eumelia: (jewish revenge)
Trigger Warnings: Genocide, sexualised violence, and rape.

It being International Woman's Day, I figured I'd talk about the Holocaust.

In case you didn't know, it's more shocking that ever thought. You'd think it was impossible for the Holocaust to be an even more terrible moment in history than it already is perceived and conceived to be.

The New York Times story states:
Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

Emphasis mine.

I have to say when I read this, I felt sick. I was honestly shocked. The Holocaust is a piece of history I've taken the time to learn about - entire branches of my family tree were eradicated during the second world war - and much of my knowledge came from what I'd been spoon fed by the education system of my country.

You're probably asking yourselves why I'm talking about this on International Woman's Day.

If you continue reading you'll reach this little factoid:
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Emphasis mine.

Why is The New York Times disinclined to call rape, what it is? I think the idea of rape as a war crime is still something that mainstream media is reluctant to talk about, because rape is sadly ubiquitous in "times of peace".

More to the point, the way rape is perpetrated during war and upon an occupied population is very often misrepresented and downplayed, often because rape, during war, is "expected". It is a risk of war, much like bullets and bombs. If you are a woman in a war zone, you should prepare for the enemy to use their weapons upon you.

"This is my weapon, this is my gun."

My point is that that little titbit is all that was said about the "special treatment" of women during the Holocaust. There is a great deal we do not know about the difference women and men experience war and how acts of war are perpetrated on their bodies.

More often than not, women are not counted as people, but as spoils. Hence the creation of special brothel camps.

Women Under Siege's report to the new findings gives a good overview when it comes to how much more needs to be done in order for justice to really be done.

Rape and genocide go hand in hand. Rape and war go hand in hand. But for some reason, they're not always counted as crimes against humanity.

Tumblr crosspost
eumelia: (Default)
Went to see "Skyfall" last night.

ALL THE Spoilers )

I enjoyed it, but I have many many misgivings. I'll go see it again, because I'm addicted to the franchise and love the character too much.

I missed Jeffry Wright as Felix Lieter though. No CIA in this movie, alas.
eumelia: (mystique)
Trigger warnings are not for naught.

We are vulnerable people, we live in a world that is structured around power and that breeds a broad culture of violence, that (more often than not) men perpetuate and (more often than not) women are victimised by.

The culture of violence is something we live and breathe, we cannot avoid it, not really. We can, however, do our best to live gentler, more compassionate lives. We can do our best to empathise with those who have suffered under the tyranny of power disparity. Those of us who have been traumatised by events out of our control, whatever they may be, deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, not with indignation and ever so slightly veiled scorn.

When I read The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion by Roxane Gay earlier tonight, that's exactly what I felt.


Reading her post, it's clear she's been through a lot in her life, that she knows suffering and trauma.

She writes a long and relatively literary account about why trigger warnings do not work. Moreover, that they are, as the title suggests, an illusion in the face of reality and the way reality is conveyed via the media.

I hope you read the whole thing, but I want to focus on this one paragraph, as it had me bristling:

There is also this: maybe trigger warnings allow people to avoid learning how to deal with triggers, getting help. I say this with the understanding that having access to professional resources for getting help is a privilege. I say this with the understanding that sometimes there is not enough help in the world. That said, there is value in learning, where possible, how to deal with and respond to the triggers that cut you open, the triggers that put you back in terrible places, that remind you of painful history.

Where is the understanding that we are, in fact, different from each other? Okay, so trigger warnings don't suit you, who are you to judge if they are suitable for anyone else! That is what I want to know, because you know something? I need trigger warnings.

Not because I have a painful history that rips me open when I have textual reminders of something traumatising.

Trigger warnings tell me that this person is respectful of the subject. That they know what it is they are writing. It tells me that they understand the ramifications of writing subjects that are to do with the violence in our lives.

The quote above is a very condescending way of saying: "You who need trigger warnings are over sensitive, I don't need them and I've been through shit, so why should you."

Telling her audience that "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are illusions, empties out precisely why those concepts are necessary to begin with; they are reprieves from the brutality that is reality.

I do not expect to be accommodated by the culture of violence at large. My triggers are so specific sometimes, that I generally know what I can and can't watch at any given time (because my triggers are visual and aural), but you're side-swiped and it doesn't matter if you thought you were prepared for what was coming, sometimes your brain signals things to your body you know aren't true, but it feels that way any way.

However, when you are an artist and your medium is your message, what you want to convey isn't removed from the culture at large. When we write, when we create, we are part of a greater picture from which we take and return with not quite equal measure.

Feminist art used to be (at times still is) specific challenges to masculine supremacy and a type of in-your-face radical femininity. Now, for me at least, a big part of feminist art is approach to subject, and approach to audience.

Feminism, as a political standpoint, should be rooted in compassion, in the knowledge and awareness that we navigate and negotiate an environment that is hostile. Trigger warnings are a way to navigate through art. Does everyone need them? No. Should they be required? No. Should we begrudge those who use them? No. Should we question why people don't use them? Yes.

Roxane Gay also wrote:
Trigger warnings also, when used in excess, start to feel like censorship. They suggest that there are experiences or perspectives too inappropriate, too explicit, too bare to be voiced publicly. As a writer, I bristle when people say, “This should have had a trigger warning.” I think, “For what?”

I understand the defensive stance. I don't, however, believe there is such a thing as an "excess" use of trigger warnings, considering the discourse that even bothers to even talk about them is fucking tiny.

