Rape Culture Strikes Again

Rape Culture Strikes Again


Seen on social media: things that remind me how prevalent rape culture is.

On a Facebook, I saw a news story from The Guardian whose headline says, “Mexican man cleared in sexual assault of schoolgirl because he didn’t enjoy it.”

What the actual fuck?!

I clicked through, and the details describe a 21-year-old who assaulted a classmate. I understand they’re both in the same economic class, and one of the lines in one of the articles I read said, “If the victim had been poor, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.” (Because those with less money are therefore more disposable and less important – my body feels *all the rage* about this part, especially.)

The second Guardian article I read said about 95% of crime in Mexico is unreported, likely because people know they will never get justice.

I’m so sick of seeing this happen. I’m sick of seeing people suffer because no one believes them, I’m sick of seeing people with privilege get away with crimes, being given legal impunity. I’m sick of seeing families destroyed by things like these, and victims being told to shut up and tolerate being abused. Or to just “get over it” because you shouldn’t be affected by it after so long.

My hope is that the petition will help me advocate for holding people accountable. The system itself functions to protect people who don’t need nor deserve protecting – the perpetrators – and I’m tired of this bullshit.

 

A word on the petition:

I’ve been asked whether you have to be a New Mexico resident to sign. The answer is no. You can sign whether you’re local or across the world.
Some people have also expressed concern about their information. Your information is kept by change.org when you sign. The petition creator (in this case, me) does not see your information if you uncheck the box below the signature space saying, “Display my name.”
Your information will not be used for any purpose other than gathering voices to stand against this injustice, and will not be sold, shared, or made available anywhere but change.org if you choose to display your name on the petition itself.

If this petition is successful in making legal, systemic changes, I want to advocate for the changes I outline in the petition globally.
I’m sick of people not being held accountable for the damage they do to others, and I’m tired of a system that dismisses victims while protecting perpetrators of these crimes.

I’VE HAD ENOUGH.

I need help to make this advocacy happen in the real world, and if you’re up for brainstorming with me, let me know at JGBlogger86 at gmail dot com.

 

Sign the damn petition, please. I can’t with this bullshit.

 

 

(Thanks, Michael Mrocek, for the featured pic.)

Ana Tijoux: ‘We can’t think of a feminism, an anti-patriarchy, without anti-capitalism’


THIS!

Committee on U.S./Latin American Relations

Anita-tijoux-620x330.jpgby Ana María Tijoux
Woman, daughter, mother, comrade, singer, feminist and much more.
March 8, 2017

Originally published in Spanish here
Translated to English by Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations

Another feminism

We face relentless violence, and we live in cold times. We’re facing historic moments in which the speed of the market and its depraved nature are gnawing down the essence of humanity, turning the world toward a fascism exacerbated to unprecedented levels. In addition, being provoked is a tremendous barbarism of genocide perpetuated for centuries against women. It’s a naturalized, state-sanctioned, normalized and deepening fascism, whose waves of violence seem to measure the strides of a giant. “Es un monstruo grande que pisa fuerte,” they used to sing. It’s a big monster that stomps hard. History – our history – is an unavoidable witness to that.

I have the privilege of traveling for my work, and when I…

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Cord Work: Anger (Trigger Warning for Rape)


Hi, everybody.

 

I’ve been doing cord work over the past few weeks (really slowly, but I’m trying to be consistent and keep going). I’ve been using this book by Mary Shutan, which is a basic primer.

In it, there’s a section for working with cords that have an emotion tied to them. Today, I sat down to work with one, and it took me a minute to find just one (I had to specifically ask for “just one,” so I know I have my work cut out for me, haha), but when I did find one, it was anger.

So, in this work, you ask a series of questions, and one of the questions I asked was why the cord was tied to anger.

The answer was that I’m still angry about being raped – not that it happened, but that I had to “prove” it happened; that I wasn’t believed when I said it happened, while he denied it and was believed.

Automatically, he was perceived as a good, honest person. And I was not. He was not held responsible for what he did. I was perceived as “aggressive,” (yes, this actually showed up in the official police report, and I’m angry as fuck about it) while he was perceived as an “innocent kid” who was taken hostage by a slut.

 

That’s rape culture for ya. And it’s bullshit.

 

And maybe I’ll always be angry about it, because it’s still happening.

 

All the time, I hear stories just like mine where the victims of this crime were held up as a responsible party.

Oh, she was drinking, too.

Oh, she was wearing skimpy clothes.

Oh, she was out alone.

Oh, she’s a girl. An object for consumption, not a living, breathing human being who should be given the same respect as anybody else.

