Like me, you’ve been watching the Jodi Arias trial with one single thought on your mind: What a terribly sad awful shame. That’s what you’ve been thinking. That poor, poor woman, (you’re thinking). If guilty of the crime she has thrown her life away. It’s tragic, you’re thinking, whilst shaking your head sorrowfully. How could anyone have anything but sympathy for her!
Oh, have I presumed too much? You don’t have sympathy? I guess there’s a difference between an alleged murderer and a convicted rapist then?
CNN thinks so because CNN loves rapists! It feels really sad when they misbehave and do something naughty like raping – but you know, boys will be boys! But then the nasty old judge has to treat it as if it’s like, you know, something serious, and the poor, poor rapists have their lives ruined!
Imagine that. Having your life ruined just because you did some raping. Not only are they going to prison but their names will also be on a sex offender register! Isn’t that terrible! How can handsome young men who play sports well possibly be on a sex register?
“My life is over” said one of the rapists. Doesn’t it make your heart break? The “victim”, whoever she is, probably felt that way too, but CNN didn’t waste time on her. If only she’d kept quiet about it, those two handsome athletic rapists could be running around a sports field right now!
The Steubenville rape trial. Sympathy for the rapists, death threats toward the victim. Blaming the victim, dismissive attitude of rape by those in authority. The boys’ ignorance in what constitutes rape and their pride in treating a girl as nothing more than a vagina.
Too much! Too much!
I wanted to write about Steubenville, but it’s just too big. And too sad.
I hope, I really do, that it’ll be a famous case in the future, 100 years from now. People will look at it the way we look at witch trials, I hope. Why didn’t people understand what rape was? People will say. Why did they hate women so much? People back then were really really dumb!
But it’ll only happen if people make it so. When teachers at a school dismiss rape as less important than the performance of a football team, we have fucked up. When a 16 year old girl is blamed for being raped instead of the 2 boys who, you know, did the raping, something is very wrong. And when a national network news channel spends five minutes over how sad it is to see convicted rapists being sentenced, we all should be afraid.
Rape is a choice of the rapist.
“Being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.”
~ Jessica Valenti ~
(TRIGGER warning: discussion of sex and rape).
When I was about 13 years old I read a story in a newspaper about a trial. A woman claimed she had been raped by her husband, and I – appallingly – furrowed my brow. How, I thought to myself, can a woman be raped by her husband?
It amazes me now that I thought that way. I don’t believe I hated women and I didn’t fully understand sex, but on some level I had developed an idea of women as secondary to men.
And I don’t think I got this from my parents. I picked it up from everywhere.
At 13 I didn’t know what rape was. And no-one ever told me, I had to work it out for myself. At the end of my teens I was still under the impression that rape was something done by monsters hiding in bushes. I probably thought it was something women didn’t need to worry about, as long as they took precautions. Their problem, not mine.
No-one ever taught me about sex either. I went to a Catholic school. Sex education took up one term of one year, a period of 3 months when I was 14. The syllabus included the dangers of drugs, alcohol, smoking and – bizarrely – road safety. The only thing I recall was watching a video of some naked babies running around. Some of them had penis’es and some of them had vaginas. The difference in sexual organs was based entirely on their gender.
Sex education came from my classmates, fervent, breathless chats with other boys about what they’d like to do to such-and-such girl.
Do to, not with.
I remember crowding around a porn magazine that someone had brought to the playground, aged perhaps 13. A woman, in ridiculously uncomfortable pose, peeling open her vagina. I remember feeling queasy, repulsed.
And young boys today have all of the internet, full of characterless women, playing the part of objects, existing solely for the pleasure of men. Ready to be used and degraded. Women, of course, are always degraded by sex.
I read a blog about the novel “Crimson Petal and the White”. A brilliant novel, whose central character is a Victorian era prostitute. A man left a comment, “I wonder if it would be so interesting from a male perspective”.
Because reading about a female lead character, understanding a woman’s motivations, feelings, thoughts, could that possibly be of interest to a man?
Women are inferior. Sex is something you do to them. Whatever they think doesn’t matter.
These are not ideas I’ve actively sought, but ideas I have actively had to reject. The world around me has done it’s absolute best to try to make me a misogynist.
And I don’t intend this as any sort of defense, but how is a boy meant to learn what a woman is or what it’s like to be a woman, or that it is even worth trying to find out?
Everyday Sexism is an important website. Every post should be put into a hat, and shaken, and 500 should be pulled out at random. Next, the 500 would all be put together at a big publishing house and made into a big book with a shiny cover. The book would be sent out to every school in the Country, to be read by every girl and boy.
If it happened, they would read things like this:
“I know an awful lot of my female friends have been raped, or nearly raped, and I know that an awful lot of my male friends find that terribly hard to believe.”
