Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

Myths of the Nation Part I

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We (Canada) also have no history of colonialism. So we have all the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the t hings that threaten or bother them.”

– Stephen Harper, PM of Canada at the 2009 G20 World Summit

Yes, Canada, yes. Keep up your global peacekeeping myth. Never mind, you have yet to sign the UN treaty on Indigenous rights or migrant worker rights (I’m looking at you too Singapore). Never mind your history of residential schools, systemic violence against Indigenous people (economic, social, sexual, psychological etc). Never mind de-skilling of immigrants of color….never mind high rates of homelessness. Never mind that 1 in 4 women within your national borders are sexually assaulted each year. Never mind that you send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to support and continue the wars launched by the USA. Never mind all that.

Go out there and make the world jealous of all the good things you have to offer!

This is what rape culture looks like

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I found a printout entitled Rape Culture 101 on my office desk and decided to share it with you.

If you choose to read the article (which I do encourage), just click on the title above. Below are some quotes I pulled out that I found most insightful:

In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes.

I get sick of hearing people tell me that “That’s just the way things are.” or “You’re still young and idealistic” when we talk about issues of sexual violence or any other kind of oppression. Yes, oppression has always existed but guess what? People died, were tortured, were exiled, were discriminated, worked their asses off…fighting for the rights we have today – for women to vote, for women to speak in classrooms, for people of color to be considered as more than just slaves, just stupid farmers. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. So how do you expect to help make the world a bit better for future generations, for your children, for your younger siblings…with that kind of attitude?

Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

I actually don’t even know how to respond to this. It’s so true and even I take it for granted.

Rape culture is admonishing victims (usually women) to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish rapists to not rape.

I just…I don’t even want to hear “It was her fault” arguments anymore. It’s unacceptable. Period. Nobody asks to be raped…nobody goes out shopping thinking “Hmm…I wonder if I will be raped in this.” This argument is ILLOGICAL.

Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

Yes, just yes.

Rape culture is using the word “rape” to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like “That ATM raped me with a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.”

I HATE it when people use the word “rape” freely. And when someone tells them to stop…the response is “Oh lighten up. I was just kidding.” REALLY? REALLY? You were just kidding about violence? Kidding about something that 1 in 4 women in Canada experience? (I couldn’t make sense of statistics in Singapore but I suspect it’s similar or higher due to underreporting and the taboo nature of sex-related topics/lack of positive sex education in public schools.) That’s a 25% chance that someone reading your Facebook post or someone you are talking to or someone who overhears you might have experienced rape or sexual assault. Your use of the word might trigger negative emotional reactions. Do you want to be responsible for reminding someone of a negative experience? Stop using the word “rape’ as a joke.

Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitive enough.

And no. I’m not too sensitive or serious. People just need to learn to be more sensitive and more serious. Violence is rooted in inequality and oppression – of women to be submissive Barbie dolls, of men to be aggressive douches and of anyone who don’t fit into those two categories to be deviant or at fault in some way.

Everyone has a part to play in this movement. There is still so much more to be done.

Learn how to intervene when you witness something unacceptable – MIT Bystander Intervention techniques