 

Let’s not forget, he was drinking, too.

He was out alone.

He raped somebody.

And he should be held responsible for what he did.

 

Although I don’t remember much of what happened, I do know what it’s like to be drunk and be a consenting party to sexual activity. This was not that.

If it had been, I wouldn’t still be devastated about what happened. There wouldn’t have been a report.

The only reason I made a report in the first place is that I naively believed the police would have my back, that the evidence would be there, that my story would be enough to cast doubt on his lie.

I never knew how rape culture actually works. It works exactly the way it did in my situation. Nobody believed me – and if they did, they assumed I was “mistaken,” or that it was my fault, or that I brought it on myself, that I somehow deserved it, or that I just wanted to make trouble for a decent kid who didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.

But he knew. He knew it was wrong. He knew. He held me down by the wrists and raped me for hours, and when someone knocked on the window of the car where he had me trapped as he raped me, he sent them away.

He sent away my help.

Nobody helped me. I was stuck. I couldn’t get away, because I couldn’t physically control my body.

And god, that hurt.

It just hurts.

Years later, he is flourishing while I flounder (edited to add: not exactly. I’m not exactly floundering, but I am struggling to wade through some muck and not sure what I’m doing with my life while he teaches at the local university in the town where he raped me, at the university that owns the frat house where he raped me).

What kind of justice is that??

 

Interestingly enough, when I look back on it now, I remember him smiling. He smiled, knowing he had me cornered. Knowing I was in pain. Knowing he had control, and I had none.

He took something from me that I still don’t have back. He took my happiness. He took my positivity. He took my patience. He took my strength.

He ripped me open and grabbed everything that was there, and ever since then, I’ve been struggling to get it back.

I had hope. I had joy. I was confident.

And now I have nothing. He took it all away from me.

 

But I’m gonna get it back. However long it takes, I’m getting back every single piece of me that he ripped away from me.

 

So, if you’re out there, Joel………..

FUCK YOU.

 

 

YOU DON’T KEEP ANY PIECE OF ME.

 

FUCK YOU.

My latest essay re:PTSD is on SheKnows

My latest essay re:PTSD is on SheKnows


Hi, everyone!

I’ve just placed an essay about how I recognized the symptoms I had post-rape as PTSD. I’ve received a lot of support and wonderful comments after posting the link on social media, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share the link with all of you here.

Check out the article here.

I had a great experience working with the editor I worked with, and look forward to working with them again.

A friend of mine today pointed out a part of the essay that stuck out to her, and that’s what made me think it was a good piece to share here. Here is that part of the essay:

Some of the people closest to me engaged in victim-blaming. Not knowing how to process the blame directed at me by the detective, the state, the victim advocate and even my family and friends, I crumbled under the weight of it all.

Had any of those people known how to respond with more compassion, the outcome might have been immensely different.

 

In a nutshell, that is why I write about my rape, my experience with PTSD, my path to healing, and why I created the petition on change.org: the outcome of my rape was directly influenced by rape culture, and what happened to me should not still be happening to anyone else. I firmly believe we need not only intervention after the fact, but to focus on prevention so that this doesn’t happen anymore.

As it is right now, rape is perfectly acceptable in our society, as evidenced by the many ways we fail survivors and allow perpetrators to continue raping. We need to collectively stand against this, because rape is not acceptable. It should not be the burden of victims. Survivors should not have to carry the guilt, the shame, and the trauma around rape, because the guilt and shame should be squarely on the perpetrators’ shoulders.

Until we actively work to stop perpetuating rape culture, we will continue to see this cycle repeat itself.

 

(Thanks to Corentin Marzin for the featured photo.)

Writer’s Block, Perspective From Sandra Cisneros

Writer’s Block, Perspective From Sandra Cisneros


I just watched a lot of interviews with Sandra Cisneros to finish writing the book I’ve been working on. The book has been submitted to the publisher, so all I have to do now is wait to hear back.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this piece of wisdom from a writer I really respect more and more, the more I hear/read her words.

 

“Writer’s block means you’re afraid to say what you really have to say.” – Sandra Cisneros

 

At about 2,000 words shy of my word count goal for this project, I hit a stumbling block. I realized it was because I was talking about immigration and what it was like to live undocumented, and this has always been something I’ve learned to avoid bringing to light. I was told to never talk about it, so I learned to keep it hidden unless I knew I was talking to other people with the same history.