“I’m 16 and have been receiving sexist comments …since I was 13. Boys (in school) shout “rape!” if they see a girl in the corridor, loudly rate girls out of 10 while we walk past, look at Page 3 and compare girls to it…happens literally every day…”
“My little sister (15) asserted that if somebody claimed they had been raped they were “probably doing it for attention”, that if a girl wants to avoid being raped she shouldn’t go out in ‘slaggy’ clothes. I don’t know where she got this mentality from but that a 15-year-old girl is so ill-informed of the facts is a massive failure of our society.”
And some people would say: This is unsuitable for children. And I would say: Yes! Yes, it is. So lets make this the last generation that has to experience it.
I’ve read heartbreaking posts about women’s experience of rape and sexual assault. No-one ever talks about these things, except to warn women to moderate their behaviour to avoid it because it’s your problem, not ours.
I read these words from a woman who had been raped:
“During the ensuing 15 years, I sometimes referred to the event in my head as “semi-consensual sex.” It wasn’t rape because I hadn’t screamed, I believed. It wasn’t rape because I hadn’t told anyone, ever.”
By being so afraid to talk about sex and to talk about rape and to talk about what rape is, we have allowed, as a society, rape to happen. Rape is not a woman’s problem. We have a duty to educate both sexes about what rape is, and a duty – to women, to children, to everyone – to tell boys this:
“This is rape. Do not rape”.
Thank you to the following blogs for educating me:
(Trigger warnings for all).
“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”
Abder-Qader Ali murdered his child and all it took were a few simple ingredients. First off, find yourself a place in the World where women are treated with less respect than dogs. This might be the 21st Century, but there are still loads of Countries to choose from!
“Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city’s Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death”.
Next, make sure your massively overdeveloped ego, completely disproportionate to your standing in the World, is re-inforced by the culture in which you live:
“Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. ‘They are men and know what honour is,’ he said”.
Ok, those are the easy bits, but maybe you feel a bit icky about murdering your child? Uncertain about ending a life just because you’re embarrassed what other men will think of you? No problem! Just invent something that can’t be argued against to justify your barbarity:
“I know God is blessing me for what I did”.
Well done Ali! How on Earth would men be able to commit all these amazing atrocities if it wasn’t for a hideous notion of a God to build their confidence and give them some overblown, self-righteous balls!
And naturally having balls is very important when murdering your 16 year old daughter. You have to remember women have a role:
“That girl humiliated me in front of my family and friends. Speaking with a foreign soldier, she lost what is the most precious thing for any woman.”
Speaking with a foreign soldier! What a total slut! Didn’t she know the most precious thing for any woman is not to do anything that might upset a man’s fragile self-image. Especially in front of other men. Poor, poor Ali. Is it really too much to ask that women, before any act no matter how small,always think this: How will my actions effect the men around me?
But thank goodness men have their role too! They get to be brave and manly and strong.
“‘My sons are by my side, and they were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours.”
Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know there are guys “men enough” to carry their narrow-minded, and neanderthal fear of women to the point of vicious, barbaric murder?
Oh, and if you care, Rand Abdel-Qader spoke to the soldier because she studied English and was volunteering, helping displaced families. Her body was tossed into a makeshift grave and spat on afterwards. But, why would you care? She was only a woman.
Original story found here. Rest in Peace Rand Abdel-Qader.
My life, in the last few weeks, has come to resemble a newspaper and not a story. Gone is the structure, the narrative, the aims or the arcs. Life, my life, is now a series of unconnected, meaningless events.
This blog won’t always be so bleak, but I have a little more gloom to gift you.
My wife has cut me out of her life without telling me.
After eight years she has cheated on me, in spectacular Jerry Springer-like proportions, and is now in the process of leaving me for good. Not for better but definitely worse.
If pain should be embraced and burned as fuel for our journey, then I’m at the beginning of a very long trip.
I knew something was rotten in the same way an animal is aware that it’s dying. A dog is incapable of equating it’s deteriating condition to the end of it’s life. It merely experiences every moment in isolation, each increasingly worse.
And I too have now experienced something dying, without being aware of it’s impending death. Life is full of experiences!
This is a blog with a purpose, because I no longer have one. In writing it, I hope I might find some humour, some insight or, at the very least, a little comfort.
This blog will not be bitter. I may be betrayed, hurt, embarrassed, depressed, angry, jealous and broken, but bitter I am not. Hearts aren’t to be hardened even if they are made to be broken.
This blog will be honest and avoid self-pity, though in the interests of honesty, into this blog some self-pity may slip.
This blog isn’t about revenge because I don’t want to dig two graves.
M has diligently cut away at the threads that connected us, and set herself free, floating away and leaving me among the debris of our former life. I am, as I write, empty and alone.
I’m at the end of something and the beginning of something else, and I’ve no idea about either. And so begins the trip…
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to
getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into
small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”