Tagged: rape culture

University debating supports patriarchy

So this happened. The Victoria University debating society hosted an event at which one of the moots was:

“This House, as a parent, would tell their daughter to drink responsibly to avoid sexual assault”.

How breathtakingly daring of them.

As people have pointed out on Twitter, it’s not fair to say “all debaters are dudebro neckbeards”.  So I won’t.

What I will point out is that this whole structured debating thing seriously reinforces a lot of patriarchal, privileged bullshit.

1. Because it treats serious social topics as completely morally relative

The point of debating is not to discover truth.  It’s to win.  This article from the New Statesman (h/t Elle) explains it far better than I can:

This is how you’re meant to argue when you’re eventually in charge. You’re trained for it, and part of that training is regularly being presented with morally indefensible positions to defend anyway or risk losing whatever competition you’re engaged with. I have seen perfectly decent young men get carried away defending genocide and torture because that’s the only way to win. Those who are unable to do so are taught that they have no business having political opinions. The people assumed to be the future elite are not rewarded for getting the answer which is most correct, most compassionate or humane or even sensible – they’re rewarded for smashing the opposition. And that’s how you get politicians who will argue anything they’re told to, enact any policy they’re told to no matter how many how many people will get hurt, just so that their team can win.

Chief adjudicator Stephen Wittington justified the moot by saying:

“As part of that discussion we discussed what the purpose of debating was, and as part of that discussion we talked about the fact that debating often requires people to defend ideas or arguments that they don’t personally agree with, even in circumstances where people do in fact have very strong views about those issues.”

As though the problem is that some people (in this case, women) just need to be challenged with different opinions.  As if “I was raped and society said it was my fault so the rapist was never prosecuted” is just a strong view on the topic.  Shocking news:  it’s really shitty to use people’s real lived experiences of traumatic events as a thought experiment.

2. Because it holds “rationality” or “reason” or “logic” as supreme

Especially in comparison to emotion.  Which is one of the reasons that moot above is supremely shitty.  Hey, women, so 1 in 4 of you have experienced sexual assault, and probably been victim-blamed to hell and back, but now we’re going to grade you on how calm and reasonable you can be while arguing in favour of victim-blaming.  Win!

Patriarchy privileges intellect and demonizes emotion.  Totally coincidentally, men are held to be sensible rational creatures, and women in New Zealand have to convince two doctors that they’re so mentally fragile they deserve an abortion.

3. Because its judging criteria are privileged to hell

Guess what kind of people are most likely to be really good at the kind of speaking and preparation rewarded by formal debating?  People from upper-class highly-educated families, that’s who.  People who are able-bodied and neurotypical.

Please note that this doesn’t mean only rich white boys debate.  Plenty of people from oppressed groups will be fantastic at debating in this format.  But they will sure as hell have to conform to the expectations of privileged groups to do it.  (cf Namond Brice)

4. Because it mistakes reinforcing oppression with challenging norms

There are a million ways to challenge people to think outside the box, or to explore current social issues, without going for the bog-standard Bob Jones line of debate.

The fact is, this was a completely unfair debate.  Not because people were upset by it, not because it breaches the all-powerful Feminist Code, but because our society has already well-equipped the affirming team with arguments.  Nobody arguing in favour of this moot had to think very hard about how they were going to make their case, because their case is made every single day to the point that many people consider it “common sense”.  The negating team, on the other hand, had to fight not just their opponents, but centuries of social conventions and assumptions.  And some of them will have been struggling with being triggered in the process.

So why do it?  Because not all debaters are dudebro Grammar old boys, but plenty of them are, especially the ones at the top.  And why would they do anything but reinforce the power structures which keep them there?

A few minor points

Spot the interesting trend in the names of the bloggers cited (in order of citation) in Bryce Edwards’ latest article about the “blog wars” taking place around rape culture:*

  • Giovanni Tiso
  • Graeme Edgeler
  • “Prof Andrew Geddis”
  • Chris Trotter
  • Danyl Mclauchlan
  • Scott Yorke
  • Martyn Bradbury
  • “Another identity activist”**
  • Alan Alach [sic]

head tilt

It just makes it all the more tragi-hilarious that Bryce, in the third paragraph of his article, says

Identity politics is, of course, the prioritisation of a person’s identity – ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc – over issues of ideology, and especially economics and class.

