‘NZ misandrist of the day’

Standard

Hey kids. Just a really quick post.

Yes, I am aware of this new facebook page.

Yes, I am aware of his mentioning me multiple times.

Yes, I am getting increased traffic and nasty comments.

But most importantly, I am okay.

I have had this kind of targeting before. Mainly from Neo Nazis, but from other hate groups as well. I have never met this particular person before, and don’t know what is motivated him. It may be just good old fashioned hatred. But we don’t know. The following post is written after some pretty close observation, and experience with certain kinds of mental health issues.

I have looked over the page, and yes, it is misguided and nasty. However, and this is said without knowing or ever hearing of the man running this page (in fact, the first I ever heard of him was last night), I don’t know if it is. I think he seems mentally ill, and although there is some good discussion to be had about the problematic nature of his little venture, I think we need to be a bit more cautious than some people have been. I am not saying the people commenting on his page and trolling him, or even just trying to get a genuine discussion going are wrong. But I do think we need to step back and look at the wider picture. I think by focusing on this we are letting go of wider issues. And I think he is getting increasingly distressed and in a worse mental state. Which is dangerous for  his targets and people around him.

So I’m suggesting people to take a step back until the wider motivation becomes clear. But more importantly I am am asking people to support allies and friends. To help anyone who needs it. To keep being the kick arse feminists you are.

xx

Maus

The left will eat its young… And blame the women.

Standard

This current drama being stirred up over at the Daily Blog is just the same old ‘shut up about rape/lady problems for the good of the movement’ in a more high brow tone of voice. Isn’t it shocking that when we start getting movement on women’s issues, and start having a decent conversation on rape culture, shit goes to hell. And we start getting told about those naughty women costing us the elections. And called names, and called mouthy and annoying and other gendered insults.

Well fuck that. This is nothing more than a message of support and love to QoT (who has written extensively about all this, far better than I ever will) , and all those mouthy feminists who won’t shut the fuck up.

Seriously, this is ridiculous. And so fucking cliched. I had another post to write, about something awesome, but today I just don’t have the energy. I’m so frustrated.

ARRGH. WHEN WILL IT FUCKING END. JUST…fuck.

OPEN LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENT BILL SEARLE

Standard

Dear Mr Searle,

I read in an article yesterday that while discussing the current Roast Busters controversy, you ‘…refuted a suggestion there was a “culture of disbelief” of sex victims within the police’.  Mr Searle, I put it to you that such a culture does in fact exist; it is unfortunately one I have had firsthand contact with. Furthermore, I put it to you that the manner in which complainants are treated is damaging and dismissive, and that your own procedures are not even being followed. Below is an account of my own recent sexual assault, and the experiences I had with the NZ Police as a result of my decision to file a report.

On New Year’s Eve 2010/11, I was sexually assaulted by a close friend. It was a fairly boring Auckland New Year’s; a few house parties were on but everybody seemed listless or ill tempered. This friend and I separated from the larger group we were with and persevered. Surely somewhere there was some good music, or at least a fireworks display! After a halfhearted count down with a bunch of bored Ponsonby 20-somethings, we made an exit and went into said friend’s place of work in search of fun. A workmate offered us speed. Due to having a heart condition I am generally not a proponent, but my friend, a more seasoned user, assured me I would be fine if I took a small amount. Opting to trust his opinion, the workmate then racked up what I suspected was a generous line (maybe two lines worth) and I snorted it. It was after I had taken it all and was starting to feel light headed that my friend casually announced the amount I had taken was akin to five. Panic ensued.

The next bar we went to I was noticeably on edge. Due to a rape-at-party that occurred when I was barely 15, my social anxiety is not good at the best of times, and in this instance it truly took flight. Unexpectedly my friend vanished, my heart was beating far too strongly in my chest and I decided it was time to get a cab home.

You’d think that would have been the end of my night. What instead ensued was my friend insisting on coming over and being let in, despite my saying I no longer wanted his company and needed to sleep. What ensued was him knowingly triggering me by forcing a discussion of my prior rape. What ensued was him telling me that I’d feel better if I had a hug, despite me crying, asking him repeatedly to leave and telling him not to touch me. What ensued was me trying to go to bed and usher him out the door, but him following me into my room instead. What ensued was my tachycardia playing up, my vision blurring, dizziness increasing and breathing becoming difficult. What ensued was my not being able to fend him off as I panicked and tried to gain control over my pulse. What ensued then, was sexual assault.

Somehow, in spite of the tachycardia and the on set panic attack, I managed to scream ‘fuck off’ one last time. I remember him saying something angrily, but then withdrawing. After that I remember nothing because I blacked out.      

Dawn came, and with it renewed panic at him still being in my room. I employed a ruse to get him out as quickly as possible, locked the door behind him, and lay shivering alone for what felt like hours. I did all the things you are ‘not supposed to do’. I showered. I washed my sheets.

