Tagged: police rape culture

We’re having a discussion about rape culture

Massive content warnings for rape, rape apologism, and police rape culture.

What has happened in the Waitematā police district is fucking awful.  And it’s fucked up a lot of people’s lives (please note: not referring to the perpetrators or their media supporters.  Fuck right off with that shit.)

I have to take heart from the fact that, even though there are still apologists everywhere, and even though media outlets like RadioLive keep perpetuating rape culture for the ratings … this conversation is so much less terrible than it has been in the past.  There have been cases in the past – the trial of Louise Nicholas (and yes, that’s deliberate phrasing) is the one which springs to mind first – where the voices demanding that we take survivors seriously and stop making excuses for rapists were lonely ones.  It was just the feminists, just the rape crisis organisations, just the people with a “stake” in the matter.

Today, Matthew fucking Hooton went on RadioLive and explained that young men presented with vulnerable, drunk young women have one course of action, and that’s get them home safely, you douchebags.  And I can have all kinds of cynical feelings about this – the man is a walking brand statement, not an idealist of any stripe – but it was still huge.

The conversation has shifted.  We haven’t won, but fuck we’ve made progress.

Here are more of my favourite voices.

Tove recalls her own experiences with the police and rape culture – including abusive police informant Rob Gilchrist.

Julie Fairey on rape culture and how to raise boys, not [rapists].

A guest poster at The Ruminator recounts their own experience of rape.

Joshua Drummond has a great column in the Waikato Times.

If you want some black humour, No Right Turn covers just how quickly the police will respond if they’re the targets.

And this post of mine on police recruitment campaigns has seen a bit of traffic recently.

THAT story

Massive content warnings for rape, rape apologism, and police rape culture.

So.  I don’t really have words, right now.  I have a lot of SHITFUCKING SWEAR WORDS but they don’t add up to anything incoherent.  My whole body is tensed with anger.

There’s this latest revelation, from 3 News, that Police did have a fucking complaint and they asked her – a 13-year-old – to re-enact the fucking assault with FUCKING DOLLS.  And Willie Jackson and John Tamihere are officially scum.  And I’m going to be fucking angry about this forever.

If you want to call out RadioLive’s advertisers, Giovanni did the hard yards and has listed them on Twitter:

And the wonderful Ally Garrett has a post at The Wireless about self-care.  May I also offer zooborns.com as a great online source of happy feelings.

I’m taking some comfort in the fact that yes, there are the detractors and the victim-blamers and the fucking scumbags who must literally be okay with rape and sexual coercion – but this week we’ve seen a lot more pushback from the side of good, and a lot more people taking that side instead of brushing off the issue.

I’m going to hold on to that.

Random recommended reading

Metiria Turei out-geeks John Banks.  It’s not difficult, but it is funny.

Alison McCulloch again pool-shots it out of the park on Policing Pregnancy.

Manboobz on Seth MacFarlane’s beyond-obnoxious Oscars hosting. Trigger warnings for racism, sexual assault, sexism, and Seth MacFarlane.

Family First can’t even get their own polling to come out against marriage equality.  H/T Russell Brown.  And of course FF’s press release on the topic fails to trumpet that anti-equality feeling is dominant in the male/over 60 demographics.

Chris Rock on minimum wage, via Atheist Pinko Sluts Monthly.

Smile, Sizeist! is a new Tumblr documenting the very real, very violent shit that fat people are subjected to.

Rape culture is when the police coerce rape victims into withdrawing complaints to make their stats look better.  And I’ve only just finished watching season 3 of The Wire.

Slutwalk 2012

This weekend sees the second Wellington SlutWalk, which I am attending.

Because there’s still a lot of discussion and questions and concerns around the whole concept of SlutWalk (and probably will be until the vaginocracy perfects its hivemind technology) I want to recap why I support SlutWalk (in general).

It’s because SlutWalk is a big, flagrant middle finger to mainstream, acceptable attitudes which basically dictate all women need to stay indoors dressed in nuns’ habits because damned if we actually care to stop people committing rape.