The phrasing’s very interesting.  It might almost seem to suggest that a mere identity is unworthy of “prioritising” over important things like ideology.  It absolutely suggests that silly identity politics doesn’t ever involve discussing important things like economics and class.

spacey bitch please

It kinda also seems to imply that things like ethnicity, gender and sexuality aren’t as important as the real issues.  Do you think that might be an easy conclusion to come to when your own personal ethnic, gender and sexual identities don’t come giftwrapped in centuries of economic and social oppression?

romney o really

And do you ever notice how the real issues which identity politics are apparently distracting us from are always the issues which the person complaining about identity politics wants to talk about?

rock eyeroll

And seriously.  Why is it always the men who talk about “prioritisation” like they’re not capable of thinking about more than one thing at a time?

joan bitch please


*I have not included Donna Awatere Huata nor Annette Sykes as they’re mentioned in an earlier section of the column – but let’s note the only brown faces to appear on this topic are both supporting Tamihere and Jackson.

**Hi there!  I have a name!

Lani Wendt Young on rape culture in Samoa

Trigger warning for sincere victim-blaming and sarcastic discussion of rape.

I’m glad you have identified the cause of the sexual abuse epidemic because you’re so right – if more women were just honest about how much they enjoyed sex with their fathers/brothers/uncles/cousins/abusive-partners and how much they LOVED being forced to have it – then the horrifying rape statistics would virtually, magically disappear.

Read the whole thing here.

Roast Busters-related recommended reading

Like I said in a previous post, there has been a lot of good discussion about our rape culture and the NZ Police’s responses to sexual violence over the past couple of weeks.  Here are some more posts you might want to read and share.

A note about using the RBs label: I know a lot of people are refusing to using the name this gang of rapists gave themselves, because they’re disgusted by it, or they don’t want to give it oxygen, or any other number of reasons.

I’m using it for practicality, and because of what that practicality tells us.  The problem is, you can’t find this story by googling “teen gang rape” or “teen rape cover up police mismanagement rape culture” because there are so many incidents of this kind of shit.

An open letter to Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia from TK Lewis

Rape is rape; end of story. If JT and Willy can get away with basically vilifying a rape victim, it not only shows their support for male bigotry but inaction on your behalf shows your support for the same tikanga.

Roast Busters and Rape Culture by Gayaathri

This did not happen in a vacuum.

These people are not unnatural monsters. The more we talk about rape and sexual violence as though it is perpetrated by inhuman, or subhuman individuals who are disgusting and wrong the easier it is for we as a society to deny that rape and sexual violence is a structural problem, not an individual one.  These were young men who as human beings chose to do horrible things to young women and girls.

Rape culture. My culture by Goodeye McWooWoo

When I was 8, and had to walk home alone from Brownies (a reasonably short distance, I have to say) – and this was in 1972 – my mother told me that if anyone were to ever follow me, I should swear loudly at them and go to the nearest lit house, as if it were my own. She didn’t say who that person would be, but I assumed it was a man. Why would I assume that? Because the only people, up until that point, that I had found at all vaguely scary were always men.

Roast Busters questions scream for answers by Toby Manhire [note: Herald link]

The police, who knew about it two years ago, have this week insisted, over and over, that their hands are tied. A policeman (presumably no women were available) on Sunday night explained the problem was a lack of complaint. “None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take it to a prosecution stage or even consider a prosecution stage.”

Except that they had. Four of them had come forward in 2011 and 2012. Four of them. Three were 13, one 15. One had made a full and formal complaint.

The clear impression is not of a police force with tied hands, but sitting on them. Or worse.

And related reading, from Huffington Post: The conversation you must have with your sons

“It’s unfair and it’s horrifying,” one mother admitted to me, “but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. I can’t change the fact that there are creepy men out there behaving badly. I have to help my daughter protect herself.”

So let’s take a quick look at these “creepy men.” Who are they, really? Who are the creepy men that are making it unsafe for your daughter to go solo to a party on campus? Who are the creepy men that are catcalling her or slut-shaming her or intimidating her with their words? Who are the creepy men that are stalking her? Harassing her? Attacking her?

