May. 11th, 2010 07:44 am
rhienelleth: (sarah - charming_syrai)
 I went to bed last night thinking about all of this, and woke up wanting to add to my post yesterday.  

I am a very aware and proactive person when it comes to my personal safety.  I've studied a martial art for going on 16 years.  I have a CWP, and I almost always have a weapon on my person, though it is more often my Benchmade than a gun.  I am careful.  I try not to put myself in potentially dangerous or risky situations.

And yet, even with all of that, sometimes I still do.  Saying someone should remove themselves from a situation, or not get in one in the first place is all well and good, but 1) It's not always as easy as you think, and 2) Everyone makes mistakes, and they're always easier to see in hindsight.  

 As you may know, my husband and I manage rentals for my f-in-law.  Now, both Jim and Mark have said they're not really comfortable with me showing units to prospective tenants alone.  Sometimes, I do it anyway.  Why?  Because it's sometimes just easier for me to get to it now, than to try and schedule something when my f-in-law, my husband, or our on site manager can be there.  Especially if I've talked to a woman on the phone, I feel safe.  Plus, I'm trained, right?  And there are other tenants around, usually, in the units next door.

But they might not hear anything.  Tenants in rentals tend to tune out noise unless it gets really obnoxious.  That woman on the phone?  She could be setting me up.  She might not come alone, or someone else could come in her place.  In the ten years we've been doing this, not once has it been a problem.  But it could be, and I know it.  

Worse than that, last year when I was visiting our on site manager, who happens to be one of my best friends, at about midnight, we had a noise problem.  One of our tenants, a Mexican man who DJs and looooooooooooooves to share his music with the whole neighborhood during the summer, had begun blaring said music.  It's pretty distinctive, so I knew who it was, and I knew right where to go to ask him to turn it down.

We'll call him B.  B also really likes his drink, and in the summer he likes to party, drinking and sharing his music.  I've dealt with him on more than one occasion, and I already know going in that he's a very friendly, happy drunk, who always tries to press a drink into your hands when you tell him to please turn down his music.  Other tenants often party with him, so there are usually people going in and out of his garage, where his DJ equipment is set up.  Now, I personally don't care much for B.  Whenever there is a real issue, like he's late paying his rent, or he's parking in the wrong spot, he has this attitude about him that says "You're a woman, and therefore I don't have to listen to you."  No, really.  I've made my husband go and deal with him before, because he won't really listen to me.  But he's always turned his music down when asked, so walking down there on that particular night didn't seem like it would be a problem. 

But, when I asked him to turn it down, he couldn't hear me.  He was in the back of his garage.  Some guy I'd never seen before was sitting in a chair back there with him, and there were a couple of other tenants outside their own unit smoking, and drinking from cups that looked like they'd already visited B and gotten a little something.  The garage door was halfway down, no doubt in a vain attempt to control the volume coming from inside.  I walked into the garage so he could hear me.  Mistake #1.  Of course, Mr. Happy Drunk tried to give me a drink, which I refused, and wanted me to listen to this one song before he turned it down.  Because it's a good song, you know.  And then he has to introduce me to his cousin, and when I shook that man's hand, he said something in spanish I couldn't understand, but B was happy to translate once he found out I didn't speak Spanish (which he already knew, but had to ask again due to the copious amounts of alcohol keeping him from walking straight.)  

His cousin thought I was very, very pretty.  Now, about this time was when I realized just how dangerous a situation I had walked into.  I knew, some part of me recognized it all before then, but that cousin was nowhere near as drunk as B, and he kept trying to touch me.  A hand on the arm, on the shoulder, but still, it made me very uncomfortable.  He was also huge, much bigger than me.  B kept laughing and telling him to leave me alone, but really, it was obvious he'd be no help if something happened.  That damn door was half down, the music was really loud, and something awful could happen before anyone else got to me.  

