Rape Culture, or Why We’re Afraid of “Nice Guys”

I am reblogging this after all this time because I finally found the original article I mentioned regarding the Swedish “Nice Guy” complaining that in a particular woman’s eyes he was a potential rapist… I’d also like to note in my original post I misremembered his point and that he agrees it is a shame that we live in a patriarchal society that causes this Rape culture and the fear we women feel in places like the train station… Article is in Swedish, but if you have the desire to Google translate it – here it is: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article22549602.ab

I Will Not Live in Vain

You who have been following me for a while will know I rarely make comment on current events in the media. I rarely write posts related to issues that are happening in the political or religious platforms – or anything that people would want to debate…

But there is a particular issue in the media currently that I feel maybe a blog like mine should at least comment on, if not relate a post to.

For new readers, I will catch you up on why the forthcoming post might be related to “a blog like mine” : I have been subject to abuse by a couple of men. I have had a boyfriend in the past that abused me in various ways, including sexually. I have had a ‘lover’ (for lack of a better word) that was threatening and domineering. I have also, a few times, written about other incidents…

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Reblogging Rae: Tell Your Stories (revamped)

Post #6 in my recycling series… only 2-3 more to go, I promise 😉 This one is from September 2015 and the content has been changed a fair bit (the second half deleted and replaced by different content) so it is not actually by rights the same post 🙂

My friend posted a quote on FB for me yesterday. She said it reminded her of me and some of the stuff I’ve said recently about telling my stories.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

I’ve said things about telling my stories so others can learn from my mistakes. I had noted an old friend who knew David said she liked my book… and with slight concern I asked her if she was still in touch with him in any capacity. She’s not and told me that he shouldn’t care about events from so long ago, and besides I was nice and concealed his identity. If she wrote a book she would protect the innocent, not the guilty. This Ann Lamont quote just seemed so fitting for me, and I love when people see something that reminds them of you and fits so well – it makes you realize that at least that one person has paid some attention to you in some way or another.

I also strongly believe in telling one’s stories not only for learning from each other’s mistakes, but also to create a sense of community. More than likely if you tell your story, you will find that there are others like you that have experienced similar experiences. It creates a sense of not being alone – and as I have discovered it emboldens others to also tell there stories – or at the least confide in the original story teller. I can’t count how many women have approached me in private to tell me they connect with my accounts of abuse or how many people have come to relay their struggles with depression. Often I get the sense that I am the only person they have told, or at least in a select few.

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For a very long time, I had been ashamed of various parts of my past. This was a hard thing to admit to myself, in all honesty. For a long time I pushed certain things down or brushed them to the side; choosing to ignore them. That wasn’t healthy. I realise that now.

Making the conscious decision not to be ashamed, or at least to fight the sense of shame, I had about the abusive situations I endured has resulted in a cathartic release for me as well as serving as inspiration for other women to open up, even just a little bit, and start their own coping processes. It has resulted in changes for the better in my marriage and, I hope, changes for the better in how I interact with my family as a whole. My writing and frank discussions have also served to cause others to reach out for help for their depression – even in crises.

I like to think, though I have no proof as yet, that writing my stories about events that contributed to rape culture have also assisted in opening some people’s eyes to understanding that side of our society – a side that maybe they didn’t recognise or realise was such an ingrained problem.

This is why I feel we all must continue to tell our stories; to strengthen each other, to embolden the victimised or abused, to make real change in our society where it’s warranted.

 

 

Saucy Flirt

I’ve raised a question to myself that I’m having a difficult time answering. I’ve found that my actions can be awfully contradictory to what I say – what I  write- on this blog.

I write a fair bit about rape culture and rail against the misogynistic undertones of our society… and yet…

I’ve told you before I can be quite the flirt. Vulgar things no doubt escape my mouth; especially when I am comfortable in my surroundings. 

I’ve told you before that in the bed room I not only let, but I encourage, men to call me such things as “dirty slut” or “whore.”

Herein lies the questioning of myself and my values. Not only do I encourage them to demean me so, I also tend to encourage their feelings of entitlement over myself and my body.

But, Rae, you might say – as long as it’s consensual there’s no problem with that!

I would agree with you.

Yet when I am being the most saucy of flirts, I realised I encourage this type of behaviour overall. I had never really though about it before. I think along my own desires for a man and if he responds in what I consider a favourable way I will actively encourage that thought process.

I realised, though, that perhaps women like me do a disservice to the fight against rape culture. 

Am I part of the problem when I give the green light to men my age to feel any form of entitlement over me?

When a good male friend makes vulgar remarks, likely in response to my vulgar remarks, that I would consent to personally- I don’t ruin the mood and tell him to be careful as not all women would appreciate him waking them up mid-coitus. Not all women would appreciate the idea of being “taken” whenever the man strikes the fancy to do so. Not all women are hard wired to respond favourably to a domineering man like I seem to be.