If you feel censored by the request of trigger warnings, I would suggest you ask yourself why? Do you want to add your voice to the culture of unaccountability when it comes to violence? Ask yourself if the mere thought of thinking of the effect your art has, as opposed to affect makes you rear and cry "censorship" in the face of criticism, what exactly your aim was.

We do not write, create, react, interact in a vacuum.

Those of us who have triggers, who have been traumatised, who walk this world hyper-aware and "over sensitive" don't need to be condescended to about being reminded of our painful history. We carry it with us, always.

It never goes away.

Asking and knowing that others know this, respect this and honour this, is a tiny and temporary reprieve.

Telling me that that reprieve is a childish illusion, is to me a show of extraordinary lack of compassion, a defeatist attitude when it comes to pushing back and being critical of the culture that enabled and enacted our trauma in the first place.
eumelia: (buffy is better)
[Trigger Warning: Frank discussion of rape culture]

It is with a great deal of kismet that I woke up this morning to an image that not only angered me, but haunted me throughout the day.

It wasn't an image of explicit violence.

It wasn't an image of gratuitous sexuality.

It wasn't an image of a war crime, news event or accident.

The image, which you can see under the cut )

It is a depiction of a white, thin, photoshopped woman. Her lips are painted red. Her eyes are covered with black silk blind fold, tied with a bow. Her nudity is heavily implied.

As you can see, this is the cover of this week's Newsweek. The cover article written by Katie Roiphe in which, and I quote Newsweek's tumblr:
[she] examines the submissive yet empowered female in Newsweek. “It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics, or even changing demographics,” she writes.

I don't want to talk about the article though.

What interests me is the image and the accompanying quote: "The fantasy life of working women. Why surrender is a feminist dream".

Because that, my friends, is the face of backlash.

The reduction of womanhood and femininity into an unseeing nude waiting to be opened, unaware that she is even being gazed at - and how! When she is on the cover a mass produced weekly magazine that is available both in hard copy and as a e-mag - is a work of terror.

Pure and simple.

Femininity and women's sexuality is reduced, in this image and in that quote, to this:


Woman, no matter who, where and how, is reduced to being available to someone else. That someone else will always and forever be a man.

This image implies that consent is not needed, because look, she's ready and willing for anyone to come and take her and open her up.

How can you tell?

She surrendered, because she can't handle her own power.

Shut the front door.

Here's the thing; Femininity and submission have been cultural peas in a pod for who knows how long. Femininity has been considered lesser, due to it's linkage to submission. Submission has always been associated with powerlessness... when attached to women.

When a man submits, well, he's kinky, isn't he, he's relinquishing his power temporarily.

Women, well, our power is the temporary thing.

Because we can't handle it. Beyond it, because secretly, we don't really want it.

That image is just another symptom of rape culture, because woman; no matter her background, race, ethnicity, sexuality, physical ability, mental capacity, nationality or even if she was born female; is nothing but a body which must avail herself to the desire of the men.

The fact is, that image and quote use kink as a way to yank and ridicule women's agency, autonomy and text based culture from under our feet. It reduces our sexual expression, fantasies, desires, choices and culture to something that, once again, avails us to be sexual objects in the patriarchy controlled public sphere.

Thank you, Newsweek, for slapping half the population across the face. Of course, according to you, we're asking for it, eyes closed and mouth at the ready.

[Entry #001]

Old News

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:08 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Despite focusing lately on things not relating to the occupation in a direct manner, I still access the media and am as big a News junkie as ever.

As some of you may or may not know, today is Land Day, which is a commemorative day marking the strikes and protests Palestinians held in 1967 after the state (Israel) appropriated privately held Palestinian land. Thousands of dunams were basically stolen from under the owners feet.

This appropriation is still happening today, obviously.

But Land Day is a big event and such there are more demonstrators and many more wounded.

It's been a while since I've been involved in anti-occupation politics as I am focusing on more organised LGBT activism and, well, my life, but I don't think one can really separate the issues, as they colour every fraction of my life one way or another.

For instance, what does it mean that Israel cut ties with the UN Human Rights Commission, because they dared open up a probe regarding the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Apropos land appropriation. If I cared one whit about Israel's image I'd say we shoot ourselves in the foot, but seriously, we commit flagrant human rights violations every day, all the time. I can't say I'm surprised the foreign ministry started talking about Al-Qaeda (your guess is as good as mine as to why) and about how it's the Palestinian Authority committing - wait for it - diplomatic terrorism on Israel.

Because the state terrorism Israel commits on a regular basis is really not a part of the discourse.

Speaking of state sanctioned terror, and another reason why the IDF is a hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution of the worst kind?

(Trigger Warning: Rape Culture, Encouragement Of Rape, Overt Racism): IDF Colonel-Rabbi implies Rape is Permitted in War.

If you read the body of the text (heed the trigger warnings, my god!) you will see that when they write "imply", they actually mean "clearly states" that raping female prisoners is not only permitted, but actually encouraged!

...even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge...

As the author of the article writes, this is the face of the IDF of 2012.

The fact that this kind of religious doctrine is actually published by the IDF is telling. Mainly, they they really can't see anything beyond their weeping national erection.

Despite the above, or possibly because of the above, I must mention Adrienne Rich's passing.