It was about then that my friend decided I'd been gone for too long and came looking.  I still remember the sense of relief when she walked into the garage, we reiterated the need to turn down the music before the cops were called, and left.  Stupid, I thought.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  To walk into that garage in the first place.  To stay there to be polite and listen to some song I didn't care about.  To not get the fuck out the instant I felt something off.  Stupid, and it could have ended very differently.

If something had happened, I admit, I probably would have partially blamed myself.  Because I should have known better.  It is a common victim response to blame yourself.  But the fact is, whoever decides to bully, attack, or rape you is the one to blame.  Should I have not walked into that garage?  Absolutely.  But I did.  That doesn't mean I gave any kind of consent for anything that might have happened. I am a smart, savvy woman who takes a very proactive approach to personal defense, and still happened to me.  

The victim is never to blame.  
rhienelleth: (sarah - charming_syrai)
Apparently, there has been another Con-related...thing.  (I say another, because of the Boob Incident two years ago.  My post on that here.)  I came late to the explosion across LJ this time, but from what I've been able to piece together, it actually has to do with an incident that happened two years ago at a Con (NOT the aforementioned Boob Incident), and someone subsequently being banned from said Con now, in 2010.  I'm only getting things fifth hand, apparently, so I don't want to go into the specifics here - it does appear no one was actually raped, but there was a situation with sexual or potentially sexual overtones.  More than that, I'm not going based on fourth and fifth hand accounts from other people's journals.  I wasn't there, and I have no eye witness posts to link to.  

But the responses to all of the above are what apparently has a lot of people really upset.  It seems the word "responsibility" has been bandied about, leading to discussions on victim blame.

I would think anyone who's read this journal for awhile would know my stance on that, but just in case, read the subject of this post.  

The victim is not to blame.  I say this as a 36-year-old woman who has been the victim.  As someone who has a concealed weapon's permit, regularly goes shooting, and has taught a women's self defense class multiple times.  I say it as someone who believes with everything I am that all women should be trained to protect themselves.  NOT because if they don't take that step, they're responsible if something happens.  NO.  But because I die a little inside with every story I hear about another victim, and there are a lot of us.  Because I want to hear more stories about how a potential victim escaped her attacker, or situation.  I do not care if a woman parades naked down the street, or goes out clubbing in pasties without underwear.  I don't care if she walks home to her apartment at 2:00am, alone, after six drinks in that exact dress. NONE OF THESE THINGS MAKES AN ATTACK HER FAULT.  

Are they risky behaviors?  Yes.  Absolutely.  I would always advise a woman to never walk home alone at 2:00am, drunk, or not.  But if she does, and something happens, it is NOT her fault.  Whoever robbed/raped/beat her is at fault.  PERIOD.  

So, I think I've stated that as clearly as I can.  

At the same time, I still advise women in general to take a self defense course - preferably something ongoing, as it is unlikely you'll recall something from a two hour class you took four years ago.  Get a concealed carry permit, go shooting, be familiar with whatever weapon you do carry, whether it is mace or something else (I know someone who got a face full of her own mace, because she used it when the wind was blowing toward her, instead of toward the guy who was threatening her.)  Don't walk home from the bar by yourself at 2:00am - in fact, don't go to the bar by yourself.  Go with three or four friends you trust, one of them a designated driver for more safety reasons than just driving.

But, that's just advice.  It has nothing to do with fault or blame.
rhienelleth: (James Fraser - crymeariver_)
Let me start this by saying, I LOVE the Outlander books.  So much, that reading DG's recent post about the moral evils of fanfiction, kind of hurt.  Now, to be fair, the impetus for her post was a young woman auctioning off a to-be-written fic specifically involving James Fraser (of Gabaldon's series) with proceeds from the auction to go to help another young woman (who I assume is a member of fandom) in her fight against breast cancer.

