Thus Spake Zuska

Silence Is The Enemy

By now perhaps you have heard of the Silence Is The Enemy project started by Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection with help from Isis at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess. From Sheril’s post:

Today begins a very important initiative called Silence Is The Enemy to help a generation of young women half a world away.Why? Because they are our sisters and children-the victims of sexual abuse who don’t have the means to ask for help. We have power in our words and influence. Along with our audience, we’re able to speak for them. I’m asking all of you-bloggers, writers, teachers, and concerned citizens-to use whatever platform you have to call for an end to the rape and abuse of women and girls in Liberia and around the world.

In regions where fighting has formally ended, rape continues to be used as a weapon. As Nicholas Kristof recently wrote from West Africa, ‘it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement.’ The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ An International Rescue Committee survey suggests 12 percent of girls aged 17 and under acknowledged having been sexually abused in some way over the previous 18 months. Further, of the 275 new sexual violence cases treated Jan-April by Doctors Without Borders, 28 percent involve children aged 4 or younger, and 33 percent involve children aged 5 through 12. That’s 61% age 12 or under. We read about their plight and see the figures, but it’s so easy to feel helpless to act in isolation. But these are not statistics, they are girls. Together we can do more. Mass rape persists because of inertia so let’s create momentum.

Please go on and read Sheril’s entire entry. There you will find all the details about the project, as well as links to other blogs participating, and you will find which blogs are donating their proceeds this month to Doctors Without Borders. (TSZ is not only because my tiny monthly blogging proceeds already go to a charity.) You’ll want to visit those blogs often, knowing that your clicks will help raise money for a good cause.

Janet Stemwedel’s blog is one of those, and her post is one you might also want to read. Jessica at Bioephemera is also donating, and her post provides a great list of resources.

I’m not going to attempt to cover the same ground here that every one else has. I urge you to go to Sheril’s post, read what she has to say, check out all the links and read everyone else’s posts on this topic. What I am going to do is quibble with just one thing that Sheril has said, for a particular reason.

Sheril begins her post speaking very bravely about her own experience of sexual assault. She then refers to her assailant with the phrase “monsters like this man”.

I want to make the provocative suggestion that it is not helpful in some ways to label perpetrators of sexual assault – even those who rape very, very young girls – as “monsters”. I say this as someone who was sexually assaulted at an extremely young age.

I was assaulted by someone I know. I would not call him a monster, though what he did is monstrous. Calling perpetrators of sexual assault monsters makes it seem like somehow we can cut them out of a crowd, easily identify them somehow, know them as in some way different from the more general group of average men. Yet this is not the case. The next time you are in a crowd, look around you. Can you tell who, in that crowd, are the men who have molested their daughters or sisters or cousins or nieces? Of course you can’t. They look like every other man. They come from every walk of life, every social class, every type of occupation.

Allan Johnson writes in The Gender Knot:

Rather than devalue or degrade patriarchal manhood, warfare celebrates and affirms it…In stark contrast to massive graveyards of honored dead, the memorials, the annual speeches and parades, there are no monuments to the millions of women and children caught in the slaughter and bombed, burned, starved, raped, and left homeless. An estimated nine out of ten wartime casualties are civilians, not soldiers, and these include a huge proportion of children and women, but there are no great national cemeteries devoted to them. War, after all, is a man’s thing.

It is important to work to end the suffering of women and children who daily live in fear of rape in Liberia, the Congo, Darfur, and elsewhere. It is equally important to remember that rape has been a weapon of war since war began, and that war has been used to “celebrate and affirm” patriarchal manhood often through that very use of rape as a weapon, by every nation under the sun. One of the ways in which rape functions as a weapon is to show the enemy – the other man – how weak he is. He cannot even protect his “own women”. Rape of the enemy’s women is a display to the enemy male of powerful masculine power, as well as a “perk” of successful aggression.

