This is your trigger warning.

Scroll fast if you need to because I'm not cutting this.

Before this case came about, I'd heard of Steubenville from a lovely older couple (the Enditches from Steubenville, which is how I remember) on a bus tour I took roughly twenty-two years ago.

I didn't know about the football program there or how it was basically the only thing that held the town together.  However, when I heard it, it didn't surprise me because of how utterly beyond the pale OSU fans are.  They riot sometimes when they WIN, :/.

For those of you who are either not in the U.S. or who have been living under a large boulder for the last few months, a young woman of sixteen got drunk at a party last August and was dragged, semi-conscious and unconscious to several locations, where she was sexually assaulted multiple times.  She didn't know she'd been attacked until the next day, when she discovered multiple text posts, pictures, and videos about/of the assaults had been posted online.

Sunday, two football players, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, were convicted of "digitally penetrating" her. There were at least two dozen other witnesses/possible assailants, but these two were (in my opinion) the sacrificial lambs.  I wonder how good they were on the team?  I wonder how many more players/bystanders actually assaulted this young woman?  These two young men were convicted in juvenile court despite their ages (seventeen and sixteen, which in a lot of cases would have them tried as adults), which means that once they're over twenty-one, their records could be swept clean.  Yes, they have to register as "juvenile sex offenders" and yes, their pictures have been plastered all over the media, (we'll be talking more about the media in a moment), which will hopefully help to save future victims, but they still won't have ADULT criminal records.  This still won't necessarily ruin their lives forever in the same way it's affected the life of their victim, who has been shamed in court and received death threats from two other young women via social media sites.  Ohio's Attorney General is charging those who made the latest threats, but where are the charges against all of those who watched this young women be raped?  Not only that, but made videos in which they were laughing about her being raped.

To be clear, I think that this young woman can overcome this, but she might not.  She might not be able to come back from what they did to her.  Her life might spiral out of control because of the control that was stolen from her that night.  She's a survivor either way, but whether this rules her life forever or she's able to put it behind her, the fault still lies with those who, according to the prosecution, "treated her like a toy."

Where is the outrage?  Oh, that's right.  It's being directed towards the RAPISTS, in that media outlets like CNN think it's a shame that their lives were ruined by all of this. (Here's a petition you can sign to tell them what you think of their coverage of this issue.)  And the fucking Onion predicted all of this two years ago.

So what am I taking away from all of this?  I'm not a person once I get drunk.  Hell, I'm not a person if I'm out after dark alone or forget to lock my door or to set my alarm or am not careful enough with my surroundings or wear pants that are "too tight," a skirt that is "too short," or a burqa that shows "too much ankle."  You see where I'm going with this, right?

We teach men that women are "asking for it."  We teach them that they aren't responsible for their actions and that their "innocent lives" could be ruined by "giving in" to a girl who was too drunk to say no.  We shame rape victims so much that someone made a video called, "Shit Everyone Says To Rape Victims," and I'd heard them all before.

Our society doesn't teach men not to rape. Look at what happened to the woman who dared to suggest that we do so on Fox News - she was vilified and got both rape and death threats. Bullying is a part of it - men are bullied by their peers into going along with behavior that makes them seem "manly" to said peers. Even now, we're telling them to "man up," as though being a man is automatically strong and capable.


However, young men are also bullied by their fathers who bullied them, "Don't be a [misogynistic slur]" if they dare to express their emotions. They are bullied by a society that tells them that they aren't "real men" unless they attract as many women as possible, by any means possible. This is not peer-on-peer bullying. This is bullying at every level, from every angle, every day from the moment these young men are born.


If this is not 100% clear - I'm not excusing their actions, but until the rape culture stops telling women how they can avoid rape instead of telling men not to rape, cases like this will continue to happen.  People are starting to think this way (in Vancouver, an ad campaign entitled "Don't Be That Guy" has helped to reduce sexual assaults there by 10%), but the process is entirely too slow.   Also, the myth of the stranger attack needs to go away. Most women are raped by men they know. The Steubenville survivor even testified that she "thought she could trust" one of her rapists and didn't realize that she couldn't until she saw all of the social media about her attack the next day.