Who are these “creepy men” and where did they come from AND who in the hell raised them?

The answer, unfortunately, is YOU.

Andrea Vance nails what’s wrong with our rape laws

In other words, society has a role to play. Recently Bob Jones, Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have provided a platform to basically assert: her clothes, her drinking – she was asking for it.

That those opinions are carried by the mainstream media is not freedom of speech. It’s perpetrating an attitude that it’s OK to treat women like a piece of meat if they don’t conform to your conservative standards of behaviour.

Even Judith bloody Collins has got in on the righteousness.

 What’s the scantily-dressed girl trying to say, they ask.

Well, for a start, John and Willie, they’re not dressing for you.

Feel free to share any other good articles you’ve seen in the comments.

Revelations which didn’t fit into Sunday’s post:  John Tamihere has multiple connections to members of the Roast Busters.  Because of course he does.

A brief history of Chris Trotter, Waitakere Man, and John Tamihere

2005: John Tamihere interviewed in Investigate Magazine.

INVESTIGATE: What is the most powerful network in the Labour executive?


The Labour Party Wimmins [sic] Division. Whether it’s bagging cops that strangle protestors they should be beating the proverbial out of, or – it’s about an anti-men agenda, that’s what I reckon. It’s about men’s values, men’s communication standards, men’s conduct.

I spoke to the boards and principals association in Wellington, and I showed them a picture of two girls with their fists clenched, standing on top of two young male students. The object of the exercise was to prove that once again the female students had romped home academically against all the boys. If the positions in the photo were reversed, all hell would break loose.

Where else in the world do Amazons rule?

In our constitutional base you could kill the Prime Minister – sure, there’s a deputy prime minister – but in the interregnum the second in charge is the Speaker. The Governor-General. If those three die you go to the Chief Justice, another woman.

I don’t mind front-bums being promoted, but just because they are [women] shouldn’t be the issue. They’ve won that war. It’s just like the Maori – the Maori have won, why don’t they just get on with the bloody job. I think it becomes more grasping.

Other comments include “I’m sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”.  Tamihere loses his seat in the 2005 election to Dr Pita Sharples and goes on to host a talkback show on Radio Live.

2009: Chris Trotter coins the term “Waitakere Man” in a post urging Labour to return to its working-class roots.

To win in 2008, National had to break Labour’s grip on the mixed metropolitan suburbs.
The voter escorting National to its First Term Ball turned out to be the sort of bloke who spends Saturday afternoon knocking-back a few beers on the deck he’d built himself, and Saturday evening watching footy with his mates on the massive flat-screen plasma-TV he’s still paying-off.
His missus works part-time to help out with the mortgage, and to keep their school-age offspring in cell-phones and computer games.
National’s partner – let’s call him Waitakere Man – has a trade certificate that earns him much more than most university degrees. He’s nothing but contempt for “smart-arse intellectual bastards spouting politically-correct bullshit”.
On racial issues he’s conflicted. Some of his best friends really are Maori – and he usually agrees with the things John Tamihere says on Radio Live.
National was getting two (or more) votes for the price of one. Sometimes Waitakere Man brought with him the votes of his mother, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces as well. How had Clark forfeited the trust of Waitakere Woman?
What broke their connection with Clark was the anti-smacking legislation. They felt affronted – as if their parenting skills had been weighed in the balance of the Prime Minister’s conscience and found wanting. Clark, who had no children, was telling them how to raise their kids. She seemed to be passing judgement on their whole family – turning them into criminals. They felt betrayed.
Waitakere Woman’s sense of betrayal, combined with the ingrained misogyny and cultural diffidence of Waitakere Man, was what got National onto the dance floor in 2008. Key should read both Rodney Hide’s intransigence on Maori representation, and the recent Referendum’s unequivocal result, as timely reminders of the price of his party’s admission.
When the band begins to play, Waitakere Man and Waitakere Woman must not be left standing.

2010: Chris Trotter revisits “Waitakere Man” in a post criticising the Labour Party for selecting Carmel Sepuloni for the seat of Waitakere.

In making this decision it has not only chosen wrongly, but it has also dealt what may prove to be a fatal blow to the career of one of its more talented MPs, Phil Twyford.
“Waitakere Man/Woman” is the key to Labour’s recovery.
…[quotes previous post on Waitakere Man]…
Carmel Sepuloni’s going to win back those voters?
Yeah, right.

