Too Damned Many

As usual I’ve been reading my favorite blogs and they’ve struck home with me this week. You see, when I started writing here at The Den it was simply a place where I could go and speak freely and anonymously about the world as I see it.

I never would have believed that the-world-as-I-see-it would inspire so much hatred and fear but it did. I remember when I first started getting comments; I was excited that someone out there was hearing me. But the first thing I noted was that yes, they were hearing me, but they fucking hated what I was saying. I’m not sure why, but I kept writing, often I look back and wonder why I kept going. Hell, I often look around me and wonder why I’m still writing.

*sigh*, my thoughts are becoming muddled and I’ve lost my direction. Let me try this again.

This week we’ve lost yet another blogger, one more voice silenced in a string of courageous women who have gone before her. When I read the news I shook my head sadly and fought the wave of emotion that swept over me. Sadness and despair took me for a moment. In the short time I’ve been doing this I’ve watched as woman after woman has taken a big breath and decided to start blogs. The circle of radical feminist bloggers is too small, so very, very small, but their spirit and their fight is big. They start blogs, one small voice that has decided to speak out, and then it begins. The trolls invade, the ‘pro-sex’ bloggers take notice, hell sometimes even other radicals argue with them. The point is that oftentimes they will just sort of disappear one day.

I’ve watched them come and go, I’ve watched radical voices crumple and disappear and I feel angry and I feel sad and I feel despair and all of these things I feel at the same time. I’ve come close several times to walking away from this project and goddess knows how many times I’ve read yet another article and shook my head in anguish at the unfairness of it all. So when I read that we’ve lost another voice it hits me like a personal H-bomb exploding in all of its dismal glory and it occurs to me as I shake my head sadly while holding back tears of rage that I will have to update my blogroll once more.

When I began doing this I never could have believed just how big this blog would become. I never would have believed just how many words of support I would have gotten but there’s another side to it as well, a side that radical bloggers everywhere experience. There is the sting of hate from both women and men and gods, don’t ever underestimate that sting.

I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me, maybe I’m speaking in generalities when I have no proof of anything but I think it happens to all of us, or most of us, or a large portion of us. We start blogging, wanting a ‘safe’ space where we can speak. I think in the beginning we all hope to have positive comments directed our way. We all hope that people will show up and say, “Hey! That’s exactly it!” I think we are also looking for confirmation that we’re on the right track, that we’re not freaks, that there are others who believe like we do.

Soon though the trolls come, I think that all blogs are found first by the trolls. I’ve sometimes posited that they have Nextel radios that they communicate with and when a new radical blog opens they call in to each other and report it. Regardless, the trolls seem to be able to sniff out a radical site quicker than fleas can sniff out a new puppy.

The trolls come and we realize that we are being condemned and hated. And then the other radicals show up and I think that we feel relief at first. We finally feel as though we’re not alone. Our blogrolls widen and we march on, the trolls don’t sting quite as badly because we have a circle of supporters and we go to each others blogs and we fight the trolls and we feel like we’re not alone.

Somewhere though, something shifts, perhaps it happens one day when we’re looking at yet another story of a woman being beaten and raped and left for dead in a dumpster, maybe it happens when we decide to stop shaving and we are rebuffed harshly in public and in private. Perhaps some ‘pro-sex’ blog finds us and begins to obsess over us, posting every day about what a big piece of shit we are, or maybe we pick up our first cyber stalker, the impetus changes but I think the effect is the same.

Suddenly that blogroll seems too small and abruptly it’s as if we are transported into a satellite view and we see that all around us there is this vile misogyny and hatred. We find that our co-workers, friends and family refer to us as ‘man haters’ we find that we are but one small person standing on a beach and scooping teaspoons of water out of the ocean one at a time. We look at the vastness of the ocean and it occurs to us:

We will die in the same world that we were born into.

All of our fighting and screaming, all of our defending and begging and frustration, all of our anger and sadness will die, impotent and ineffective for we are battling an army, the likes of which we never could have comprehended. We are, for all intents and purposes, trying to empty oceans with teaspoons.

And then we get it, we’re not fighting because we have any hope of any real change in our lifetimes. Hell, we’re not even fighting because we have any hope of change in our grandchildren’s lifetimes; many of us have given up hope at all and are certain that the situation will never really change. So why are we fighting? We’re fighting because what else can we do?

I know for me there was a moment when my bright eyed optimism failed and I saw the truth of what I’m doing in the harsh light of cynical despair. In the beginning I had hoped for real social change, I had hoped that speaking out; writing about it, trying to raise consciousness would beat back the tsunami that women live with.

