Seriously fucked up, triggering and vomit inducing

27 05 2009

I read this on The Curvature and it’s absolutely sickening.

Just 2 days ago, an unnamed serial rapist in Australia was sentenced to 9 years in jail for “having sex with his intellectually disadvantaged [now 27 year old] daughter” last year in March when his daughter was 26.  On March 29, 2008 the rapist “followed his daughter home and had sex with her” and believed it to be consensual because she didn’t say anything.  And then, “the next day he had sex with his daughter again.”  (By the way Sunshine Coast Daily and all other rape apologists media sources, we do not call this “having sex”.  This is called RAPE. Sex and rape are two very different things.)

As a woman with a disability, she already exists as a vulnerable, stigmatized and ostracized body in society.  Women with disabilities are raped more often than women without disabilities.  There are several reasons for this that Cara highlights in her post, like the fact that people with disabilities have fewer resources at their disposal and they may be afraid to come forward about sexual assault/rape especially if/when they are dependent on their attackers, who are often family members or caretakers.  Not to mention rape myths like the fact that disabled women are sexually undesirable and therefore “un-rapable”.  And given the stigma that disabled women already face, if they do speak out they may be even less likely to be believed.

Feminists have repeated this over and over, but people like this serial rapist still don’t seem to get it: The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”.  Silence does not mean “yes”.  I hate the sense of male entitlement to female bodies that makes people buy into the bullshit that unless a woman objects to any level of sexual activity, men have a green light for them to just go ahead.  Most male rapists know that women are not consenting and that they aren’t having sex with her but that they’re raping her.  Because of this male sense of entitlement, male rapists feel that sex is a given unless a woman explicitly says “no”.

From the Sunshine Coast Daily:

At the time of the offences, the man had been out of jail for a year after serving 10 years for repeatedly raping his step daughter from the time she was 10 years old.

The court heard the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, was in a relationship with a woman from 1979 to 1983 and they had a daughter in 1982.

He left that woman to begin a relationship with the woman’s 17-year old daughter from a previous relationship.

The 17-year old already had a three-year old daughter of her own, and when the little girl was nine, years old the man began a sexual relationship with her while living at a Sunshine Coast caravan park.  (Again, FYI Sunshine Coast Daily, this is not a “sexual relationship”.  As a minor, a 9-year old child cannot consent to a sexual relationship.  This is sexual abuse.)

He raped the girl for the first time around her tenth birthday.

The abuse continued until 1997 when the girl was about 16 years old.

He also raped another 16-year old family member in 1996.

In 1997, the man was sent to jail for a total of 35 offences and was eventually released in 2007.

Clearly this rapist is a sick, sick man with a laundry list of sexual abuse and sexual assault towards female family members.  Why was this rapist, convicted with 35 charges and possessing such a clear and consistent history of sexual abuse and sexual assault, released from jail after only 10 years?  And now, why is he sentenced only to 9 years of prison and eligible for parole in as early as 2012?

This is seriously fucked up.





Thoughts on masculinity…

27 05 2009

When I was a senior in high school, I took a Feminist Theory class and we watched Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity, an excellent film by Jackson Katz.  It was the first time I had really thought critically about social constructions masculinity and the normalization of violent masculinity.  Early in the film, Katz says:

The front that many men put up that’s based on an extreme notion of masculinity that emphasizes toughness and physical strength and gaining the respect and admiration of others through violence or the implicit threat of it.  Boys and young men learn early on that being a so-called “real man” means you have to take on the “tough guise,” in other words you have to show the world only certain parts of yourself that the dominant culture has defined as manly.

Masculinity is a topic that really interests and fascinates me.  People generally do not think or talk about masculinity, especially not cissexual, heterosexual men.  Cissexual, heterosexual men are taught from early on that they need to defend their masculinity so that it is never contested.  The greatest insult you can hurl at a man is that he isn’t man enough, that he’s a wuss, a pussy, a sissy, a fag, etc.  These insults are used as a mechanism of social control to maintain patriarchal gender norms.  Meanwhile, the masculinity of LGBTQ men have been, and still are, consistently attacked.

Masculinity is defined and constructed in such a narrow way and today on Yes Means Yes, Thomas writes about the need for cissexual, heterosexual men to start thinking and talking more about masculinity and male sexuality:

To refuse to talk about it, though, is to be a prisoner of the privilege. The common understanding of male sexuality is a stereotype, an ultra-narrow group of desires and activities oriented around PIV [penis in vagina], anal intercourse and blowjobs; oriented around cissexual women partners having certain very narrow groups of physical characteristics.

The dominant idea and representation of masculinity and male sexuality is that of cissexual, heterosexual, white, upper-middle/upper class masculinity – this also describes the main power holders in our patriarchal society.  And Thomas is absolutely right, refusing to examine these narrow, oppressive ideas of masculinity is to be imprisoned by privilege.  Masculinity is not natural – it is a sociocultural bind where boys and men feel like they need to posture as bad boys, as tough guys.





Do you really want to work for him?

27 05 2009

This is older news, but back in March, a third grader wrote a letter to Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel, who has also been sued several times by female employees for sexual harassment, saying that she wanted to work there when she grew up.   This is the letter she sent:

dovletter

American Apparel is famous for its commitment to immigrant rights like its Legalize LA campaign.  Clothing is made by employees who are paid well above the minimum wage, work in comfortable, air conditioned factories in Los Angeles, have reasonable health benefits and access to English language classes.  These are pretty decent and equitable working conditions considering that clothing from many other stores are produced in sweatshops overseas.

However, it is pretty easy to see that based on their advertisements and store displays, American Apparel sells sex and uses women to do so.

unzip

amapp

Women’s bodies are objectified and hyper-sexualized to market clothing and other accessories, which is not a new advertising technique, but it’s disgusting that American Apparel is exploiting women, their bodies and their sexuality to sell sex while masking behind “immigration reform”, “fair pay” and “sweatshop free” rhetoric.  All of those sound good and are good, but why must we utilize, objectify and hyper-sexualize women’s bodies in order to promote immigrant rights and decent working conditions?  Must we constantly sacrifice women so?  Women deserve better than that.  Women are not just mere instruments or machinery to further good or just causes.

Besides, Charney is so unabashed about the sexual harassment cases against him and where he stands on his company’s hyper-sexualization.  He’s disclosed to the press before information about his sexual relationships with female employees.  When asked if he calls women sluts at work, he said, “In private conversations, where such language was generally welcome.”  When asked if he thought slut was a derogatory term, he responded, “You know, there are some of us that love sluts.  You know, it’s not necessarily – it could also be an endearing term…something you call your lover.”

O RLY?  Calling a woman a slut is endearing?