Wednesday September 21st is the United Nation’s International Day of Peace. Save the Children New Zealand is coordinating a Blog Action Day to celebrate, explore and promote this occasion, and I’d like to invite you to join us and post on the theme of peace. (And if you wanna RT, fwd or send up red sparks, please do!) Peace is relevant to everyone, right? – regardless of the overriding tone or subject (or geographical location) of their blog.
If this seems up your alley, apposite or appealing, all we ask is that on September 21st you write (or knit, photograph, mime, etc.) a blog post about peace – whatever that means to you – and that you let us know, so we can direct readers to your blog. Tweet @SaveChildrenNZ using the hashtag #blogforpeace, and/or post a link to our Facebook page. We’ll add your name to our blogroll of participants, and we’ll be Re-Tweeting like crazy.
Our webpage has more information plus a “Save the Children Blog Action Day” button to nab if you want to promote the event on your website. To contact us with any questions or comments, please email email@example.com or tweet @SaveChildrenNZ. We look forward to your blog post for peace!
Yours, Mary the social media girl at Save the Children New Zealand.
Mary Little Save the Children New Zealand Programmes Assistant PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington 6141, New Zealand. T: +64 4 385 6847 W: www.savethechildren.org.nz | F: +64 4 385 6793
“Sexuality is not meant to be this way - an honest, consensual expression in which a girl might take an active role when she feels good and ready and not one minute before. No. Sexual desire is meant to sell soap. And cars. And beer. And religion.”—“The Corporation,” via Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens (via seriouslyamerica)
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement Sunday announcing he is severing all ties with the Southern Baptist Church due to their treatment of women. A devout Southern Baptist for more than sixty years, Carter left the church in 2000 because of ideologically differences where the religion justifies the subordination of women. His announcementcomes after the Elders, a group of world leaders with which Carter is affiliated, released a statement on the issue of discrimination against women and girls by religion. In his statement, Carter calls “on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women.”
“They’re not pro-life. You know what they are? Anti-woman, as simple as it gets. […] They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state.”—George Carlin (via fuckyeahfeminists)
“Just because you call someone a slut doesn’t mean you magically become a pure, whole as all heaven virgin again. You’re still a slut-shamer and you’re still a shitty person for doing so. This idea that you can somehow be a better person for pointing out someone else’s so called immoral flaws is archaic.”—Nicole Ouimette (via feministdykeslut)
We just got a lovely letter from Wellington Rape Crisis thanking us for our fundraiser back in May
19th August 2011
Shout out to wonderful crowd at the Wellington Young Feminist Collective,
Please let us officially acknowledge the receipt of your donation! Thank you so much for your fundraising effort on our behalf as part of our Annual Appeal Week.
This year’s Annual Appeal (back in May) was another glowing example of the community support we have and was an important day for the visibility of sexual violence issues in our community also. The support we have had from the WYFC, as evidenced by this donation, but also by your continued support and advocacy around the work we do, is hugely appreciated. Thanks for fighting the good fight.
We do rely on the support of our local community, so donations like this are vital to the continuing strength of our services. Thank you so much for helping to ensure that we can continue to provide excellent support to survivors of rape and sexual abuse in our community. Your donation really does make a difference to us and to the work we do with women and families in Wellington.
Nga mihi ki a koutou.
Emma White Funding Coordinator Wellington Rape Crisis
The thing I love most about the WYFC (other than you completely amazing people who make up our members) is that we are all at different stages of our feminist journey and knowledge-level and this is a space which welcomes that.
So with that spirit in mind, I would like to use a hideous recent Stuff article as a fitting example to talk a little bit about rape culture, victim blaming and trigger warnings for those of you who might wonder what exactly those terms are about.
This is a Stuff article entitled “Sex Video Victim Lived Secret Adult Lifestyle” which is currently the 2nd most popular story on their website. The story is about a current court case against two men (22, and 20 respectively) who are both charged with kidnapping and blackmail and one is also charged with sexual violation.