I had hoped that a few well crafted posts about “What women have to do to ‘prevent’ rape” outlining how we walk to our cars with keys clutched between our fingers or how we forgo hiking and camping alone or how we always wonder whether or not our new boyfriend really would have stopped the other night after he nagged us for three hours to have sex with him.

I naively assumed that all it would take is to just let people know what was happening. I assumed that it was a matter of speaking out, of letting people hear it.

I didn’t understand how very far off base I really was. I didn’t account for, nor understand, the depths to which misogyny had been embedded in the very fabric of our lives. In short, I didn’t realize that I was trying to do the impossible. I looked at that ocean and thought it to be a lake and I looked around me and saw the other voices on my blogroll and assumed that the entire shore was dotted with them. I didn’t realize that there were only a handful of us and that the lake was an ocean and that the twenty or thirty of us were trying to do something that was impossible.

Gods, when that hit me I was devastated. I vividly remember sobbing huge tears in the shower, collapsing on the floor while the hot water ran in rivulets over my skin. I remember crying until there were no more tears to cry and my skin was pruney and wrinkled from the water. I remember looking down at my hands and understanding, fully and completely that this would be a battle that I would fight until I was old, until my hands really did look like the water soaked hands I was looking at now.

I realized that I would be fighting this battle until I died, an old woman with pruney hands, and I would hand my spoon over to the next young, naive woman and let her continue to try and empty an ocean.

There are days when I understand that this battle will not be won in my lifetime, and the sadness that envelopes me is too much to bear.

I will never walk free down the street, unafraid, unconcerned, as a human being walking amid other human beings.

I will never walk to my car without that niggling fear that we feel, without shifting my bags in my hand or wondering if my bag would be heavy enough to act as an effective weapon.

I will never feel confident enough to camp alone in the woods, unafraid and unconcerned.

I will never experience a day when I can fish at 2:00 am and when a man approaches me I can smile at him with no fear or misgivings in my heart and say, “Hi! How are you doing tonight?”

I will never experience a time when I can, without fear, without reservation, bring a man to my house and not have it even cross my mind that he would rape me.

These are only a scant few things that I will never experience. Other women have more of them, different than mine perhaps, but regardless for me there came a time when I understood completely that I will not change the world. That this world doesn’t wish to change and indeed, that it will actively resist any and all attempts I make to the contrary. No amount of anger, begging, sobbing or pleading will change it for me. It’s too entrenched. It will not happen in my lifetime.

When that realization hit me I was in a pool of despair, sobbing upon my shower floor and then sobbing some more until I was so dehydrated that crying anymore was not physically possible. When I got out of the shower Dubhe was worried and concerned and he said to me, “Oh BB, what you are doing is important” and he said it the way that a man, who has never felt the raw heart stabbing pain in their gut when they read of another woman who has been brutalized at the hands of men, says such things.

Despite his intentions his surety came from that place that men can afford to inhabit. After all, it was very easy for him to tell me to go on when he didn’t, and never would, feel the gut wrenching pain of reading that a woman was dragged to death by her abusive boyfriend, leaving a blood trail a mile long and that the residents were primarily concerned with the removal of the bloodstain.

He would never feel the raw fear, the edge that is felt when we find ourselves face to face with a stranger in the park. He would never feel the rumbling in the guts when your boyfriend gets mad in front of you for the first time and you become painfully aware of each and every single woman you’ve known who has been beaten, raped, groped, assaulted, slapped, hit, abused, fondled, ogled, catcalled, bullied and scared by men.

Of course he could easily tell me to keep going. Of course he could tell me to keep writing. Of course he could have hope when he didn’t feel each and every violation upon his own body. When he wasn’t forced to relive his own attacks each and every single time he wrote. Of course he could be courageous when it wasn’t his people who were being systematically enslaved, degraded, dehumanized, bred to death, outcast, mutilated and murdered.

But I couldn’t be so optimistic. When the death threats start coming and the rape threats start coming and yet another man writes you an email telling you that, “If I ever find out who you are I’ll fucking rape you to death you stupid cunt”,

When even other women wage a war on you, talking about you, screaming about how awful and stupid you are,

When perfect strangers feel entitled to create images of you being raped by animals,

When men feel entitled to stalk you and harass you for the crime of speaking,

When your mother tells you that you’re a ‘man hater’ while simultaneously believing and approving of everything you write,

When men use your story of abuse, rape and degradation as pornography and then write to you telling you that they orgasmed when you described your rape at the hands of men,

When friends, family and coworkers turn from you,

When your children tell you you’re ‘gross’ because you stopped shaving your armpits,

When people set up blogs designed for the sole purpose of telling everyone what an evil person you are,

When you see the influx of trolls coming and telling you that you’re stupid and worthless and crazy,

When you see the search terms that men are using, “Raped sluts”, “Beaten and raped whores”, “Bleeding ass fuck”,

You start to feel not so optimistic.