This hits that legal infringement area of making actual money from fanfiction.  I've seen references to fandom auctions for charity before.  Larger scale, 'go bid here on a fic from me in any of the fandoms I write', sort of things.  And if memory serves, the money in these cases never actually touches the fic writer - it's all donated straight to charity and the writer writes their fic, or makes their vid to the donator's request.   So...I don't know.  On the one hand, good cause.  On the other, technically it kind of does cross that whole money line.  

But that bit about the girl and the auction is all the way at the end of DG's post.  The rest of it lists what she sees as the most common fic writer arguments for writing fic, and then she argues against each point.  And reading them, I felt a little insulted.  It seems pretty common that those authors who intensely dislike fanfiction tend to have very little understanding, or real knowledge of what fandom is and why people are part of it.  They take offense at what they see as infringing on their property, and stealing their characters.  In this case, she seems equally as offended by BAD fic writing as she does by the actual existence of the fic in the first place, which is...I don't even know what to say about that.

There are plenty of published authors these days who were at one time, or in some cases still are, active parts of fandom.  Naomi Novik, a best seller like Gabaldon, is probably one of the best known and most active.  I come across articles like the post linked above, and it feels like that POV on the subject of fanfic is antiquated, and hopelessly ignorant of what fic writing really is, and why people do it.

I have talked before about things I've learned about writing from writing fanfic, and I'm sure I've covered my overall thoughts on fanfic and the morality of it (since I write it myself, those opinions should be fairly obvious), but after reading a post that so obviously loathes it by an author I have always respected, and whose writing I adore...well, I just can't let it go.  I feel like I have to offer a countering view.  

More behind the cut )

rhienelleth: (jayne_heroics - goldie_gal)
Are you kidding me?

I'm doing something extremely rare, and breaking my politics free zone with this.

So, President Obama gets to stand with people like Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa? Giving this award to our President for things he hasn't done yet, is flat out ridiculous. I'm sorry if you don't agree. It doesn't matter if he's the best president we've ever had, or if he's floundering under the weight of everything facing him - (yeah, so let's put more pressure on him by giving him this prestigious award and saying "Now, you'd better earn that, Mr. President!") - the Nobel Peace Prize should not be an award given for what someone might do.

Mother Teresa. She spent her entire life doing things that earned her that nomination/award. Obama won a presidential election, and has been in office for less than a year. I don't think the things he's accomplished in that time quite measure up.

They could have easily nominated him after his four years of service (and it IS service), if his actions in that time warranted it. But no, they did it now, and awarded it to him, and I quote "in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives..."

Yeah, because that's what this prize is for - to push people into doing what you think they should do!

Obama seems stunned and flabbergasted by this, at least, but again, I'm not so sure it's a good idea to put more pressure on him, guys. And that's what this is, especially because he seems to feel (correctly) that he hasn't earned it yet.

Who were the other nominees this year? Well, they won't tell us, but quoted from MSN this morning:

"Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize."

Possibly because of my recent following of the what happened in Tehran, the plight many women suffer in other countries, the unnamed Afghan woman's rights activist sticks out to me in particular. I want to know her story.
rhienelleth: (sarah - charming_syrai)
I thought about my post on Roman Polanski a lot last night. This morning, I updated it to include a little more detail on my own personal history. If I'm going to come out and talk about this, I need to be as open and frank as possible.

That's the only way to fight ignorance.

And yes, I understand that I'm preaching to the choir with my f-list. :) That's something I am extremely grateful for every single day.
rhienelleth: (mercy1)
Wired talks about the strong women of Battlestar Galactica, and gender equality in SF.

"Battlestar Galactica speaks to a broadening of women's roles in sci-fi that we began to see in the '90s with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, which introduced stronger female characters." ~ Professor Sue Brennan of Ohio State, quoted in the article.

Here I go, having thinky thoughts again today. Well, I've actually had these for awhile. I'm just writing them down right now.

This fuels my very strong personal belief that SF as a genre is on the verge of the type of makeover urban fantasy gave the fantasy genre. Women have always read both SF and F, but I don't think anyone can deny that the twin rise in popularity of paranormal romance and urban fantasy - genres which often cross over one another - have pulled in a huge female readership. Fantasy as a whole has benefited from the tidal wave of urban fantasy out there.