The complainant is a 15 year old girl (who knew both men) who was lured to one of the men’s houses, locked in a room and forced to choose between stripping naked and being photographed or performing oral sex on one of the men. The corresponding sexual assault was filmed, and she was later threatened with exposure of the video.
That paragraph there is why I put a trigger warning at the top of this article – discussing sexual assault can be upsetting or triggering to many people for many reasons, including (but not limited to) survivors of sexual assault. Rather than taking a ‘well that can’t be very many people, why would you bother for a minority of readers?’ attitude, most feminist communities accept the unfortunate fact that sexual assault is not rare and survivors are not catered for at all in the media (constant gratuitous rape scenes without warning in crime shows, anyone?). So we endeavour to provide at least one space where people get a warning for the shit they’re about to watch/listen-to/read.
So, let’s talk about victim-blaming and rape culture and how this article perpetrates both of these things. I’ma hit you with some fisking and reproduce it for ease:
Sex Video Victim Lived Secret Adult Lifestyle Schoolgirl’s ‘adult lifestyle’ a secret: defence
Heeey guuuuys it’s salacious time! Schoolgirl, sex video, victim, adult lifestyle, secret; oooh la la this must be a titillating read for my Friday-afternoon-post-lunchtime-office-worker-slump.
If the article was entitled “15 year old girl assaulted and blackmailed” do you think it would get as many views? I don’t. Scandalising and ‘sexing up’ rape and sexual assault is minimising it and enables the deep-set and probably subconscious-for-many-people belief that sexual assault is actually a bit sexy.
This is rape culture in action. Protip: rape and sexual assault isn’t sex. It’s violence.
An Auckland school girl who claims she was kidnapped and forced to perform in a sex video lived an adult lifestyle she was trying to hide from her family, the High Court at Auckland has heard.
Schoolgirl, is she? What image do you get there? I know as a child of mainstream media I get the supposedly tantalising image of some nice wee uniform and a pretty young girl. Not ’15 year old child’, not ‘minor’ just schoolgirl.
She also ‘claims’ her attack happened which I know is necessary to keep the journalism ‘neutral’ but it could be put in a MUCH better way if the journalist really gave a shit about neutrality rather than titillation here. How about “pressed charges in relation to” or “told police”.
Also, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a sex video. A sex video would connote pornography; production value, hopefully consent, lighting, cameras. What happened is that her attacker filmed the assault on his cell phone. This is not sex. This is not a sex video.
A 22-year-old man, who has name suppression, is charged with kidnapping, sexual violation and blackmail in relation to an alleged incident in September 2008.
A second man, Wei Feng, 20, is charged with kidnapping and blackmail.
Yesterday the defence opened their case and claimed no sex video was ever made and that the girl was scared of her strict family finding out about the “adult existence” she was leading.
What in the living fuck is an ‘adult lifestyle’. Do you reckon it involves tax? Posting mail? Realising that you probably can’t get paid to be a poet any time soon?
No, I’m pretty sure it involves this girl wearing makeup, drinking, dressing ‘provocatively’ and running around town with older men. This, clearly, is relevant to her being a victim of sexual assault because if you’ve been paying attention so far you’ll know that this was sexy and she was probably asking for it by not being a quiet homebody who had no friends.
Keeping this ‘lifestyle’ a secret from her strict family is totes relevant because it’s so much more scandalous okay guys? The whole thing is just really sordid, and sordid things happen to sordid people.
This, my friends, is victim-blaming.
Ron Mansfield, who defended the 22-year-old, said the only photos or video of the complainant his client had were of her partying, drinking and socialising with older people.
Do you reckon, maybe, that it’s possible to delete videos off your phone once you’ve made them? I have a bit of a hunch.
The girl, who was 15 at the time, had known the accused for almost a year leading up to the alleged kidnapping and sexual violation.
Because in case you didn’t realise, rapes only ever happen from strangers you’ve never met. Acquaintances or friends can’t sexually assault you. It never happens. This bitch must be tripping. A year? If he’d known her for almost a year surely he would have done it before now.
This, is rape culture.
The court was told she would often go to the same karaoke bars as the accused and they had socialised in group settings.