So, when I find out that we’ve lost another voice I sob silent tears that nobody will ever see but me. But what can I do? I feel torn. I sure as hell can’t tell them to stand back up and fight for a war that we will never win, or at least, one that we will never win in our own lifetimes. I’ve seen too much shit to believe that anymore. What do I do? When we’re fighting a battle we will never win? When society views us with generalized scorn and hatred? When our emotions, feelings, experiences are wiped away with a dismissive wave accompanied by the old refrain, “Well you’ve been abused but you have no right to be wary of all men”, or better yet, “You should let go of your anger, I know plenty of women who have been abused and they’re not angry”. When all of it can be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a pat on the head from some asshole man or some sex-pos woman then we realize that we’re fighting for the sake of fighting.

I cannot look any woman in the eye who has chosen to lay down and stop fighting and tell her to stand back up again. I cannot condemn them for they have reached that moment when they realize that they will be fighting their entire lives, sobbing all the time, begging men to stop, explaining themselves over and over again and they will never understand why they are so hated and maligned, until they die without the freedom of ever having lived without fear.

And when they express this notion they are greeted with such things as, “Well, men have to be afraid too!” or, “You know, you risk your life driving to the store in your car” and so on and so forth until they’ve explained it a dozens of times and they’ve heard analogies comparing rape to getting the flu or being in a car accident.

 

These are women who have come to understand that our own lifetimes are but drops in the bucket for we are fighting against ideologies that are thousands of years strong. Thousands of years of embedded ownership, oppression and humiliation, an entire society built upon the degradation of females in any and every way possible.

The news that schoolgirls were systematically separated from boys and murdered is not a point of interest. Men, on this very blog, continue to deny that women are even raped. In the face of statistics, studies and so forth they wave it away with a shake of their entitled hands and in so doing they ensure that their undeserved privilege will remain intact.

Some of us, myself included, moderate comments on our blogs to keep out the most vile and hateful filth that would be inflicted upon the women who post with us. But make no mistake, we still see those comments, and we still see the trackbacks and we still see the filth that is spoken of us. And after awhile we grow tired, as so many bloggers before me have done and they decide to lie down and be done with the whole nasty business.

Sometimes they just stop posting, I those ones on my blogroll as long as I can, always hoping and praying that they will come back, but unable to bring myself to beg them to stand with me once more. I will not beg them to subject themselves to the same vile hatred that so many of us experience.

How can I, a woman who feels the despair daily, a woman who has heard the same stuff that is directed at them, a woman who is certain that the screaming and begging and yelling will never bring about real change in my lifetime, ask another woman to stand in the face of it? How can I ask another woman to willing take the abuse that will invariably be meted out to her when I know, only too well, how awful that abuse is?

Just today I received yet another threat against my person in my inbox, another man who hates me and feels that he is entitled to write to me and threaten me with bodily harm. I am reminded sometimes of that scene from The Return of the King, when the forces of Gondor are amassed at the black gates and they’re calling Sauron out. At one point the camera pans up and we see Gondor’s forces standing in the middle of a huge wave of opposing forces. We know, as do the characters, that they have no way of winning, there is no hope.

How can I tell a woman to go into that battle knowing that there is no hope of victory?

In real life there is never a ring of power which will balance the scales. There is never a small hero who emerges to overcome the awesome forces of the opposite side. Indeed, in real life there is a certain failure that radical bloggers learn to deal with, there is knowledge that the oppression and degradation of women will not be overcome in our lifetimes.

So yes, I am deeply troubled when we lose another important voice, it cuts through all of the false bravado, all of the courageous words, and it reminds me that there are real, live women out there who are speaking this truth and dealing with a very real, systematic hatred and wave of violence for nothing more than speaking their minds. Do not be fooled by our tough words and our almost mocking tones, I think it’s safe to say that all of us are affected by the violence. We deal with it differently, but that doesn’t mean that the affect is any less real.

There are times when I am enveloped with a hopelessness so vast and so large that I hope for an apocalypse and no, that’s not an exaggeration. I have often heard bloggers stating that they must take time off, they must have a hiatus from all of it. Gods, I understand that feeling all too well, there are days when you read another story and everything just sort of leaks out of you. Days come when you don’t think you can bear to live another day in this world, when you wonder and daydream of a world where women are safe, where children aren’t prey and where men aren’t monsters.

On those days, when you read another article or see another story or look at another study or statistic you feel your heart sink and you realize that you are completely, 100% stuck. And no matter how loudly you scream, no matter how angry you get, that tomorrow another woman will have experienced the life altering event of rape and that your voice will do little to stop that ocean from consuming yet another of your sisters and it feels as if you simply cannot go on.