Her writing has been an inspiration to me for many years, both her poetry and essays - all of which have been a great aid to me when it came to my own feminism, even if I didn't agree with everything she had to say (her gender essentialism was and is notorious, despite the way she leveraged it so beautifully in the political and theoretical spheres).

She was also a Jewish woman who spoke out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of BDS, which, you know, is special.

She also spoke of the role and the responsibility of the poet, the writer, the artist to be political and proactive and not shy away from social justice in their work.

Someone is Writing a Poem
...But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an “I” can become a “we” without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers...

May her memory be blessed.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Hint: It isn’t a debate.

Trigger Warning: This post is about the narratives of dubious consent, non consent, rape, sexual assault, body autonomy (or lack thereof) in fanfiction and fandom, and what being triggered actually means.

Before I begin to dig into this issue, let me put one thing on the table; the only moral issue about sex between two or more adults is consent. Everything else is a matter of what floats your boat. My kink is not your kink and that’s okay – in fact, it’s great, because in fandom we share and learn and discuss these things to a greater degree of openness and detail that in the “real world”.

So, I read a fic. It is a good fic. It’s not perfect, but very few stories are. Much like life, I must say1.

It is a really good story, which, right off the bat, places the characters in a scenario known in fanfic as dub-con, a short hand of “dubious consent”.

Let me put something else on the table here. In real life, there is no such thing as “dubious consent”. Dub-con is a narrative device, it is a construct of point of view, we see and read the conflict of the person (say, Hermione of “Harry Potter”) whose autonomy has been breached and we know, along with Hermione, that she actually wants this happen, only she’s not sure about why, or how, or some other thing – she just knows, kind of, that she wants this other person (say Snape) to do what he is doing.

Alternately, we have Snape’s pov, he who breaches the aforementioned autonomy and magically (no pun intended) knows that this fine, that Hermione actually wants it. That this is sexy, even if Hermione says “stop” or “no” or says nothing at all.

I use this example from “Harry Potter”, because this type of narrative is so typical in this pairing it is practically a trope. But it is a narrative found in all genres and happenstances of fic, be it het or slash, hurt/comfort or fluff – it is there and frankly, I despair at having to actually talk about this.

In real life dubious consent can’t happen. It cannot. Not because we don’t often feel conflicted about doing something with another person in bed, or because there wasn’t enough communication and the sex ended up being more enjoyable for one of the partners over the other (or others).
It cannot happen in real life, because the narrative in our heads can’t be shared. We can’t know if our partner is conflicted, or not comfortable, unless they tell us. The opposite, of course, is the same.

Dubious consent alleges that Ianto (for instance) can and would fight against Jack’s advances and actions if he really wanted to, this is the context of Ianto being subordinate to Jack in the hierarchy of the “Torchwood” team and their age (putting it lightly). With that in mind, it is likely that this scenario wouldn’t actually be construed by fic authors as an issue of consent because it is happening between two men, in the case of slash.

Consent isn’t about Steve’s (for instance) physical ability to stop Danny from performing fellatio on him. Consent is about the fact that Danny doesn’t care to ask or wait for Steve to actually say what he feels about the idea of it happening at all.

That is the point. The disregard to one’s choice, one’s comfort and one’s own wants (and needs) when it comes to sex is endemic, because the idea that the onus is on the person whose will and autonomy is being violated is simply not true. In the fic I read, there was a clear description of someone wanting to say “No”, but didn’t get a chance to do so, due to the narrative dictating that the “No” or the “Wait a minute” didn’t count because the sex was just that good. Dubious consent hadn’t even been an option here, because this scenario was constructed in order for the inner conflict of “do I or don’t I want this” to be taken as a token resistance as opposed to assertion of free will.

This particular fic isn’t even the only time in “Hawaii Five-0” fandom that this sort of thing has happened. In the name of sexy, how many times have we read Steve or Danny say “wait” or “stop” and have the other guy say “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” or “I know what you want/need” and continue to do what they were doing despite the “No”.

And yes, “wait”, “stop” or even non-responsiveness when action is taking place in sex is a big “NO”.

You cannot know why a person says “stop” or “wait” during sex unless you actually stop or wait. Possibly, this person has a cramp, or you’re digging your knee or elbow somewhere uncomfortable or maybe, you are doing something that is making your partner feel distressed and things need to change.

When you assume that Steve or Hermione can physically/magically prevent Danny or Snape from violating them, you are perpetuating rape culture2.

When you assume that knowing what a character is feeling or thinking when their free will is being disregarded by their sexual partner makes this disregard okay, and when you then normalize this behaviour in your fic, you are perpetuating rape culture.

And in the case in which there is clear non-consent going on when you assume that by removing the word “rape” from the fic magically fixes the disparity in power dynamics and that the violence perpetrated now isn’t sexual or gendered, you are perpetuating rape culture.

This is doubly so, when you don’t warn that these things actually exist in the fic!

It doesn’t make a difference what your intent was, I doubt authors are actively malicious, but when you have a character (major or minor) that is assaulted, whether “live”, or in a flashback or memory, or discussed, that is still a textual description of sexual and/or gendered violence. The assault, whether explicit violence, psychological coercion or disregard to another’s free will, choice and autonomy, is still written down and as such must be warned for, because the words you use are the same.

