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[personal profile] spaggel
So, reading around and following my flist about he events at WinCon 2008, and do I mean reading around. There is also a couple posts about the attendees speaking up for themselves and what this entitles.

This might have the potential for triggery subjects.

It really goes to show that people don't know how victim blaming works.

Victim blaming: is holding the victims of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment to be entirely or partially responsible for the unfortunate incident that has occurred in their life [...] It is also about blaming individuals for their personal distress or for social difficulties, rather than the other parties involved or the overarching social system in place."

Emphasis to show what the situation is we are talking about because it seems that to everyone who is defending the actions that are taking place are saying that rape and assault are serious crimes and should be reported, but that this indecent was just women who were made to feel uncomfortable and they should have said something about it if they didn't like it.

To quote a comment by [livejournal.com profile] harmonyfb:

"I in no way 'blamed the victim'. I said, if you are in a situation where you are being pressured (NOT assaulted, NOT raped - these are crimes) to do something you don't want to do, it's your responsibility to make your wishes known. Speak up, or leave, or do both. I just don't understand your desire to ignore personal agency in favor of treating them like infants."

This right here is a breeding ground of rape culture, it's making excuses for the assailants, it is a way to lessen what was done, it is victim blaming. It's creating an idea that the victim is always in total control of the situation, or if not, has the abilities to take control of it. That at any time she will be able to stop the actions that are going on.

This is not the case

It completely undermines the fact that many victims at the time fell unable to say or do something about it. They may have the knowledge of what to say or how to defend themselves, they may not, but that doesn't mean they are going to react that way. Just because you are full of knowledge doesn't mean that when you are put into a situation that is to you, harassing, uncomfortable or threatening, that you are going to be able to react in a set way that will get you out of there.

It's also talking about social pressure and "standing up to it" and "letting your wishes known" Which is moving responsibility, the bad behavior and actions of the people doing the harassing and moving onto the victim shoulders. It's saying to the victims, "This is going to happen to you, you best learn how to deal." This is, again, making excuses and making justifications for the bad behavior and harassment.

This is what promotes victim blaming and rape culture. It's turning the focus and attention from the harassers and putting it onto the victim. It's telling the victims that they need to change and act accordingly. It's taking away from the fact that there are people doing bad things. They need to change. Not the victims.

These ideas that the victims are the ones that need to change their actions in these situations are the most damaging. Because you are making this about the victims, telling them to change. You are not saying that the actions of the harassers are wrong, only how the victim deals with it.


[livejournal.com profile] hermonyfb also said:
"But we're not talking about rape (a criminal act). We're talking about someone who felt *pressured*, not someone who was raped. Big difference between talking someone into something, and forcing someone."

Because that feeling of pressure, that's how rape can start. That's how it is started. You pressure someone into it, "talking someone into something" isn't consent, it's working around their natural defense to get them to do what you want. It's about poundings away at you till you feel like you have no choice but to give in, that really you don't feel like you can say no. Or you feel that saying anything against them puts you in the wrong.

An amazing post: Another post about rape by fugitivus. Talks about social pressure extermly well:

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

* it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
* it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
* it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
* it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
* it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
* it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
* it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
* it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

[...]

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.

And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch."


I consider myself a women that has no problem telling a man at the bar to leave me alone. I have done so on many occasions. In fact, my most automatic response to someone asking to by me a drink is, "I'm not going to sleep with you." followed by "And don't say that's not what your thinking because you are only talking too me because you think I'm attractive."

I've gotten into arguments at a bar where a man has been fighting with me and then touches me. I have told him to get his hands off me, to not ever touch me again. I have no problem calling people and men out on their bullshit.

But this still didn't do much for me when, while at a bar and talking to someone that I had meet, he came up behind me and grabbed a hold of my breasts. I didn't say anything. I just looked at those hands and I didn't know what to do. I got out of my chair and headed for the bathroom and hid. A friend saw what happened and followed after me, since he had to decided to follow after me into the bathroom. I don't know what would have happened if that friend hadn't followed. I don't know how I would have acted. I do not know what I would have done.

But because I didn't say anything, this doesn't take away from the fact that he was in the wrong. He was always in the wrong. No matter if I had told him to fuck off or to take his hands off, or hid in the bathroom like I did, staying in there still friends could talk me out. It doesn't change anything. I am never to blame. I am a victim of those actions.

We need to give women support. Give them the support they need, when they need it. We need to stop telling them that how they reacted is going to weigh in on how "bad" those actions really were and that how they handled it is going to let us know how much support we will give them. How much we will back them up.

Do not make your support conditional. Do not add a "if you just had done this". Do not lessen their emotional turmoil and distress about situations. Do not think that being "pressured" isn't harassment. Do not turn them away.

Because when you do it, turn them away, make your support conditional, you take away a support system that could be so incredible.
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October 2012

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