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There is No Such Thing as a "Classic Rapist"

From a very young age we are taught to fear strangers. Parent, teachers and loved ones warn children of stranger danger instructing them not to speak or go anywhere with someone they don’t know.

As we grow up this message is reinforced, particularly for women. We are told to be aware of our surroundings when walking alone late at night for fear of the stranger lurking in the bushes ready to attack. This story of the stranger hiding in the bushes or a dark alley is also often used when warning women about sexual assault. We are told we shouldn’t go out late at night alone, especially in parks, and that we should carry pepper spray in our purses to be ready to fend off violent attackers. So we grow up thinking we can pinpoint potential perpetrators — the creepy guy in the park, the man in the hoodie walking closely behind you.

It is this type of thinking that has skewed many of our perceptions about what rape really looks like. Take for example a recent trial where a man was unanimously found guilty of rape and sentenced to five years in jail. At his sentencing Judge Michael Mettyear had the following to say about the convicted man:

“I do not regard you as a classic rapist. I do not think you are a general danger to strangers. You are not the type who goes searching for a woman to rape.”

I bet if you asked Judge Mettyear what he meant by “classic rapist” we’d get some iteration of a creepy man who attacks women in dark alleys or behind bushes.

What’s worse in this case is that the judge continued his assessment of the case by saying things like:

“This was a case where you just lost control of normal restraint.”

“The victim was the worst for drink out of the two of them. She was completely out of it.”

“She was a pretty girl who you fancied. You simply could not resist. You had sex with her.”

I mean I could write a whole other blog post about these remarks but I digress. The point is that Judge Mettyear is clearly misinformed about what rape is. There is no such thing as a “classic rapist.” Men don’t just lose control and rape women. Being drunk doesn’t mean a woman can’t be raped. This man didn’t have sex with his victim, he raped her.

Messages like this are not only incredibly insensitive to victims, but dangerous for everyone. When we believe that these types of myths are reality, victims start to question what happened to them and are reluctant to report, people don’t understand what consent really look likes, attackers might not know they are raping women, rapists go free, rapists rape again, rape cases aren’t investigated, the list goes on and on.

The results are devastating. Consider the rape crisis on college campuses. Women in college are highly susceptible to rape, yet a new report reveals that nearly half of colleges and universities haven’t looked at a single case of rape and 20 percent don’t investigate all the incidents they report to the feds. Perhaps one of the reasons this is happening is because even administrators aren’t sure what qualifies as rape.

It’s high time we dispel myths about rape and start creating real understanding of what sexual assault looks like in all it’s forms. First, and foremost, rape isn’t a crime that is predominately committed by strangers. In fact, 73 percent of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger and 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim. Perhaps we’ve held tight to the myth of stranger danger because we don’t want to live in a world where we think people we know can commit rape, but unfortunately the majority of perpetrators are the people who are closest to the victims. We can also lay the dark alley and bushes myth to rest because more than 50 percent of sexual assaults actually occur within 1 mile of the victim’s home.

Beyond statistics, I have found that one of the most effective ways to dispel myths about rape is to hear women’s stories. No two rapes are the same which is part of what makes it so difficult to define and so easy to instead rely on myths. This powerful story called “Breakfast” is an incredible example of the kinds of rape stories we don’t often hear about. Here is an excerpt:

The morning after I was rape I made my rapist breakfast…The night before he hovered over me and said ‘So pretty.’ When I said no, he said ‘Why not?’ When I asked him why he was doing this, he said ‘You are just so beautiful.” So, the morning after, I made him breakfast. There is another story that I like better. I fight. I spit. I struggle. In this story, I am brave. But this is not my story, and it is not true, because I am not brave and I did not fight.

Another powerful story, “My Rapist Doesn’t Know He’s A Rapist (Because My Culture Hasn’t Taught Him He Is One),” is another great example that points out some of the reasons people don’t know what rape is:

I convinced myself that if it was rape, I would have been injured. If it was rape, I would have been aware of that in the moment, and fought him off. If it was rape, I would have told on him.

