Monday, December 20, 2010

Why not innocent until proven lier?

Can I just say it again...

I don’t know enough about the Assange rape accusations and trial process to comment on the specifics of the case.

I don’t know whether he is guilty or not guilty.
At this point, I have to assume he is not guilty.
There are women who are accusing him of rape.
I have no idea whether they are lying or not lying.
Until they are proved to have been lying (essentially a guilty verdict for a crime) they are not.

I’m not choosing sides at this point because I DONT KNOW.

Neither do you I will bet.
There are only three people who know what happened and I bet you, yes You; the asshole who sent me, and my friends messages saying we're talking out of our asses are not one of them.

Consequently you must also be talking out your ass, if you have already come to a conclusion.

What I do take issue with is the large number of people using bullshit terms and phrases that have no relevance to the case to validate their opinion.
Check out the rape apologist bingo below for some absolute gold that has been being repeated on twitter, Face book, and in the media.

My issue is that I personally know three people who have been assaulted in one fashion or another and either not reported it, or dropped charges.
All three genuinely occurred. Two resulted in medical treatment being required and one was me.

There are a large host of reasons why women don’t report rape. The biggest one is that even after going through the process of reporting, opening yourself up to forensic examination, re living it to multiple police and legal staff and your friends and family, you might not even get to see the case in court.

We haven’t even gotten to the point where rape statistics are even known properly.
But wait – there are rape stats right?
Yep - Statistics show that Sweden has one of the highest rape rates in the world.
WOW! That must mean that they have more rape than anywhere else – right?
But hold on a minute.
The Middle East has one of the lowest rape rates in the world.
A place where in some areas women are seen as second class citizens, and have no legal voice of their own has the lowest rape rates in the world – REALLY???
Oh, but hold on a minute – those statistics are taken from REPORTS.
So what I can see is that rather than the Middle East being a veritable Mecca of safety for women, is that the women simply do not report rape when it occurs.

Rape is everywhere, and affects everyone.
How we talk about it is so important, because reporting is sometimes just as hard as the rape was originally.

My friend who was brutally raped by two men, including restraints and violence didn’t even make it to charges because their defence of “we didn’t know her drink has been spiked”, the fact they knew her, and the fact she had a history of online dating was enough to lower the chance of them being convicted to zilch. The police officer she reported to gave her the advice to drop it because she would be "dragged through the mud for nothing."

My experience was with an older more powerful, much liked man.
Not only would it be unlikely that I would be believed, he didn’t get to do much because I was lucky enough to catch him by surprise, fight back and get away. Proving that I knew he had intent to continue his actions to the point of rape would have been almost impossible.

I have had someone violate my personal space and deliberately try to hurt me.
My word as an honest human with nothing to gain was not enough.

These women in the Assange case are accusing someone well liked, internationally known, and powerful.
They either have an option of a future with new names, or are the bravest women I have ever heard of.
I have to wonder why they would put themselves at risk like this for a false accusation.

I hope your opinion will not matter to the women involved in the Assange case.

They certainly will not read your little Twitter account.
Or your blog.
They don’t check your Facebook page.

But women and men you know, love, and care about do.

Women statistically have a one in four chance, and men with a one in eight chance of having been raped in the past by the time they read your post.

People who will feel the bile rise into their mouths
Their hearts race.
Their throats tighten.
They may cry.

Because you, YES YOU, are just one more person who makes it difficult to report rape.

I would like to thank Sady for her writing here and here which inspired me to stop cowering in a corner, scared of the fallout, and write on this topic.
You are an inspiration.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dear Kanye - THINK!

Every day I am pummelled by images of Woman, and what she ought to be.
She is smooth and slim and perfect, available and willing and witty.
She is the provider for the family and maternal in keeping home.
She is perfection in itself.
At 28 I have come to terms with the fact that the media hold a strong position in telling people what they should find attractive and sexy and I am happy to choose to ignore.
The majority of people are unaware of how successful the media is at glamorising certain images. Portia D’Rossi is a prime example of someone whose abnormal weight loss was normalised by the miniscule size of the women she worked around and the reactions of the media to her “amazing transformation.”
People try new products because of the beautiful people marketing them, and if a company wants a product used, they just put it in the latest ‘it girl/ guy’s’ hand.

Popular musicians and rap stars hold equal amounts of power when it comes to sending messages as far as trends, and what is the ‘in thing’ right now, whether it be a behaviour or the latest image.
Today I saw parts of Kanye West’s new music video.
It has had me in equal parts revolted and frightened.

For those who haven’t been able to see it I direct you to this site. Kt-Rae has done a great job of describing the video, linking to it and discussing her concerns.

I don’t feel I need to elaborate too much further on the video itself. Partly because I feel sick to my stomach and I really, really, really don’t want to think about it too much more.

Instead, I am writing an open letter to those involved in the making of the music video.
Feel free to use it and send it in yourself.

Dear Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nicki, MinaJ, Rick Ross, and all those involved in the making of the “monster” music video.

What were you thinking?

You hold more power to reach out to the world in your little fingers, than I will ever have in my entire life. Every song you sing, every video you make, will tell people what to expect from life, and how to live theirs.
What you glamorise, is then normalised. Swearing is made awesome, fashion trends are loved, and new lyrics are learnt and sung around the world.
When I see people who are as powerful as all this choosing to glamorise and sexualise dead and unconscious women I am extremely concerned.
Are you so separated from the world that you have lost touch with what is normal? With what is ok?
Are you so separated from the world that you think that a woman’s body is yours to touch, whether she is still in it or not?
Are you so naive to think that this video will not impact on the hundreds of thousands of young men, who desperately need role models?

