Rape is about power not clothing

The Irish court has acquitted a 27-year-old man accused of raping a 17-year-old girl after her lawyer convinced the jury that the latter also had responsibilities in her own assault because she was wearing a thong that day . First of all, in order to find out that she had a thong the assault had already gone to far. Second of all, she’s a minor and he’s an adult. She therefore cannot consent and he is automatically a rapist. This acquittal is disgusting and horrifying. Once again, we are blaming the victim instead of punishing the criminal.

The rate of police-confirmed sexual assault jumped 61% in Quebec.

Let that sink in. The rate of police-confirmed sexual assault jumped 61% in Quebec since the #MeToo campaign took over social media and gave a voice to those who felt they didn’t have one. That number only concern the denunciations found to be founded by the police. Now imagine how many came forward and were dismissed for having too little or no proof. Keep in mind that this figure represents only a portion of the victims, since it would be a small proportion of sexual assaults that would be reported to the authorities.

#Anxiety - TopcisWithPassion.blogThis doesn’t mean that there are more rapes in Quebec since 2006, but that the survivors have started feeling supported by society and dared to believe they had the right to complain and that they would be believed.

The Statistic Canada census shows that metropolitan areas with the largest increases were Quebec (78%), Sherbrooke (76%), Brantford (76%), Saguenay (69%) and Montreal (67%). Makes sense since there is a larger concentration of people in these cities.

I hope that effects will be felt on the justice system so that it can better assist victims of sexual assault.

 

Women are living human beings

There is such an intensive pressure to correspond to the standards. As if, to be entitled to a strict minimum of respect, women have to at least fit in the mould in terms of appearance, weight and fashion.

Women are living human beings. They are not property or dolls to be told what to wear and men certainly do not have the right of life and death over us. In Irak, a woman was murdered for wearing sexy clothing and having an Instagram account. This is not okay. There is no justification for such action. The only reason it happen is because the murderer does not think women are human beings. Pets have more rights.

In Canada, we cannot remove the problem of racism when it comes to human trafficking. Indigenous women make up 4% of the Canadian female population but roughly 50% of trafficking victims. This will continue to happen as long as society doesn’t believe that all Indigenous women are valuable and entitled to autonomy and support.

“I’m not really interested in a world where men really want to watch porn but resist because they’ve been shamed; I’m interested in a world where men are raised from birth with such an unshakable understanding of women as living human beings that they are incapable of being aroused by their exploitation.” – Jonah Mix

Regardless of race, cultural background or sexual orientation, women are human beings and as human beings they are entitled to body autonomy. They are the only person who can manage their own body and all the choices around it.

Each person is different and has the right to be respected and valued for who she is, in all its marvellous uniqueness.

This is why we put so much efforts to keep people who are a threat to our human rights from getting in position of power.

What is rape culture?

We all aspire to live in a prosperous and inclusive society. Unfortunately, the normalization of sexual assault perpetuates rape culture and makes the dream of a prosperous and inclusive society unachievable.

Women have been speaking out on social media about rape culture hoping for a change. We are tired of living in a state of constant vigilance because the threat of rape is always around us. Yet, requesting safe public spaces free of harassment has made men feel that it’s a scary time for them to live in.

If you are afraid to even talk to women because you fear that you will be accused of sexual harassment or rape, it probably means that you have no gauge for appropriate behaviour and you should indeed stay away until you learn how to talk with respect.

The pandemic of violence and abuse of women and girls is fuelled by everyday sexism and objectification. It can be seen every time there is a news post on social media about sexual harassment or rape and the comments below are filled with comments like:

  • “nothing more than youthful indiscretion” and
  • “this is just how men are” and
  • “this could ruin his life” and
  • “Men can’t help themselves” and
  • “boys will be boys” and
  • “boys grow out of it” and
  • “He only wanted outercourse” and
  • “it was just a little harmless fun” and
  • “he suffered enough”

I don’t think that we should be hinting that “boys grow out of it”. Instead we should make sexual harassment and rape inexcusable and make boys worry that committing this crime will ruin the rest of their lives. The problem with excusing boy’s crime due to his age is that girls age does not save us from the trauma of assault. The truth is sexual assault is not a normal part of adolescent behaviour. It is never normal behaviour to violate another person’s body at any age under any circumstance.

None of these comments take in account the victim, how this crime ruined her life, that she didn’t deserve this and that she has a right for justice and protection.

You did this and you deserve to be punished forever.

