Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety. It’s like having a mild case of hay fever that never goes away. It’s not debilitating. You’re not weak. You’re not afraid. You just suck it up and get on with your life. It’s nothing that’s going to stop you from making discoveries, or climbing mountains, or falling in love. Sometimes you can almost forget about it. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, subtly sucking your energy. You learn to avoid situations that make it worse and seek out conditions that make it better.

If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.

If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?

A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual violence that befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.

If a woman does go back to a strange man’s hotel room at 4am, even if she only wants a coffee and conversation, she’s more or less given him the power to rape her. No jury is going to believe she went up there for anything but sex. So, don’t be surprised if a stranger reacts badly to that suggestion.

Attention, Space Cadets: Do Not Proposition Women in the Elevator

I wish I didn’t need to reblog stuff like this. I wish people *got it*. But judging from the ridiculous response to these posts, stuff like this clearly still needs to be repeated. 

(via lavender-labia)

Essentially, the idea of a “slut” is a myth told to women by keep them in their place. Just as Santa will not actually bring you coal on Christmas if you break a few of the house rules, you will not actually turn into an intrinsically tainted, unpalatable creature if you break one of society’s rules and have sex with one too many men. The word “slut” isn’t a criticism for having too much sex necessarily, but for being a woman: a real, living, breathing woman with quirks, foibles, normal sexual feelings, and personality; and failing to live up to the societal ideal for a woman: the passive, pliable, perpetually innocent, and sexually available Barbie doll.

anticapitalist:

Gwen Moore Speech On Sexual Assault Against Women

Since the mid-March madness of those senate judiciary Republicans who voted no on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it would extend a few more U-visas to abused immigrant women, cover people in same-sex relationships and enhance funding for community-based programs that directly address people of color, I’ve been suffering from an acute case of cognitive dissonance.

I don’t think any sane person could argue that since it passed in 1994, VAWA hasn’t done a lot of good. It has indeed funded and facilitated the work of thousands of people who shelter, counsel, advise and advocate for victims of intimate partner violence. Its most recent iteration addresses sexual violence, a necessary step given the prevalence of this form of harm. I also believe that VAWA represents and seeds a cultural shift away from the blatant acceptance of violence against women. Without a VAWA,Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) wouldn’t stand on the House floor and talk about how she’d been sexually abused, raped and beaten. She wouldn’t have declared that “violence against women in this country is not levied against just Democrats but Republicans as well. Not blacks or whites or Hispanics but against native people as well. Not just Christians or Muslims and Jews but non-religious people—atheists. Not just rich people or poor people but middle-class people. And not just against heterosexual women but homosexual couples. It knows no gender. It knows no ethnicity. It knows nothing. And I’ll tell you: violence against women is as American as apple pie.”

Still, I have to say that in its funding and implementation, this (previously) bipartisan legislation has also made law enforcement its priority—a scary prospect for the systematically criminalized massive that includes black and brown, poor, undocumented and LGBT folks.

Back in 2000 before radical conservatives successfully soaked the media, public and legislative bodies in tea,Angela Davis laid out some still-essential, still-relevant theoretical questions about VAWA:

On the one hand, we should applaud the courageous efforts of the many activists who are responsible for a new popular consciousness of violence against women, for a range of legal remedies, and for a network of shelters, crisis centers, and other sites where survivors are able to find support. But on the other hand, uncritical reliance on the government has resulted in serious problems. I suggest that we focus our thinking on this contradiction: Can a state that is thoroughly infused with racism, male dominance, class-bias, and homophobia and that constructs itself in and through violence act to minimize violence in the lives of women? Should we rely on the state as the answer to the problem of violence against women? …

The major strategy relied on by the women’s anti-violence movement of criminalizing violence against women will not put an end to violence against women—just as imprisonment has not put an end to “crime” in general.

I should say that this is one of the most vexing issues confronting feminists today. On the one hand, it is necessary to create legal remedies for women who are survivors of violence. But on the other hand, when the remedies rely on punishment within institutions that further promote violence—against women and men, how do we work with this contradiction?

the-fidgety-princess:

If you aren’t a fan of Patrick Stewart (Captain Jon Luc Picard of STNG), this might make you ask yourself why not?“Our house was small, and when you grow up with domestic violence in a confined space you learn to gauge, very precisely, the temperature of situations. I knew exactly when the shouting was done and a hand was about to be raised – I also knew exactly when to insert a small body between the fist and her face, a skill no child should ever have to learn. Curiously, I never felt fear for myself and he never struck me, an odd moral imposition that would not allow him to strike a child. The situation was barely tolerable: I witnessed terrible things, which I knew were wrong, but there was nowhere to go for help. Worse, there were those who condoned the abuse. I heard police or ambulance men, standing in our house, say, “She must have provoked him,” or, “Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.” They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.” ~Patrick StewartBy: Independence House, Inc. Hyannis, MA

Please share this.

the-fidgety-princess:

If you aren’t a fan of Patrick Stewart (Captain Jon Luc Picard of STNG), this might make you ask yourself why not?

“Our house was small, and when you grow up with domestic violence in a confined space you learn to gauge, very precisely, the temperature of situations. I knew exactly when the shouting was done and a hand was about to be raised – I also knew exactly when to insert a small body between the fist and her face, a skill no child should ever have to learn. Curiously, I never felt fear for myself and he never struck me, an odd moral imposition that would not allow him to strike a child. The situation was barely tolerable: I witnessed terrible things, which I knew were wrong, but there was nowhere to go for help. Worse, there were those who condoned the abuse. I heard police or ambulance men, standing in our house, say, “She must have provoked him,” or, “Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.” They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.” ~Patrick Stewart
By: Independence House, Inc. Hyannis, MA


Please share this.

Reblogged from kiwi-princess