Following a judicial recount, Sepuloni misses out on the seat by nine votes and was not returned to Parliament due to her placing at 24th on the party list.  Phil Twyford returned to Parliament after winning the seat of Te Atatū.

2012:  Chris Trotter identifies John Tamihere as the “avatar” of Waitakere Man.

Mulling over the Labour Party’s decision to re-admit John Tamihere to its ranks, I’m beginning to understand how Dr Frankenstein felt. “Waitakere Man” – the monster I created more than three years ago on the pages of The Independent Business Weekly – has not only gone its own way, it’s acquired a powerful, new, flesh-and-blood political avatar.

Waitakere Man proved troublesome from the moment he emerged from my computer keyboard. Many people believed he was myavatar. They charged me with counselling the Labour Party to embrace this bigoted blowhard and tailor its policies to suit his prejudices. Not true. My intent was only ever to make Labour aware of Waitakere Man’s existence.

It seems that Phil Goff has coincidentally started following Trotter’s advice, but Trotter, ever the voice of wisdom, warns:

When, inevitably, [Waitakere Man] brings his knee up between progressive Labour’s legs, let no one who voted for Mr Tamihere’s re-admission feign either horror or surprise.

August 2013: Chris Trotter theorises Tamihere will run for Waitakere under New Zealand First, and win.

But, if Tamihere (JT) runs, it won’t be in Labour red. Though the party eventually agreed to accept his 2012 membership application, the word in Labour circles is that a Tamihere candidacy in Waitakere would be approved only over the dead bodies of the party’s women’s and LGBTI sector groups.

That the very attitudes and values that produce such an allergic reaction among Labour’s social liberals and identity politicians might also be the attitudes and values of the average Waitakere voter, is as neat a summation of Labour’s dilemma as one is likely to find in the topsy-turvy context of contemporary electoral politics.

By recruiting JT to the NZ First cause and putting him up in Waitakere against both Paula Bennett and whoever Labour chooses (probably Carmel Sepuloni) Peters could grow the overall NZ First Party Vote by as much as 2-3 percent. On election night that could mean a NZ First tally of 8-10 percent – rather than the 6-8 percent it is currently anticipating.

Trotter also refers to Paula Bennett as “oozing BBW appeal”.

5 November 2013:  Following media exposure of the “Roast Busters” rape club, John Tamihere and Willie Jackson bully a rape survivor on their talkback show.  [Post by Giovanni Tiso featuring transcript of the questions asked]

Tell me this, how old are you?

How did your parents consent to you going out as a 14-year-old til 3am in the morning?

So anyway you fibbed, lied, whatever, and went out to the parties –­ did you not know they were up to this mischief?

Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?

Don’t youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?

Yeah but girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?

6 November 2013: Danyl Mclauchlan posts on the Roast Busters/John Tamihere issue.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in and around this instantly-infamous Radio Live clip …

… Finally, there’s a huge amount of affection for Tamihere amongst the Trotterist factions of the Labour Party. People like Mike Williams and Josie Pagani feel JT’s well-documented pathological contempt for woman would be an electoral asset among blue-collar male voters, and David Shearer gushed that he’d be an amazing Minister for Social Development. The core tenet of Trotterism is that identity politics isn’t important, and if that faction in the party had its way they’d have a welfare spokesman who thinks that young girls who drink alcohol deserve to be gang-raped. So let me say again that Tamihere would be a poor choice for that role, and that, like Shane Jones he is basically un-electable, and that people in the Labour Party should stop promoting these weird, creepy misogynists. 

Chris Trotter responds:

I’d exercise a little caution if I were you, Danyl.

8 November, 2013:  Josie Pagani (whose views on these issues would have to be the subject of a separate post) posts at Pundit on the issue.

I am disgusted with the attitudes of Willie and JT … But I don’t support banning them from radio. The painful, ugly truth about the attitudes of Willie and JT is that they are shared by tens of thousands of men who think women should take responsibility for not being raped.

Willie and JT’s job is to discuss stuff. You don’t fix their faulty attitude by telling the part of our community who think they have a point, that it should not have a voice. You deal with it by argument.

