Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault, victim blaming and rape culture.
Well, technically this is the opposite of a “victim-blaming edition” — here’s a (growing) list of links with something sensible to say in response to Mia Freedman’s “tell your daughters not to drink” article of October 23.
There’ve been dozens of articles and probably thousands of tweets debating victim blaming, rape prevention, rape culture and survivor support in the last couple of weeks. It’s exhausting. If you’re interested in the discussion, you’ve probably experienced diatribe worthy of screencapping and sending to STFU Sexists. Hopefully you’ve had some productive discourse too. Here are some useful links you can use to support and encourage productive discussion surrounding rape prevention. Want to learn how to support survivors better? These are good for that too.
- “How to write about rape prevention without sounding like an asshole“, Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel, 16/10/13
- “Rape Culture 101: Why Mamamia has some explaining to do“, Sian Campbell, Scum Mag, 27/10/13
- “Alcohol is a misdirection when we talk about rape“, Jessica Alice, Hersute, 23/10/13
- “How Not to Raise a Rapist“, Van Badham, The Guardian, 29/10/13
- “What’s actually wrong with telling women not to drink” (including strategies that CAN work to prevent rape), Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., The Dirty Normal, 25/10/13
- “This Is a Blokes’ Issue“, Ken Lay, The Hoopla, 04/09/13
- “Your Vagina Is Not a Car“, Clementine Ford, Daily Life, 23/10/13
- “This Is What Rape Culture Looks Like“, Giovanni Tiso, 08/11/13
- “The link between binge drinking and sexual assault” (good summary, with further links), Claire Jansen, Lip Mag, 26/10/13
- “Love is a battlefield, consent is not“, Sarah Iuliano, Lip Mag, 21/06/13
- “When Rape Happened to Me“, Kirstin Whalen, Overland, 05/11/13
- “Fact Sheet: Rape Myths” (Science! re: who believes rape myths and what are the implications for victims?), A European Association of Psychology and Law — Student Society Publication, 01/12 + related APA study (requires payment to view)
- “The (Nonexistent) Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Consequences of Enthusiastic Consent”, Jaclyn Friedman, Yes Means Yes Blog, 03/01/11
See also: Friedman, J and Valenti, J. 2008. Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power in a World without Rape. Berkeley: Seal Press.
Got another article or link worth adding? Let me know in the comments!
Read Tricia Lockwood’s whole poem here. It begins:
The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.
The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.
The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.
Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke …
This is an incredibly powerful prose poem. Expresses precisely what I’ve been trying to express via poetry for five years now — through drafts and drafts — and have never been able to achieve.
Lockwood’s narrative shares strong similarities with my story. Definite #TW; I’m sure there are many others with similar stories out there.
As well, it’s rare to see a poem do the rounds that is both GENUINELY EXCELLENT (from a literary perspective) and also political.
Required reading, ladies and gentlemen. This resonates and resonates.
Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault and rape jokes
“At some point, the talk on stage turned to what subjects can and cannot be considered funny.
“That’s where the details get hazy, but it’s alleged that a woman in the audience yelled out “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!” or something to that effect, to which Tosh replied, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that chick got raped by like five guys?”
“Of course, they’re both wrong, but we can’t just collectively settle on that conclusion and power on as a team, so instead, the incident turned into a gigantic controversy that resulted in halfhearted apologies and everything.”
Using your stage time to encourage a crowd, “jokingly” or not, to rape — violently assault — a person isn’t a joke or part of any comedy routine. It’s harassment and bullying, and the women belittled by Tosh had every right to speak out.
So many — so many — women have been harassed, assaulted and/or raped. That includes your friends, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, sisters, mother, colleagues, peers — and audience. (And let’s not forget that men are raped and assaulted too.) We can be 100% sure that Tosh made that comment to a room in which some — or even more than some — had suffered assault. That’s like joking about cookin’ with gas to Holocaust survivors who lost loved ones to horrific abuse.
A friend of mine put it really well today: we don’t take offence — we are hurt by the way rape jokes make light of horrific experiences and we are frightened by intimidation and threats. No one goes to a comedy show to be frightened. Tosh might have thought his “just joking” threat was hilarious — but fear of assault (and the onus to a. prevent it and b. prove it was genuine) is something women face daily. We’re always looking over our shoulders.
It’s surely time to stop talking about Daniel Tosh. But Cracked, and other commentators, have shared his flaw: a lack of empathy for their audience. We choose not to make rape jokes not to avoid causing offence, but to avoid triggering upsetting emotional responses and terrifying memories.
I really feel like Cracked is losing the plot, lately (and their female audience).