It’s because SlutWalk is a gateway protest.  I know, far be it for me to preach breaking things to people gently, but the fact is if a group predominantly made up of “respectable” middle-class white women, most from the ever-self-centred Generation Y, stand up and say they aren’t taking some shit, people pay more attention.

What we have to absolutely make sure of is that we don’t stop there and say “oh well, white cis women are OK so let’s go do brunch”.

It’s because SlutWalk makes you feel not-alone in a world constantly invading your head with rape culture and victim blaming.  It lets you know people care.  And within its privileged framing (see below) it sends a hell of a message.

There are large numbers of people in this world who will happily state in the anonymous sewer of Stuff comments that women are like billboards, rape is just men’s way of “reacting” to Hot Chicks, that victims do indeed deserve blaming.  I’m just saying this:  if any of those sad fucks were at last year’s march, I sure didn’t see any of them having the spine to say it to our faces.

It’s because this whole thing kicked off in January 2011 when a Toronto police officer told a group of university students that to avoid being attacked, women shouldn’t “dress like sluts”.

And in May 2012, Whanganui police are saying women shouldn’t walk or jog alone in the CBD.

This shit is not okay.  It’s not actually acceptable.  And when I go to SlutWalk, I and everyone else marching will hopefully be sending a big old message:  we won’t tolerate our police force saying women should live in fear.  We won’t tolerate society excusing violence because the victims dared to live their lives, dress up, have a few drinks, or even stay at home and expect not to be attacked by their friend or partner or ex.

The issues

SlutWalk is by no means perfect.  In the first place, I want to hope that this year we won’t see repeats of that incident.  We won’t see women wearing faux burqa.  We won’t appropriate other struggles just because it’s easier than developing our own language.

Let’s be honest, someone will.  Someone who isn’t thinking about comparative privilege or intersectionality, someone who’s just focused on her own particular types of oppression (oh look, history of white Western feminism coming at ya).  In a way, that’s part of why I want to be there – because the people who are on our side for the wrong reasons need to be educated just as much as the people we’re opposing.

SlutWalk is never going to be able to tackle the totality of sex-policing in our society – not when some groups of women are considered so lowly, so unable to refuse consent, that the word “slut” isn’t really a weapon used against them.  Not when some groups of women are considered unrapeable, and any assault – even murder – committed against them isn’t really seen as a crime.

I do find it ironic, as someone who is so often hardline and unwilling to compromise, that despite all these things I still support the concept of SlutWalk.  But it does feel good to do something, and I do believe it has the potential to start off change which we can spread to other, less-“obvious” (to the privileged) forms of sexual oppression.

More reading:  a 2011 SlutWalk post roundup; my 2011 post on why I attended SlutWalk

What did you expect, wearing trackpants like that?

LudditeJourno has fought the good fight once more against the forces of misogyny:

Two women fought off separate attacks from an unidentified man in central Whanganui.  Police suspect the attacks were related, as both involved women being targeted from behind, while they were out running.

“It’s clear we have a predator trying to target female joggers,” said Detective Inspector Plod.  “We’d like to praise the strength and ingenuity of the two women who successfully stopped potential sexual attacks.”

If only it were so.  Our police force’s actual advice is:

“Police are warning the public, females in particular, to take particular care when walking or jogging in the broader CBD area, and encourage they do not head out alone for such activities.

“This approach should continue until positive results are achieved in locating the offender or offenders for these attacks.”

Because, you know, there’s only one or two sexual predators targeting women in the whole of Whanganui.  And once the police catch them, sexual assault will be a thing of the past!  Hurrah!

Shit like this is why, despite a lot of the issues around its ignoring of intersectionality and the different ways sexuality-policing affects different classes of women,* I’ll be going to Wellington SlutWalk 2.0.  It’s not just about the wider societal bullshit.  It’s about the fact that in 2012 we still have a police culture which tells women to stay in the kitchen if they know what’s good for them.