You feel as if your voice, your anger, your experiences, thoughts and emotions are impotent and useless. There is no escape from this world save death, no escape from the worry and the fear that men will never experience. There is no way out, no magic portal that we can escape through; we are well and truly stuck.

In those moments everything seems to close around me and my breath sticks in my chest and I need to hide. I need to walk away, to lay down for awhile and hand my spoon to my sister who will not condemn me for my exhaustion. And I shut down the computer and I don’t look at my email and I stop looking at comments and I just hide and pretend that today no woman will be raped. And I spend a day imagining a day in which a woman isn’t killed for the crime of being raped, and I imagine a day in which no woman has to submit to having a man scream “Nice ASS!” to her as she is walking down the street and I imagine that perhaps today is the day where no woman is beaten by her husband.

And then I think to myself, “BB, maybe today is the day that you should pack up your stuff and just go camping for the weekend?” and then I remember that I’m a woman, and to go camping alone and unprotected by a male is fraught with fear and difficulty.

And then I realize that saying such a thing aloud will most likely bring more condemnation my way and I realize that as I’m pondering these things a woman is being beaten so I go to my garden and I understand that as I’m pulling a weed out that a woman is being raped somewhere just because she is female. And so I come into the house and I turn on the radio and I understand that somewhere a woman is being enslaved for the purposes of being used sexually by men and that people would support this practice instead of condemn it. So I decide to turn on the TV and I watch as another pretty white woman is paraded across my television screen as another victim of rape, but of course I understand that I will never see the face of a black woman or a fat woman because they still don’t count as human beings.

And so it goes until I can take no more of it and my anger grows larger than my exhaustion and I pick up the laptop and find myself writing once more.

I’m sorry that this post seems so full of despair and so full of sadness and defeatism. I’m sorry that this isn’t a happy, jolly, optimistic post that promises everyone that if we only keep fighting we can make it stop. I apologize that I have succumbed to my own anger and sadness and despair and spread it onto my blog, the one place I have always tried to show a strong front, but right now I don’t feel very strong. Right now I feel anger but it is a useless anger for the 2000 people who will read this today are but a small drop of water in an endless sea, even with 20,000 or 200,000 thousand or 2 million or even 2 billion we are ineffective because right now, as I am typing this, there are 6,662,822,662 billion people on this earth, and now, …663, 754, 766, and so on. Every second I type the population soars and it continues to do so, it continues to rise; now there are 6,662,822,870, in the scant 30 seconds it took me to type this it has jumped again.

Even if 2 BILLION people agreed with me and fought with me and were busy spooning out this ocean out with their teaspoons we would still be woefully unequipped.

It is in these moments that I feel the most despair, when I think of the bloggers we have lost. When I look at my blogroll and see that there are those who haven’t updated in months and I think, My gods, this will never change.

But for some reason I am compelled to stand once more, as I hear the voices of my sisters screaming and begging and I know their fears and I feel their sobs and I am wrenched from my daydreams of equality and peace and a world in which we’re allowed to live in peace, unfettered and unafraid of the violence of men. I am pulled back to my feet and I continue to write and to speak and to delete the hate mail, rape threats and insulting comments from my screen even as I understand that I cannot delete them from my mind.
This is why bloggers quit. This is why brilliant voices are silenced. This is what happens when we stand back and look at the bigger picture and despair enters our hearts and we look to our sisters with tears in our eyes and say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it anymore” and other women will hug those of us who simply can’t continue and we’ll embrace them either physically or spiritually in our writings and we’ll say, “It’s ok my friend. I understand and I’ll take your spoon for you”. And we do this with tears in our eyes and we wonder if perhaps we would be better off if we left with them, if we laid down on the beach and just let the ocean take us as well.

And some of us are able to see the ocean and we feel it lapping at our feet and we decide that even though we cannot empty it, even though we will never know a day when we will see results from what we’re doing, that we can’t stop. We try, gods, there have been days that I have begged to be released from this knowing. This awful, terrifying, horrible knowing. There have been days that I wished, with everything inside of me, that I could reverse that knowing. That I could go back to when I didn’t see it, back to when the ocean was invisible to me, just as the women standing on the beach were invisible.

But I can’t. And I keep trying to lay down but as soon as the waves lap at my feet I realize that I can’t just let it take me. And so I listen to the words of my brave sisters and I look up at them from the sand and I take their words and use them to lift myself back up because damnit, I don’t want to be swallowed whole.

To my sisters, to all the women who write, and speak and talk and fight. To all of you holding your spoons right now and looking at the vastness of what we’re doing. To those of you who have watched others lay down and feel frustration and sadness and who are fighting back tears.

I feel your pain.