The thing is I don’t mind that dub-con exists in fic, as it is a fantasy narrative device and everyone has fantasies they wouldn’t want to actually happen in real life. This is why we have role playing and BDSM and actually talking to your partner(s) when it comes to making fantasies come true. In the name of full disclosure, I read fics that have dub-con, non-con and rape scenarios in them, because I like hurt/comfort and angst – I need to be warned for this, not because I have triggers, but because I need to know that these scenarios are going to be handled with the due respect and sensitivity that they deserve.

The respect and sensitivity should be awarded to the readers who do have triggers.

It is no secret that transformative art fandom (fanfic, fanvid, fanart and more) is made of a majority of women and/or female identified people and a significant amount of gender variant people, LGBT men and women, non-white people, disabled people and other social minorities who are all vulnerable to sexual violence, because our humanity and body autonomy is considered inconsequential.

The notion that a not insignificant part of your readership will have been through a traumatic experience concerning sexual consent, and sexually based and gendered violence, is not out there!

It is not only a courtesy to warn for this in your header, it will save someone from stumbling into a scenario that will make him or her feel less safe in their own lives, because their hobby and their creative community triggered their trauma.

But in the end, what I find distressing is that people do not recognise what they write for what it is, and in slash fiction it is particularly endemic, due to the fact that this happening between two men. Because rape culture dictates that between men consent isn’t an issue. Because rape culture dictates that men never say “no”. Because rape culture dictates that men can stop the coercion by virtue of being “strong” and physically powerful.

Dear readers, this is bullshit.

As a community of vulnerable people who often place characters we love in painful and violent scenarios that happen in real life to real people in a society that considers our trauma to be exaggerated at best and made up at worst, we have to consider the consequences of our actions and take care of each other.

One of the ways we do this is to know what it is we are writing and to warn accordingly.

1) This post was triggered (no pun intended) by a particular fic and a discussion that followed, but it is not specifically about any one fic. This post is about a trend and a trope that is all too common in H50 fandom and in fandom as a whole, and I am using this fic as a way to exemplify and make clear my points.
Back to text.

2(For a clear and concise definition of what rape culture is I would refer you to Melissa McEwan’s post at Shakesville where she writes:
[…]Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.[…]

Back to text.
eumelia: (media lies)
I'm so not fucking surprised that the allegation against Julian Assange (the founder of Wikileaks) issued at some point yesterday.

Were dropped today.

Just 'cause you know, it's not like anyone has anything against the man (he's never done anything that anyone would find objectionable) and the easiest crime to pin on a guy that don't actually have to be true, because everyone knows those silly girl cry "rape" just to get back at whoever supposedly wronged them (/sarcasm).

I guess it's easier to tarnish a guy's rep by calling rape, rather than espionage (which would make sense given the circumstances), but rape allegation can also be "cleaned" away much more easily.

It pisses me off that a crime that hurts 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men is so cavalierly thrown around in this manner.
eumelia: (Default)
Fucking Hell:
Only about 60 percent of elementary and junior high schools offer a "life skills" course that includes sex education, and the subject is not taught at all in high schools, according to a Knesset Research Center report. Schools are not required to teach the course.
Along with sex education, the "life skills" program also includes issues like violence, alcohol, drugs and peer pressure. The elementary schools that teach the program devote one hour weekly to it, while in junior high schools, the subject is taught during homeroom.

But the research center's report noted that sex education is not always part of the "life skills" program, as parents or others sometimes "exert pressure not to deal with certain issues, like sexual identity."

As for high schools, the report states that when sex education is broached, it is often "in response a specific event."

The ministry's sex education unit, according to the report, does not monitor "the extent to which the subject is taught or the type or content of lessons."

I had no idea things were so bad.
I had no idea I was that privileged in my national, public and secular education.

During my twelve years of formal education I had a sex education class twice as a separate class outside the regular curriculum and once as a "special class" when I was doing more advanced biology.
This doesn't include the "special assemblies" we had about AIDS in which we had PWA come and tell us about their lives - one was seriously ill, I remember. Also, the woman was infected by an immigrant from Cameroon with whom she'd had a serious relationship beforehand, the man was infected by a one-night stand in Independence Park (the gay cruising spot), iirc.

You just can't escape it.

I had a sex-ed lesson in 6th grade, in which we were told our bodies were going to change, menstruation, all that blah blah blah, which was given to us in a heterogeneous class (boys and girls) by the school nurse.
In 11th grade by an actual sex-educator who came and explained how sex worked, what a condom is, how a condom works, the Pill, that girls are "allowed to say no", that AIDS can kill you and if you're gay or have anal sex it's more risky.
I basically took what she had to say condoms to heart.
The biology class was a fiasco from start to finish as we went over the biological reproductive system and me, in me being a Rocky Horror going, a virgin where it "counts" - 'cause I hadn't been with a man yet (that only happened after high school), and doing my best not to Out myself to my teacher, was shot down and that harpy asked me "Didn't I think having casual sex was dangerous?"


Memories of sex-ed are a tad shudder inducing, but at least I have them. I learned something - ignored a lot, but if the years of being sexually active, I've managed to avoid STI and pregnancy and I do owe a bunch of that to sex-ed (and my dad, who is a pharmacist and provided me with a lot of information from just being in his store).

Now, I'm discovering that formal sex-ed is taught in only 60% of schools in Israel!

