Blog

not okay…. just… not.

ETA:  potential triggers for sexual violence stories.  (should have warned you earlier, but …)

For those of you who have been following  ‘s post about men and rape culture, this might be of interest. 

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/17/south-africa-rape-survey

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/17/rape-apology-south-africa

and  ‘s post.

cereta.livejournal.com/652008.html

23 thoughts on “not okay…. just… not.”

  1. This is one of those things where on one hand I feel awful criticizing someone else’s culture but at the same time, I have always been very uncomfortable with the way South African men and men from some other parts of Africa have treated me. They have a forwardness that seems too forceful and entitled that I don’t see in American men. One time, I was chatting with a South African man (in a friendly setting, and I quite liked him up to this point) and he asked for my number and I told him I didn’t give my number to strangers but he could have my email address. And he thrust his Blackberry in my face and was like, “but I want it. Put it in my phone now.”

    I actually felt threatened by the way he said it, like he wasn’t going to let me leave unless I gave it to him. Since it’s a cell phone number, I gave it to him, but I never answered any of his calls.

    I hesitate to call it rape because the boy who did it was so young that he couldn’t physically rape me in the strictest sense, but I was sexually assaulted when I was nine by a neighborhood boy about the same age. He didn’t really know what sex was– neither of us really did, but one of the older neighborhood kids had just taken sex ed and told us about it. In a roomful of other kids the same age, he told me to have sex with him or he wouldn’t be my friend anymore. So I did.

    It was pretty traumatizing and for the next couple years I was morbidly afraid that I would get in trouble for it. I had nightmares of giving birth to two-headed fetuses. It didn’t help that no one had explained that you had to have sex every time you got pregnant– I thought it was like an on/off switch, where once you had done it, you could indefinitely. I think I didn’t get that it was a one-time-per thing for about two years after that when I really hit puberty.

    But I also get that my story isn’t one tenth of what actual rape victims suffer and I have totally made my peace with the fact that the kid who did this was clueless and didn’t know what rape was or what sex was and why this was such a terrible thing to do. It’s not the same. But I know how that made me feel and I think I found something I could sympathize with in this story– the boys were a little older but I would like to know that the boy who did that to me realized later in his life how horrible it was and would never do something like that again, and would teach his sons not to.

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing – I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m so sorry that you were traumatized for several years. I just…

      I think, in America, if a similar *really* anonymous survey were put forth, America’s numbers might reveal something just as troubling. (with the child abuse as well as the rape.)

      with the guy in the bar, it strikes me as one of those “What do you do in that moment” situations. Those are really hard. You honor your instincts. “I don’t give out my number to strangers, you can have my email.” he says, “no really. I want it” and you say “umm… you creepy jerk – guys like you are the reason I don’t give out my number? I’m gonna hail a cab now!”

      can we get a “no means no” chorus!

      you’re right – hesitating to critique someone else’s culture can be a good quality. (in the critique, might something universal be discovered? seems yes, here, and some of the comments from the UK in cereta’s post.)

      I linked the article because cereta’s post talked about culture and how culture reinforces those behaviors… and the article talks about that too. I don’t think it’s “just america/the West” or “just south Africa.” I think women everywhere experience rape or the threat of rape, or if not rape, violence against them.

      but still. I do hope the same thing as you – people realize they’ve done wrong and repent. I also hope that our new-found awareness garners some damn solidarity.

      these stories seem to have in common that (seeing from the guy’s perspective) *your* discomfort and/or consent is not valued or sought after. this fills me with a sad rage.

      this is the problem. this is not a corollary to the problem.

      Like

      1. This wasn’t even in a bar! This was a guy following me around a homegoods store! If he had been in a bar it would have been easier to escape because ba staff is used to handling that.

        I think– and it’s part of what I said to below– the problem is that men– especially straight white men who aren’t part of any minority– automatically turn everything into a story about them. The man is always the hero, the woman is always the object of desire. So hearing a story of a man who feels bad about raping a woman is about the man feeling bad, not what the woman felt when he apologized– I noticed they didn’t even speak to her in the article. A man who rescues a girl from drunks is a story about him being a Nice Guy and not a girl being frightened for almost being violated. It is always about the guy.

        Like

      2. Is that about the first article you mean, the one linked above? I had the same problem with that article, I thought the guy was excusing himself and had been for 20 years. But things like that are open to interpretation because someone else saw it as a ‘he doesn’t excuse it, he’s sorry and it’s all his own fault one’ they asked me why I saw it as being a ‘me me me’ article and that I thought the guy was making excuses.

        Like

      3. a homegoods store!!!!!

        egad. wtf? at what point do you stop this? do you carry mace? do you scream? do you take karate and punch dude in the FACE?

