So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

06 June, 2009

Frameworks and Fireworks

I want to start off by linking this post, which I think is overall excellent.

Unfortunately, I read all the comments, so I can't just enthuse about it. Damnit. I wanted to just point and say this is cool, go read it.

But there's an argument thread in there that wants to talk about things like "all men are potential rapists", which isn't what the post is about at all; and while that's not as bad as the more extreme form, it's still ... not a thing that is protective of me, not something that helps me come to terms with my experience as a survivor.

This isn't a warning about the universe. No; this is a scalpel sliding blame and responsibility under the flesh to make sure the scarification stays sharp. If "all men are potential rapists", then if I want to be safe from rape, perhaps I should consider not associating with any men. Need to be a good little penis policeman, after all.

Except, you know, all people are potential rapists. Gendering it creates a heirarchy of survivors, makes some victims more real than others. Rape is not just sexist. Rape is racist. Rape is transphobic. Rape is homophobic. Rape is anti-sex-worker. Rape is ablist. Rape is a thing that sprawls across all kinds of intersectional social differentials, including some I haven't mentioned here, including ones that don't have tidy words for them. (What's the ism for the socially awkward nerdy guy who was raped and expected to be grateful for it? Not a hypothetical; I know at least one.) And not all the enforcers who use rape are men.

And I can read comment threads where people talk about having their bisexuality slide closer and closer to lesbian the more they think about this, and I wind up alienated and tearful, because I know maleness doesn't cause this thing. It's a social defect that winds up in people, and while it may be overwhelmingly more common in men because of privilege and the nature of the crime, that doesn't make it not a people thing.

I read that post right after reading a post in which a friend commented that her mother keeps patting her ass whenever she bends over and giggling about the discomfort it causes. I don't know about how you conduct things back on Earth, but here on Gehenna that's a sexually-tinged assault at best, made all the more creepy and fucked up by being something a parent is inflicting on their child and deriving some sort of perverse gratification from. Tell me this isn't contributing to rape culture. I want to see you say it and keep a straight face.

And if you can say it to me -- go say it to the young autistic woman who is trying to figure out what "normal" behaviour is, who has only just realised that maybe being randomly groped might actually be beyond the pale.

And, y'know, the power - and responsibility - to say "What the hell is wrong with you?" for attempting sexual assault and rape is not something that rests solely on men. It's a people thing, because if there's a 'rape culture', it's not just guys who are stuck in it.

So with Cereta, I'm gonna call on us all to be That Guy. Because there aren't enough stories of people getting other people to can the rape-promoting bullshit, and to stop people who want to perpetuate rape culture before rapes happen.


Trinity said...

On your debunking of that "I'm a lesbian because I know I'm safer" thing, all I can say is "Thank you," and that it makes my head and heart hurt to hear that too. No, no, no!

Trinity said...

And you know, I read the first comment, the "my husband and I don't live in the same world" and my mind is just... buh?

Because yes, I live in a world where I'm particularly rapeable. But I live in a world where... so are my partners, if anyone knows they're bottoms. Or even if it wouldn't be done to them... it's a joke to keep them in line. Just as it's a joke to keep me in line.

I don't live in a world where I fear for me and not for the men (or the women, but the assumption is that only women are in danger) who open themselves to me. If someone can be that vulnerable before me and I care about their trust... why should I see it as vanishingly impossible that someone who they can't trust would want to teach "the faggot weirdos" a lesson if they knew?

Why am I supposed to buy this feminist line (and I know that's heresy but please, anyone reading, consider what place I speak from) that they're impervious and no one will ever curse them or hurt them? Why am I supposed to pretend their secrets aren't something I've protected as seriously as possible because the world is a dangerous place for people with those secrets?

Trinity said...

(okay, now I'm upset. shoot.)

Why can't we all be there for each other? Why is that a heresy?

Trinity said...

I guess what I'm saying is that... yeah, I understand that far fewer men than women are raped. But all a man has to do to become rapeable (which means "womanish") is step outside the Real Man line.

I know too many men who do that to nod my head to posts like that any more. I get it, but... I don't get why it's not acknowledged that maleness isn't the shield. Masculinity is.

And masculinity of the sort you need not to be a target is a straightjacket.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

The person who said something like "The more I think about feminism the higher my Kinsey number gets" is someone I know personally. I ... don't know whether I'm more horrified by that as a heterosexual assault survivor, as someone who knows people who were raped by their partners in same-sex relationships, as someone who knows about intersectional stuff that plays into it, or what ... with some bonus "Goddamn, am I sick of everything that smells remotely like separatism."

And yeah, I know that the bottoms/submissives of the world are more vulnerable in some ways to rape, and I suspect that that's going to hit the men harder in some ways, because of the way the culture particularly despises people who are supposed to be slotted into the top role and reject it.

And you (Trin) have the risk of rape bonus of 'putting the uppity woman in her place' types, much like homophobic rape gets formulated.

And I have the protection of being a white woman, and thus not classed as someone who is intrinsically sexually rapacious, and thus available, and thus axiomatically consenting -- unlike WOC, and unlike men.

If this stuff is as insidious and pervasive as some people would like to present - and sometimes I think it is, and sometimes I think it isn't - then we've all got to work through our internalised shit and work on getting other people to stop doing it too. It can't be left to the men, because men aren't the only people making decisions that perpetuate it.

Trinity said...

Thank you. And just to be clear, I wasn't trying to say you don't get that. I was explaining why I tend to wig out and go "Uh, I'll be over there now" when I see comments like that one.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

No, I know.

We're all wigged here, I think, is what we're both saying.

Trinity said...

But yeah, I think you've hit it bang on. There's a queerness to the relationship I'm in even if it's a heterosexual one, and that brings risk. Maybe not as much, but yeah, some, and I'm aware of it. And some of the men partners I've had have been a lot more afraid of that stigma and a lot more "never talk about this anywhere, EVER, I'm afraid" than the current one is.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

And that's a queerness that I, for the most part, don't have to navigate beyond the baseline "kinky means indiscriminate" risk upping.

I know that it's out there, but because I'm not transgressing assumed sex role dramatically in the way I do kink, I don't get the gender-enforcement rape risk for it.

cakmpls said...

Thank you--for writing this and for letting me know about it.

I have often felt like a lone voice crying in the wilderness when I've said things like "As long as we define 'violence' as something men do to women, we have no chance of ending violence."

There are people in the world who use other people for their own ends, without regard for the other's humanity. Exactly how those people do their using depends on their circumstances, their abilities, and their predilections. Some of them do more damage than others, and the damage might be physical, emotional, psychological, or a combination.

In my opinion, no one has the right--has the knowledge--to say from the outside, this kind of damage is worse than that kind, or this person is harmed more than that person.

I have both sons and daughters. We have tried our best to raise them all not to be users of other people, and to recognize when other people are trying to use them. So far (daughters are 25 and 18, and sons are 26 and 22), so good.

But I have never feared more for my daughters than for my sons. The world has plenty of evil to go around.

jinian said...

Good points. Thank you.

Helen said...

Fairly OT I know, but sometimes I wonder if autistic people aren't the sanest among us. People's behaviour doesn't make sense...