In light of the political and social climate in the United States, it’s especially frightening to talk about something nobody really likes to talk about, and especially nerve-wracking to tell a truth many people will likely lash out at me for saying. Many of these conversations devolve into name-calling, insulting the person talking about this, or repeating many of the same dehumanizing myths and words. I don’t look forward to that.

On the flip side, talking about this gives voice and humanity to a highly politicized issue, and in my opinion, this issue needs the spotlight shift to the humans behind the policies.

The book isn’t exclusively about immigration, because I can’t really speak to that experience from an adult perspective, but it is about some more “heavy” topics. Here is an excerpt from the proposal I sent with the manuscript:

The book begins with my thoughts on being undocumented and segues into the way I started to feel the sense of worthlessness over being “not good enough” for America, as well as the sense of guilt I carried over my privileged position as an American resident. It talks about my search to belong to a community, and the confusion I felt over feeling like I had to choose either America or Mexico.

I detail the way I was consistently stereotyped and consistently felt disappointed by the stereotyping, and how I began to realize my feelings and inner dialogue were influenced by white supremacy. I also discuss how I started to unpack the damage that was done by internalized racism and how my search for home is about healing this damage.

I end with hope to move through and unpack this more fully, since I realized my search for “home” is about finding peace and being grounded in who I truly am, without the need for the masks I put on to assimilate and survive as an immigrant in the United States.

I hope the takeaway for readers is that healing from the wounds and the shame we have acquired as a result of living with the programming of white supremacy is possible, so we may more fully embrace our whole humanity, not just the “acceptable” parts.

 

Over the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of healing by naming the origin of my feelings of worthlessness. They stem, in part, directly from living undocumented and hearing anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric. They stem, in part, from the dehumanizing things I heard about Mexico and Mexicans growing up.

I wrote this book with immigrants and PoC in mind, because I know I’m not the only one who’s been hurt by this system’s inherent imbalance. My hope is that my words will speak to the audience that needs to hear my message, but I won’t know the impact of this book until it’s released to the world at large.

Ultimately, my hope is to facilitate conversations around healing, and build community. Beyond that, I have no vision or expectations, but I hope I can be of some use in a larger way.

We’ll see what happens.

 

For all of you out there struggling with writer’s block, I hope this quote brings you comfort. Ultimately, the anxiety around saying what we need to say, I think, is rooted in being worried we will break form from what society wants us to do. For me, it’s rooted in a sense that I’m not “supposed” to say what I want to say, or that my life experience is not valuable, or that I myself am not valuable.

I hope those who typically live in the shadows, more and more, are inspired to bring their voices forward and step into the light. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that you’re probably not the only one who’s feeling a certain way or who has had a certain experience or who dreams of a certain thing. We really do have more commonalities than differences, I really believe that.

 

(Thanks to Beverly Nguyen for the beautiful featured image.)

Resources for Resistance, and some News

Resources for Resistance, and some News


Hi, folks!

I know you haven’t seen me much – that’s because I’m working on a few offline projects which I’ll talk about later in the post.

For now, I wanted to leave some links to some of the resources I’m finding helpful as far as getting involved in my local government and making my voice heard.

The first is the Indivisible Guide, free to download as a PDF or to read on the web. It’s a short read, and really helpful information that shows you how to connect with your representatives and senators in a way they’ll pay attention to.

The next is Training for Change, an organization which offers training and information on how to engage in non-violent direct action.

Then there’s the USA.gov page listing elected officials, which is a handy space to find how to contact your state’s officials.

Finally, there’s GovTrack, which allows you to track the issues and how your elected officials vote.

I hope these links are helpful to you as a starting point in getting involved in your local government. I’ve thought for a long time that more people need to get involved and use the power of their voices in the United States, and what better time than the present?

 

 

As for the news:

I am working on a book of essays right now. I’m stumped right now, so that’s why I’m updating and writing here, instead of writing another essay for the book. I have a deadline of February 25th to finish writing it, because I plan to submit it to a publisher’s contest with the winning prize of $10,000.

The prize would be nice, I won’t lie, but in the event I don’t win, I plan to self-publish and make this book available via my blog. It’s a series of essays which cover my experience of racism and other forms of oppression, and how I came to name my experiences and gain clarity on the emotions those experiences brought up. In gaining clarity, I started healing, so what I would like for readers to see is maybe a mirror of their own lives, if they’ve been through the same or a small glimpse of the daily mask I learned to wear to survive in a world where I felt unwelcome.

I hope the takeaway can be that there’s a way to heal the damage done by the trauma these experiences leave those who’ve been through the same.

And the healing part happens to be the place where I’m stuck.

 

(Thanks to Ken Kistler for the featured photo.)

 

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