Monday, January 28, 2013

Random thoughts

Bizarre things come into my head while reading.

* As researchers, are we eating ourselves, or eating each other?
* Is sex an object of violence? A subject of violence? A means of violence? A catalyst to violence? A resistance of violence? [I have trouble conceptualizing it as being entirely unconnected to violence except in theoretical situations]
* Is self-injury repeated rape of the self? [I derive this from reading too much into symbols, with a blade or flame being a phallic object that repeatedly penetrates the body]
* Are experiences of violence socially constructed? Or is making such an argument a violent erasure of experience?
* I think, therefore I am. What about when I'm meditating?

Monday, January 7, 2013

A few more links...and corresponding ranting

I haven't written much of my own stuff lately, although I have something in the works.

In the meantime, here are a few things to read/see:

This graphic shows the magnitude of rape, and how often it is for rapists to actually be well as showing those who are falsely accused (hint: very few!). I can't comment on the accuracy of the statistics, and indeed lots of comments on the Washington Post, where I have linked to (comments have huge potential to be triggering due to victim blaming and sheer dismissal of rape survivors), dispute the numbers. OK, so the quantitative picture may not be exact. But qualitatively speaking, it's pretty clear what the general trend is here.

Another recent must-read is Soraya Chemaly's latest post. Again, a huge potential for triggering as it talks about rape unreservedly, and with a few graphic bits. But she eloquently pulls together what's happened in India recently with rape culture as a more global issue, that recognizes India's tremendous problem with rape culture without giving an undeserved cookie to other countries that have perhaps less dramatic, but nonetheless heinous, examples of rape. The absence of justice for rape survivors is globally pervasive, and the situation is worst in countries with a more patriarchal political and judiciary system. And perhaps culture...I hesitate to talk about "culture" as I am not an anthropologist and it's hard to talk about culture without seeming racist. And India has such a diverse group of cultures. So I don't know whether the issue of "Eve-teasing" (read: everything ranging from garden-variety sexual harassment, down to fetal gang rape, smooshed together under one blanket that suffocates and minimizes the issue as something natural for men to do) is cultural, terminologically speaking. But the vary idea that there is one singular thing of "Eve-teasing" is symptomatic of something being very, very wrong.

I digress. On the flipside to Chemaly's piece, there is Doug Saunders' recent commentary, looking at the same issue. He makes a good point, but I feel like he exaggerates the extent to which Canadian and other "western" (problematic concept...) feminists dismiss the movement in India as just part of a global trend. One could read that into what Chemaly's post argues, but she has more nuance than that. India is an extreme example, yes - but it's not an exception to an otherwise feminist, well-behaved world.

A few more articles/blog posts for tonight. Kate Adach at Higher Unlearning (might be triggering for sexism and some violence, although it's not specifically about rape "jokes") blogs about sexist "humour" and why it sucks. She makes some good insights; I'll leave that for you to read. She also touches on issues of silencing, which led me to think of this piece on xoJane about everyday sexual assault/harassment in a bar setting. The author, who was groped in a bar by a drunk stranger, talks about how she wasn't sure how to interpret his actions, even to herself, so ended up mostly keeping silent and justifying it with light humour, as though it's no big deal. And perhaps for her, his touch wasn't a huge deal - but it's symptomatic of systemic issues that are a huge, huge deal. Silence is political. Humour is political. I don't mean to condemn her for keeping silent; whenever this happens to me, I don't usually bother telling people either (and, of course, she went along to blog about it; while she says she was silent and "did nothing about it," she did quasi-anonymously tell the internet. I'm sure most of us respond in ways fairly similar to hers (minus the blogging, presumably, for most folks?)...and in doing so, we perpetrate rape culture while being at the receiving end of it. It's a horrible place to be put in. If we speak out, we are "those women" who can't take a joke, who make everything in to such a big deal, who are unable to cope with the realities of our world. But if we are silent, it keeps happening. Do we let it keep happening, or are we tacitly forced to sweep it under the rug as a survival mechanism? Perhaps that's a blog post for some other night... (in the meantime, for some middle ground and a way to anonymously break the silence, there is always the Everyday Sexism Project [some posts there may trigger]).'s time for chocolate cake.