SF, IMO, stands on the precipice of the same thing. A scattering of books and series featuring strong SF heroines and romantic subplots have already made appearances in the last few years (Julie Czerneda, S. L. Viehl, Lisanne Norman), but more often than not, SF is still following the same tropes it always has. Fantasy was suffering from the same thing, once upon a time. The huge epic fantasy series used to be my favorite thing to read. Usually weighing in at 600-1000 pages per book, they almost always featured a young boy who would grow up into a powerful wizard/ruler/warrior - any of the above, or all three. Occasionally we saw a young girl instead of a young boy, but not as often. Say what you will, like the books or hate them, but Laurell K. Hamilton's success with Anita Blake came in the wake of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and soon after that success, others began popping up. I do think that Buffy's success had alittle something to do with it - people who loved Buffy and wanted more of something similar started looking for it, and books like the Anita Blake series were suddenly being passed around or recommended.

Now, urban fantasy very nearly dominates the genre, with bestsellers like LKH, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher (whose books feature a male protagonist, a switch for the female dominated sub-genre), Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Rob Thurman, Carrie Vaughn, Lilllith St. Crow, and a slew of others. There is still room for the old epic fantasy series of yore, but I believe urban fantasy has revitalized the genre and helped draw tons of new readers - many of them female.

You know, back when I was in high school, I was the only girl who played D&D in our gaming group. I read F/SF, played Dungeons and Dragons, and let me tell you, that was a rare, rare thing. for years, the stereotype for the genre has been the nerdy young man who can't get a date, spending all his time reading or game playing in a fantasy environment. The stereotype existed because it was pretty true. Young men reading far outweighed the number of young women. I'm not so sure that's true anymore, and I believe absolutely that SF is headed in the same direction.

Why can't a show like BSG do for SF what Buffy began for Fantasy?

And this isn't rocket science. For decades, Romance has outsold every other genre. Why? Because droves of women buy them every month and read their favorite authors voraciously. Romance features female protagonists - over the years, those protags have gotten stronger and stronger, and it's no secret that women everywhere have a soft spot for a bit of romance. But it does get a little tiring, reading the same stories over and over. Romance started bringing in elements of other genres decades ago. But it's only in the last decade, really, that we've seen romance cross over into other genres on the bookshelves, and even then, there is a fierce battle among some readers as to what classifies as "paranormal romance" or "urban fantasy". But those readers aside, many, many women read both.

Just look at fandom! How many of us are female vs. male? I'd say a lot - 90% of my f-list for sure. And how many of us watch or write fic largely for whatever couple we're currently shipping? *raises hand* Now, imagine all those fans in the bookstore, looking for something that features characters like Kara Thrace, Sharon/Athena/Boomer, Six, or President Roslin?

SF needs what urban fantasy did for fantasy - and I, for one, think it's ready for it. I didn't write Nemesis with that strictly in mind. I wrote it, because that's the sort of thing I want to read.

Things like this article in Wired give me hope that it also might be the sort of thing lots of other people want to read, too. Maybe an agent or editor out there will feel the same way (I really hope!). It's tough to remain hopeful as the economy struggles and doomsday news seems to be cropping up everywhere. I'll take whatever slim carrot I can get.
rhienelleth: (inara-shadows - ladytirimasu)
There is an interesting discussion going on at Elizabeth Bear's journal today that started a couple of days ago, with another post, to which this was a reaction, but really this topic has been circulating the blogosphere for some time before that, even. (This post by [ profile] deepad is also extremely relevant.)

Okay. Wow, where to start? First, let me say this issue has been turning around in my mind for awhile, now, as it significantly relates to my own writing. Also, I don't want to offend anyone, but as this is as much an emotional issue as abortion or rape, it's almost a guarantee of offending someone just by talking about it. Here are a couple in inalienable truths before I dive in to my thoughts:

1. I am a white woman in my thirties, born and raised in the US.

2. As such, you are right - I do not have the knowledge and understanding of your culture, however it differs from my own, that you do! That means anything I write different from my own background, is going to have readers who know more about that background than I do, no matter how much I research it.