Because where do you end up if you get banned for expression? You end up like the pathological blogger Dimpost, who effectively attributes blame to me for the words and attitudes of Willie & JT.

It goes something like this – I have previously spoken out in support of Willie and JT, as politicians with something to contribute to the community. Therefore, I am responsible for everything JT says (and therefore the inference is that I agree with everything he says).

How perverse do you have to be to implicate a woman in the anti-woman views expressed on radio? What is really happening here is that he is trying to silence me (and others) because he disagrees with me about other political issues. This is where you end up when you try to have Willie and JT removed from the radio – banning people you disagree with, not just those who hold offensive views.

And Chris Trotter responds in comments:

Danyl McLaughlin’s [sic] association of Josie and myself with the behaviour of the Roastbusters and their defenders – based on nothing more substantial than that we share a political analysis with which he disaggrees – marks a new low for his blog. Perhaps you should ask yourself whether Danyl’s compulsion to denounce, denigrate and distress those by whom he feels threatened makes him more, or less, like the Roastbusters he purports to abhor?

The TLDR of all of this:  Chris Trotter has repeatedly made it clear that he thinks there is a “Waitakere Man” archetype of NZ voter who is a narrow-minded white dude who likes, and is even embodied by (except for the whiteness, obviously) John Tamihere.  Chris Trotter has repeatedly urged the Labour Party to appeal to this archetype – though always in every-so-slightly cagey terms like “dance partner”.  Which makes it very convenient, when Tamihere is an abusive fuck to rape victims, for Trotter to distance himself from the whole situation and paint himself as the victim.

You don’t get to constantly grind down identity politics and put your view of working-class (or is it self-employed?)/lower-middle-class men on a pedestal, then complain when the obvious misogyny and bullying behaviour which comes with that archetype explodes into the public view.

Here endeth the lesson.

Homework: consider the idea, posited by The Egonomist and others, that the promotion of a particular type of bigoted redneck thinking is identity politics – and the reason we don’t recognise this is because some identities get to be “normal” and not “other”.

A very important contribution to our current discussion of rape culture

This comment is just so important, so original and such a game-changer that I wanted it to have its own space:

This isn’t going to go over well, so you might as well get angry before I even get to my point. As a male the problem I have with feminism is that the word and the attitudes of many who self identify with it implies elevating females and female causes above males. There are plenty of doucebag males and cowed females, and that’s societies stereotypical fantasy of New Zealand, but in my experience there are just as many, if not more, dominant and even douchey females and cowed males. I’m all for equality and fairness, and I’d love to see any systemic gender inequalities New Zealand still has corrected, but there are inequalities in both directions and I cannot believe that any equality can be brought about by promoting one gender/race/religion/sexual orientation/etc over any other.

Oh, Anon.  I’m so sad that you think so little of me.  How could I possibly get angry with such a thoughtful, insightful comment?  Truly, when our nation is experiencing a cultural shift around our treatment of sexual assault survivors, when we’re having serious conversations about victim-blaming and power structures which allow rapists to walk free …

Wow.  You’re so right.  What we should really be talking about is how some mean feminist women don’t give you a boner.

I ‘m not mad, Anon.  You’ve opened my eyes, man.  This is a whole new day in the life of Queen of Thorns, and I shall go forward and feminist no more.

Thank you for educating me about the real nature of feminism.

May I do you a favour in return?  I feel like we’re really friends now.  We’re on the same level, you know?  And I want to help you like you’ve helped me.

Maybe you – and every other person who has, in the past week, made comments like “let’s remember we have to be anti-rape, not anti-men!” or “it’s unfair to act like all men are scary rapists” or “freedom of speech!” – could take some time out and ponder the following questions:

  • When people are discussing rape culture, why is your first response to downplay it?
  • When we are faced with a very real case of a gang of rapists preying on young women, why is your first response to start talking about mean women who “cow” men?
  • Do you think you’re just terrified of having to act like a grown-up when negotiating sex with a partner, instead of relying on alcohol and peer pressure to get your wick dipped?
  • Or do you not want your previous sexual partners to start feeling more comfortable using the r-word to describe your coercive, abusive behaviours?

This might not go over well with you, but don’t get angry, I’m just expressing my problem with rape-excusing women-hating doucebags [sic].