        I mean, wtf?

        one would hope that store clerks would be around and sympathetic if you appealed to them for help, I mean. but on the other hand, there’s the sense that dude/jackass shouldn’t be following you around in the first place/you should NOT NEED to ask for help because you should be able to defend yourself all on your own.

        I don’t carry mace. I know how to throw a punch: but I have a REALLY loud mouth, and I use it. in those situations… and others.

        you’re also right. it shouldn’t always need to be about the guy.

        Like

      4. Well, if he had actually been creepy and stalkerish, I would have said something. The problem was that he was very pleasant and we were having a very nice conversation and I liked him until he pulled the phone number shit. So this wasn’t like I was being stalked. I had been totally willing to give the guy my email, so when he was weird about the phone number I just gave it to him because I felt like I would think about it later and decide what to do. I tell men off all the time for inappropriate behavior; this wasn’t inappropriate until that moment in the conversation.

        Like

  2. That post looked interesting. I don’t have the chance to read right now though but when i glanced over I must admit I was incomfortable to notice that a lot of the replies that had guys views or put across other thoughts were frozen.

    I’ll take a look when i get to work tomorrow.

    Like

    1. I saw a couple of frozen posts – one where a guy basically said, “yeah, I’ve been that guy who rescues a drunk woman… but if she dresses like a slut, she deserves it…” no kidding. that one got frozen fast.

      many of the responses I’ve read are women sharing their stories about sexual assault, not or being rescued by “That Guy.”

      It’s important for me to talk about being a survivor of child sexual abuse. these safe spaces are important.

      cereta asks “good guys: where are you?” and it’s an important question!

      Like

      1. I’m sorry to hear you were a victim of child abuse, there’s some scum in this world.

        That’s not the one I saw but yes that one does deserve freezing. The Daily Mail did an article about popular myths in relation to rape and I think the top two were the ‘asking for it’ one and the ‘if she doesn’t fight back, is it rape’.

        cereta asks “good guys: where are you?” and it’s an important question!

        I don’t deny it’s an imortant question, but i don’t think all guys can be tarred with the same brush. Yes, there are a lot of nasty ones out there but they’re the ones that do this kind of things. Not the ones who would run a mile.

        It’s good to share things like this and tales of caution, a friend of mine was abused and she’s always talked to us over it but it’s something she can’t talk to a counsellor about. Or go to survivor groups.

        As I said i haven’t looked at the post thoroughly, I agreed with everything the OP wrote although I do think that 1) Parents should teach their kids respect and instill a moral high ground in them that includes rape as being henious. I also think that in places like Africa rape as a whole need addressing, the article above makes it clear that women, men and children are all raped and I’m guessing a high proportion of that is due to the AIDs cure myth.

        But I find the first article uncomfortable. I’m sorry but there is no excuse for rape. ‘My friends made me’ do it is piss poor. If you don’t want to do it, you stand up and not be a coward. There’s no excuse, peer pressure can be rough but to absolve themselves of responsibility by claiming it as an excuse is ridiculous.

        I’ve luckily never been raped. I’ve had my drink spiked and almost ended up doing god-knows-what on Ketamin but thankfully some good friends were on hand to fetch the bouncers and get me help.

        Like

      2. thanks. you’re right. there are some evil-doers…

        I think, being kind of american-centric is not the best quality for this discussion, so I’ll apologize in advance…

        I don’t think cereta is trying *at all* to tar all guys with the same brush: she’s asking where the good guys are because she knows they exist and that they’re *not* the kind of person who would rape/assault, which differentiates “That Guy” from the guy who would.

        I think she’s trying to create a space where women can tell their stories, where men can tell their stories, where men can listen about some of the stuff that happens to women (hopefully) in order to be better informed advocates.

        It’s true about Africa that there’s the rape cure myth – I would guess that it’s part of the problem but not the whole.

        the spiked drink sounds really scary. that’s what friends are for, literally. I think it points to the problem of “the other guy, who would get someone drugged up and then rape them.” that guy is wrong, WRONG WRONG. not okay. I’m really sorry that happened to you. I’m glad you had some friends to help you.

        I’m also sorry for your friend – it’s a hard thing to talk about, and I’m glad she feels safe enough to talk about it with you. counselling and support groups are good. if she’s not there yet, I’d recommend a few books. (Courage to Heal, by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis is a classic.)

        Like

      3. I don’t think cereta is trying *at all* to tar all guys with the same brush: she’s asking where the good guys are because she knows they exist and that they’re *not* the kind of person who would rape/assault, which differentiates “That Guy” from the guy who would.

        I’m not saying she’s trying to tar all the guys together but the asking, the way I read it, is open to interpretation. If you ask ‘where are the good guys,’ then you are either asking ‘tell me about your experiences with good guys/good guys give me a shout out here/are any men good?’ I understand she is being rhetorical, that’s she’s exasperated, but on an open forum, which is what an unlocked essentially journal is, you’re not likely to get a consensus on the way it’s read.

        So of course guys who read it are going to leap to the ‘stand up and be counted’ and then jump to shout, ‘me, I’m good’. They shouldn’t get a ‘yay, well done’ or ovation for it, but they probably see it in one of those ways-as asking one of those three questions above and soem may not be looking for praise but more trying to reassure that there are good guys around.

        Regarding good guy stories, I doubt anyone would ever hear that many of them , to be honest. It’s usually caution, near misses and things that have happened that get shared more. can honestly say that I’ve spent nights sleeping with male mates and they’ve not tried for a sneaky grope. I’d say they are good guys. They’d step in a fights and I don’t think they’d take advantage of women. I don’t know they won’t, for sure, because you never know what’s going on in someones head and some people can surprise you. I was surprised and shocked to learn my friend’s relative was a pedo and had taken advantage of his stepson, for example.

        I think it’s good to have that Haven, when you have the anonymity of the net sometimes it’s easier to share. As I said my friend was able to share with me, but sometimes I do think she could do with taking to other people about it. I’m just not sure what to say sometimes, and whether I’m actually helping. I listen, I pretty much call him all the names under the sun, i hug her and I let her talk more and talk back but sometimes I’m not sure it’s enough. There’s a big group of us but only myself and my other best friend know. Not that she should tell everyone at all, but some of the others are probably better advice givers then me.I’ll let her know about those books though, thanks for that.

        Culture has a lot to blame. Back, before, society and religion pretty much allowed men to ‘have’ and own their women, and it was seen as wrong to object. Like it was a duty. nowadays there’s still a lot of the ‘owning’ ideal about but I think there’s also another dangerous one emerging. The rape is cool, rape is a weapon one. Recently two papers near me have reported that gang initiations consist of either stabbing someone, or raping them (regardless of sex). Just as horrifically, a gang of teen girls whipped and stripped another and when sentenced (poorly, i might add) they jeered that they should have called up their male friends and ‘had her raped.

        I was lucky with the spiking, I have no idea what would have happened otherwise but I do have good friends. They look after me, and I them. I refuse to let them be anywhere alone or make their own way home, and I have stood (and been extremely annoyed to do it) and waited for an hour in the cold rather than leave my friend. One of the girls at work I know thinks nothing of ditching hers so they end up home alone, which I don’t understand because I would worry so much about my friends if i left any alone. I won’t even leave the guys, in case they get mugged or started on.

        We have no idea who did it but it was pretty much an indiscriminate thing. One girl collapsed and had to be taken by ambulance and one guy freaked out, big time. I freaked out, and heard my friend say there were a few others like me too but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was too paranoid and too confused. There was a rumor going around that it was the barman, who’d done it for a laugh to see everyone off their faces but it wasn’t ever confirmed.

        Like

      4. gang violence is super scary. violence is normative for gangs.

        (When I was a teacher in New Mexico, I taught this girl who was a transplant from California – her mother had moved her to live with her aunt to get her away from the gangs. she had “trust no man” tattooed on her stomach. out there for everyone to see. damn, I used to think – wonder what made her get that? it couldn’t have been a good experience.)

        I think I need more friends to go out with like you – I had a cadre of friends in new york and we looked after each other, always. but not here in spokane. that’s really good that you look after your friends and they look after you.

        the BARMAN? meep! someone had to go to the hospital? some douchebag needs to go to jail for that shit. NOT. FUNNY.

        and tea: well said… I have definitely seen men who self-identify as “nice guys” who think they deserve sex because they’re not being violent with me. or because it was really late and they offered their couch to me … (and then I didn’t wind up on their couch) many times in my life… just because they’re not forcing themselves on me doesn’t mean the “consolation blowjob” wasn’t coerced: cause it was.

        So often, “that guy” is a guy who thinks that he deserves sex because he’s “that guy.” I have been in situations where men have expected sexual favors (not from me but from friends) because they didn’t take advantage of a woman when they “had the chance.” I have seen men who feel entitled to sex because they are “nice guys” and those are not nice guys either. That is one of the issues in [info]cereta’s post, that she is trying to grapple with. Men do not have a god- or goddess- or nature- given right to stick their penises inside women and thinking they do is a problem whether they think they can prove they do by force or that they are doing women a favor by not raping them.

        Like

      5. I think the problem is that a lot of the guys commenting are trying to make it about them. They are expecting accolades for not raping women, when they don’t deserve accolades for not raping women. I don’t deserve accolades for not peeing on the sidewalk or not stealing from the convenience store.