3. Ergo, someone is likely to pick up on my mistakes.

4. Which brings me to - MISTAKES in and of themselves do NOT make an author racist. Sorry, they don't. And also - and here is an unpopular opinion - not every nuance of character that can be read as racism or prejudice IS a mistake.

Allow me to explain. Here's a snippet from one of my WIP's: )


Apr. 23rd, 2008 09:28 am
rhienelleth: (Default)
*waves hello to all the new people*

I think yesterday set some sort of record for number of people to friend me in one day! I feel I should warn you all that most of my posts will not be like yesterday's. Mostly I post about writing, and jewelry, and fannish things. I tend to avoid politics and things of that nature. But you're welcome to stay as long as you like, and feel free to introduce yourselves or not, as you like. :-)

In other news, we got our taxes back yesterday - okay, so this really doesn't mean we get money, so much as we get back part of the money we had to pay to the Feds. However, this does not stop me from thinking "Hmmm, I could buy one of those embossing hammers now, couldn't I?" My planishing hammer hasn't even arrived yet (but tracking says it is currently 'out for delivery'!!) But I also want to buy a 3M radial disk kit for my dremel, the easier to sand and polish soldering projects as I finish them. Choices, choices.

I received one of the two metalsmithing books I ordered, and I admit to a little disappointment. A lot of it was repeating information I've already found online, and there were only a couple of projects. Most of it was "here are tools and techniques" without a lot of specific step by step stuff that I was really hoping for. Still, there's some good information. Maybe the other book will impress me more.

I'm working on a necklace, and another soldered ring, but nothing new to post yet. Hopefully by this weekend, there will be. But I'm teaching my class at the bead store tonight, so we'll see. I may not get much chance to work more until the weekend. The first weekend in May has another gem and bead show I'm hoping to go to, and the last weekend in June has one is Seattle. ([ profile] kistha, I'm pretty sure that's the weekend we were talking about me coming up for? I mean, if there's a huge bead show happening, it wouldn't hurt to stop by, right?) So, more sparklies will hopefully be obtained. :-)

And now I'm off to space pirates. Barring any online news that completely derails me this afternoon, I hope to break 50K today.
rhienelleth: (Default)
No? Well, it is. Normally, I would let something like this go by without too much more than a lifted eyebrow, and commenting on the f-list to those who posted about it. But given yesterday's post about rape, and the fact that this month we're supposed to be spreading awareness of things that relate to sexual assault, I could not let this pass.

Basically, a bunch of (and I use this term with affection, being one of them myself) SF/F geeks at a convention decided it would be a good and/or fun idea to feel women's breasts. They were talking, and the subject that breasts are some mystifying holy grail which objectify women came up. They reasoned that if they weren't so taboo, and anyone could just touch them anytime they wanted, it would lose the mystification, and thus become less objectifying. You see where this is going, right? A woman said "You can touch mine." And then it rapidly grew from there, to the next Con, where this group actually organized buttons that would tell people whether or not a woman was okay with having her breasts felt up by some random stranger.

I could post some angry, emotional rant about this, but that would serve no purpose. Instead, I'm going to post a list of calm, reality based reasons for why this is a bad idea anyway you slice it.

As a society, we have certain rules regarding personal space and appropriate touching. These rules do not exist because we are somehow repressed and sexually inhibited. They exist to protect individuals from unwanted personal touching, and more seriously, from sexual assault. They also exist to protect the person doing the touching. What, you didn't think about that? Really? Because take this PenguiCon thing, for instance. A bunch of women wore colored buttons indicating whether or not they were comfortable with being publicly groped by strangers. Green meant "Yes, grope me" and red meant "no." But either way, participants in this grand experiment were supposed to ask, first, whatever color the button.

So, what if you, a male, asked a woman with a red button if you could touch her breasts, and she, deciding this once it was okay, said yes. So you do. In front of about a dozen witnesses. Later, this woman decides this made her extremely uncomfortable, or maybe she gets embarrassed, and cries sexual harassment, or even worse, seriously offended and feels violated. Do you really think a judge is going to care that you asked her first, when a dozen people saw you grope her in public? They might not have heard you ask for permission. And she can always point out that she was wearing a red button, indicating that she didn't want to be groped. But really, button color is immaterial. You are screwed either way, as the male who did the touching.

And that leads us to an even more serious reason, and possible scenario. These women that decided it was okay for someone to touch their breasts in public - I think they are trying to send a message that breasts are nothing special, certainly nothing to get worked up over or fantasize about, but hey, I would never make that choice, personally, so I can't know their motives for sure. What they clearly DON'T understand, is the message this sends to EVERYONE around them. It's okay to touch your breasts, so what else is okay? How far does it go? Go and read my post on rape, linked above, to get some statistics. If you don't think a Con with hundreds, if not thousands of people attending will have a few men who have either committed rape at some point, or are potential predators, think again. A rapist can be anyone, anywhere, and may not seem the least bit threatening when you meet him. I'm not trying to point any fingers, I'm just saying statistically, the chances are good that a few predators will be in ANY reasonably sized group of people, and you have no idea who they might be. Think about the message they are receiving, by watching another guy grope your boobs publicly. You might as well paste a sign across your forehead that says VICTIM.

Does that seem harsh? GOOD - and let me tell you, that is not an exaggeration! You know what real predators, men who commit stranger rape, look for in a victim? Someone easy to approach, easy to get close enough to, so they can get ahold of you and overpower you quickly and easily. And this little experiment? Just gave this guy an opening with every single woman at that Con, period.

In case you are wondering about my credentials here, for two years I taught a women's self defense class. I've heard a LOT of very real stories of rape. We as women have to work not to be victims, because we are automatically going to be smaller and weaker than our assailant. We have to be aware of our surroundings, choose not to walk to our cars alone at night, or get in elevators alone with strange men, or let the nice young man into the house because he offered to help carry your groceries (true story). I tell the women in my class not to act afraid. Meet the eyes of the strange guy on the other side of the street, and do it with confidence. Let him know you SEE him watching you, and if he is a predator, you'll see him coming. A predator is looking for a woman who looks down all the time, who doesn't pay attention, who appears meek or fearful. Oh, you say, but letting strangers touch my breasts in public isn't meek! Nope, it sure as hell isn't. But it gives strangers license to approach you, even alone, and put their hands on you. And from there, you're already in deep trouble if he decides he's going to assault you. One of my best friends was raped in a crowded military bar. you know how he got close enough to her? Yep. By groping her. The other guys thought she was okay with it. I KID YOU NOT. You don't know who is watching and deciding that your behavior makes you - or anyone else at the same Con - a perfect victim if the opportunity arises.

And that doesn't even touch on the guys who actually felt up your boobs. You don't know what they're thinking. You don't know what they might think later that night, after a few drinks. That's the kind of situation that destroys lives, both yours, and his. Think about that, for a minute.

Yes, our society has rules. You might think they're too stuffy or inhibited, but before you campaign to change that, especially in such an irresponsible way, think about WHY those rules exist, and who is being protected by them. You want to let strangers grope your boobs? Fine. Take it somewhere private. Oh, but wait, I would bet real money that one of the things that made these women comfortable enough to participate in this was the simple fact that it was in public. After all, the stranger in question can't do anything else to you in front of a dozen other people, right? So you feel safe. That safety is an illusion. If you truly want to do it, then do it in private, and if doing it in private makes you uncomfortable, then dear lord, why are you doing it at all?