Can you imagine that?  Finding out you were raped (and that multiple bystanders, many of whom were your classmates, stood around ENJOYING your rape as though it was entertainment) via fucking Facebook and Twitter?  Can you imagine having two supposed friends of yours call you a liar and end your friendship because they wanted you to leave the party and you didn't do so, ergo what happened to you was your fault?

I've spoken about this before, but seeing what this sixteen-year-old woman is having to go through, with 18,000 townspeople she's known all her life and thousands more strangers online all acting as though this situation came about because she was drunk and not because those young men are fucking rapists, is making me sick on a level I can't begin to express.

She deserves better.  She deserves to be believed, to be supported, to be cared for, and, above all, to be told it was NOT HER FAULT!  But we don't do that in this country, or apparently any other, if Steig Larson and recent reports out of India are accurate, which I'm certain they are.  And those are only two examples - if anyone knows of a country/culture where rape is considered SOLELY the fault of the rapist, I would certainly love to hear about it, as I could use some good news on this front today.

The worst part - everything I've linked here is the barest tip of an iceberg so huge it could sink a million Titanics.  I could find dozens more links, all telling me that in the eyes of the world, my bodily autonomy is subject to the whims of others.

Society doesn't see me as a person.  I'm going to fight to change that.


ETA: Henry Rollins' commentary is rather similar to mine.
Sadly, I can't link to it here because it has the person's real name attached, but there's a viral image on Facebook that is a screencap of the following status:

I caught my son walking home with the gay kid from across the street.  My hand and his butt are going to be sore for the rest of the night.

A friend re-posted the image with the following caption:

Complete parenting fail.  The best way to teach your children hate and bigotry is to violently abuse them.

As her name was on it (she has an uncommon name and the pictures matched), I sent her the following message with the picture attached:

I wanted you to know that your incredibly awful parenting has gone viral. Congratulations on teaching your son hate, bigotry, and fear through abuse. You are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourself.

She'll probably be able to get the image pulled if she reports it to Facebook, but for now I'm happy to see her publicly shamed for being an intolerant child abuser.  There's also a fan page that's been set up to bash her with the tag line, "Proud homophobe and child abuser."

If there's anyone out there thinking that I (or anyone else) shouldn't sink to her level by shaming her, bothering her with messages, or any other such rot, allow me to remind you that she's the one who hit her child because he walked home with a child who may or may not be gay.  If you're on her side in any way, shape, or form, your comments aren't welcome here.
I generally don't do book reviews - the "book review" tag was created for this entry - but in this case I'm making an exception.  Also, you'll notice that this is not so much a review as a comment on the reflections on society that this book has provoked within me. 


Trigger warnings for references to things that happen to women every moment of every day.  )

If you consider yourself a feminist, whether you are male or female, I highly recommend "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."  Not only is it a wonderful murder mystery, but it may provoke deep thoughts as it has for me, :).
So about 18 months ago, I defended someone who was using a "Grammar Nazi" icon.  It was a shitty thing to do, I was rightly called out for it and since then I've become more aware of the word and have started calling people out when I see them using it to mean anything other than "people who support or supported Hitler". 

So now, 18 months later, someone's passing around a spelling meme on Facebook and captioned it, "For all you Grammar Nazis Out There".  I said something to the originator of the meme.  Was argued with.  Twice.  And so posted the following as my status:

Things that are Nazis: People who support or supported Hitler and his ideology.
Things that are not Nazis: Everyone else.
Please do not confuse one with the other. Thank you.
The following conversation ensued:

Cut for length and epic stupidity. )ETA: Random Commenter #2 )Cut for length and epic stupidity. )


ETA 2: The Jackass' response and more conversation. )
ETA 3: Yet another response from the jackass and my response. )ETA 4: Deep. Hurting. Yep, he responded again and derailed the conversation so far off the original point that I have no clue how to get it back on track. I tried, though. )
ETA 5: Jackass: I understand that you're offended by me using the term "IT Nazi". Well, I am not going to change it. )



*************************************************

Here's the thing, 18 months ago, I was that jackass.

Cut for length.  )
Warning: Possible triggers for slurs in both the comments and the post.  Also, general asshattery. 
As a follow-up to my previous post which speaks of the child slavery associated with many of the more common chocolate brands, I thought I should offer some slavery-free alternatives.  Yes, these are a bit more expensive, but as chocolate is a luxury item anyway, I'd rather spend more on less of it than know that my Milky Ways (or Hershey bars or Three Musketeers) came from child slavery. 

Happy Halloween! :)
You might want to read this article: 

Child Slaves Made Your Halloween Candy: Stop Buying It 

Someone on Facebook commented that the article itself was a bit sensationalist, which is true.  However, it has links to several other sources, which is why I'm linking it here.

Food for thought. 
[livejournal.com profile] sparkindarkness just posted an entry regarding the fetishization of gay men, especially that of a few well-known actors who've come out recently.  He also made me aware of this disgusting "You Know You're Addicted To Slash" meme, upon which I will now comment:

Cut for length and homophobia. )

Some of you might think I'm being hypocritical here because I both read and write slash (and I'll admit, the majority of what I read online is slash). 

However.

When I write it, I try to treat the characters with respect, not as poseable fuck dolls.  And when I'm reading it, I stay away from authors who write nothing but stereotypes.  It's a fine line, perhaps, which is why I'm trying to stay on the correct side of it and not forget that I'm reading about people.  Fictional people, yes, but still - characterization is important.  Treating the subject matter with respect is important.  More than important - respect for what one is reading and writing is just basic human decency.

One final word on fetishization.  I'm a bisexual woman.  Men are very "accepting" of me and my sexuality.  Because they think it's "hot".  They could care less about me or any woman I might have sex with as people - all they care about is being allowed to watch.  

If you care about the rights of BGLTQP people even when they aren't providing you with entertainment, you're someone I'd like to know and be around.  However, if you only think of us in terms of the entertainment we can provide to you - fuck off.   

On The ERA

Oct. 1st, 2011 06:12 pm
I've been hearing about the Equal Rights Amendment for most of my life.  My dad was (and I assume, is, though the subject hasn't come up recently) very anti-ERA (big shock to all of you, I know).  From the semi-coherent ramblings he gave me on the subject, I assumed it was a plot to turn women into men (or something equally stupid).  I'd never actually read the text of it until last week and I have to say, it utterly stunned me:

bulletSection 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
bulletSection 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
bulletSection 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
That's it.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. 

It's mind-boggling, stunning, sickening - I really can't put into words how horrified I am that this has been impossible to pass.  

Cut for length and possible triggers for everything associated with anti-feminist thought. )

Why is all of this so difficult?

Why can't I just be a person? 
This is the only trigger warning you're getting, because I absolutely REFUSE to cut this.  Scroll fast if you need to.  

Today is the two-year anniversary of his murder and I had no plans to blog about it beyond re-posting this tribute on Facebook.

All of that changed when I went to Hometown Buffet today and saw what shall furthermore be referred to as an "Abortion Bus."  It could have been a converted camper (it had one of those 'over-the-cab' camper-like attachments, but it was painted blood red and so covered in anti-abortion propaganda and PICTURES OF DEAD FETUSES that it was hard to tell for sure).

I went in and complained to the manager of the restaurant, that since it was on private property they shouldn't allow it there.  The manager tried to say it was a "First Amendment" thing and that he didn't want to get involved.  I only wish I hadn't already paid for our food, but we made the decision there and then - we'll never eat there if we see that bus in their parking lot.  I also wrote to Old Country Buffet, telling them exactly how I feel about their managers dismissal of allowing such horrific images to be displayed RIGHT IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT where people are trying to eat.  I'm also seriously considering NEVER stepping foot in there again, given that their attitude and considering we've been eating there VERY often lately and have probably eaten there an average of once per month for the last fifteen years, that's pretty significant.

It's very, VERY lucky that I didn't know to whom the bus belonged, that I had no clue who they were in the restaurant, because I likely would have confronted them for being pro-slavery assholes.  And yes, I just said fucking SLAVERY.  Forcing a woman to have a baby she doesn't want sounds a lot like turning her into a broodmare and to me, that goes beyond a basic violation of human rights and says 'slavery' to me. 

I have to say, seeing that made me more Pro-Choice than ever, made me even flippantly remark that I'd like to go out and get an abortion just for spite.  Keep in mind, I WANT to have a baby, but with asshats like this trying to FORCE me into it, it makes me less than thrilled about the prospect of ever being pregnant, especially being high-risk and older, which leads to a greater chance that I would need the services of someone like Dr. Tiller.  

If you're reading this and are anti-choice in any way, shape, or form, go fuck yourself.  You can be pro-woman, in the sense that you are in favor of helping pregnant women have more options than just abortion, but if you are in ANY WAY in favor of overturning Roe Vs Wade or restricting a woman's freedom to choose what she may do with HER BODY, stay the fuck away from me and my spaces.   

You are not welcome here. 

...WTF.

Mar. 11th, 2011 12:11 am
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] lavenderfrost at ...WTF.
Well, there goes my good mood for the day.

NYTimes, the bastion of quality reporting, reported on the gang-rape of an 11 year-old girl in Texas  that's led to charges against 18 high-school boys so far - all well and good so far, right?  Shit like this NEEDS publicity to raise awareness. 

Only problem is, they repeated - without refutation or critical commentary - the claims that the girl brought the rape on herself because of the way she was dressed.

Choice Quotes (No cut b/c everyone needs to see this - DEAL.):

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.  As opposed to the victim, who's gonna bounce back lickety-fucking-split, right?

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.  TOTALLY BEGGING FOR IT.

THIS IS RAPE CULTURE, PEOPLE.

Now, what's being said and done in this community is bad enough, but the NY Times should be fucking ashamed of themselves right now.

Here's how to contact NYT: )

If you are in the US, there is the Haven Coalition, which is a network of volunteers who provide a meal and a safe place to sleep for women who are forced to travel to New York City for second-trimester abortions

If you're in the UK, The Abortion Support Network provides similar help for women who are unable to obtain abortions at all in Ireland.

Thank you for your support of the rights of women to do what is best for them and their bodies.   

ETA: Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] darkfireangel who told me about Fund Abortion Now, which helps women to find a local abortion and depending upon the income of the woman involved, may partially pay for it.

Srsly?

Mar. 1st, 2011 02:05 am
Unborn Child To 'Testify' On Ohio Abortion Bill

An aide to committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann said a pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen. The heartbeat of the fetus will be visible in color.

This is the dumbest thing I've seen in the last three days, and as most of you know, I've seen some incredibly stupid shit in the last three days.

Fuck you, Ohio.  And fuck the stupid asshats in the Committee for letting this shit go forward. 

Neigh.

WTF?

Feb. 28th, 2011 12:33 pm
Reid: Kill The Brothels (This one's from the Onion, but Reid actually said this.)

A Brothel Ban Would Hurt Women

As has been proven throughout the US, having prostitution illegal promotes human trafficking, people being enslaved with drugs by pimps and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  In the legal brothels in Nevada, there is no slavery (though there have been some cases of worker mistreatment, it's more in line with what I have to deal with as a stripper) and most importantly from a 'good of the public' standpoint, there have not been any cases of HIV reported.  Ever.  This is because customers are required to use condoms and the women get tested once a month.

In short, Abolish Slavery - Legalize Prostitution.

*weeping*

Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:32 pm
Missing Trans Woman Found Dead

There are several issues here, so I'm going to try and address them one at a time and be as coherent as I can despite my surprisingly overwhelming sense of grief for someone I didn't even know.

A quote from the article: She worked with people with disabilities but also had a police record for prostitution.

It saddens me beyond all measure that they felt the need to mention her police record for prostitution in the same breath as her work with those with disabilities.  As if one negated the other.

But I forgot.  Sex workers are inherently tainted, aren't they? 

As far as her status as a trans woman and the bearing it has here, given past cases, I have to wonder if it wasn't the cause of her death.  If the person who killed her (assuming it was murder - the police report says she died of asphyxiation, but not if it was due to an outside person) did so because they found out she'd been born with male genitalia.  And it makes me think of all the people out there who think that transgender persons are under ANY obligation to disclose their status, when the leading cause of death among transgender persons is MURDER because of ignorant bigots finding out their status.

To be clear: if you think that a trans person should tell anyone that they are trans for ANY reason whatsoever, you're an asshole.  It's their business and only theirs.  Not yours.  Not mine.  Only.  THEIRS.  Period. 

I've had this argument before and I'm going to make something else clear - I'm done arguing.  If you have an opinion that differs, keep it to yourself.  While I'm normally okay with having discussions here... not about this, not today and maybe not ever again.  Not when I keep seeing stories like this because of the sort of hatred that still exists in this world that will allow a bigot to justify ending an innocent life simply because of how that person is living it.   

Again, I don't know that this woman was murdered, but given past history, it's the most likely cause of her death. 

Cross-posted to Abolish Slavery - Legalize Prostitution.
Not too long ago, someone commented in my journal with an icon that was a picture of Hitler with the caption, "My mommy chose life."  I banned the icon (it was the first time I'd ever deleted a comment, which caused a bit of angst for me because I'm just like that) and eventually the person who used it when they came back to be shitty because I'd made a public post supposedly 'shaming' them when all I was doing was essentially making a post for future reference - "Hey everyone, no Hitler or Nazi imagery of any type allowed here."    

That's not what you've all had happen, heh.

No, what happened was I later realized that the icon was not just offensive, it was also WRONG.  Hitler's mommy didn't CHOOSE life.  Hitler's mommy had no choice in the matter whatsoever.  When Hitler was born in 1889, his mommy had basically no rights as a person.  She couldn't vote, let alone go and get abortion, and was generally defined by her role as 'Hitler's mommy' or 'Hitler's daddy's wife'.  She wasn't a person - she was a broodmare and broodmares don't get to choose whether or not they stay pregnant. 

Using that icon as a dig at the Pro-Life crowd may get some surface attention, but it ignores the essential truth that Hilter's mommy was a woman and women don't get to make decisions about whether or not they have children.  Oh, we say they do now, but as I pointed out yesterday, with 87% of the counties in the US not having access to abortion providers, we really don't mean it.  At least not in the US or in other parts of the world where women are still chattel, which I believe comprises a greater percentage of the world's population than not. 

I didn't get to tell the owner of that icon any of this because I didn't realize it until WAY after the fact and wow, does it suck thinking of the perfect comeback a month later (or however long it's been), but hey, at least I get to share it with all of you, :).

ETA: Hilter's mommy's name was Klara.  Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] darth_eldritch.

87%

Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:25 am
87% of the counties in the United Fucking States of America lack an abortion provider.

87%

I just...

I give up.

Obviously, the religious extremists in this country have won and I should just accept my fate as a broodmare.

Neigh.

Oh, and I happen to live in one of the 13% of counties that actually has an abortion provider.  That doesn't make me feel anything but numb.

87%

Fuck me sideways.
I've been thinking about abortion a lot lately and something finally crystallized for me regarding the whole debate.  When a woman gets pregnant, there are no guarantees that the fertilized egg will actually become a person.  Miscarriage statistics vary widely, but I've known more than one woman who has had one.  In truth, I've known more women who have had spontaneous abortions than intentional ones.  And even if a woman carries a baby to term, it may still be stillborn, or die soon after birth. 

Bottom line: when a woman gets pregnant, there is no guarantee that a new life will enter this world.  All there is is the potential for new life.
Cut for length. )

Statistics don't matter, though.  All that matters is the pregnant woman and what she wants.  Period.  Her body, her life, her choice, not mine, not yours, NOT EVER.  Your opinion doesn't matter and neither does mine.  The rights of the born outweigh the rights of the unborn, 100% of the time.  Period.

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