Your words are treasured jewels to me. They are the hope that I can cling to and the fire under my ass and damnit, sometimes I hate you for speaking out. Sometimes I hate you for continuing to show me this ocean when all I want to do is lay back and let the waves wash over me. But somehow you always manage to inspire those few remaining words I have and your words and bravery and dedication manage to pull me to my feet once more even though I feel so tired and I’m still so very young.

 

You are all beautiful. You are all intense and amazing and brilliant. And Heart, while I read your words and see the stories about more women being devoured by the ocean and I grow angry at you for reminding me of it and pulling me to my feet once more, I love you for the inspiration that you give to me.

All of you are wonderful. All of you are incredible. Stormy, Sparkle, Spotted Elephant, Breatheinspirt, Lost Clown, OAG, Sam, all of you and so many more that I can’t name you all, thank you for making me mad. Thank you for enraging me in those moments when all I want to do is run into the ocean and let it consume me. Your words, your stories, your articles are inspiration to me.

There may come a day when I throw it in completely, when I am consumed by misery and sadness and despair and I lay down and I don’t stand back up, sometimes I hope that the day will come soon. Looking at the threads of my life that are spreading before me and knowing that as long as I am in this world, as long as I am alive and breathing and typing that I will be facing the raw hatred and condemnation that I have received thus far makes me terrified for what the remainder of my life holds.

When I feel the pain of another woman cutting deeply into my own soul I look out towards the future and know that there will be so many more moments like this one. So many more times when my heart feels as if it shall bleed all over my keyboard and I think to myself, “I’m sorry my darling sister. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t stop it for you.” And fuck, I’m not looking forward to a lifetime of those moments, yet, there is no other choice for me right now.

No, this post is far from happy. It’s far from optimistic, it’s far from anything even remotely resembling hope. This is a post of desolation and despondency, of fear and anger and the overarching feeling of being entirely helpless yet, perhaps it is also a peek into what others feel on those days that they post one line,

 

“I need a break.”

Before disappearing for weeks.

~BB

P.S.- I wanted to add that I am NOT going to stop writing. This is not a ‘goodbye’ letter but rather a letter of frustration. I’m not ready to lie down just yet 🙂

Also, some of you will have noticed that I opened comments on this post for the express purpose of showing everyone what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ on some blogs. These are the comments that we keep off the blog for obvious reasons. I think they’ll go a very long way towards proving my point once again.

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A Note On Recent ‘Scientific’ Studies

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten several links to articles which are reporting that pornography on the internet decreases rape rates. Apparently someone out there has decided that because reported rape rates have fallen it must be due to the vast amounts of pornography on the internet.

Here is one of those articles: How The Web Prevents Rape. I haven’t responded to any of this because, well, to be perfectly honest I really didn’t see the need to. When you take a stance like mine on pornography you start to see some really ridiculous ‘studies’ and this is no exception.

In this ‘study’ what the researchers did was to literally take the reported rape rates and then take reported internet usage, not just porn usage but internet usage as a whole, and when they saw that reported rapes were down, they inferred that it must be due to pornography on the internet.

There are so many reasons that this is a fallacious assumption to make.

1. Nobody bothered to ask what these people were doing online, it is, of course, assumed that people are browsing FreeXXX sites. Apparently these researchers think that men have nothing better than to peruse pornography sites all day.

2. Where is the consideration for the vast amount of work that women’s groups have engaged in designed to decrease rape? In one fell swoop all of the effort, time and money of women’s groups who have begun grassroots campaigns all over the place to prevent rape have been erased.

3. They didn’t correct or account for the fact that perhaps more women are simply not reporting rape. With the recent influx of women who have been charged with a crime when there isn’t enough proof to convict her accused rapist I think that this is certainly an extremely important factor to consider. Indeed, the climate surrounding the Duke case and many others like it has undoubtedly had an impact. I now speak to many women who immediately state that they would not, under any circumstances, report their own rapes.

4. The ‘researchers’ on this study clearly believe that rape is sex and nothing more.

Notice that these studies always compare reported rapes, not actual rapes. There are many problems with studies like this that place them unequivocally into the camp of junk science.

Only one of many problems is the equation of sex and rape. The underlying message beneath all of these studies is that men are seeking sex when they violently rape a woman. In a society which classes porn as little more than ‘naked people fucking’ the only conclusion that said society will come to upon hearing such a claim is that men are simply taking sex from females when they rape them.

This has extraordinarily troubling implications even if we assumed that it wasn’t a load of shit. It implies that men are so dangerous that they must literally be fed a diet of pornography to keep them from harming women. As a class they are so out of control and terrifying that if we don’t let them see women being fucked then they will violently take women against their will.