My room did not feel safe, but I didn’t know where else to go. I got shaky; I briefly considered killing myself; I decided against it because ‘I’d be damned if I was going to Iet it ruin my life this time’. This time. Sometime within the next 48 hours I managed to pick up the phone and call my parents. My father came round after work and I told him what had happened, feeling a sense of relief at not having to keep it in any longer. We discussed my asking my counselor at Auckland Sexual Abuse Help where to from here.

Mr Searle, I am giving you these details so as you can begin to understand how difficult and stressful it was for me to then go ahead with the following.

My counselor gave me a direct contact at the Rape Unit at Auckland Central Police Station. I had the option to go with a support person, but I decided to go it alone. Given the time of year, the officer in question was on holiday and my call went through to voicemail. Having psyched myself up for the ordeal of reporting I couldn’t deal with a wait, so I walked into the station and walked up to the front desk.

I took a deep breath.

‘I need to report a sexual assault’, was, I think, what I said.  Various ears pricked up and started twitching behind the desk. The officer I spoke to was female, which put me at ease, and she quietly took me aside. I told my story.

To this day I remain thankful she was the first officer I spoke to because though she remained professional, her response indicated she both understood and believed me. Unfortunately, her rank was such that I then had to repeat myself to a male officer in a room to one side. ‘Give us the details again’, he said. ‘I’ll need to write them down’. I was also informed that I would need to come back a second time to give my statement on camera. He listened, but seemed distracted. I felt there was a strong focus on my drug usage. I got panicky as I had to detail exactly what had happened. In spite of all this, I left that first visit shaky but exhilarated. I had filed a report! I had actually done it! Now it was in the hands of professionals.

Before my next visit, nerves really set in. This time I would be dealing with the specialist team, I told myself. It was confronting, but it would be ok. Nonetheless, making a statement on camera was a very formal procedure and I was worried that by telling the story for the third time I was going to accidentally leave something out.

I showed up for my appointment, only to be shown to the same room and asked to give another informal account of what had happened. I was confused as to why no camera was present and as to why we were going round in circles. ‘Well’, the officer announced, ‘seeing as this was not a penetrative rape, the unit here aren’t required to deal with your case and we’re referring you to your local station’. I wasn’t sure whether what I was feeling was rage or tears, but I exited the police station the minute I was able to and took a long walk with the loudest, angriest music I had on my iPod turned to high volume. I couldn’t believe I was going to be forced to tell my story again.

Making an appointment with the local constable involved giving a skeleton outline before even setting foot in the station. On the day in question I drove over and arrived early. For a good 15 minutes I sat in the car, petrified, and tried to calm myself by observing the public walking by. Somewhere there was the hum of a lawnmower. The brake and hiss of buses on a nearby arterial route filtered in and out of my consciousness. Locking the doors, I walked towards the immense entrance and a minute or two later a constable led me through to an upstairs room.

I went through all the details again, this time specifying that my desired outcome was a restraining order. The law states, it transpired, that someone has to hurt you on at least TWO separate occasions before a restraining order can be issued. One sexual assault is not enough. ‘My superior may be willing to grant you a protection order though’, I was told. ‘This means that the alleged assailant cannot step onto your property or the property of your place of work’. All our shared haunts, local bars, cafes, stores, were still of course fair game. Knowing that I was leaving to live in Melbourne about 6 weeks later, I made the snap decision that I would go for it. ‘There’s one proviso’, he said. ‘We’ll need you to sign your written statement and also sign this document saying that as result of this decision you surrender the right to prosecute or take any further action against the accused’.

I was dumbfounded, but I knew I didn’t want to take it to court and that I needed to ensure my safety until my departure.

I signed.

At an appointment a few days later, my counselor was speechless as I imparted the goings on of the previous few days. A call to the Auckland special rape unit confirmed that police at that station had not followed procedure, that I SHOULD have spoken to the specialists themselves and that under no circumstances should I have had to repeat myself that many times or sign what I signed. The officer I had initially been referred to, now back from holiday, extended an apology to me and said I was welcome to detail my experiences in a complaint if I so desired. By this stage I’d lost count of how many times I had had to explain what’d happened. 

Panic won the final round. I never sent the letter.

Before I flew to Melbourne and escaped the situation, however, I had a phone call from the officer at Avondale Police Station and a visit at my place of work to let me know the protection order had been served. ‘Well’, he said, ‘I’ve issued the order. But, errr, are you sure there wasn’t perhaps a misunderstanding or, well, a misinterpretation? He [the assailant] looked really shocked and really hurt’. I asserted, though stumbling over my words, that there certainly had not been a mistake, thanked him for his time and bundled him towards the door as quickly as possible. My keyboard became a punching bag for the remainder of the afternoon, but, I told myself, ‘at least it is done and I am getting the fuck out of here’.