The article also ties the lack of sex-education with the rise in gang-rapes the media has been reporting on. I doubt that, btw. I think the consequences of rape may be a bit more fuzzy - and when I say consequences I mean the fact that STI's are spread and pregnancy can occur - but, the notion that women and girls are there to available for the proclivities of horny boys isn't something that can be countered by two-to-five hours of formal school education that most teens don't give a shit about, anyway.

After all, when I was a teenager, consent was taught as "the right to say No", as though that's the be all and end all of consent. As though other form of coercion weren't just as violent and violating.

I think I need to get into the education system just for that.
I'm just...
This is very scary.
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
I'm about begin my semi-regular room cleaning, yeah it's that time of year again, where my desk has disappeared under stack of paper, where I books are due back to the library any day now and the smell of dust is just too much to bear any more... there needs to be a purge.

Before all that, recall that a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a rape from twenty years ago coming to light.

Well, last night the (alleged) rapist was officially named in the media and his name is Yithak Laor. He's an award winning poet, has been a part of the Left millieu for over twenty years, is considered "the first of the Refusniks" (during the First Lebanon War back in 1982) and has been known to use his poetry, prose and script writing to protest the Occupation.

Last night, Israeli News Magazine "Ha'Makor" (המקור - The Source) broadcast an expose, following the Eshkar Eldan Cohen's letter in which she wrote about her rape and didn't name names. The broadcast had other women who were harassed and assaulted.
The women say they went to the heads of their Desks (he worked at Ha'aretz newspaper), to theie faculty heads (he was a lecturer at various Universities and Vocational Colleges).

You can guess what happened. Cut for length )

Ha'aretz posted a response to last night's broadcast and I have to admit it is luke-warm and doesn't actually talk about the fact that Laor was accused of a crime, rather they're just letting us know it happened. Laor is an employee of the paper (I must admit that even before I know of his criminality I found him irritating, now I find him unbearable to read).

Compare his story, to the one of Rabbi Mordechai Elon (why yes, we have two high profile rape stories, each from the other end of the Israeli political spectrum) who has been accused of raping pupils of his in the Yeshivah he taught in, before he was booted and forced to move away.
A religious-Zionist forum posted a notice claiming Elon was up to no good.
The other great difference is, beyond the politics, is that those claimed to have been harassed, molested and/or raped were boys (now men, as far as I'm aware).
"Rabbi Elon accused of 'long-term' sexual relationship with student". Cut for more length )

Laor gets a note regarding the fact that women accused him on television last night.

The story about Yithak Laor is largely "a story about Yithak Laor" and not about the fact that it took twenty years for a survivor to say "I am a survivor of rape".

The story of Rabbi Mordecahi Elon has become whether a public forum should have the authority to accuse a man of his stature and he has many supporters.

As I write this a new bill has is being written, that any defendant or allegedly accused rapist will have the right to report to the police a counter complaint against (usually) his complainants.
I know!
Okay, in case it wasn't clear. If someone is accused of committing rape, this bill will enable the rapist to say: "she made me do it".
As though "unofficial" victim blaming wasn't destructive enough.
It makes reading articles like this - The Sinister Blame Game - that much more depressing.
I do not have any news articles on this, neither is Hebrew or in English, only blog posts in Hebrew. However as soon as I read something a bit more substantial I'll post it here.
eumelia: (Default)
Bernard-Henri Levy is a hack:
In his book, which has received lavish praise from some quarters, the open-shirted Mr Lévy lays into the philosopher Immanuel Kant as being unhinged and a "fake". To support his claims, he cites a certain Jean-Baptiste Botul, whom he describes as a post-War authority on Kant.

But the chorus of approval turned to laughter after a journalist from Le Nouvel Observateur pointed out that Mr Botul does not exist: he is a fictional character created in by a contemporary satirical journalist, Frédéric Pagès.

To this I go: *point*, *mock* and *laugh*

I don't care what Bernard-Henri Levy's book about. I'd seen and read him more as a political commentator who takes on a pro-Israeli stance.
Since learning that he was the one who orchestrated the Hollywood petition to free Roman Polanski back when he had been arrested in September - You can read Levy's rape apologia at here - he has been on my shit list.

He is a right-wing chauvinist ass. Now, don't take me the wrong way, being right-wing doesn't make you automatically wrong. I'd think you're pretty unethical if you are, but that's also debatable. Being pro-Israeli doesn't make you wrong or even evil, it makes you seriously narrow-brained as to what the situation here means, but it doesn't necessarily make you wrong or evil.

Supporting a rapist and saying you [Levy] are moved by his ordeal makes me question every single word that is penned by you as to whether you even understand what ethics means, mister big name philosopher from École Normale Supérieure.

Not only that, he doesn't fact check his citations!

This is me, mocking and laughing at this Monsignor Levy - who instead of uses his Ph.D to make it sound like the shit he spews about rape, the Veil, the Pope, Iran and Jewish Morality, sound more profound than it really is.

I'm so glad Levy's hacked writing abilities are out in the open.
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
Currently, circulating the Israeli (and Hebrew speaking, obviously) Left leaning blogosphere a story of rape is being told.

The woman in question, who bravely wrote her story, in her full name, regarding the crime against her body.
The author, Eshkar Eldan Cohen, published her story on the social commentary website and magazine "Ha'Oketz" (העוקץ - The Sting) that focuses on the intersection of non-Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicities (Mizrahi, Sephardi, Ethiopian), the occupation and class disparity.