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.

Fuck off, Bob Jones, and everyone else: stop reading the Herald

[Trigger warning for rape and rape apologism]

I wanted to write some satire, but I just don’t have the spoons.  I don’t have the sheer mental energy to snark Bob fucking Jones, someone who is only considered relevant because of modern capitalism’s irrational belief that having money means your opinion is worth listening to.

I just can’t deal with a major newspaper printing an article which so perfectly encapsulated rape culture that, were it written by anyone else, would have been assumed to be taking the piss.

Bob Jones has hurt people with this column.  Bob Jones has re-victimised people who have survived rape.  Bob Jones has basically taken a giant shit on everyone who has been attacked, no matter where or when or how it happened.

Bob Jones has, in a few hundred words, probably obstructed the course of justice, because there’s got to be at least one survivor out there who saw it and was convinced they could never tell anyone because they’d just be told it was their fault.

And the New Zealand Herald has enabled this.  It has happily published an attack on all rape victims, and all women, in order to generate pageviews.

Even when the circumstances of someone’s rape are absolutely “legitimate” – it was a stranger, it was during the day, you were wearing a refrigerator box with eyeholes cut into the front – survivors know that whoever they tell, the odds are very, very good that the response won’t be “that’s so fucking terrible, how can I help?”, it will be “But why did you … why didn’t you … what were you …?”

Bob Jones wants you to believe that he’s just being the voice of reason, the rational one, the dude who just tells it like it is.  But Bob Jones is actually the voice that tells rape survivors – even survivors of the perfect, legitimate rape – to sit down and shut up and never tell anyone because you won’t be believed and you must have done something to cause it.

And he does it, and the Herald publishes it, for pageviews.

Do you think it’s more evil if he really believes what he’s saying, or not?


Highly-recommended reading on Bob “strangely desperate to deny that certain things count as rape” Jones’ antics:

Marama Davidson

Diane Revoluta

Tallulah Spankhead at The Lady Garden

Nat Dudley (Dropbox link)

Thomas Lumley at StatsChat

Rape Crisis Dunedin

[Daily Blog reposts] Rape culture: we’re living in it

This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 7 March 2013.

What is rape culture?

If you ask people who are scared of feminism and radical concepts like “equality”, it’s all a big lie, it’s a conspiracy theory, it’s a meaningless jargon term which we women throw around to justify our seething hatred of all men.

If you ask me, I’ll steal a handy definition from Tumblr and say it’s

a term that describes a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.

But what does that mean in real life?

It’s Seth MacFarlane making jokes about seeing famous actress’ breasts on screen – while referencing tragic, violent movies featuring brutal rape scenes.

It’s the constant use of passive language when the media reports rapes, or downright describing rape as “sex”, even “consensual sex” – often disclaiming, “oh, but legally, the suspect hasn’t been convicted of rape” – when no one has a problem reporting that a murder victim has been murdered.

It’s women living lives, if not of fear, then of wariness, because it could happen to you – and it’s almost certainly happened to your friends and loved ones – and even when it hasn’t happened, you know you’ve been close.

It’s not being able to assume that any man you meet or talk to or invite into your home isn’t Schrodinger’s Rapist.

It’s talking about our lived experiences and being told we’re being silly, or self-centred (because sexual harassment and sexual assault are compliments) or lying.

You want cold hard facts?  Like Coley said,

1 in 4 women in New Zealand will experience unwanted and distressing sexual contact in her lifetime. Yet our Government has consistently failed to fund services which help survivors and their communities. Last year, this went so far as Wellington Rape Crisis needing to accept funding from famously feminist Hell’s Pizza to stay afloat.

That’s what rape culture is.  And once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

The first step in fighting rape culture is acknowledging it exists.  The second is pointing it out so others are forced to see it.  The third … I’ll figure out once we get people even to step one.

I know this post won’t end rape.  But maybe it’ll pull another thread out of the rape culture tapestry.  Maybe it’ll mean one rape joke at the water cooler gets called out.   Maybe it’ll stop one “friend” making light of an assault.  Maybe it’ll make one guy think twice about how hilarious it is the way his buddy always hits on the really drunk girls.

If I didn’t believe that, I’d have to lock myself in a small room for the rest of my life.