Do these guys think “Well Rae appreciates this behaviour from me – other girls will too”? After all, I do tend to make them feel like they are God’s gift to women…

And they are in my mind, to be honest…

Maybe I should just put it all out there – though many guys I know probably won’t see this. Just because I consent to this behaviour with you doesn’t mean all women will. It also doesn’t mean I consent to this behaviour with everyone. 

The men, past and present, I have been this sexually attracted to that have been given the chance to feel any form of entitlement over me… please don’t take me as the rule. Please be careful and be damned sure another woman wants it first before treating her the same as you would me.

😘 Thanks, babes.

That boy in 7th grade

I was thinking about further events to write about as I mentioned in the post I wrote for Carla Louise – this post is about some events in 6th/7th grade when I lived in Alice Springs, Australia. It has some relation to Carla’s series on rape culture, yet is also a little more thematically different so I felt it was better suited to my page… because memories. Boys. Analyzing feelings. Regrets.  All that.  Anyway – enjoy 🙂

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I was in 6th grade, it was the end of the year and I went to an orientation social dance event at the school I would be attending the next year – St Philips College. It was an event where the current 7th graders would be so all of us younger kids would get to meet them and I guess not be so uncomfortable in our surroundings when we arrived the next year.

I sat on a table that was up against a wall, not really confident in my dance skills. I believe my neighbour Erin was there as well as she was to be in my new class. It was dimly lit, I seem to remember disco like lighting and the song “Turnaround” playing.

A redhead current-7th grader hopped on the table and slid until he was right up against me, putting his arm around me in one fell swoop. He turned on his charm and said “Hey baby,” just as I reacted and pushed him so that he slid right back off the table again. He was put out and said he was just trying to be friendly or something. On one hand I felt a little bad for his failed efforts, but on the other hand… Erin and I laughed.

His name was Neal. The next year, once I had started attending St Philips, he had become less “friendly” towards me. I knew it was likely because of that occurrence a few months prior, but it probably didn’t help that I was now the 7th grader while he was an all-mighty 8th grader.

Our lockers were near each other and he would hang around there sometimes between classes and wait for me when he knew I would usually stop by. That sounds so much more sinister than it seemed at the time… But he did go out of his way to tease me or bully me a bit. The teasing was also often sexual in nature. He would periodically, especially at the beginning, try asking me out or make other advances to make it clear somehow that he liked me…. The teasing supposedly being a front to hide behind, I later realized. Eventually he stopped with the even remotely sincere compliments and requests. Eventually it was all about being mean to me as much as he could.

One day, I was in the library looking at some books during my lunch break. I picked up a book called “Fatima” which was a YA book in a series about a group of teens and their various life issues. Fatima being about a Muslim girl growing up in the West (I can’t recall now if it was a British or Australian book) and her domineering father not allowing her to be a “normal” teen like her friends. I digress.

I was looking at this book and considering if it would be my next read, when Neal called out to me from a table in the vicinity. He said something about his friend wanting to meet me. I turned and another, very cute, boy was telling Neal to shut up in urgent hushed tones. He then looked at me, waved, and told me I had nice hair.

I distrusted his sincerity, likely given that he was with Neal, and gave him a dirty look. Later he approached me and apologized for Neal’s behaviour in the library – in which I believe I made a snarky remark.

This boy’s name was Sean. I do wish I had been nicer to him from the beginning, because I realized fairly quickly he had seemed to be more sincere, yet when he was shot down he started to act more along the lines of the rejected-Neal had, though not usually as frequently aggressive or predatory. Once I started to try to be nicer to him, he now had the reason to distrust my intentions.

We argued frequently, if not at school, we at least rode the same bus for part of our journey to and from school. Memories are more from the bus depot in that case. I remember once offering him a coke I had bought from the food mart that was right next to the depot, I was actually trying to be nice. Make a peace offering of sorts. He threw it away believing I had done something nasty to it and that I was trying to trick him.

Regardless, this boy too, utilized insults and threats that were often sexual or physical in nature. I don’t recall what the argument was about, but he once threatened that he would rape me several times while we were at the bus depot after school.

One other main incident I recall was during a swim day at the town pool – we were on opposing House teams and there were various races our Houses competed in. Our Houses were grouped on separate sides of the pool and we both were periodically finding ourselves on each other’s sides playing tricks on each other… until I poured some suntan lotion down his back… Then he picked up a piece of wood that had a nail protruding from it and proceeded to beat me across the legs with it while he pulled my hair… luckily the nail rarely making contact, but I had several purple welts across the back of my legs.