*But, I’m going to say again right from the outset, I have zero time for the critiques which are basically “lol how can u reclaim the word slut when u r dressed like sluts, slut”, which (unsurprisingly?) is the main type of criticism noted on the Wikipedia page for SlutWalk – which has one para on the issues raised by some women of colour but conflates it with the usual simplistic “but you can never reclaim bad words!!!!!” critique.

Hypocrisy, now with bonus revictimisation

NRT reports that our Police, who definitely needed a sex-crime-related reputation pick-me-up, have decided to stop publicly reporting domestic violence statistics.  A move which will, in a happy coincidence, make our crime statistics look better.

Domestic violence is a significant area of crime which is growing (partly due to better awareness and reporting, and partly due to the government’s recession). Not recording it publicly will mean a drop in recorded crime and in assaults on children, and voila!, target achieved. Of course, its fundamentally dishonest, not to mention sending a clear message that this sort of crime – which used to be a priority – “doesn’t count”.

I’m sure our NACT government will get right on changing this.  After all, it so used to outrage them to see similar antics being performed on our hospital waiting lists.

Quickhit: Police PR department outdo selves in incompetence

Remember this wonderfully shite piece of publicity-stunt-gone-wrong with side order of gee-who-would-have-thought-we-had-a-bad/oblivious-police-rape-culture?  Well, it turns out we were all wrong and actually it was a total success.

AnneE has the goods over at The Hand Mirror:

First sentence: “A sexist police recruitment advertisement which was quickly axed has been wildly successful – attracting record numbers of potential recruits.” Notice the addition of the word “potential” – not quite the same thing as actual recruits.

Near the end of the report it turns out that this “success” claim is based on a briefing from police public affairs general manager Michael Player to Judith Collins.

You see, they ran a campaign which caused significant online outrage and quite coincidentally a lot of people visited the relevant website, obviously to sign up, and not for any seeing-what-all-the-fuss-was-about looking-for-contact-details-to-write-complaint-emails reasons.  At all.

And if you believe that, they have a whole “no more culture of raping vulnerable young women” bridge to sell you.

James Whitaker challenges Greg O’Connor for “worst police spokesman” role

Hat tip to LudditeJourno for this one.  Trigger warnings for sexual assault, misogyny and NZ Police continued cluelessness.

The NZ Police have a new recruitment drive going.  Apparently they’re aiming to

to attract intelligent, balanced, non-judgmental young people, … using a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour

(Just to show how cool and edgy they are, one ad references Justin Bieber.  Topical!)

And apparently they decided this would be a good idea:

(A dark blue poster reading “We’ve got a lot in common with cougars.  We like ’em young too.”)

LudditeJourno neatly sums up the issues around “cougar” (ie LOL OLDER WOMEN WITH SEX DRIVES ARE HILARIOUS AND ALSO ICKY) but there’s a much bigger, more specific problem with this.

And I’m just not sure how the fuck someone paid to take care of Police PR managed to miss it.

(Oh wait, misogyny and ego probably answer that one.)

Have we forgotten Clint Rickards so soon?  Are we meant to ignore the many, many stories of police officers abusing their power to have sex with vulnerable young women?

I mean, it’s not like any reports have come out recently which state the Police still have ingrained, shitty attitudes towards women and a boys-club mentality … oh, wait, scratch that.

And now some genius has decided that the way to entice Kiwi kids to join the force is to use sexually-suggestive advertising talking about “liking them young”.

Oh, wait, there I go reading things the wrong way again:

“All of the adverts in the current campaign are youth-centric, and use ideas like earning a good salary, skipping to the front of a queue, etc, and language that youth commonly use and see as perfectly acceptable.

“Cougars are merely identified as a group that are interested in those under 25 years old – as are we when we are looking to attract new police recruits.”

Merely identified, people.  That’s all cougars are, they’re just interested in having “naughty” sex with young people.

Who the fuck does James Whitaker think he’s kidding?

All of the adverts in the current campaign are clueless-misogynist-centric, and use ideas like treating older women as freaks, covering up for your mates and raping vulnerable women that cops commonly use and see as perfectly acceptable.

There, I fixed it for you.