I know some men who would vehemently disagree with this idea and rightly so. I am often called a man-hater which is always amusing to me because when we really look at what researchers like this are trying to say it is clearly THEM who hate men. I personally believe that men are NOT out of control beasts that require a steady diet of degradation to relieve their terrifying urge to rape women. But this study, and studies like this one, always reduce men to creatures who are incapable of not raping unless and until we give them what they want.

Sex is not rape. Rape is not sex. I have done articles on this before, indeed, I have done many articles on the topic. Rape is violence and control using sex as the weapon. Rape is the action by which a man takes control and autonomy from a woman, sex is the tool. Rape is the culmination of deep seated hatred and lack of empathy by men against women. Penetration is merely one of the most effective ways in which they can degrade and dehumanize us.

To men, perhaps rape is simply sex. But to women who have been raped there is a very clear difference. Rape is about forcing a woman, through a myriad of ways, to succumb to the will of the man. For the rapist it is not penetration that he’s looking for, it’s the ‘kill’. It’s the victory of taking a woman that is the high and the rush. And this entire society condones and even conditions men to use whatever means necessary to get that ‘win’.

Women who experience this are fully aware of it. It’s not about the orgasm, it’s about the ‘win’ that they get when they bend a woman to their demands either by sheer force, threatening body language, taking her other options away or some other means.

So that is just one very large problem with this sort of study. Rape is not sex and sex is not rape. These are dangerous studies because they imply that if every man has his orgasm demands met then he won’t rape and this in turn, implies that to keep women safe we MUST feed men a steady diet of images of women that they can use and orgasm to. Even if we take the same assumption that the ‘researchers’ take and assume that porn is just good clean fun we are still left with troubling facts that are very hard to get around and terrifying to even the bravest of women. That message is this:

If women don’t placate men’s desire to orgasm then men will hurt women.

This mindset sets up a ‘blame the victim’ paradigm. It places the responsibility for male violence onto the shoulders of women. It assumes that women must give men the orgasm they desire or men will rape us to get more of it. In so doing this paradigm also creates a subset of women who will always be ‘fed’ to male desire, acting as a sacrificial lamb to keep the rest of us safe. When this mindset bears fruit it will always be in the form of victim blaming. Male violence against females will inevitably be blamed on females, either on the victim directly or onto females as a group because the theory rests on the notion that men cannot control themselves and must orgasm to real live women in order to be reasonably expected to control themselves.

Therefore a man who rapes a woman will always be held with less responsibility than the female whom he raped or females at large in the society. Because of his ‘need’ for orgasm clearly if she turned him on or did something ‘inappropriate’ it’s her fault.

The male drive for orgasm is likened to the predatory drive seen in large carnivores. We can’t really blame the lion, even if it’s a ‘tame’ lion, for lunging after the goat because that’s what lions do. When we slip into this sort of description for male orgasm then we almost invariably wind up saying, “Well, you can’t blame the guy for raping her because he was taken over by his desire to orgasm and that’s what men do.”

Other flaws in this junk science are that reported rapes reflect actual number of rapes. This particular story even assumes that violent movies curb the urges of men to be violent. It comes to this conclusion by assuming that when violent movies are running in the theatres that violent men are watching these movies instead of being violent against others.

As it pertains to rape however, I find it frightening that any ‘scientist’ would assume that reported rapes are the same as actual rapes. We have recently seen a virtual plethora of rape cases in which the victim is brutalized by the media and the public. Her accusations fall onto deaf ears because they assume that she is a liar. She then morphs into the villain in the media and openly on the internet, in newspapers and so forth. The Duke case is only one of these; many more cases follow behind this one.

Women understand that the moment a rape charge is leveled that the cries of “She’s a lying whore!” are soon to come. Because of this many women are deterred from reporting rape, add this to the basic assumption of people that rape is sex and she becomes even more afraid to report her trauma.

Recently there have been many cases in the media that have gone terribly wrong for the woman who reports the rape. In one case a young woman reported being gang raped by her boyfriend and his friend when she was getting ready for a party. The men, of course, claimed that it was consensual. When the young woman appeared before the judge he determined that she wasn’t “acting like a victim” and he dropped the charges against the men and instead charged her with filing false charges. Based upon nothing more than what he perceived a rape victim should act like.

In yet another case a woman was threatened with jail when she refused to watch a videotape of her rape and be cross-examined about it in front of the courtroom. She said that it would be too traumatic and utterly refused to do it. The woman was very nearly jailed for refusing to watch her own rape on television until public outcry softened the judge’s stance.

In case after case we see young women who have been violated run through the emotional trauma of criminal charges leveled against them if they don’t fit the preconceived notion of what a ‘good’ rape victim should act like. Strippers are clearly not ‘good’ victims, nor are prostitutes, nor are women who wanted to have sex, nor are women who dress provocatively or women who are drunk or women who got willingly drunk, or women who had consensual sex with their rapists in the past, or women who are wives to their rapists, the list goes on and on.