Singing karaoke is directly relevant to becoming a victim of sexual assault.
Mansfield said the girl alluded to her strict family while in the presence of the accused.
She was just such a rebel. This is totally relevant. What a karaoke-singing, family-shunning hussy.
"In some cultures there is more concern about your mum, your parents, knowing about your drinking, knowing about your socialising with older men, that other social or ethnic circles might consider harmless," he said.
Because this girl’s ethnicity is also totally relevant.
Mansfield said the accused had sent text messages to the girl which either clearly or implicitly suggested he planned to show evidence of the girl’s partying and late night socialising to her mother.
He told the court that was not necessarily “nice or appropriate” but said it was “very different to sexual violation or kidnapping”.
Again, it’s totally impossible that this guy deleted the video of the sexual assault off his phone.
On Monday Crown prosecutor Anna Longdill said the teenager was lured to a house by Feng on the premise of having lunch with him.
Once at the Auckland address, the girl was locked alone with the older man who gave her an ultimatum: allow him to photograph her naked or perform oral sex on him.
The prosecution said the teenager was frightened and agreed to perform oral sex so she could escape the house.
The Crown alleges the man recorded the sexual act on his cellphone.
Police have not been able to recover the recording.
What is this witchcraft?!
The girl made a formal complaint to police about two months after the sexual assault.
Because if it really happened she would have done it straight away okay guys?.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to all five charges.
The trial is expected to finish next week.
Please continue with the great reporting. I am glued to the dully buzzing, overly bright office screen.
“What’s the worst thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now. You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!), skank. Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term ‘mangina.’ Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up.”—
Full frontal feminism: a young women’s guide to why feminism matters by Jessica Valenti
“Nobody told me I had a clitoris. Nobody told me I was capable of having orgasms. For five years I was given “sex education”. It mostly consisted of periods and condoms. It didn’t talk about consent. It didn’t talk about the actual mechanics of sex, about arousal and lubrication and oscillation. It didn’t tell me a single thing about relationships and it didn’t tell me I had a clitoris. I only know now because of the internet. Nobody entrusted with my care and education has ever told me that the female orgasm exists, or about the parts of my anatomy necessary for it. I didn’t find my clitoris until I was eighteen, after six years of active sexuality. That makes me angry.”—Sex Education, or, What Boys Will Want From You « Frothing at the Brain (via mollix, sexisnottheenemy) (via feministslut) (via exhibitnumber1) (via teramerapyar)
“This kind of faux concern about teenage girls and sexual activity has nothing to do with keeping girls safe. It’s about legislating morality and ensuring that someone—whether it be a parent, husband, or the state—is making decisions for young women. Because god forbid we make them ourselves.”—Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism (via angrywomenoftumblr)
“I don’t love to meddle with political matters; the men say we have no business with them, its not in our sphere! and Homer (did you read Homer, child?) gives us two or three broad hints to mind our domestic concerns, spinning, weaving, &c. and leave affairs of higher nature to the men; but I must beg his pardon—I won’t have it though, that because we are the weaker sex as to bodily strength, my dear, we are capable of nothing more than minding the diary, visiting the poultry-house, and all such domestic concerns; our thoughts can soar aloft, we can form conceptions of things of higher nature; and have as just a sense of honor, glory, and great actions, as these “Lords of the Creation.” What contemptible earth worms these authors make us! They wont even allow us the liberty of thought, and that is all I want. I would not wish that we should meddle in what is unbecoming female delicacy, but surely we may have sense enough to give our opinions to commend or discommend such actions as we may approve or disapprove; without being reminded of our spinning and household affairs as the only matters we are capable of thinking or speaking of with justness or propriety. I won’t allow it, positively won’t…”—Eliza Wilkinson 1782 (via fywomenshistory)
“My point is that feminists are not biological determinists. Feminists are the least likely people to say ‘all men are bastards’. Some of them might say ‘many men behave like bastards’. But they don’t imply that such behaviour is acceptable because its genetic or ‘natural’ for men to behave that way, like those arguments defending rapists which imply that men are really all just stupid cavemen who can’t be blamed when they rape because, hey, men just can’t help it when they see someone in a mini skirt. Feminists don’t write books about how men are genetically incapable of picking up an iron. Feminists don’t write books about how men are from another planet, one where men have to be left ‘in their cave’ because they just don’t have proper emotions like women do. That’s because actually, feminists think men should be treated as fully functional human beings with brains and morals who should be held responsible for the choices they make.”—
Imagine for a minute a world in which fat women don’t automatically disqualify themselves from the dating game. world in which fat women don’t believe there’s anything intrinsically unattractive about their bodies. A world in which fat women hear that men only want thin women and laugh out asses off, because that is not remotely our experience-our experience is one of loving and fucking and navigating a big damn world in our big damn bodies with grace and optimism and power.