The perpetrator is a known personality in the Left milieu.
He committed this rape twenty years ago.
He is a known harasser. From the descriptions, I feel that I know of him, but that's not what I want to talk about.

The article by Cohen has over thirty comments (not a lot, but quite a few for a site of that nature and an article of this kind) and one of the recurring themes in many of the comments were:
"Why didn't you go to the police" and "Why don't you tell us his name"

Those two things are what I want to talk about.

The very question (and it's variations) "Why didn't you go to the police/press charges/tell someone/etc." is victim blaming.
Yeah really, it is.
By saying that she should have said something places all the responsibility on her, especially when the incident, as most of them are, are without violence that leaves bruises. Force doesn't have to entail physical restraint and doesn't have to leave marks upon the body.

This guy was a personality back then, as such, he was probably held in high regard, spoken about as a "good guy", creative, "nice", wouldn't hurt anyone.

The social imperative that we're taught about remaining silent when it comes to rape and sexual assault is far more powerful than the abstract notion of justice.
The shame of losing bodily integrity, of knowing that the history of who came before the rapist is somehow relevant (it isn't) and the knowledge that because rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are a spectrum of what is considered a woman's worth in society.

Which is not much.

When you request the identity of the perpetrator, when the person who was victimised refrained from giving it in the first place you're being obtuse at best and completely disrespectful of someone's right to privacy at worst.
She didn't give the name for a reason.
The main reason is that it would be libel.
Because other than her story (and a few other people, maybe), there is no proof that he actually did it.

There are far more rape victims than there are rapists, because rapists are repeat offenders and they rely on the silence and social shame that comes with the crime.
Usually, they're quite convinced they didn't rape anyone. They were doing what comes naturally.
Taking what is their due.

This is what a rape culture looks like.

This story is circulating in Hebrew, as mentioned, but as an Israeli blogger who writes primarily in English I decided I had to write about it. This is happening now and should be known, all the time.

Because silence is violence. Speak up. Shame is one of the most destructive emotions in existence and it should be eradicated where we are able to do so.
eumelia: (Default)
I saw this yesterday, Touch yourself, otherwise I own those babies! Oh, and I'll grope you, harass you and sexually assault you!


Breast cancer awareness never "felt" so good.

This, sibs, is what rape culture looks like!

Hey grope-promoting ass-holes, how about on Prostate Cancer awareness month I wear a shirt that promotes awareness by saying "Lube up and spread 'em for your own good!".

Feel good to you?!
eumelia: (Default)
I am in the opinion that Patriarchy and its siblings Heteronormativity and White supremacy are the roots of evil in our times.

Just in case any of you had any doubt about that.

I just came back from the "Stop Violence Against Women" march and it was good.
We were not that many, because this is a chauvinist country.
The speeches after were very inspiring.

I and a few others then went to get some supper at a pizza place. There was a whole lot of talk about political theory, uni studies, feminism etc.

In the end there appeared to be some kind of combat between neo-Marxist thought and Post-Modernism (of which there was a gross misunderstanding). It was very Bubbly in the sense that "we are living in a bubble", which I'm cool with seeing as us "bubble people" actually went to the march in order to raise awareness that violence against women - it happens, it's societal disease and it needs to be stopped.

There was also talk about Politically Correctness, a term and though process I abhor and how, even as an ally, I really shouldn't use words that do not belong to me. Call me old-fashioned.

Also, there's really no shame in admitting you're bourgeoisie if you, ya know, living that lifestyle. My politics are radical, but my life is liberal, that's the way it is, why should I hide it or be ashamed of it?

One of the girls we sat with had to catch the same bus as me and we continued to talk and oh my god it was awful.
Just so you know, she irritated me.
A lot.

I have a button (I have many) on my bag that reads "Sex is the Question - sex is not the answer - "Yes" is the Answer" (yes I know it's a play on the Nickleback lyrics) which to me is a sex-positive slogan akin to "Yes is Yes" which is just as valid as "No is No".
Anyway, this girl asked me about it and I told her the above and she said:
"You need to be careful with that term [pro-sex], it can be taken to mean you're pro prostitution and stuff like that"
I replied: "Well, I am pro-sex work and pro-porn"
And OMG!
I had never heard such cookie cutter Second Wave Paternalistic bullshit come out of someone younger than me - pardon the ageism, but that's impressive in a horrifying way!
I tried to say that sex-work isn't just human trafficking and crack whores and pimped women.
Her reply: It's all False Conciousness.
In my head I'm going - OMG!
I say: There's queer and alt porn.
She goes: It reproduces the same oppressive mechanism as mainstream porn. It's the same objectification.
I say: There's BDSM that enables you to play with the oppressive power structure and have a good time at the same time.
She goes: BDSM reproduces the power structure, why would you want to do something that humiliates you?

I wanted to kill her and myself.

I really couldn't talk to her any more, because really, it showed such a lack of understanding of what a power structure actually is, that hierarchy is a daily and hourly thing we live and work with our entire lives and that kink does not mean there isn't an actual partnership or that an unequal partnership automatically means there isn't consent!

Because that's what bothers me the most about the Dworkin and MacKinnon types - I really like the way they theorised Patriarchy and Phallocentrism, the tools they offer are awesome, also MacKinno is a brilliant speaker - but if you take their entire thesis you end up saying: women have no ability to consent in the system that we currently live, because there's nothing but False Conciousness.