In trial after trial we see every manner of situation being described in the same way. Women watch as the media slashes at women who report rape and public outcry says that it’s a case of ‘boys being boys’. When young men write emails saying that they will kill a woman and then, later that day, they are accused of rape, their actions are still minimized.

When a videotape of young men raping a mentally handicapped girl, urinating on her, lighting her hair on fire and so forth, is brought into the public eye we immediately see the media encourage the sentiment that ‘boys will be boys’.

Women are not stupid and repeatedly watching and absorbing these horrific trials will have a very predictable effect on even the bravest of us. Watching women being called whores, sluts and would be porn stars is terrifying to all of us. Even when the rape has been videotaped we watch, in horror, as the victim is martyred in the community and has her name and image plastered around the town.

With stories like these women are afraid of speaking up and pressing charges. They refuse to be forced to explain themselves, explain why they wore what they wore and why they didn’t do this or that. They refuse to put themselves through even more trauma for the sake of a conviction and would rather try to heal on their own.

So no, ‘studies’ like these that claim that porn is reducing rape rates based upon little more than the observation that reported rapes are down while porn usage is up, are both dangerous and unfounded. I have much more to add to this but I find myself completely out of time for the moment. Perhaps I’ll come back later and add to this later but for now I have a stall to fix.

~BB

Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Introducing My Warrior

I got an email this morning from someone. It was an email talking about her repeated rape at the hands of a young man. This is not the first such letter I have received in my email and the feelings it evoked in me were neither uncommon, nor unique insofar as I have had them before. 



The pain from these women bleeds through in their words, the screams I hear when I read their stories resonates so deeply inside of me that I tremble with barely contained rage, fear and sadness.



I have received several such letters since starting this blog. And more confessions and stories and voices than I can separate in the clutter that is my mind. Each and every woman on this site has a story, chances are good that it is that story that brought them here in the first place. Now, those stories may not be alike in the details, not every woman has been raped, not every woman has been abused, but every one of them has found a thread of commonality in a radical voice. For whatever reason they have seen the cancer infecting this society, seen its ugly face and the barren wasteland and dead women it has left behind.



I cried this morning. I locked myself in my bedroom for a few moments and I cried. I cried the tears of sadness and rage that explode from my soul each and every time I read another story. I sobbed quietly beneath my covers, not wanting to upset my children who were busy reading their books for school. I cried the tears of the victim and survivor and I cried for yet another life destroyed, shattered by the force that is male pride and entitlement. 



As I read that email this morning, as I have done on other mornings when a commenter has been moved to write to me, I felt rage burning fresh in my blood. I felt sadness and a loss so deadly that it brings everything home to me. It reminds me, in violent waves, about the society in which we women are forced to live. A society in which half of the population hates us for no reason I can discern.



This has been a trying week for me. I’m working on Friday fun with Site meter and the searches that are there are terrifying in their honesty. “Beautiful girls being raped”, “Sluts being beaten and raped”, the searches march across my screen, a grim reality and testament to the world in which I live. It is a testament to the violence of men, the undiluted essence of hatred with which they view us.



And on this morning, there was another letter, another story, another scream from another woman who has joined the rank and file of the millions of survivors. Always, there is confusion in me when I see the proof of male violence and hatred towards women. Ever there is confusion, a sort of disjointed question that hangs thickly in the air, tainting my skin and forcing itself to be articulated.



”Why?” 



That is the scream that rips through me. It is the question that lies unanswered and unspoken. Why? 

Why? Why? Why? WHY???? Why do they do this to us? Why do they hate with such ferocity? Why do they spoil and silence these beautiful voices that are just waiting to be heard? Why do they contaminate and rip and tear and steal from women?



This is the word, the question that I asked myself as I cried this morning. This is the one thought that tore through me, demanding an answer, but I know that no answer will ever come. No answer can quiet that scream. When they say, “It’s because I wanted to”, it doesn’t make it stop. I want to say “WHY did you want to?”, “What did we do to you?”, “Why didn’t you care?”, “Why does our pain bring you such intense pleasure?” Why? Why? Why?



They cannot provide a suitable answer, they cannot quiet the “Why?” flitting in and out of the corners of my mind. They cannot provide the answer anymore than they can give that girl back her life, anymore than they can undo the damage they wreak. There is no easy answer; there is only the reality of the millions of screaming voices, the millions of voices that have been silenced.