Now try to imagine some halfwit dickhead telling you a rapist would be doing you a favor, in that world. Imagine a man poking you in the stomach and telling you you need tow ork out more, moments after he comes inside you. Imagine a man going on daytime TV to announce to the world that he’s thinking of getting a divorce because his wife is thirty punds heavier than she was the day they were married. Imagine a man telling you that you can’t leave him, because no one else will ever want your disgusting fat ass.
None of it makes a lick of sense in that world, does it?
It doesn’t in this one, either.
Imagine if more of us could believe that.
Kate Harding, How Do You Fuck a Fat Woman? (via phenomenali)
Want to know more about Hollaback Wellington? A post by Josephine
The WYFC is launching Hollaback Wellington this week and we’re really excited!
Hollaback was started by a group of people in New York as a website and mobile application to raise awareness of the street harassment many women and LGBTQ folk were experiencing on a daily basis. The idea was so simple but effective that soon Hollaback chapters were being launched across the world, and now we are bringing it to Wellington.
The idea behind Hollaback is that people who experience street harassment need a voice. Hollaback’s aim is to do this through harnessing mobile and web technology, creating a global network of blogs and a mobile apps relating to different countries and cities. All chapters are unique but linked by a common goal - to reduce the amount of street harassment that happens in their city.
Harassment in the home, workplace or at school is widely considered unacceptable but it seems that in our public spaces all bets are off. Street harassment is a form of gender and sexuality based violence that a huge number of people all over the world experience everyday.
Street harassment includes touching, groping, lewd comments, following, flashing, assault and other violent acts. The logistics of reporting these events involves users filling out a form on the Hollaback website http://wellington.ihollaback.org/, which is then posted by a site administrator to a map of Wellington, showing a red marker where the incident occurred and outlining the story in full. We’re primarily targeting women and LGBTQ people, but anyone who experiences street harassment is welcome to post.
We’re setting this up in Wellington because we felt the need for a service of this kind. My own motivation came from some awful experiences I had at university, where a guy from my maths class decided to start following me around campus, and when he saw me out in public, following me on the street. Not knowing this guy’s name, I couldn’t report him to anyone. What I really wanted to do was tell someone about how his behaviour made me feel: unsafe, alone and disgusting. Hopefully Hollaback Wellington can be some sort of outlet for people who have similar experiences to mine - we want them to know that this is not something you have to brush off or that you have to deal with by yourself.
As we continue to get set up we will promote other organisations that deal with gender based violence, such as HELP Sexual Abuse and Wellington Rape Crisis. We’re also interested in holding self defence workshops, bystander intervention workshops and working with the Council, Students Associations, and engaging with our lawmakers on these issues.
Longer term, we want contribute to making this kind of behaviour socially unacceptable. One of the ways to achieve this is by encouraging people who witness street harassment to speak up. Hollaback International’s most recent fundraising campaign - “I’ve got your back” - raised money so that we can redevelop our blog and mobile app platform to include stories from bystanders who have intervened in street harassment situations. They will be mapped with green marker, and each story will have a button similar to the Facebook ‘Like’ button so that readers can show their solidarity.
Please share this site with your family and friends in Wellington, and contact Hollaback International if you are interested in launching one in your town or city. We’re also having a launch gig at Happy on the 13th, so if you’re in town you should come along (link here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=169226236478729 ).