My rapist doesn’t know he’s a rapist because in his mind, he was drunk too, so we were on the same page, right?

He doesn’t know he’s a rapist because society has taught him that drunk girls like me who come on to you are asking for it.

He doesn’t know he’s a rapist because, like I did at first, he believes that if he doesn’t physically hurt someone, it’s not considered rape.

He believes that since he ‘knew me’ for one night and didn’t attack me on the street, it’s not considered rape.

I applaud these brave women for sharing their stories so candidly. It is these kinds of stories that will help dispel myths about rape once and for all and prove that the idea of a “classic rapist” really does not exist.

Filed under rape women

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There are women and there are men
There would not be one save for the other
Their differences are few and lovely

There are women and there are men

There would not be one save for the other

Their differences are few and lovely

Filed under men women

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10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

 
This article updated from original, which appeared in Role Reboot.
"Stop interrupting me." 
"I just said that."
"No explanation needed."
In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a “young lady” and a “boy being a boy.” Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways  we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.
I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I’ve decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it’s quite amazing how often it happens. It’s particularly pronounced when other men are around.
This irksome reality goes along with another — men who make no eye contact. For example, a waiter who only directs information and questions to men at a table, or the man last week who simply pretended I wasn’t part of a circle of five people (I was the only woman). We’d never met before and barely exchanged 10 words, so it couldn’t have been my not-so-shrinking-violet opinions.
These two ways of establishing dominance in conversation, frequently based on gender, go hand-in-hand with this last one: A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.

10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

 

This article updated from original, which appeared in Role Reboot.

"Stop interrupting me." 

"I just said that."

"No explanation needed."

In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a “young lady” and a “boy being a boy.” Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways  we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.

I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I’ve decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it’s quite amazing how often it happens. It’s particularly pronounced when other men are around.

This irksome reality goes along with another — men who make no eye contact. For example, a waiter who only directs information and questions to men at a table, or the man last week who simply pretended I wasn’t part of a circle of five people (I was the only woman). We’d never met before and barely exchanged 10 words, so it couldn’t have been my not-so-shrinking-violet opinions.

These two ways of establishing dominance in conversation, frequently based on gender, go hand-in-hand with this last one: A woman, speaking clearly and out loud, can say something that no one appears to hear, only to have a man repeat it minutes, maybe seconds later, to accolades and group discussion.

Filed under women gender confidence social male speech eye contact ignore

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To Hell With the Supreme Court

100,000 SIGNATURES NEEDED: OVERRIDE THE SUPREME COURT

Sign now to help us reach 100,000 strong calling for an override of the Supreme Court’s birth control decision.

In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court declared that corporations can deny women birth control coverage. But now, Democrats in Congress have developed legislation overriding the Supreme Court’s wrong-headed decision.

Plain and simple — A woman’s boss should not have a say in her health care decisions. No one’s boss should.

Sign now to help us reach 100,000 strong calling for an override of the Supreme Court’s birth control decision.

Filed under hobby lobby corporate whores women reproductive health womens choice

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Girls, 12 Year Old Girls, 12 Year Old Girls Who Are Scientists
Understanding the Limits of Lionfish Invasion
Lauren’s research has since been peer reviewed three times. The results of the expanded study by Dr. Craig Layman, Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Fellow at North Carolina State University, and Zachary Jud, a graduate student at Florida International University, was published this year in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes. Lauren’s research was cited and credited with the initial discovery.
She called her experiment Understanding the Limits of Lionfish Invasion. The hypothesis was that lionfish needed a certain amount of salinity in their environment. Scientists measure water salinity by the amount of salt found in 1000 grams of water. So if there is one gram of salt in 1000 grams of water, the amount of salinity would be expressed as 1 part per thousand, or 1ppt.
The salinity of the area where Lauren found the lionfish is part of the Jupiter inlet that connects to the Atlantic Ocean and averaged the same ocean salinity of 35 parts per thousand.
For two weeks, Lauren observed the lionfish’s food intake and stress levels as she reduced the salinity of the water. She believed that because of their natural ocean habitat, it would be unable to survive with a salinity of less than 13 parts per thousand. However, when that level was reached, there was no change in their behavior. She continued to lower the levels until she reached a salinity of 6 ppt. The lionfish survived.
Lauren had discovered that lionfish can survive in freshwater.
Not bad for a 12-year-old whose research project earned her third place in a sixth grade science fair.