Yeah, no thanks.
eumelia: (Default)
Things I grew tired of hearing a long time ago:

#01 "You're aggressive" - You make me want to rip out your rib cage and wear it like a hat (h/t Spike/Willian the Bloody terrible poet, he was a brilliant word-smith...).

#02 "You're provocative" - I make you uncomfortable, not my problem!

#03 Rape apologia - Even if a woman (or man) is walking around, naked, with a placard stating in neon "Will Fuck Anyone!", no one has the right to violate his/her/hir body. Ever. Rape is a crime, stop punishing and blaming the victims.

#04 The term "self-hating Jew" - the next time I hear this term I'm calling on that person and saying they are an "Antisemitic shit-bag". Jewish self-hatred assumes some kind of essential Jewish trait that us (yeah, I'm one of those people) self-haters reject because we're just that disgusting.
Antisemitic Shit-Baggery!

#05 "You've lost weight, you look great!" - I know I've lost weight. I know I comply with the fashionable female body type. I'd appreciate it if no one comments about my body, it's fucking irritating, I'm not livestock to be commented upon, my my rump, ribs and tits are not in public for your consumption! Unless you've been given permission to do so (you know who you are), do stop!

#06 "You look much better now that your hair in longer. The shaved head didn't look good on you".

#07 "Is this another feminist thing?" - Yeah it is, and you're gonna listen to me annoy the fucking hell out of you!

#08 "You're so sensitive" - Yeah, this is me crying over your dead body.

#09 "You're so loud, why do you have to shout everything. It's all about how you say things you know" - Yeah I do know, I also know a big STFU when I see one. Stop trying to control my fucking tone!

And #10 "Why do you care so much?" - because the world is an ugly, cynical and corrupted blemish in this universe. We have to live on it, it may as well be with a modicum of empathy and dignity.

Those are the Top 10 things this week that made me go *rawr*, *arrgh*, swear under my breath, glare, lose my temper and want to throw things at people's faces.

I cannot wait for the semester to start (which it does this Sunday).

Tell me friends, readers and maybe lurkers, what grinds your gears?
eumelia: (Default)
My last word on Roman Polanski, because honestly, what more can be said that hasn't.

I'll just repeat; the fact that he himself was a victim of violence, had a traumatic life and is a brilliant artist (yes, I love Rosemary's BabY and Chinatown) doesn't excuse the fact that he raped a child.

Drugged and raped a child.

Plead guilty in a plea bargain and then ran away because the deal looked as though it was about to fall through.

Art, power and money doesn't excuse the fact that he committed a crime against the body of a girl-child (btw, if it had been a 13 year old boy, I think we would be hearing a very different tune) and against the basic ideas that the law applies to every single one of us, no matter how clever, powerful and the fact that people really, really like the stuff we make.

For some reason, this is a hard concept to grasp for some people.

Art Does Not Excuse Rape.

These people make me happy for the amount of time I take to think about this issue.

This is not just about Roman Polanski. This is about the character of our society. The justice system is not perfect anywhere, but accountability and responsibility should not be taken for granted and the default of the oppressive patriarchy that has allowed Polanski to evade justice for so long should not be upheld.

It wounds and hurts too many of us to count.

The Pianist was probably the worst movie he ever made.

Edited to Add:
In the comments [ profile] avgboojie says, quite rightly, that 13 years of age, isn't really a child:
I want to stress one important point: a 13 year old girl is not "a child".
Sorry. I don't know of any definition by which a 13 year old girl is a child. 13 year old girls are almost always post-puberty, sometimes (perhaps often) have active sex lives of their own, and while they are considered minors by law, they are not children (for instance, a person having sex with a 13 year old is not a pedophile, since these focus on pre-puberty children).
I think referring to a 13 year old as "a child" (something which is most probably done because "raped a child" sounds far more shocking than "raped an adolescent" or "raped a young woman") is disrespectful towards the 13-year-old person, disowning them of any right to be considered a semi-grown person with free will and any capability for adult reasoning.

The legal status of minors renders them as powerful as children in the eyes of the law, but not in their own eyed.
Her age and own perception doesn't make the rape and assault any less criminal or heinous.
The acknowledgement of this, is also of importance.
eumelia: (Default)
Don't let Roman Polanski evade justice and sign Art Does Not Excuse Rape.

Pass this along, re-tweet, make a post.

This whole story is beyond ridiculous and as I said before, this is not just about Polanski any more.
What this is tells young girls, young boys, everyone in fact, is that if you are rich enough, powerful enough and/or have enough friends in positions of power, your life and pain is basically worthless.

This is currently the kind of world we live in, in which rapists get to have apologists because they make beautiful and powerful things and tell us a compelling story... we have the responsibility make sure these story tellers do not get off scott free for committing crimes in which someone else's body, humanity and rights are trampled upon.

That's all.
eumelia: (Default)
Oh wait.

It really, really is not a fucking conundrum.

The man raped a child, plead guilty, then ran away because the sentencing was too harsh for him (U.S. Appellate Court! Hello!), not that I think there's anything to appeal, or condone or even sympathise with a criminal who decided to do a runner rather than serve the time given him for the crime he committed upon a 13 year old girl.

Is this getting into people's thick skulls?! Obviously not, seeing as there is a fucking petition (No! Tilda Swinton! Pedro Almodovar?!?! *weeps*... just a couple of names at first glance that popped out at me) calling for him to be let go and set free signed by a large amount of people, whose work I admire and inspire me. This is all so fucking Twilight Zone I'm having a hard time articulating it in a manner that doesn't include me tearing my hair out and run screaming through the streets like the "hysterical woman" that I am.