Rape culture is judges letting rapist go free because “the general public may as well be ready for the offender to reintegrate.” – Judge Michael Corey

Rape culture is when a student complains to the principle that boys are groping her and they do nothing. She decides to wear a shirt with a message on it that asks people not to touch her and she is the one facing expulsion.

Girls and women are watching, reading, and hearing these conversations. Think about what those messages are doing to girls and women. We are telling them that their safety isn’t important.

Think about the message it’s giving boys and men. We tell boys and men that entitlement to women’s bodies is inherent and normal. We are telling them that it’s okay to harass and rape women. These boys and teens become men incapable of accountability, because systems of patriarchy never demand it. If boys are raised properly they will not become abusers and rapist. If they are taught to respect everyone, we wouldn’t have to go through this.

Is that really the message you want to give? We can’t be both opposed to this kind of treatment of girls and women while being okay with the images and messages that propagandize this treatment. 

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does liberate, it oppresses.” – Carl Jung

“When women go through this, it’s a horrifying experience because your entire self-confidence just drains out of you.” – Gretchen Carlson

When will girls and women no longer be threatened with being raped by a family member or in the street?

We don’t have to live like this. As a woman and has a mother of both girls and boys, I refuse to be a helpless bystander. Everyone can contribute to better experiences of gender, equity, sex, and power.

Fleeing violence and environmental disasters

We are living through stressful times. Reading the news feels awful, but turning our backs to the issues isn’t going to help solve them.

The “CAQ” exploited the fear of immigration with tests of values, threats of expulsion and an inability to support his proposals on facts. Their party used fear to manipulate public opinion, in defiance of the facts and unfortunately, it worked.

The “CAQ” promises to reduce number of immigrants by 20 per cent a year, starting in 2019. We complain about a labour shortage in the regions, but we are electing a party that wants to close the door to immigrants who do not ask for anything better than to work.

Negotiate with Ottawa for full control of immigration. The federal government already stated that they have no intention of changing their rules on immigration or of giving the responsibility to provinces and territories. This is a false promise and once again people fell for it.

To treat such a complex issue so irresponsibly, constantly talking about the immigrant as a threat or a problem, regardless of the facts, is not inconsequential. The truth is that most refugees and immigrants are fleeing violence, environmental disasters filled with hopes of safety and happiness for them and their loved ones.

Unfortunately, they are only met with more violence. Do you really want to be part of the reason these human beings can’t find safety? Women fleeing violence in Myanmar are being sexually assaulted by the Army, according to the UN. In the U.S. refugee children were sexually abused after being separated. Stuff like this has gone on for decades.

Anytime I meet someone who says that we should help refugees because we have a lot of local homeless people who need help, I ask them what they have personally done to help poor people and the answer is usually nothing. I ask them if they give money or food to the homeless and the answer is no. So in other words, they really don’t want to help anyone.

The only way to beat the propaganda reducing all refugees to beggars after an easy ride is to publish and share positive stories, such as these:

Tirej Brimo, a Syrian refugee became a medical doctor after studying in 4 different countries. Each time, he had to flee due to war. He finally landed in Britian in 2013 where he was able to complete his studies.

Gina Cody, an immigrant from Iran, found success in Canada and donated $15 million to Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She found a better life in Canada and is giving back to the country. She is a positive force.

The good side of #MeToo

The #MeToo movement made a lot of women feel less alone and gave a voice to those who until now had remained silent.

girl-3141445_1920In life, I think it’s important to talk loudly and stand up, but I didn’t always feel that way. In high school, while I was living under constant threat of rape and death and multiple attacks, I thought I was alone. When I reached out to a teacher for help and was told that I needed to learn to deal with my own problem, I felt even more alone and unimportant. 

Today, I feel less alone. I now believe it’s important to denounce and speak up. Rape breaks people’s lives. So, it’s important to break free when we have to do it. I kept quiet for years and I thought I was okay because it was in the past, but a more recent trauma brought everything to the surface and I had to deal with PTSD. 

Speaking up is a very difficult step for a human being, whether it is a man or a woman, but which is so necessary, and especially today, in 2018. I think we are here, to get up stand up and say that’s enough.

Previous blogs about this subject:

When the odds are against you

Trigger Warning: Discussion of Rape

The truth is that if you are a woman in this world, you are never truly safe. Violence against women is an epidemic around the world. I personally don’t know of any place that is safe from gender violence.

When famous people like Bill Cosby admit to sexual crimes and the trial still ends in a mistrial, it gives very little hope for anyone else to get justice. What victims see is that even when a rapist confess there is still a strong chance he will go free. This tells victims that the law isn’t there to protect them.