Girls, 12 Year Old Girls, 12 Year Old Girls Who Are Scientists

Understanding the Limits of Lionfish Invasion

Lauren’s research has since been peer reviewed three times. The results of the expanded study by Dr. Craig Layman, Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Fellow at North Carolina State University, and Zachary Jud, a graduate student at Florida International University, was published this year in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes. Lauren’s research was cited and credited with the initial discovery.

She called her experiment Understanding the Limits of Lionfish Invasion. The hypothesis was that lionfish needed a certain amount of salinity in their environment. Scientists measure water salinity by the amount of salt found in 1000 grams of water. So if there is one gram of salt in 1000 grams of water, the amount of salinity would be expressed as 1 part per thousand, or 1ppt.

The salinity of the area where Lauren found the lionfish is part of the Jupiter inlet that connects to the Atlantic Ocean and averaged the same ocean salinity of 35 parts per thousand.

For two weeks, Lauren observed the lionfish’s food intake and stress levels as she reduced the salinity of the water. She believed that because of their natural ocean habitat, it would be unable to survive with a salinity of less than 13 parts per thousand. However, when that level was reached, there was no change in their behavior. She continued to lower the levels until she reached a salinity of 6 ppt. The lionfish survived.

Lauren had discovered that lionfish can survive in freshwater.

Not bad for a 12-year-old whose research project earned her third place in a sixth grade science fair.

Filed under women science environment exotic species ecosystem florida lionfish

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 Maine GOP Legislator: Rape should be legal. 


Republican: If a Woman Has Right to an Abortion, a Man Should Have Right to Force Himself on a Woman
Republican Maine state Representative Lawrence Lockman is under fire for comments he’s made in the media regarding rape, abortion, and homosexuality.
An investigation by Mike Tipping, an activist with Maine People’s Alliance, found numerous offensive comments made by the Republican in various newspaper interviews.
Perhaps the most inflammatory was a press statement from 1995 in which Lockman says “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”




GOP is SHIT

Maine GOP Legislator: Rape should be legal. 

Republican: If a Woman Has Right to an Abortion, a Man Should Have Right to Force Himself on a Woman

Republican Maine state Representative Lawrence Lockman is under fire for comments he’s made in the media regarding rape, abortion, and homosexuality.

An investigation by Mike Tipping, an activist with Maine People’s Alliance, found numerous offensive comments made by the Republican in various newspaper interviews.

Perhaps the most inflammatory was a press statement from 1995 in which Lockman says “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

GOP is SHIT

Filed under rape republican politics women abortion children

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currentsinbiology:

Breastfeeding and infant sleep
In a new article published online today in the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Professor David Haig argues that infants that wake frequently at night to breastfeed are delaying the resumption of the mother’s ovulation and therefore preventing the birth of a sibling with whom they would have to compete. It has already been documented that smaller gaps between the births of siblings are associated with increased mortality of infants and toddlers, especially in environments where resources are scarce and where infectious disease rates are high, and Professor Haig believes that the benefits of delay are such that the selective forces are strong enough to have engendered a significant evolutionary response.

Professor Haig says, “The duration of postpartum amenorrhea is a major determinant of interbirth internals (IBI) in natural fertility populations with more frequent and more intense nursing, especially at night, associated with prolonged infertility. Natural selection will have preserved suckling and sleeping behaviours of infants that suppress ovarian function in mothers because infants have benefited from delay of the next birth. Maximal night waking can be conjectured to overlap with the greatest benefits of contraceptive suckling.”