While it affected my ability to swim after that (my legs gave out halfway through my next race and I nearly drowned), I for some reason didn’t hold a grudge against him for that.

For some reason I had grown to like him – genuinely – and I felt bad that our dealings with each other had ended up this way.

I made some comment to my mother one day about all of this – I didn’t mention the rape threats or the beating me with that piece of wood – just general comments of meanness and I wished we could get along better or something. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I mentioned his full name – Sean Morrison – not thinking that my mother would know anything about him. Some weeks later my mother went to his mother’s house for some dinner party. My mother hadn’t made the connection as she wasn’t aware that Mrs Morrison had a teenage son.

But he poked his head around the corner to get his mum’s attention and she pulled him out and introduced him to everyone. It clicked in my mum’s head and she mentioned what I said to his mum… Laughing. I believe my mum was thinking it was a matter of young love type mean-because-we-like-each-other teasing etc.

The next Monday at school he ripped me to shreds for telling on him and said he had gotten in trouble and was told to be nice to me. He wanted nothing more to do with me. I tried to explain I wasn’t trying to get him in trouble and that when I said something at home I didn’t realize my mum even knew his mum. I apologized, but he didn’t accept my apology.

For a long time I had wished I wasn’t such a snob to either of those boys when I first met them. For a long time I wished that Sean at least would have accepted my apology if nothing else. On the other hand, I do now realize these events weren’t all my fault. It wasn’t my responsibility to make them feel good either.

And hey, now that I’ve written this all down, even if I had been nice and perhaps started something up with Sean… he clearly displayed anger issues (common in boys that age to be fair) and could very well have ended up the first abuser instead of Wyatt. I mean, come on… he hit me with a plank of wood with a freaking nail in it out of anger.

I have once or twice tried to look him up on Social media to see if contact could be made and a more sincere, adult, conversation could be had. I would assume by now he has grown up and these apparent coping mechanisms and teen hormone fuelled outbursts would no longer be an issue. I know I have changed a LOT since that time. I do regret a lot of what I said and did myself…

Anyway, you would not believe how many Sean Morrisons (and other related spellings) are on Facebook. OMG.

I doubt he’d ever see this. I wonder if he’d even remember me or even half these events. Perhaps he remembers the mean things I said much more clearly than I do myself… Maybe my mean words didn’t even matter that much to him and were forgotten promptly.

I don’t know… But Sean… if you’re out there… I’m sorry for my part in all of this. I would hope you’d be apologetic too. Some of your behaviour was understandable to me, even then, some was not okay.

We were both stupid and young and didn’t know how to handle whatever we were feeling. I actually did really like you, and I was dumb and cocky. I’m sorry. I wish we could have been friends at the least.

#WeAren’tJustStats – Guest Post #RapeCulture — The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise

Guest blogged over at Carla Louise’s site again… check out my post “A Woman Only Good for One Thing”

CW/TW: Sexual assault, harassment, abuse, rape NSFW I have recently started a series of blogs following the #TrumpTapes and the #WeAren’tJustStats hashtags on Twitter. The first three, When I Was Twelve, When I Was Thirteen and When I Was Fifteen can be viewed by clicking on the links. In my post We Aren’t Just Stats, there is an explanation as to […]

via #WeAren’tJustStats – Guest Post #RapeCulture — The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise

What in the Actual F*ck?

I knew there was something I forgot to write about. It crossed my mind a couple nights ago, and as I got up to get my computer I lost the thought again. The only thing I could remember is that it related to an old post.

Well, my friends, I’ve found it… and I’m writing real quick before I lose it again.

Back in May I wrote about the movie Fear and then my reactions to having seen it again after so many years. It used to be one of my favourites… I related to it much more than I had admitted to myself at the time… and now I see it for what it was to me.

In the initial Fear post, I mentioned that I had just watched another old movie that had me horrified. I mentioned that ’80s movies got away with a lot more than they do today – and overall I don’t have a real problem with that, but one part in particular… Disgusting.

I said I would write about it next, so sorry I’m a few months overdue… Just a tad late, haha.

The thing about this scene was that it so clearly perpetuated Rape Culture. I know that this runs deep in our society, and really I shouldn’t be surprised – especially given the age of the movie – but seriously, how did anyone think it was okay to add this to a teen movie?

16 Candles, y’all…

The classic teen movie from the ’80s. A movie that would have influenced so many young minds… Boys that would think this was normal, and girls that would see this and assume that that’s just what happens… and if it’s so blasé and amusing in movies, it must be acceptable.

Okay, I’m sure if you are like me and hadn’t seen it in a very long time, you probably don’t even remember what I’d be talking about. I can’t believe it was something I even forgot about, honestly. …Maja literally gasped when I recounted the scene to her – she had forgotten too. Besides which there is SO much peppered throughout  the movie that perpetuates the boys will be boys idea, etc… But this… this is just so blatant.