The man, drugged and raped a girl, is also an artist.


What? Is that so bloody hard to imagine? That people who create great things are also morally bankrupt and make no mistake, even if he personally feels guilty (but doesn't really want to sit in jail for it) he still raped a child.

It's really not that complicated. Either the rape of a child is punishable no matter who commits it, or those who are famous, wealthy and part of the artistic Elite are utterly exempt from the laws governing us lowly serfs.

An exaggeration? Please, this is once again a moment in history in which those who "Have" are entitled to get away with espousing the ugliest, most anti-social bullshit imaginable.

And for getting away with criminal behaviour, of course.

Obviously, this is no longer just about Polanski.
eumelia: (Default)
This post discusses the prevalence of sexual assault, rape-culture and why I get annoyed about Bills that create different "standards" of rape.

Because the subject matter can be a traumatic trigger, it is behind a cut )

eumelia: (Default)
In the beginning of June [ profile] cereta wrote a post titled: On Rape and Men (Oh yes, I'm going there), in which she basically lays out what it is that men can do to prevent rape.

Because make no mistake.
Rape is not something that happens.
It is a crime committed upon a victim who is will, almost every time, be a part of a group that is less powerful in the very unequal power dynamic in which we live; that is, women of almost every intersection, queer men, people who are gender variant, children, the elderly, prisoners, etc.

I qualify the above with "almost every time", because straight cis men are also raped and women can assault and molesters as well.

However, the epidemic of Rape as it stands now, makes that a small qualifier.

The culture in which we live, which is that of under reporting of the crime and the derailment of the issue time and time again to:
#1 This is a women's issue you deal with it. (Despite it being done by men)
#2 What about those who are falsely accused of rape. (Despite the fact that it is a crime that is falsly reported no more or no less than any other crime, that is, a minuscule amount compares to the actual crime being committed).

Do not negate the fact that Rape happens.

All the time, every day, to - according to current statistics - 1 in 4 women and this is just what is reported.
As I said, this is a crime that is under reported.

One of the foci of [ profile] cereta's post was the fact that we barely hear about the men who do not rape. That is, about the men who are in the presence of a woman who is in a vulnerable position and do not take advantage of this.
Those men, she says and I paraphrase, need to speak up and educate others and tell them that you do not invade another persons body, that drunken consent in not consent, that a woman walking around in a mini-skirt and a plunging neck line is not "asking for it".
That no woman is silently asking to be taken against her will.

Just as an aside: anybody who wants to mention Rape Fantasies will be smacked down. This is not what I'm talking about and has very very little do with the discussion at hand. Keep your thoughts and ideas about Rape Fantasy to an entry in which I discuss sex politics, not here, when I am talking about a crime that is too often relegated to the realm fantasy and disbelief.

The strategy that [ profile] cereta suggests in her post and others in her comments is a bit of a double edged sword. And it suggests a reality which we don't really want to contemplate, because the majority of us (as in women, but people in general) do not want to consider Rape the norm and the avoidance of rape as something special.
Decent human behaviour should be the norm, mentioning how you (a guy in a position of power) were once in a position to violate a girl but didn't, in fact even did your best to make sure she wasn't harmed while she was in this state, shouldn't be an incident worth telling in ones honour.
It should be what every man in that situation would do.

Women have been told, time and time again, don't be a victim. Don't go out late at night. Don't drink too much. Don't accept rides from strangers. Don't do this, don't do that.
Basically, policing our living space in the name of our own protection.
But that's just another way of reducing our lives in general.
Boys should be told, from childhood, as girls are, don't be an aggressor, you do not have the right over someone else's body. Women's bodies are not something you are entitled to.

You get the picture.

I have a story of my own about being in a vulnerable position and was not assaulted. I no longer allow myself to be so intoxicated that I find myself waking up with hazy memories.
I don't feel the need to recount it here because this was over five years ago and it really isn't a story.
But you know, it kinds is, because I was very fortunate.
I may not be so lucky in the future.

This post is only one of many that have been inspired by [ profile] cereta's post - in the comments (of which there are 22 pages) there is a thread with links to other posts on this subject.

It's awfully telling that while this is being spoken about in the feminist blogosphere a South African survey shows that 1 in 4 South African men admit to committing rape. These are just the men who admitted it.
This is very illuminating considering the fact that in March a report about the "corrective rape" of South African Lesbians was published in the Guardian.
Both these articles may be triggering.

Rape and violence are always compounded when it is committed within and upon a population is still recovering from a very long period of oppression, suppression and is basically backlashing against the history of it's own violence.

That's very academic, and is really of no consequence to the victims and survivors of the culture in which they have to live.
So moving on.

It would seem that despite feminism being around since the turn of the 20th century, not much good has been done for women who are still systematically put in the "weak" box.

But we are talking about this.
We are writing the stories and telling them.
We are owning them and trying to get the myths regarding them eradicated.

Once, the articles linked above wouldn't have been stories worth mentioning. They would have been part of that culture.
Once, anyone talking about the systemic culture of rape would have been labelled as crazy, now I think we may be slowly but surely getting somewhere.
So very slowly, but very surely.

That's all about this at this point.


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.


-"V for Vendetta"


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