D. Haig. Troubled sleep: Night waking, breastfeeding and parent-offspring conflict. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2014; 2014 (1): 32 DOI: 10.1093/emph/eou005

currentsinbiology:

Breastfeeding and infant sleep

In a new article published online today in the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Professor David Haig argues that infants that wake frequently at night to breastfeed are delaying the resumption of the mother’s ovulation and therefore preventing the birth of a sibling with whom they would have to compete. It has already been documented that smaller gaps between the births of siblings are associated with increased mortality of infants and toddlers, especially in environments where resources are scarce and where infectious disease rates are high, and Professor Haig believes that the benefits of delay are such that the selective forces are strong enough to have engendered a significant evolutionary response.

Professor Haig says, “The duration of postpartum amenorrhea is a major determinant of interbirth internals (IBI) in natural fertility populations with more frequent and more intense nursing, especially at night, associated with prolonged infertility. Natural selection will have preserved suckling and sleeping behaviours of infants that suppress ovarian function in mothers because infants have benefited from delay of the next birth. Maximal night waking can be conjectured to overlap with the greatest benefits of contraceptive suckling.”

D. Haig. Troubled sleep: Night waking, breastfeeding and parent-offspring conflict. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2014; 2014 (1): 32 DOI: 10.1093/emph/eou005

Filed under women infants health

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Why is exposing the world to non-sexualized female nudity important?
The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power.

1.  Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame.  It’s not good for us.  Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing  representations, is important.
2. Female public nudity is usually treated as a moral offense, a cause for concern and discussion, but it’s  rarely allowed to be a source of non-sexual female power.  Male nudity is an entirely different thing.  When your average (straight) man is seen nude or semi-nude, it’s often considered humorous, as in frat boys streaking.  Or it’s a sign of virility and athleticism.  When it’s not, for example, the jarring images of the  torture of Iraqi men in Abu Ghraib, men – vulnerable, humiliated and in pain – are  feminized by their nakedness.
3. Female nudity is not just about sexualization, it’s about maintaining social hierarchies, like those of race and class.  Non-idealized female bodies used autonomously undermine a continuous narrative about body-based sex and race differences. When our cultural production is singularly focused on hyper-gendered,  racialized and sexualized representations of nudity, it is easier to maintain  racist and sexist ideas – and nude female bodies outside socially approved, sexualized contexts challenge those.
The cultural regulation of female nudity and portrayals of sexuality is also a powerful way in which women’s bodies are used to pit us against one another and to reinforce hierarchies among men. Dark bodies, especially women’s, have  always been available for public consumption: sale, rape, breeding, medical experimentation and more and the staying power of racist and sexist mythologies about white women and black men, rape and sex, are  evident every day.  When women take ownership of the circumstances of their own nudity, they can defy others’ attempts to place them within these hierarchies. Dunham’s casual yet implicitly confrontational nudity in some ways refuses to cater to the myth of the vulnerable, pure, white woman that serves as a racist backdrop to portrayals of black women as inferior.  But very few black women have the ability to  challenge dominant representations of their bodies and roles in the way that Dunham does, however, and that, too, is a function of our hierarchies.
4. Female public nakedness as protest or social commentary is not new and is critical, expressive and censored speech.   Lady Godiva is far from the only woman to use her nudity to achieve political ends. Barbara Sutton’s excellent  recounting of her experiences with naked protests in Brazil is chock-full of historical and analytical insights.  Women have  regularly used their nakedness to protest  corruption and exploitation that go along with colonialism.  It’s among the most important reasons why  Femen’s (topless) neocolonial narrative is  offensive.  Prior to Tunisia’s Amina Sboui’s  topless protest (after which she was arrested, subjected to a virginity test and fled), Egyptian activist  Aalia Magda (also in exile) posted pictures of herself naked to protest Shariah law and censorship. Last January,  hundreds of women in the Niger Delta marched half-naked in protests against Shell Oil Company practices in their community.  This was a repeat of  earlier and similar protests.  These were peaceful, unlike  last month’s in Argentina when an estimated  7,000 women stormed a cathedral defended by 1,500 rosary-bearing Catholic men. They fought, spat, yelled, spray-painted people and were accused, without a shred of  irony, of gender-based violence against Catholic men. Many of these women were topless.