Mr Searle, the lack of sensitivity and procedure I was shown by the NZ Police in reporting my sexual assault continues to upset me nearly three years later. It is unfathomable to me, how the NZ Police could repeatedly put people through this, let alone girls at the tender ages of 13 through 15. Had I summoned the courage, age 15, to report the incredibly damaging and public rape I underwent then, I dread to think how these kinds of responses would have affected me. As a queer female, I dread to think how survivors of queered rape may have their charges dismissed because of limited understandings of queer sex and legal definitions of intercourse. I ask, as someone who has been a complainant, that you and your superiors take a long, hard look at how the police force is equipped to deal with these matters. Your system has failed me, Mr Searle. It has failed many others. Please don’t let it fail these girls too.

Perhaps a positive?

Standard

The fabulous Queen of Thorns has written about some of the positives of this nightmare here.

I want to thank her for reminding me that although this is a nightmare that seems like it will never end, discussion is happening. And that is only a good thing. Perhaps after this, the landscape will change, even if it is only a little.

Thank you for reminding me to keep fighting, to not give up.

x

Better work stories?

Standard

I, like the rest of the world, have been closely following the so-called “Roast Busters”(better name, child rapists) case. A lot of what I want to talk about has been said by people far better than me. But I have been asked to write about it, from a rape survivors perspective. I have thought long and hard about it, and while I have written a lot on twitter, this is still an hard post to write. This will be personal, in-articulate, and contain a lot of links.

Firstly; to those condemning the girls who are supporting the rapists, I have this to say. The girls said “It’s just normal teenage boy behavior”. Think about that. Really think about it. These are young girls who think that this is normal. Our own Prime Minister said the boys needed to “grow up”. Not be put in prison. But to grow up. Oh well, boys will be boys. This is how fucking NORMAL this is. This, my dears, is Rape Culture in action. It’s not being made up by crazy feminists. It’s not a academic exercise. This is children normalizing gang rape. I doubt I could find a better example of what rape culture is.

To the (mainly male) media and police (who I will get to in more depth in a moment) questioning sobriety, and clothing choices; really? REALLY? God. How fucking trite. Could you please change the record? Could you listen to what you are saying? Are you telling me that you see a girl in a short skirt and decide to rape her? Are you telling me all men are rapists just waiting for a girl to pass out? Seriously? I can’t even be fucked writing more about how ridiculous and pathetic this line of questioning is. Its been written a million times, and I’m sick of it. Just fuck off with your bullshit.

I have heard a few questions about the reason for mentioning the 13 year old survivor was a virgin. We know why they are asking this is to explain she wasn’t a slut, and it wasn’t her fault. Ick. But I think it is worth mentioning for a different reason; it adds a new level of trauma. Can you imagine what it is like to have your formative sexual experience to be force? Because I can. And I know what it does to you. You will never get to know what it is like to ease into sexuality with trust and care. You wonder if every kink you have is a result of rape. You start sex from a bad place. Sex should be a wonderful, beautiful thing. It should be about discovery, and young women are already put under so much pressure about their sexuality, and their sexual value. Add to that guilt, self doubt, self loathing and trauma, and I do think the fact she was a virgin is relevant. Just not for the reason people think.

Alright, the big issue. The police and their handling of this case (I wish to say, before I say anything else, is that not all police are bad. There are problems with the culture, but I know there are also good police who are truly horrified by this). The previous points touch on some of this, and lots has been written about the problems with the police in this case. But I wish to draw your attention to something; this behavior by the police IS NOT NEW. If you have read this blog before, you know some of my history. So let me just draw your attention to two (linked) incidents, in when the police both ignored, and aided sexual abuse. I know for a fact I am not alone in these situations, and I am by far the only woman in my situation. I will however, stick to incidents I know through and through; my own. Firstly, my own rape by a serial rapist, and secondly, Rob Gilchrist.

As you hopefully know; Rob Gilchrist was a ‘spy’. He was paid by the police to spy on lefties and gather information. Rob Gilchrist knew about Anthony, the serial rapist. He was in fact, involved in the “community action” to help deal with Anthony. He advocated NOT going to the police, and not telling the sexual violence program that some of his victims were underage (As they would tell the police). Here is a police employee, trying to make sure the police didn’t have to get involved. There is no doubt that he told the police about this, and that they did nothing. Here is something truly criminal, truly awful. The police paid someone to find out about illegal action, and when they found out something horrific, they did NOTHING. And I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume they told Rob to make sure the police didn’t have to get involved. A big leap, perhaps. But we know he took his orders from them. And we know they didn’t want to compromise their spy, which this could have done.