Just think.

What the young woman who was raped while she was unconscious will think when she sees your lips on an unconscious woman’s hand while you leer at her body.

What someone’s sister who was date raped will think when she sees the woman splayed on the table while you calmly survey your domain?

What a mother will think when she see’s your video and wonders about her daughter who hung herself without an explanation.

What a father will be forced to remember about his little girl who was raped and killed.

By all means, raise awareness for the millions of women around the world who are raped, abused, living in fear, and killed before they even live for themselves.

But don’t sexualise them.
Don’t dress them up whilst you hang them up.
Don’t make a fetishism of their deaths.
Don’t get off on their pain.

And for God’s sake.
Pull this video before more people are hurt.
Men. Women, and those who need your leadership.

I for one will be boycotting your music until you do.

Kind regards,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We are on the same side...

“We are on the same side”.
A message received by me through twitter from one of the NZ girl editors.
No kidding!! Only an asshole is FOR breast cancer, that doesn’t give you carte blanche to do anything in the name of fundraising.

*deep calming breath*
Before I start – big props to the women who have the self control to write functionally while still pissed off (I waited ‘til today, so it wasn’t a jumbled spew of rage).
Rachael covers this whole thing very nicely; take a read of what she has to say here.
Boganette made into the news with her tweets, and her post combines her dark humour with a clear cut point.
For those who missed the memo, this post is regarding the NZ Girl website's warped idea of breast cancer awareness by asking women to post photos of their breasts, in exchange for money to be donated to the cause (this is a bit vague at this point).

One of the first computer lessons we teach young people is internet safety.
Don’t give out your phone number or address.
Don’t mention where you go to school.
Sure as heck don’t post photos of yourself that you may regret.
A good basic rule is to think of the person who scares you / creeps you out the most, and then consider if you would like THEM to see what you are about to post.

This is the one of the key issues about the latest "Breast cancer awareness campaign" – they are actively encouraging girls and women to send in photos of their breasts.
It may well be a good idea right now.
It might still feel like a good idea next week.
What about next year? Or in ten years?
Or when you realise the NZ girl site isn’t crashing because everyone thinks those pictures are ‘empowering.’
They just want to stare at real tits for free.
I find it very hard to believe that people marketing-savvy enough to run a successful site like this don’t realise that it’s not hordes of women leaping at the chance to rate breasts.
And I find it bloody irresponsible that a site aimed at ‘girls’ is exploiting them for ratings.

Secondly, and no less importantly. Breast cancer is NOT about breasts!
Breasts are lovely. Cancer is not.
Breast cancer affects men, and women whose breasts are barely discernable, it affects women who have already had their breasts removed.

As an exersize, I would like to suggest some other “cancer fundraiser” ideas.

‘Hit the Sack’ – submit an anonymous photo of a view of your gooch and ball sack in celebration of the preciousness of men’s prostates.

“Leggy ladies” – raise awareness for the 5th biggest in-patient killer in Oz – DVT, and the fact it is most prevalent in women. Send in photos of your legs.

“Don’t be an asshole – get a check up” - submit a photo of your O-Ring and raise Bowel and rectal cancer awareness.

"Feel the burn" – NZ has one of the highest rates of Chlamydia in the world – send in a pic of your swollen balls or discharging Vag, to raise awareness.
(Actually – at least that one is RELEVENT, as it would educate on what the symptoms look like)

If they seem stupid or irrelevant, maybe you need to ask why showing breasts aren’t.
Because they are fun?
Pretty? Hot? Sexy?


I also find it thoughtless that they used the term “pair” when referring to sending your photos in. A fairly clear insight into the fact they were NOT thinking about cancer survivors when asking for submissions.

Urgh, there is so much wrong with this particular “fundraiser” that it is not even funny.
And putting a post up 24 hours later with info on detection and the NZ breast cancer foundation doesn’t really cut it.

This post is shite. I’m tired and frustrated, and tearful.
Sorry that the words aren’t fluent, I’m finding this one a little tricky.

Get your Tits out for the Girls; the educational version.

In light of NZ Girl's freaking revolting campaign, I have decided to do one with the same name, but an educational version that people might actually learn something from.

Because, just as breasts differ, so do the cases of breast cancer.

Some catch it early...

and can receive a lumpectomy, keeping the breast.

For some there is no discernable lump, but they notice discolouration

For larger breasts lumps are less noticeable and so they are at higher risk for late detection

In the case of a later stage breast cancer a mastectomy is sometimes needed.

Or a double mastectomy.

Breast cancer occurs in Men more rarely (2% of all breast cancer) but has the same risk of fatality.

In later stages most cancers can become ulcerative – breast cancer is no different.

And it can metastasise out of the breast to the rest of the body, via the lymph nodes.

This is why women often have Axillary Lymph node dissections at the time of a mastectomy.

Please get your breasts checked by mammogram, it’s free in NZ if you are:

Aged 45 to 69 years of age
You have no symptoms of breast cancer
You have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months
And you are not pregnant

AND check them yourself regularly.