Why is exposing the world to non-sexualized female nudity important?

The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power.

1.  Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame.  It’s not good for us.  Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing  representations, is important.

2. Female public nudity is usually treated as a moral offense, a cause for concern and discussion, but it’s  rarely allowed to be a source of non-sexual female power.  Male nudity is an entirely different thing.  When your average (straight) man is seen nude or semi-nude, it’s often considered humorous, as in frat boys streaking.  Or it’s a sign of virility and athleticism.  When it’s not, for example, the jarring images of the  torture of Iraqi men in Abu Ghraib, men – vulnerable, humiliated and in pain – are  feminized by their nakedness.

3. Female nudity is not just about sexualization, it’s about maintaining social hierarchies, like those of race and class.  Non-idealized female bodies used autonomously undermine a continuous narrative about body-based sex and race differences. When our cultural production is singularly focused on hyper-gendered,  racialized and sexualized representations of nudity, it is easier to maintain  racist and sexist ideas – and nude female bodies outside socially approved, sexualized contexts challenge those.

The cultural regulation of female nudity and portrayals of sexuality is also a powerful way in which women’s bodies are used to pit us against one another and to reinforce hierarchies among men. Dark bodies, especially women’s, have  always been available for public consumption: sale, rape, breeding, medical experimentation and more and the staying power of racist and sexist mythologies about white women and black men, rape and sex, are  evident every day.  When women take ownership of the circumstances of their own nudity, they can defy others’ attempts to place them within these hierarchies. Dunham’s casual yet implicitly confrontational nudity in some ways refuses to cater to the myth of the vulnerable, pure, white woman that serves as a racist backdrop to portrayals of black women as inferior.  But very few black women have the ability to  challenge dominant representations of their bodies and roles in the way that Dunham does, however, and that, too, is a function of our hierarchies.

4. Female public nakedness as protest or social commentary is not new and is critical, expressive and censored speech.   Lady Godiva is far from the only woman to use her nudity to achieve political ends. Barbara Sutton’s excellent  recounting of her experiences with naked protests in Brazil is chock-full of historical and analytical insights.  Women have  regularly used their nakedness to protest  corruption and exploitation that go along with colonialism.  It’s among the most important reasons why  Femen’s (topless) neocolonial narrative is  offensive.  Prior to Tunisia’s Amina Sboui’s  topless protest (after which she was arrested, subjected to a virginity test and fled), Egyptian activist  Aalia Magda (also in exile) posted pictures of herself naked to protest Shariah law and censorship. Last January,  hundreds of women in the Niger Delta marched half-naked in protests against Shell Oil Company practices in their community.  This was a repeat of  earlier and similar protests.  These were peaceful, unlike  last month’s in Argentina when an estimated  7,000 women stormed a cathedral defended by 1,500 rosary-bearing Catholic men. They fought, spat, yelled, spray-painted people and were accused, without a shred of  irony, of gender-based violence against Catholic men. Many of these women were topless.

Filed under female nudity women sex objectify nipples breasts person

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The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to recognizing forced marriage as an issue of violence against women, Maitra said. And many agencies and individuals could help but don’t get involved because they think of it as a cultural practice and not domestic violence.

The U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to recognizing forced marriage as an issue of violence against women, Maitra said. And many agencies and individuals could help but don’t get involved because they think of it as a cultural practice and not domestic violence.

Filed under women marraige honor