“Bill Cosby was known to be predatory. The crimes were his, but many were complicit. Many more chose to look the other way.” – Ellen Page

There are numerous examples of this. Johny Depp was caught on tape being violent with his wife and he’s cast in Harry Potter movies and a Universal franchise. Chris Brown almost killed Rihanna and still gets played on the radio. This tells women that their safety and well-being isn’t valued.

Donald Trump bragged about sexual violence and he was still elected president. This tells women nobody cares about them, that the world doesn’t give a fuck about them.

#YesAllWomen because the odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067, while a woman’s odds of being raped are 1 in 6… yet fear of sharks is seen as rational while being cautious of men is seen as misandry.” – Unknown

I am hoping that with all of the #metoo scandals coming out of the woodworks, society as a whole will change its perspective on gender violence. What I am hoping to see is rapists and domestic abusers have to face what they have done, to be punished and stopped being protected by a system that keeps failing victims.

The more gender violence is normalised the worst the situation will get. let’s make one thing clear, we are not responsible for the violence inflicted upon us. The perpetrators of that violence are the only responsible parties. No one “deserves” violence, rape or murder. We are not objects to be owned. No one is entitled to anyone else’s body.

Even though we live in a world that has no safe spaces, women still don’t assume every man they meet is a rapist, but if a man makes an inappropriate comment, joke or compliment, they have to be on their guards and take care not to say anything that could be construed as an invitation, and make sure we are not followed home. The fact that should anything happen, the law will be there to protect him, not her, that therapists will continue in life without consequences and she will be blamed for everything is in always in the back of our minds. Yet, if we speak up about, we are told that we are being ridiculous, to quiet down, that not everyone is a criminal.

Rape Culture & Violence against women

Love comes naturally. Hatred is learned.

Sexual harassment has been experienced by a majority of women and it’s unacceptable.  It’s time for that to end! Let’s teach girls that they are not weak and boys that rape is not an option.

Let’s keep having these conversations so people start paying attention!!!

fear-1131143_1280Every day the news is filled with stories of rape, violence and murder of women. Sexual abuse is never okay.

In 2016 we finally saw talk about investigating the missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Still, too many people don’t seem to really care or believe.

Rape culture describes a normalisation of rape and sexual assault so great that too often victims are blamed, either implicitly or explicitly, when these crimes are committed against them.

Anytime someone first gut reaction is to question what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating in the culture of victim-blaming. Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to fall back on what ifs, but they don’t change the fact that a crime was committed and should be punished.

Sexual assault is a violent act that cuts people to the core. Rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. It strips away a person’s sense of dignity, autonomy, and control. It is violence against a person’s most inner and personal self. It is devastating, in every possible way. It happens to men too, proving the fact that rape is about power and it’s never what you’re wearing.

“I think the most important thing to understand is what it’s not. It’s not sexual, it is a violent, brutal terrorising weapon.” – Angelina Joli Pitt

Too many still blame the victim instead of the rapist. “She should not have been by herself drunk like that. Too easy to be subdued.” “She made bad choices that resulted in her death. Nothing screams out an easy target like a woman stumbling drunk alone at night.” “It’s her own fault. A weak fragile woman is always in danger when they’re on their own.”

It literally shocks me that there are so many ignorant people out there. Do they actually believe the crap they say?

Everyone knows a woman who’s faced harassment, rape or violence for no other reason that they were born female. If you do not, do me a favour and asked the women in your life. You may just not be aware.

Faced this epidemic, I just want to hang my head from sorrow for the state of humanity. Sometimes the challenges ahead of us seem too numerous and too great.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is my story.

lockers-94959_1920In high school was attacked on the school bus by a group of boys intent on rape. I was largely outnumbered. The bus driver didn’t even stop the bus so I could get out. He didn’t say anything, just kept driving. Most parents believe their children are safe on school buses, but there is absolutely no one responsible for safety aboard them.

Knowing there was no hope of getting out in one piece and that my life was pretty much finished, I picked out the group leader and went on the offensive. I caught them by surprise when blood splattered from a broken nose (not mine) and they backed away for an instant.They weren’t expecting me to fight back or not expecting that I could hurt them. The bus had just stopped at a regular bus stop and I ran out. I made it out in one piece, but it wasn’t the end of the story.

Threats began promises of rape, violence, reprisal. They promised that there would be the next time and it would be so much worst for me.