        So often, “that guy” is a guy who thinks that he deserves sex because he’s “that guy.” I have been in situations where men have expected sexual favors (not from me but from friends) because they didn’t take advantage of a woman when they “had the chance.” I have seen men who feel entitled to sex because they are “nice guys” and those are not nice guys either. That is one of the issues in ‘s post, that she is trying to grapple with. Men do not have a god- or goddess- or nature- given right to stick their penises inside women and thinking they do is a problem whether they think they can prove they do by force or that they are doing women a favor by not raping them.

        Like

      6. See I think this where we all see things differently. I did see some stupidity as FA mentioned above, with a guy claiming not to dress provocatively is the equivilent of a rape protector but well I’ll pretty much paste what I put to FA’s above.

        The asking ‘where are all the good guys’, the way it’s read, is open to interpretation. If you ask ‘where are the good guys,’ then you could be asking ‘tell me about your experiences with good guys/good guys give me a shout out here/are any men good?’

        I understand she is being rhetorical, that’s she’s exasperated and she’s using it in the context she is, but on an open forum, which is what an unlocked essentially journal is, you’re not likely to get a consensus on the way it’s read.

        So of course guys who read it are going to leap to the ‘stand up and be counted’ and then jump to shout, ‘me, I’m good’. They shouldn’t get a ‘yay, well done’ or ovation for it, but not all of them may be looking for that. Some may see it in one of those ways-as asking one of those three questions above and some may not be looking for praise but more trying to reassure that there are good guys around.

        I get everything else you are saying, I’m agreeing not disagreeing with it. No one has a right to sex, or anything else from another without their consent. No one should get praised for not raping or refraining or resisting rape: raping should be considered henious and never even considered.

        I’m just saying maybe their not all looking for praise, maybe they’re looking to reassure?

        Like

      7. indeed – open forums can lead to some ambiguity. just – reading through the comments on cereta’s post – and so many stories about “I was raped” and “I was sexually abused” and “oh wait there was this one time something awful could have happened but it didn’t” – I feel like this is a discussion we NEED to have: men and women. about consent, about what’s okay and what’s not okay.

        it’s not about handing out cookies who don’t rape (it’s about encouraging more of them to exist, yes?) – to me, it’s about “how do we hold our culture/our selves accountable? how do we change what we do not want?” and having this open discussion is one way – certainly not the only way.

        I’ve certainly learned *many* things about people’s experiences, and daily ramifications of “ordinary” instances of sexual harassment and assault. it happens too often. this is something we can change…

        Like

  3. “I went to see my religious mentor and said I have to go and apologise to my victim. He said, ‘You were only 15 years old, it’s in the past, what if she reports it?’

    Why am I not surprised?

    And, this is another reason I intend to have children. If I don’t raise sons who know not to rape, someone else will raise sons who don’t.

    Like

    1. Yeah, it always disheartens me when I see people say that they don’t want children because they don’t want to bring another person into a horrible world. And to me, I think if all the people who are responsible and compassionate don’t, then we will be leaving the world a darker place.

      Like

      1. Quite. And, it’s much less horrible than it’s ever been. 100 years ago when life was “simpler”? I bet those rape stats were more like half. 200? 300? Something like all.

        Like

      2. well said. I’m “one of those people who doesn’t want to bring a child into “this horrible world.” it’s just a shorthand excuse: my family has a history of mental illness (both sides), I would probably have anxiety attacks daily if anything, anything, happened to my kid. maybe I’m just being lazy and self centered. I think I’m too selfish to be a mother. honest.

        I think, also, that we can be teachers in our lives, with all the kids we interact with…. but maybe that’s just being lazy again.

        and, ATL, I sincerely doubt life was “simpler” years ago. probably more focused on other things, but we humans tend to complicate things, no?

        Like

      3. I think ATL was using “simpler” facetiously.

        And absolutely, I think that being a teacher or a counselor, social worker, youth group leader, minister, etc., are also ways that we can do this. I don’t think you necessarily have to breed to be able to be part of the solution.

        Like

      4. …ummm…. yeah. facetiously. postin iz srs bznis.

        I think I’m nowhere near the level where I need to be with the kids in my youth group to talk to them about this stuff. nowhere near the trust levels, etc.

        but they were telling me about being bullied and called a “fag.” (I just wanted to hug the poor sweet kid and cry all over him, I felt so bad… it probably wouldn’t have helped, and it would have made it about *me* and my needs… so I didn’t.)

        but I think I will talk to the minister about some kind of information about this. the “not-rape” essay

        (you might have heard of it? triggery –

        http://www.racialicious.com/2008/12/21/original-essay-the-not-rape-epidemic/)

        is just chilling. that everyone in her circle had that kind of experience… and not the internal tools to deal with it.

        I should probably do some work. I shouldn’t let this discussion swallow my life. I just care about it, about people’s safety, about women’s stories… okay… signing off… thanks so much for discussing.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s