The bottom line is, this sends a really bad message, and sets up a dangerous precedent/situation for every woman attending.
rhienelleth: (Default)
[ profile] jimhines talks about rape, specifically from a man's perspective.

Almost two years ago, I posted what turned out to be a fairly controversial post about rape and how it's sometimes depicted in fanfiction. I'm not going to link that post here. It got a lot of attention, back when I posted it, and some people were seriously offended by what I said. I get that reading and writing is fantasy, and not the real world, and I don't want to retread the same ground here, except to say (because I can't help myself) that we need to be very cautious, because fantasy is often one small step away from reality. Rapists often fantasize about what they want to do before ever acting. Continually reading stories in which the victims are depicted as 'asking for it' or otherwise enjoying their violation only reinforces the incorrect perception of the same being true in the real world.

Instead, I will restate some of the real world sections here, with statistics from the previous post updated where I've learned new data:

I used to teach a women’s self-defense class. I tell the women in my class that rape is a life and death situation, and they need to view it as such. This is why:

36% of women who are raped require medical attention afterward. Up to 40% obtain an STD from the experience, some of which are life threatening. Even rape victims who survive without physical trauma or injury suffer psychologically, and victims of rape in general are more likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts than non-victims. This means that in the end, a large percentage of women who are raped will eventually seek medical attention to treat something - injury, STD, pregnancy, suicide attempt - that resulted from that rape.

Now, 73% of victims are raped by an acquaintance or someone they know. But 27% are raped by a stranger, which is where the stats get really scary - something like 80% of women who are assaulted or raped by a stranger (meaning not an acquaintance, friend, relative, etc) end in death. That means that if you are in a confrontation with a stranger, he is 80% likely to kill you either during or after the act. Those are not good odds.

I tell the women in my class that if they are assaulted by a stranger, they must assume that person is going to kill them. They cannot go along with the rape hoping it is "all" that is going to happen. That doesn't even touch on the possibility that he will leave you with HIV. This is a deadly assault, period, and I teach women to fight for their lives, and use deadly force if they have to.

I’m not going to bring up personal experience, or talk about the women who have cried in my class as they’ve told me things they’ve never told anyone, or the scars some women bear who have been raped and lived to deal with it. I will tell you that most stranger rapists arm themselves with knives, both to threaten you, and because it's easier to cut your clothes off while holding you down, than it is to undo the various fastenings. And remember, rape is about the violation, the penetration - it is not unusual for rapists to cut their victims. Acquaintances, friends, relatives - they rely on a less physical but just as effective weapon - the absolute betrayal of trust that occurs when they assault you. The fact that many times, you can't believe this person is capable of what's happening, until it's already happened. And then there is the simple truth that a reasonably sized man does not have to have a weapon to assault a woman. I know. I've spent most of my adult life learning how to defeat a stronger opponent. Someone with no training has almost no chance.

They say that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and 1 in 33 men. I find this statistic exceptionally low. And those numbers don't address the 60% of rapes that go unreported. I once went out for a girl's night out with seven of my best girlfriends at the time. We drank, and stayed up late in our hotel room like an adult version of slumber party, and the subject of rape and molestation came up. There were eight of us in that room. With the dark, and the alcohol, and the friendship, it was the sort of time and place where you confessed things to one another that you never would in the light of day. Every single one of us had been assaulted at some time in her life, some more than once (by this I mean different perpetrators, different circumstances.) Out of eight women from different backgrounds, different lives, from roughly the same age bracket. And you know what? I can only think of one of us that ever pursued her attacker through the legal system, and that was two years after this occasion. One out of eight that ever legally reported the crime against her. Now, in my case I was a child, and the predator in question has been dead since I was seventeen. But the other women? Even those assaulted as adults never reported the crime. In most cases, they just wanted to forget it ever happened. That tells me those statistics, 1 in 6, are very likely incredibly low. And men are far less likely to report being victimized than women, so I can only imagine the 1 in 33 is just as incorrect.


rhienelleth: (Default)

February 2016

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