I didn’t take the bus again, even if the school was in another city. I walked, careful to take a new path every time so that they couldn’t plan an ambush, and I skipped school a lot because it was safer to hide. I started wearing oversized clothing to hide my body and gaining weight to become less attractive. It is extremely easy to become a shell of yourself under those circumstances.

window-1768850_1920After a while, when it was clear that they wouldn’t let me alone, I asked for help. I went to an adult, a teacher and told him everything. I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t see any way out. I needed help. I couldn’t go on like this. He told me: “If you don’t learn to deal with your problems yourself, you never will.”

I felt hopeless and angry and just so fucking full of rage. Nothing will protect us except for ourselves. I was in shop class at the time and two of the attackers was in the same class. I picked up a hammer and threw it near the leader’s head missing on purpose, I was just sending a message to back off. The teacher jumped and told the boys that he was sure they were just kidding around like boys do, but I was clearly not one of those girls to tease around with.

Attempted rape isn’t “boys will be boys” and me defending myself isn’t “another girl with no sense of humour.”

I never reported the incident or the abuse that followed. It took everything I had to seek help with an adult and I was turned down. What’s the point of coming forward? It’s my name that would have been dragged into the mud.

lonely-1466900_1920Women don’t report rape for many reasons. Every time we see a news report of a woman who spoke up, we hear the same response every time.

“What was she doing walking alone at night in that part of town, for heaven’s sake?” people wonder. She is told she should have been more careful. In other words, it was her fault, not the attacker(s).

“She’s just looking for attention.”

“Why are you doing this, he’s got him all life in front of him?”

“You were drinking, what did you expect?”

It’s sad that we live in a world where women always seemed to get blamed for whatever form of abuse men seem to inflict upon them. This needs to change.

The rapist is innocent until proven guilty as the law as designed it to be, but the rape victim, on the other hand, is considered by social norms as guilty until proven innocent. This doesn’t bode well for true justice to occur.

“It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.” – Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker

courtroom-898931_1280Whether someone decided to report their rape/assault, and whether or not any of us did or would do the same thing cannot ever be grounds for judging someone else and their experiences.

My biggest wish that the justice system actually gives out punishments that fit the crimes instead of slaps on the wrist.

For example, a Halifax cab driver was found not guilty of raping a drunk unconscious woman, because the Judge Gregory Lenehan ruled that there was reasonable doubt that the women did not consent to sexual activity. I hear this and I think, here’s another judge who doesn’t value women’s lives and doesn’t care that incapacitated means “incapable of making an informed decision”.

Many men I have spoken too can’t imagine life without (male) privilege because they’ve never been without (Male) privilege. That’s why a lot of them find it extremely difficult to see anything like this through our eyes.

That being said, it’s not their lack of immediate understanding that bugs me, but the refusal to listen and learn about it that I have faced from men who say they care about me.

Your complacency becomes tacit support.

The truth is ugly.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem

Before anyone starts with it’s not all men defence… No, it’s still about all men. It’s about taking responsibility and helping. Everyone that ignores the problem because they don’t think it is relevant to them does nothing but contribute to the problem through silence and ignorance.

We have to fight back in large numbers together men and women of all cultural background so that together we can make a safe home for everyone. Women just want to live on their own term and without violence. If you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, please step in, say something. Solidarity is not the same as privileged. The whole point is that we can make this world better for everyone if we all stand together. We are stronger together.

These are songs that touched me about rape and violence that women face:

Being “wet” is not consent

I can’t believe this needs to be explained, but apparently, it does.

The only way you can get consent is by asking. You can’t shove your hand into a woman’s underwear and judge if she is willing if your fingers find that her vagina is wet. The consent of a woman isn’t determined by the presence of wetness in her underwear. The presence or absence of secretion is not to be taken into consideration to judge the will of a woman in terms of sexuality. You shouldn’t even be aware of the state of her underwear without her specific consent.

This liquid, secreted at the entrance of the vagina, is in no case automatic proof of desire and sexual envy. This natural lubrication can take place mechanically and never justifies sexual contact with anyone without vocal consent, regardless of the context.

Only the persons themselves can define the state of their consent, which can be withdrawn at any time.

The secretion does not make aggression more acceptable or lesser than another. If a person is not consenting, she is a victim of sexual assault, regardless of the state of her vaginal secretions.

You are not guilty and/or responsible for anything even if your vagina creates secretions during non-consensual sexual contact.

Sexual harassment has been experienced by a majority of women and it’s unacceptable.  It’s time for that to end! Let’s teach girls that they are not weak and boys that rape is not an option.

 

 

 

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: