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 also used to smoke pot to get high.  I don't do either anymore for reasons that are none of your business.  But then, it's not really your business that I did either in the first place.

What's my point here?  I'm just sick and tired of seeing posts floating around that say, "What about all of those women who have horrible periods?  Or bad acne?  Or ovarian cysts?  Are they whores and sluts too?"  Or with marijuana it's, "What about cancer patients?  Or people with glaucoma?"

Who gives a fuck WHY someone is taking medication?  Why does it need to be justified at all?

I took birth control because wanted to fuck and I didn't want to have an unplanned pregnancy.  I used it in addition to other methods because I REALLY didn't want an unplanned pregnancy.  

And again, I smoked weed because I liked the feeling more than I enjoyed the feeling of alcohol.  

But my feelings on these subjects don't count.  Never mind that it's MY body and I wasn't hurting anyone, my reasons for using these drugs aren't as socially acceptable, so I get to be shamed by even those who are ostensibly on "my side" for doing things that are no one's business but mine.  And yes, I do see it as shaming when someone says, "Well, what about those people with legitimate medical conditions who use these drugs?" because it's still playing into the culture that says that doing what one wants with one's own body is not okay unless there's a reason other than pleasure for doing it.

Well, fuck all of you who use this justification.  I liked fucking and being high.  I still like fucking, but I chose to stop using hormonal birth control. 

Because it's my fucking body.  Not yours.  And you don't get to have an opinion about what I do with my body so long as I'm not causing direct harm to you PERSONALLY. 

Oh, and before anyone says something about the Pill being legal and marijuana not being so, in states where the "personhood" bills are being passed, the type of hormonal birth control I was on would become illegal, so there you are.  The only drug that should be illegal is meth because it can endanger a neighborhood simply by making it.  Everything else should be legal and regulated.  Period.
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. 

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. 

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.

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

When I first saw this story, I thought it had to be a case of bad reporting, but no - there's more than one source:

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4  South Dakota legislators have tried repeatedly  to outlaw abortion, but those bans were rejected by voters. So they've passed several laws to chip away at abortion rights, Sheppard reports. Women seeking an abortion have to listen to a lecture that they're terminating "the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," then wait 24 hours to get the medical procedure. And for 16 years, the state has had no abortion providers--Planned Parenthood flies in a doctor once a week to Sioux Falls.

I'm actually numb with shock right now and can't think of anything coherent to say other than the title to this entry. There's no clever icon I can use, no words to express how horrified, disgusted and actually violated I feel that this could be even be considered, let alone get this far.

If I think about this long enough, I'm going to start to cry, so this will be something that just gets pushed into the RAGE BOX until I can begin to actually process it and think about what could be done to stop it.

Just...

Shit like this is why there are only 836 doctors even willing to perform abortions in the US and that number probably just went down today.  I can't blame them, but I can hope that every pro-life woman out there finds herself needing an abortion.  A horrible thing to feel, let alone say?  Yes, but it's truly how I feel in this moment.  If you're willing to kill for this and allow other women to die for it, you should be willing to die for it yourself. 

Period.

Ohio “Heartbeat” bill could ban abortion just 18 days after conception

Quick show of hands, all you moms out there:

How many of you knew you were pregnant EIGHTEEN FUCKING DAYS after conception?

This is it.  I'm done.  From now on my stance on abortion is as follows:

My body, my choice.  Your body, your choice.  I don't care what you do with your body so long as you don't infringe on my body while you're doing it.  Every woman should have access to an abortion at any point during her pregnancy for any reason she chooses to have it.  PERIOD.  What is growing inside of her isn't alive until it takes a breath outside her body.  Until then, it is a fucking parasite and has ZERO rights that infringe upon the woman who is carrying it.   

No more fucking arguments about when a life becomes a life, because it leads to shit like this.  A life becomes a life when the woman carrying it CHOOSES to bring it into the world and not one moment before.  PERIOD. 

It only becomes a life when it is breathing outside of the woman.  NOT when it could theoretically take a breath.  When it is actually fucking BREATHING

If you don't like my definition of life, fuck off.  Seriously.  Fuck off.  Either I have the right to say what is done with my body AND WHEN or I don't.  If I do, I'm a human being.  If I don't, I'm a broodmare whose only purpose is propagation of the species.  If I don't, I should never be heard from and stay in my house, pumping out child after child with no other thought or reason to exist. 

The moment someone says, "Abortion should ONLY be allowed IF," it turns every woman into a beggar for basic human dignity and respect.  It makes female rights contingent upon what someone else feels is moral.  It takes my body and turns it into a vessel for someone else to fill with whatever they fuck they feel like putting in there.  

Either I'm a person or I'm an incubator.

Try and make me into an incubator.  I fucking dare you. 

Try. 
Inspired by more than one comment on the post that this post links to, I'm finally going to weigh in on the whole anti-PC, thought-police, this-word-has-another-meaning-and-no-one-can-own-a-word, I-don't have-to-change-simply-because-you're-offended school of thought.

I'm going to begin by saying that I'm guilty of using pretty much every word that is at issue at one point or another, some as recently as last year, so I'm not saying that I'm not in a glass house here. 

However.

For those who are against changing their language to remove certain words from their vocabularies because another person is offended by it, I ask the following question:

Who does it hurt? 

Seriously, who does it hurt to make the effort not to use words that others have found offensive?  I know that it's an effort to do so, so I guess someone could argue that it's hurting them by virtue of the fact that changing one's vocabulary and deleting certain words is hella difficult...  Well, I have to say that it's more difficult in the offline world, but online?  It's as easy as being careful of what one types.  I realize that for some, who type as quickly as they think, that could be a challenge, but seriously?  Who does it hurt?  Why is it such a big deal to just not be an asshat when someone asks you to do so?

Cut for possible triggers and an incomplete list of incredibly offensive slurs that everyone should know not to use. Ever.  )And because I've been educating myself a bunch lately, here are a bunch of links that all say all of this a lot better than I just did.

101 Primer

[livejournal.com profile] sparkindarkness' entire journal.

Read all of that and then come back to discuss, if you wish, :).

ETA: Proof that not being an asshat is an ongoing battle: Weak is ableist.  Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] 51stcenturyfox  for letting me know, :).

ETA 2: My comment thread on the post that started all of this is here

ETA 3: Drama communities are probably not the best place to start, lol, but if it were not for them I never would have found most of this stuff out, which is why I mentioned them.  The best place to start is with the 101 Primer and go from there, :).

This post has now been edited because my essential message was being lost and I was doing more harm than good by defending my position on one phrase.  Most of the comments regarding that phrase have now been screened.  I'm not a PoC, so my feelings on that phrase don't matter whatsoever and continuing to argue about it only detracts from the essential point of what I was trying to say. 

I apologize for the drama.

For the record I am US-born, white, queer though I easily pass for both female and straight, and able-bodied.  I have no personal experience with physical, racial or ethnic discrimination and I apologize for speaking for those groups as if I were personally invested in those particular slurs not being used.

The areas in which I have personal experience and/or a personal investment include: feminism/sexim, sex work, body image/food, sexual freedom, BGLTQP rights/homophobia, bullying, child abuse, the US foster care system, the US health care system, PTSD, anxiety, depression and mental health.  
1) The author who originally warned for "boy kissing boy" wrote back to me and thanked me for letting them know about how offensive people were finding it.  He or she is a class act, :).  I'm thinking about going through and PMing the authors over there who are the worst offenders and trying to change this on a grassroots level - thoughts?

2) On my post at [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants, someone commented to let me know that warning for slash is banned at the [livejournal.com profile] sherlockmas community, so it's not the entire fandom that's made of fail, just the largest community, but even so - not everyone, :).

3) My (so far unofficial) boycott has gotten a few people to bow out of joining fail!community or to not join at all, so I'm pretty pleased about that too, :). 

Thanks everyone, for your support.  The correspondence with those maintainers was really making me feel like I was somehow in the wrong (even though I knew I wasn't, if that makes sense?) and so I really appreciate all of you helping me get grounded back in reality again, :).
There has been a lot of fail going on in the header sections of some stories in a specific fandom.  However, while the fail seems to be more widespread in that fandom, this is a multi-fandom issue.  Not to mention that these are the contents of PM's and as such, I feel are due a certain level of anonymity, which is why I've removed all identifying names from them before posting them.  (They're backdated to make things easier on me.)

I give up.

I give up on the idea of changing people's minds on a widespread level. 

My initial idea was to change the 'warning' field to 'contains' so that there would be no value judgment placed upon any of the contents.  That was immediately shot down on another thread as 'devaluing the warnings'.  And the more I thought about it, the more that having anything consensual on the same line as non-consensual activities is a bad thing all around.  Even so, it still seems better to have a content advisory rather than a warning.

Cut for length, repetition, triggers and rambling. )



In a perfect world, people wouldn't care about a header being 'too large', they'd just put warnings and triggers on a separate line from other content and they'd ONLY "warn" for non-consensual triggers.  

I'm also going to go through and find that story that warned for 'boy kissing' and PM the author.  We'll see what happens.

So, any ideas as to how we can get fandom to be better about this?   Crap, I know I said I give up, but I really don't want to.  I'm feeling bitter, disillusioned and disgusted right now, but I think there must be some solution that I'm just not seeing that could stop people from being so utterly stupid and disrespectful towards other people.

ETA: I sent a 'heads up message to the mod that I corresponded with, letting them know that I was posting the correspondence publicly and telling them that they should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to allow people to warn for slash in their community.

This is what I just got back:

The message was:
This is [name redacted - a different mod than responded before] responding on this occasion. The bisexual mod, seeing as that appears to be so important to you.
In which I get called a raging militant and threatened with being banned for pointing out reality.  )



*********
Never been called a raging militant before.  I find I rather like it.  And if it's being a raging militant to point out complete and utter fail, I can live with that.  As for the community - if I get banned, I get banned.  Given that it would be for my behavior outside of the community, rather than anything I actually did in the community itself, I'd say that that would speak for itself.  :)  In fact, I feel that it only proves my point further.  Not to mention that I don't write for that fandom and even if I did, I'd post my stuff elsewhere. 

ETA 2: The "Happy Holidays" was the way they closed their message.  After all of that vitriol, they put that at the end.  Wasn't that sweet of them?
 

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