And then, lets not forget, that the police paid Rob $600 a week to spy. When he, in the course of his spying, sent the police Child Fucking Pornography, of the girls he was spying on, the police not only did nothing, they didn’t tell him it was inappropriate. They accepted said CHILD PORN, and KEPT FUCKING PAYING HIM.

The police as a organization have some real fucking issues to address in regards to rape culture and their role in it. Hopefully now the eyes of the world are on them, they will take it seriously.

Links;

Brilliant, thoughtful post about what to do when you are feeling helpless

More by scuba nurse

The always awesome Queen of Thorns

and

And a brilliant piece on rape jokes

The lovely Hels

I think I will add more in the days to come, but this is just a jumble of thoughts I need to get out of my head.

Babe of the day.

Standard

I recently had a post up on The Hand Mirror, which I will repost here for ya’ll. You can find it here: http://thehandmirror.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/guestie-babe-of-day.html

 

Thanks to Maus for writing and submitting this. Readers may also be interested in an alternative set up just last night:”NZ Misogynist of the Day.”.

In the past month or so there have been several ‘Babe of the Day’ facebook pages popping up. The worst offenders seem to be the universities, although some of the more questionable pages such as ‘New Zealand Pair of the day’ and ‘WINZ babe of the day’ have their authors and affiliations hidden. I was recently approached by TV3’s nightline for a feminist opinion on these pages, and although I gave a fairly lengthy and detailed report of the problems associated with the pages, it was boiled down to ‘Angry feminists are killjoys’, and I was subsequently told across various social mediums that I didn’t like them because I was ugly. Of course.

The biggest problem is the lack of consent. These pages are created without the subjects consent; in fact on many of them, you are unable to nominate yourself. So we have pictures of girls, taken from their private facebook pages, and posted for all to see, and for all to ‘appreciate’. In fact, on the most recent ‘New Zealand Pair of the day’ page, out of the eight pictures posted, four have the subjects asking the pictures to be taken down, something the moderators ignored. When I posted under these comments telling the girls that although facebook doesn’t care about sexual harassment, you could report the image as your intellectual property and they would remove it fairly promptly, my comments were deleted and I was banned from posting further. There was even a picture of a woman holding her newborn child on one of the groups pages, which violates several peoples consent.

NOTE:: TVNZ, after interviewing me and listening to me talk about lack of consent, used several images from these pages, WITHOUT GAINING THE GIRLS CONSENT.

There are of course other problems with these pages. The university ones are full of comments like ‘who cares what she studies, shes bangin’, and although some of them have men featured, the sexisim is very apparent; for starters, mostly the guys are ‘Blokes of the Day’, not babes, and the accompanying text reads like a dating profile; ‘Bloke is a great guy, loves puppies and kittens and volunteers at homeless shelter’, and other such harmless banalities. Another interesting thing is that there seems to be a semblance of ethnic diversity in the ‘blokes’, you have many from many races, and the photos are typical headshots. In direct contrast, the women are uniform in their race, invariably skinny, and all wearing not much at all in the full body shots (I want to stress there is nothing wrong with being white and skinny, or dressing however you like. I just wanted to point out the standards of beauty are surprising given the diverse populations of universities).

There are enough reasons to have body image problems, and it is difficult to succeed as a woman in a academic world without being judged solely on how you supposedly look in a bathing costume. The response to my ten second sound bite was enough to show the reactions you get for speaking out from a feminist viewpoint. And I’m sick of it. There are hundreds of articles about there about why we don’t need to be judged for our looks, about the issues we face in the workforce and academic worlds.

I really feel like we should have come further than this, that I shouldn’t have to be typing this, I shouldn’t have to say something as simple as gaining a womans consent before encouraging hundreds of people to jack off to her picture is not a hard or wrong thing. And I certainly shouldn’t be abused for it, or told that I am ugly and therefore worthless. Wake the fuck up people. Consent isn’t hard, and I’m sick of having to shout ‘Yes means Yes’.

 

 

So, what happens now?

Standard

Firstly, a HUGE shout out to the Queen of Thorns for this post. Seriously, it nearly had me in tears. I haven’t had that kind of support and understanding from many people, and never in such a public way. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

But it has been a few days, and I have to ask; what happens next? There hasn’t been much attention given to this issue on the blogsphere, in particular by male bloggers. TUMEKE! talked about the photos, but to be honest it seemed to read as titillation rather than real anger. And that is it. And I’m still angry, and serious fucking discussions still need to take place. When the fucking hell are we going to deal with the rampant sexism and misogyny in our left wing communities? How many more women are going to be mocked and beaten and broken down before we start listening and ACTUALLY talking (and, on a purely selfish note, how many more times will that woman be me)?

 

Why aren’t more people outraged? Is it really as simple as ‘it’s a woman who got fucked over, so who cares’? Really? How trite. How depressing.

I guess I’m still here, I’m still shouting?

My throat is sore….