People come to me and say that radical feminism cannot be taken seriously because the women in it are largely composed of survivors (although, they say ‘victims’). I say that it is because of this that radical feminism needs to be taken seriously. We are the proof of male violence, right here is the most honest and sincere proof you can find. It is because we are so largely comprised of so many survivors, and not just survivors of rape and molestation, but survivors of male pride and violence in all of it’s forms it takes, that we need to be taken seriously.



Everyone reading this has a story. Kaka Mak, Delphyne, Ginmar, Laura, Mink Stole, Kelly Bell

, and all the others (I know your names but I can’t list them all, they ring through my head even as I type and I know that the numbers are too large to list) all of you have a story, a need, a desire. Each and every one of you has experienced the proof of male entitlement and violence. No, chances are good that not every one of you has experienced rape or sexual assault, but ALL of you have seen the truth and ALL of you have been affected by the hatred that men show us. 



Occasionally, one of you reaches out to me, trying to make sense of it all and I, sadly, have no sense to give. I have no greater wisdom, no sage advice, no greater understanding of the unending question of “Why?” but there can be no doubt that your stories are just as real.



From the rage, to the sadness, to the helplessness and back to the rage, the stories are there. The violence, the entitlement, the ego, the aggression, all of us have felt it to some degree or another. From the woman who spends her entire day scrubbing toilets for minimum wage, to the women who have been harassed in the park or on the street all the way to the women who vowed to love a man only to find herself the recipient of his fists, down to the woman who went on that date with the ‘nice guy’ and ended her night being raped. All of you have stories and it is these stories and this deep seated, undying desire to make it stop that brings radicals together. 



The letter I got this morning affected me down to that primal part of my soul and I felt the desperation that so many of us have felt. The overwhelming sadness and helplessness of it all. It woke that sleeping warrior within me who first cried for the loss of yet another woman, who screamed and mourned and sobbed for the loss of yet another one of us. But now she is angry again. And her anger feeds my desire, it is her indignation at the masses of women left behind, sold out, forgotten and silenced that compels me to push forward, even when I stop for a moment to sob and regain my footing. She fills me with anger and rage and focused energy to try and accomplish the impossible. And only when the rapes, beatings, and cycle of male violence has stopped will she be sated. 

I stand in the face of these men who search for, “slut rape”, and “sexy girls being beaten and raped”.

I stand in the face of all the men that have stolen my sense of safety and security. I stand in your face Richard, and Scott and Kevin. I stand in the faces of Steven and Shawn and Brian. I stand in the faces of all the men who would take what I never offered and I stand in the face of the fucker who stole the innocence and youth from the girl who wrote me just today. 



I am your worst fucking nightmare. 



Here is my promise to you Mr. “Story-Snuff”. I will be your conscience if you refuse to have one. I will be the screams that you tried to silence. I am your worst nightmare, the walking skeleton of the dead bodies of the souls that you destroyed with your violence, with your entitlement and with your ego. I will not shut up until you have felt, tenfold, the pain that you have wreaked upon the women you have encountered. I, and others like me, will force your eyes open to the pain that you have caused and if I have one desire that burns through me with the fiercest passion I have ever known it is this: I want for you to never have another moment of peace in your lives. I want you to never sleep soundly again, I want the souls of these women to haunt you for all eternity, even into your next life and the lives beyond that.



I am no longer a victim, I am a survivor and I will continue to tell every person I meet of you and your kind. I will force-feed the pain of millions down your putrid mouth until you vomit it up, then, I will force it down again. 



You, all of you, every one of you that come to this blog looking for, “Sexy women being raped and beaten”, YOU are my mark and my crosshairs are firmly on you. You are the reason that we all have stories, you are the reason that every day more women, thousands more women, millions in the world, join the rank and file of the survivors and my voice is aimed at you.



I will not let you forget the screams until they have stopped. I am the ever present reminder of your fucked up entitlement and I will not be silenced until my ashes are thrown across the ground. My voice is small on its own, but it is a part of a sea of voices, a vast army of voices that is growing larger and stronger by the day. Each and every time you beat another woman, or rape another woman, or push your fucked up entitlement onto another woman, in whatever form it takes, you create another one of me. Do you hear that? You create another me. 



The numbers keep rising and when they rise up and the sobs turn to cries and the cries to screams and the warrior in us that YOU created and YOU awoke comes seeking her vengeance then you will know that it was YOU who created us. 



To my readers, I hear your voices, I believe your truths and you are not alone. Those of you who have felt male violence and who are scattered and afraid and unsure about yourselves take heart for there are millions of us in this world and those who have found our anger and our rage will speak until you feel able to do so. There are millions of hands extended to you, keep talking, keep speaking, your voice is powerful and your stories are truth. Don’t stop writing to me, and don’t stop talking, your voice is perhaps your most valuable weapon and your truth is an inspiration. 


~ Biting Beaver

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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