But there you go – ingrained in my young mind was that if you are a girl drunk and passed out at a party that your boyfriend could sleep with you if he wants to… and even let his friends have you. He can date rape you, like no big deal.

Like you’re his property. Like you’re his play thing. Like you as a person don’t really matter and that you got yourself in this situation anyway.

In this movie there is a scene where popular-boy love interest’s mean girl girlfriend is so wasted that she passes out. He tells another boy “I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. Shit, I got Caroline in my bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.”

What in the Actual Fuck?

Then he offers her to the other boy by saying “I’ll make a deal with you. Let me keep these [main girl Samantha’s panties]. I’ll let you take Caroline home … She’s so blitzed she won’t know the difference.”

We don’t see anything in between, but we are led to believe when they wake up in Jake’s dad’s convertible the next morning that they did in fact have sex.

But oh it’s so funny… and must not be rape because she didn’t resist. In fact, she woke up enough to be silly and slutty and believing that the freshman pipsqueak, Ted, in the car with her was her popular boyfriend , Jake. Because Jake told her so. WTF.

In the morning, she’s a little ashamed; a little surprised, but hardly displays any hurt or rage at the situation. Suddenly she’s kinda nice. She said she enjoyed it and liked waking up in his arms.

WHAT. In. The. Ever. Loving. FUCK?!

Way to encourage boys to do whatever the fuck they want, Mr Hughes. Obviously all she needed was the right boy’s manhood thrust upon her to change her into a completely nice and compliant girl.

And

Then

We finish off the movie with Samantha’s sister basically being forced down the aisle on her wedding day. Also blitzed out of her mind on pain killers, because periods suck y’all, and though she is in no state to consent and is in fact resisting, is dragged down the aisle anyway.

As stated these are not all of the Rape Culture related issues in this movie. I’m sure others have had to have noticed and written about this too… because in today’s world, at our grown ages, how can we not see it for what it is?

Nostalgia really tricked me with that one… and now I don’t even know what else I would have watched as a kid that may have influenced me when it comes to past compliance to men and my warped sense of what was ok in a relationship.

I said in my 2nd Fear post:

I don’t know why I couldn’t recognize it for what it was at the time. Did I somehow get further influenced in the moment because I watched Margot say “So he hit you – sometimes that’s their asshole way of showing they love you.”

Obviously one fucking line from one fucking movie wouldn’t have brainwashed me.

No one fucking line didn’t brainwash me. Maybe a whole bunch of them did, from a whole bunch of movies and songs…. and people’s attitudes in general. I don’t blame the media fully for my issues. There were other events in my life not centred around the TV that influenced how I turned out and acted in certain situations… But movies like this, that I would have watched; that didn’t shock me at the time, but that played in the background of my mind certainly didn’t help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telling our stories

…I just wrote this whole fucking thing out and hit publish… only to have WordPress delete all of my text in the process. Awesome. Let’s try this again, shall we?

Do any of you remember when I wrote about how I think girls should tell their stories? Their stories in respect to the various behaviors that we have all experienced coming from men that can be scary, though the men may not believe they are intimidating. They may believe they have a right, they may believe that they are genuinely nice guys and perhaps think it’s a misunderstanding if we react contrary to the expectation they have due to their supposed likability.

It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced similar incidents such as I have described here previously. I suppose I fell into a false sense of security. My assumption that because I have gotten older and, in my opinion, less attractive was that I was no longer as liable to attract this kind of behavior from men.

But last night I experienced something that I hadn’t had in a long time.

I was sitting in my car in the dark with a friend when a truck full of guys slowly drove through the parking lot.They shone their brights on us as they came around the bend, the they briefly stopped behind my car.

One guy said “Is that her?”

Another answered in the affirmative before one of them yelled “Slut!” as they sped off.

I can only assume it was mistaken identity, though I think the back of my car is pretty distinctive…. We were the only other people around so it was clearly directed at us. With the specific insult and the clear indication that they were looking for someone in particular – even if it was mistaken identity, it was clearly directed at some other poor female.

I wouldn’t know her history. I wouldn’t know if her behavior would have even remotely warranted the title “slut.” But what I do know is this: no matter what, she wouldn’t have deserved to be hunted in the dark by a bunch of dicks that wanted to make sure she knew what they apparently thought of her.

I supposed it’s a blessing I copped it instead of her… Though if last night was any indication; I would imagine it wouldn’t be the last of the abuse she’ll get from those asswipes.

So I bet they thought they were funny. I bet they thought it was all a big joke, and should I (or the female it was likely directed at) had reacted it would have been us that didn’t have a sense of humor… They thought they were funny, but… brah, shit like that will never not be scary.