought.

• By the time we are women, fear is as familiar to us as air; it is our element. We live in it, we inhale it, we exhale it, and most of the time we do not even notice it. Instead of "I am afraid," we say, "I don't want to," or "I don't know how," or "I can't."

• Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.

• Woman is not born: she is made. In the making, her humanity is destroyed. She becomes symbol of this, symbol of that: mother of the earth, slut of the universe; but she never becomes herself because it is forbidden for her to do so.

• Feminists are often asked whether pornography causes rape. The fact is that rape and prostitution caused and continue to cause pornography. Politically, culturally, socially, sexually, and economically, rape and prostitution generated pornography; and pornography depends for its continued existence on the rape and prostitution of women.

• Pornography is used in rape - to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act. [Andrea testimony before the New York Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986]

• Women, for centuries not having access to pornography and now unable to bear looking at the muck on the supermarket shelves, are astonished. Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.

• Sexism is the foundation on which all tyranny is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male-over-female domination.

• Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.

• The fact that we are all trained to be mothers from infancy on means that we are all trained to devote our lives to men, whether they are our sons or not; that we are all trained to force other women to exemplify the lack of qualities which characterizes the cultural construct of femininity.

****i don't mean for this to be a male-bashing and i hope that it doesn't come off that way. there are many men in my life that i love deeply, that would never dream of disrespecting women or using violence against them.

this is a violence bashing that just so happens to involve crimes against women perpetrated by men. i also know that men are the victims of sexual crime - to the tune of 1 in 33, whereas women are 1 in 6. one is way too many...

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