Sheril Kirshenbaum wrote, quoting Nicholas Kristof, “The war has shattered norms, training some men to think that ‘when they want sex, they need simply to overpower a girl.’ ” Has it really shattered norms? Or just enshrined, entrenched, enhanced, and elevated a central norm of patriarchal manhood that women exist for men’s pleasure, that a woman, any woman, even a three-year-old “woman” should be available at a man’s whim to service his needs? Women’s bodies are that upon which men enact their struggles to display their masculinity to each other. The rapes being carried out in Liberia and elsewhere are not being carried out by monsters; they are being perpetrated by men, average men, men who are in many cases known to their young victims. The rapes are acts done by men to assert their masculinity and a sense of control in a world in which very little is actually under their control.

Allan Johnson says we deny the reality of women’s oppression because it’s too difficult to admit that there is a real basis for conflict between men and women. There is just no nice way to dance around saying that sexual abuse, assault, and rape of young girls and women are perpetrated by men – men we know, men we trusted, men we live and work with, normal men not monsters. That the understanding of a right to women’s bodies is built right into notions of patriarchal masculinity. Those of you who come on this blog and argue that you can’t help ogling tits in the workplace because evolution and your manly man nature makes you do it are on one end of a continuum that ends with the mass rape of young Liberian girls. It’s all of a piece, and it all makes me want to puke. I’m sure that makes you uncomfortable, and you want to say “no, no, tit ogling is COMPLETELY different and totally innocuous!” Let me assure you: you are wrong.

Now go back and read Sheril’s or Isis’s or Jessica’s or Scicurious’s or Tara’s or Janet’s posts and take some of the positive actions they suggest. I’m just tired and steaming mad and I have to get up early and take mom to the doctor.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua
    June 2, 2009

    Instead of being grateful for all the freedoms that you have in this great country, all you do is complain! You have post after post about how mean men are to you. You are blind to all the wonderful opportunities that both men and women have in this country.

    You have a post here about how four-year-old girls are being gang-raped! But instead of this horrific tragedy giving you some perspective, you somehow manage to turn it yet again into how bad men are. Instead of being grateful that you live in the United States of America instead of Liberia, you have the audacity to suggest that all men are capable of this monstrosity and that harmlessly staring at your boobs is just a step removed from gang-raping a child.

    I have served three tours of duty in Iraq. I have seen friends (I’m sure horrible men in your eyes) get blown into bits protecting your rights and freedoms. They didn’t do it for money or fame. All they want is for all of you to be a little grateful for all that you have in this land of ours. And instead you just equated us all to these Liberian monsters. Well thanks a lot. Your freedom to speak your mind is yet another one we die for.

  2. #2 Zachary
    June 2, 2009

    Joshua, the fucking point is that these rapes are not isolated atrocities. Patriarchy enables rape, and patriarchy is all over the globe; nice upstanding American men are as complicit in it as “these Liberian monsters.” Go back and look at what Zuska says about rape being a weapon, and the notion that men have a right to women’s bodies.

    About your horror at this idea that all men are capable of “this monstrosity”: why wouldn’t we be? If you know of a way to separate the normal men from the monsters, perhaps you could tell it to all the women who are raped by people they trusted — by friends, boyfriends, spouses, or family members. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

    Finally, about how you’re so convinced that sexism really isn’t that bad here and Zuska should just shut up about it: what do you know? Zuska’s point is that you don’t have to look at the most violent offenses to see men oppressing or trying to oppress women. And as a man, you’re much more likely to be oblivious to all of the “little” things that work in your favor. That’s exactly why you should listen to women like Zuska.

  3. #3 JPop
    June 2, 2009

    FYI, little Joshua is trolling in many locations. If it lives under a bridge and eats goats…

  4. #4 Ian
    June 2, 2009

    “Joshua” thinks that staring at “boobs” is harmless.

    “Joshua” thinks that Americans dying by the thousands in Iraq is somehow protecting our freedom to stare at “boobs”.

    That should tell you all you need to know about “Joshua”.

  5. #5 SKM
    June 2, 2009

    Women’s bodies are that upon which men enact their struggles to display their masculinity to each other. The rapes being carried out in Liberia and elsewhere are not being carried out by monsters; they are being perpetrated by men, average men

    Wow, you really knocked this one out of the park. Amazing post.

    It’s all of a piece, and it all makes me want to puke. I’m sure that makes you uncomfortable, and you want to say “no, no, tit ogling is COMPLETELY different and totally innocuous!” Let me assure you: you are wrong.

    Hear hear. These are tough words, as most people do not want to acknowledge that this continuum even exists, let alone recognize that behavior that seems normal to them is on it.

  6. #6 mpatter
    June 2, 2009

    A couple of months ago I would have been riled by this post. On the surface it seems to come perilously close to decrying all men as potential raping “monsters” (which possibly has a grain of truth), and from there it’s only a short step to proposing some policy to keep these dangerous creatures under control. As a man, this line of thought makes me worry about my future safety. But I’ve learned the difference between attacking a patriarchal culture (and the acts it permits) and attacking individuals.

    If I have one objection, it is that – not to defend the ugly and demeaning practice of “ogling” – the two ends of a continuum can be rather different. I exist on one end of a biological continuum linking me through parent-child relationships to a mosquito. I am not a mosquito. Ogling and raping little girls might be motivated by the same set of impulses, but they are morally distinguishable.

  7. #7 LostMarbles
    June 2, 2009

    I have served three tours of duty in Iraq…And instead you just equated us all to these Liberian monsters.

    You do realize that there are American soldiers in Iraq who raped and murdered Iraqi women? You might not have done so, but as part of war men do rape women even American men.

  8. #8 Zuska
    June 2, 2009

    You have a post here about how four-year-old girls are being gang-raped! But instead of this horrific tragedy giving you some perspective, you somehow manage to turn it yet again into how bad men are.

    Yeah, because those four-year-old girls are being gang-raped by…wolves???

    Let’s get something straight. “Men” are not bad. The ways that patriarchy defines and encodes masculinity, and thus how men living in a patriarchy are encouraged to act out their understanding of themselves as masculine men, are bad.

    Mpatter, there is no question that two ends of a continuum can be different. That is why we call it a continuum. The issue is that the continuum connects things that we would otherwise not see as related. Is tit-ogling as morally reprehensible as raping a child? Nobody’s saying that. Being a person who’s both experienced sexual molestation as a child, and tit-ogling as an adult, I think I can speak with some personal authority as well as theoretical insight when I say that these experiences are NOT the same and yet they ARE related.

  9. #9 SKM
    June 2, 2009

    On the surface it seems to come perilously close to decrying all men as potential raping “monsters” (which possibly has a grain of truth), and from there it’s only a short step to proposing some policy to keep these dangerous creatures under control.–mpatter

    I want to point out a very important distinction that is often misunderstood: saying that rapists are regular men and we can’t tell which men they are is NOT perilously close, or even close at all, to saying that all men are potential rapists.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this “all men are potential rapists” business attributed to feminists. It simply is not true that feminists claim all men are potential rapists, or that all men are bad, or wev. The point is that some men are rapists and we can’t tell which ones, so from women’s point of view, any given man could potentially be one of those rapists, for all we know.

    That is obviously different from saying that all men are dangerous creatures. (I am pointing this out for the general audience because it comes up so much, not to pick on mpatter, who has already said that he’s on board with the post)

  10. #10 ktbug ladydid
    June 2, 2009

    To all you wonderful men who are posting (Zachary being one) about the importance and support of this message, I just wanted to say, I heart you. :)

  11. #11 Roi des Foux
    June 2, 2009

    Joshua, instead of being grateful for all the freedoms that you have in this great country, all you do is complain! You have comment after comment about how mean women are to you. You are blind to all the wonderful opportunities that both men and women have in this country.

    Seriously, man, learn to read! She states repeatedly that “rapists” are a subcategory of “men”. I know she doesn’t say so explicitly, but it’s pretty clear to me that she’s not saying the former group is the entirety of the latter.

    I’d say that swiping a candy bar from the grocery store is one end of a continuum that ends with murdering your spouse for the insurance money. So you’d say that shoplifting is “a step removed” from murder?

    And just so we’re on the same page here, not a single American has died in Iraq to protect our freedoms. Bush lied through his teeth to make it look like Saddam had WMDs and connections to Al-Qaeda. Saddam was as much a threat to our safety and freedom as the Easter Bunny. The tragic reality is all those friends you saw die did die for money and fame. Other people’s money and fame. They died for a lie, but they died believing they were protecting freedom, so I honor their sacrifice.

  12. #12 Joshua
    June 2, 2009

    Alright, I fully realize that somehow I am a bad guy here. I won’t try and argue with y’all because I will never convince you. Let me boil my objection down to one sentence – are you seriously suggesting that any man is capable of raping children? Think of the men you know – brother, dad, son. You think that the only difference between them and these rapists in Africa is how they were brought up? If that is what y’all believe, that is truly disturbing and offensive to me.

    By the way, regardless of whether or not Saddam had WMDs (that is way above my pay-grade to decide – I am a Captain, USMC), yes we are dying over there for your freedoms. There are people there who want more than anything else in the world to kill Americans – kill all of you! We are taking those bullets and bombs so you don’t have to. It’s as simple as that.

  13. #13 jc
    June 2, 2009

    mpatter: “Ogling and raping little girls might be motivated by the same set of impulses, but they are morally distinguishable”

    If ogling tits is a-okay to some asshole, it’s a short leap to forcing himself on women, and a short-leap to forcing himself on kids. It’s NOT about the sex!!!!! It’s about control, domination, and humiliation.

  14. #14 DrugMonkey
    June 2, 2009

    One of the harder things with which I’ve had to grapple is understanding the mindset of a old friend of mine who went into the military. Especially as we’ve seen a conflict or two during our adult lifetimes and had a heated exchange or three about them.

    I come to this understanding in Joshua’s partial defense. He is almost necessarily obliged to maintain this good/evil dichotomy, seeing those against whom he fights as unmitigated bad. And, presumably, viewing those on his own side as almost unalloyed righteous.

    Think about it. How else could a relatively sane person operate in a war theatre where s/he has to intentionally kill people on the other side?

    I would encourage you to keep that in mind as you attempt to eviscerate the black hat / white hat parts of his position…

  15. #15 Comrade PhysioProf
    June 2, 2009

    I come to this understanding in Joshua’s partial defense. He is almost necessarily obliged to maintain this good/evil dichotomy, seeing those against whom he fights as unmitigated bad. And, presumably, viewing those on his own side as almost unalloyed righteous.

    Think about it. How else could a relatively sane person operate in a war theatre where s/he has to intentionally kill people on the other side?

    Not only that, but he is also necessarily obliged to view the *cause* for which he fights as a righteous one: “protecting freedom”, “taking those bullets and bombs so you don’t have to”, etc. This is because the alternative–that he and his comrades kill, are maimed, and die for nothing more than greed and delusion–is simply too horrifying to contemplate.

    Interestingly, however, there are *some* soldiers who have fought in Iraq who have come to the opposite, correct, conclusion concerning this matter, despite the psychic pain it must surely cause. They are in the overwhelming minority.

  16. #16 SKM
    June 2, 2009

    are you seriously suggesting that any man is capable of raping children?

    No, nobody here did that, Joshua. I already addressed this in an earlier comment:
    The point is that some men are rapists and we can’t tell which ones, so from women’s point of view, any given man could potentially be one of those rapists, for all we know.

    No more of this, please.

    I come to this understanding in Joshua’s partial defense. He is almost necessarily obliged to maintain this good/evil dichotomy, seeing those against whom he fights as unmitigated bad.

    Yes, DrugMonkey, I get that and agree. However, coming into a thread where the author discusses being sexually assaulted, a thread that is about the targeting of women as a class for torture and extermination (see the references to femicide in Zuska’s links) and grousing that we’re ungrateful is a whalloping display of privilege. Of course it will be called out here. And that’s all that’s happened.

  17. #17 PalMD
    June 2, 2009

    By the way, regardless of whether or not Saddam had WMDs (that is way above my pay-grade to decide – I am a Captain, USMC), yes we are dying over there for your freedoms. There are people there who want more than anything else in the world to kill Americans – kill all of you! We are taking those bullets and bombs so you don’t have to. It’s as simple as that.

    Josh, first, thanks for serving, and thanks for reading this blog. I’m not sure what aroused your defensive reaction but that doesn’t make your feelings less real.

    Assuming you are not personally a rapist (and I assume you are not) there really is nothing here for you to disagree with. Zuska pointed out that most rapists are not monsters, but regular men, immersed in their cultural norms, the logical extension of which leads to rape and other violence against women. Wars have always involved rape, but not all soldiers are rapists.

    I’m not sure why you equate love of country for being silent about rape. I love my country, but still hate the fact that our culture, as well as most others, turn a blind eye (to differing extents) on violence against women.

  18. #18 JustaTech
    June 2, 2009

    Joshua: Yes, I can imagine circumstances that could lead my brother to being a rapist. There, satisfied? In case you had not noticed, most people are capable of truly terrible actions, even people you would describe as “good”.

    I read an article about the early days of the Iraq invasion where one leader (don’t remember branch of service) explained that he punished the troops for littering the desert because it was not a long step from littering to shooting dogs to taking pot-shots at the Bedouin. I would really like to think that this is not true, but I was not there.

    A friend was accused of rape, and I cannot being to describe how this has changed how I think about and behave around this person. I am sure that you understand how exhausting and debilitating it is to be on your guard all the time; this is how many women feel, because it is so very hard to determine which men might rape them, and which ones would never even think about it.

    Keep thinking about it.

  19. #19 mpatter
    June 2, 2009

    Zuska: thank you for replying. I recognise this issue has a special gravity for you, and I hope I’m not being offensive by being aloof.

    jc: the acts themselves are quite different in terms of the damage they inflict on their target. A strong character might brush off sexual glances, but no-one gets over rape. If there were really such a “short step” in mentality between the two acts, then it would be a miracle if any woman managed to pass a week, anywhere in the world, without being sexually abused.

  20. #20 Cara
    June 2, 2009

    As a man, this line of thought makes me worry about my future safety. But I’ve learned the difference between attacking a patriarchal culture (and the acts it permits) and attacking individuals.

    If I have one objection, it is that – not to defend the ugly and demeaning practice of “ogling” – the two ends of a continuum can be rather different.

    Mpatter: I beg your pardon? Hearing something true about what men do to women makes YOU worry about YOUR safety? I guess you don’t get that cookie just yet.

    Just so you know: The ends of the continuum are NOT “rather different”. You just tried to invalidate Zuska’s entire post.

  21. #21 Cara
    June 2, 2009

    the acts themselves are quite different in terms of the damage they inflict on their target.

    Laydees! The Arbiter is here!

    If there were really such a “short step” in mentality between the two acts, then it would be a miracle if any woman managed to pass a week, anywhere in the world, without being sexually abused.

    NO WOMAN DOES pass a week without some form of discrimination or abuse based on her sex.

    You really don’t have a clue, do ya, sport?

  22. #22 SKM
    June 2, 2009

    it would be a miracle if any woman managed to pass a week, anywhere in the world, without being sexually abused.–mpatter

    NOW you’re catching on!

  23. #23 mpatter
    June 3, 2009

    Cara, re #20: I’d be worried for my safety if, years down the line, a blanket condemnation of all males became a mainstream view. Happily, this is not the view that Zuska (or anyone else here) is actually proposing. I was really talking about the rash inference “Zuska thinks all men are bad” that I could have drawn, had I skim-read her post, ignored the feminist context, and failed to make the distinction between attacking men and attacking patriarchy. I thought the comment might be relevant because a few people do seem to come here and miss that distinction. Zuska’s post, and this campaign, is valid and timely.

    re #21: You caught me – it was callous of me to try to quantify or compare the emotional damage, as it’s not something I have to endure. Still, if I had to guess the percentage of wolf-whistling macho douchebags who actually to on to commit serious assault, I’d put it fairly low. But I could be proved wrong very easily.

  24. #24 Nadai
    June 3, 2009

    Still, if I had to guess the percentage of wolf-whistling macho douchebags who actually to on to commit serious assault, I’d put it fairly low.

    The ‘wolf-whistling macho douchebags’ are already committing assault, and it’s only not serious to you because you don’t have to live every day unable to walk down your own damn street without having to wonder which ones of them will go farther than shouting obscenities given the slightest opportunity.

  25. #25 Pizza Diavola
    June 3, 2009

    it’s only not serious to you because you don’t have to live every day unable to walk down your own damn street without having to wonder which ones of them will go farther than shouting obscenities given the slightest opportunity.

    Seconded. Just walking down the street to and from my apartment, in the last month I’ve had to wonder if

    (a) the men yelling and ogling me from their truck were going to try to run me over, when I told them to fuck off, and they accelerated through the intersection I was crossing.

    (b) the man who was “just” whistling at me was going to grab me, after he whistled, turned around, and followed me halfway down the block.

  26. #26 mpatter
    June 3, 2009

    By “serious” I meant “physical”.

  27. #27 Pizza Diavola
    June 3, 2009

    By “serious” I meant “physical”.

    Well, that’s a problem right there, because non-physical damage can be serious, too. During my daily commute, men have leered, yelled, whistled, shoved themselves in my face, and snapped pictures. Did any of that inflict physical damage? No. So I guess it’s not serious. However, it did make me feel extremely uncomfortable and unsafe walking around town, jogging, taking public transit, or basically going anywhere that I might run into men. As you might conclude, that basically left me with the option of staying in my apartment all day, which was financially, mentally, and socially untenable. So, I, like so many other women, deal with being verbally harassed just as the price of being able to go outside and live my life. And you think that that’s not serious?

    Being yelled at, being leered at, having complete strangers yell, “Nice tits!” or, “I’d fuck you!” or, “suck my cock!” or, “bitch!” or, “oh, it’s the hot girl walking by,” or, “MMMMMMM,” or, “do you love me? Why don’t you love me? Fucking bitch,” leaves no physical damage, sure. However, it destroys my peace of mind. It destroys my ability to calmly go through my day, minding my own business. It destroys my ability to just exist, because every time I walk by a man or a group of men, I flinch and speed up. I have to wonder, is this man going to yell at me? Is he going to remind me that in his eyes, I exist as nothing more than a sex object that he feels entitled to verbally judge and comment on, like a piece of meat? Is he going to remind me that in his eyes, I have no right to simply walk on a street without being verbally molested, reduced to tits, ass, and fuckability? Is he going to yell a so-called compliment, then get angry and scream racist and sexist slurs at me because I don’t respond to his verbal bullying with a smile and flirting?

    Verbal harassment is shattering. It is soul destroying. It is serious, and your attempt to separate out physical and verbal harassment implies that verbal harassment is not serious and so it’s ok.

    On a side note, when was the last time that physical assault happened without a verbal component? Personally, let me think – there was the guy who grabbed my arm when I was walking home from dinner. He yelled at me. There was the guy who assaulted me when I was sightseeing. He yelled at me, too, although I couldn’t understand him. Now that I think about it, aside from being groped on a crowded bus, no one’s physically assaulted me without verbally harassing me, too.

  28. #28 jc
    June 3, 2009

    mpatter, you really are dense, aren’t you?

    Did you catch the part above where I wrote it’s not about the sex? Refresher: it’s about control, domination, and humiliation. Imagine coming into work everyday with an asshole learing at you. Licking his lips. Stroking his cock. Standing over you looking down your shirt. Making sexual comments and calling you demeaning names. BUT NO TOUCHING! SEE!! NO TOUCHIE!! NOT PHYSICAL!

    A woman will more than likely lose her job for reporting the asshole because THE ASSHOLE IS USUALLY HER BOSS, and if not, he’s almost always in a position of power over her. The ungrateful bitch should be thankful to have a job and the boys in charge are fucking saints for being able to tolerate her presence and pay her. The asshole gets a slap on the wrist (and don’t think for one minute that he stops… he just learns how to be sneakier). At best, she finds another job in a non-hostile office.

    Go ahead and say physical abuse is worse than verbal abuse. I double dog dare you.

  29. #29 SKM
    June 3, 2009

    By “serious” I meant “physical”.

    In addition to all of PizzaDiavola’s points, I will point out that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to tell when/if any given verbal assault will become physical. SOme do, some do not, and we cannot tell which ones will. So your distinction has little meaning from the practical point of view of women who live with threats on a daily or weekly basis.

    Now, please, no more hair-splitting, minimizing, and what-about-the-menning. It’s disrespectful of this post’s author and of the cause to which it is dedicated.

  30. #30 Zuska
    June 3, 2009

    I am going to go completely against my nature and give mpatter a cookie:

    I was really talking about the rash inference “Zuska thinks all men are bad” that I could have drawn, had I skim-read her post, ignored the feminist context, and failed to make the distinction between attacking men and attacking patriarchy. I thought the comment might be relevant because a few people do seem to come here and miss that distinction.

    Quite a few, most of them men, and I thank you for posting in a way that hoped to dissuade some of them from making their usual stupid d00dly rash inferences.

    Now I will take the cookie away.

    Zuska’s post, and this campaign, is valid and timely.

    Of course it is! I don’t post stupid useless fake shit! But thank you for validating me.

    Sigh. Mpatter, I hope you can hang in there and listen to the anger of women and understand that women are angry for reasonable reasons that have nothing to do with you personally, and that if more men were willing to tolerate the discomfort that comes with listening to expressions of women’s anger over all the shit we have to be angry about, it would be a step towards making the world better. To the question “what can I do?” I answer, “be willing to listen to women speak of their experiences and anger. Just listen. And don’t tell them what they should feel or how it really is or why they shouldn’t be so upset or angry.”

  31. #31 mpatter
    June 4, 2009

    Of all the impressive responses, none hit me harder than SKM, #29.

    I will point out that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to tell when/if any given verbal assault will become physical. SOme do, some do not, and we cannot tell which ones will. So your distinction has little meaning from the practical point of view of women who live with threats on a daily or weekly basis.

    It’s quite sad that I didn’t see it this way to begin with. I’m sure if I had to put up with this crap, I wouldn’t trivialise it, inadvertently or otherwise.

    I came here with preconceptions, and they are being skilfully deconstructed – I couldn’t have hoped for more.

    P.S. “valid and timely” was in response to this from #20:

    You just tried to invalidate Zuska’s entire post.

    …which, of course, was the last thing I wanted to do.

  32. #32 Zuska
    June 5, 2009

    I do appreciate your willingness to engage and learn.

  33. #33 Linden
    June 5, 2009

    Long time lurker here. I just wanted to say that I’m amazed at Josua. If someone states that they’ve been sexually assaulted, how can you have the temerity to scold them for… highlighting the plight of sexual assault victims everywhere?
    And saying how good women have it in the USA? And then whining that you’re being shown up as the bad guy? What utter lack of empathy allowed you to write this?

    Excuse the excessive ranting, but this is a bit like saying, “Yeah, you were assaulted, but at least you weren’t stoned to death!”

  34. #34 Danimal
    June 5, 2009

    @Linden: May I suggest that you read the same thread on Dr. Isis’ blog. There you will get a clearer picture of what Josua is.

  35. #35 Linden
    June 9, 2009

    @Danimal: Wow, well that answered my question. That is not the behaviour you’d expect from a rational person. And what kind of excuse is, “I’m trolling you because you’re hot, and I want you to like me.”

    OT: Actually, I’m sure I read a Stephen King story with just this type of stalky behaviour. I can’t remember it’s name, just that the villain kept wearing odd socks…

  36. #36 Siamang
    June 9, 2009

    Thanks for posting on this, Zuska.

    I only caught the tail end of it from Greg Laden’s blog, and couldn’t understand what he was trying to do with his “all men are rapists” post.

    I’m not sure I understand his post still. Apologies if he’s trying to make enemies of you or your post… I don’t quite understand which side of the internet argument he’s attempting to parody, if that’s what he’s doing.

    Anyway. Thanks for posting on this.

  37. #37 Lab Rat
    July 19, 2009

    “Think of the men you know – brother, dad, son. You think that the only difference between them and these rapists in Africa is how they were brought up? If that is what y’all believe, that is truly disturbing and offensive to me.”

    Joshua, are you suggesting there is some innate inbuilt difference between your brave wholesome american troop fighting for mother and apple pie and the African fighters in Darfur? Because that is INCREDIBLY Disturbing and BEYOND offensive for me.

    *The* most racist comment I’ve heard in a while. I’m shocked noone picked you up for it already. Unless i missed a post somewhere.

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