Last night a man asked me for a dollar as I left the subway on my way home. I gave him one.
He then proceeded to start talking to me and followed me for ten minutes as I tried to walk home. He ignored my repeated attempts to part ways and made comments about my body, his body and allude to us having sex. He asked personal questions about my life. He asked if I was married. I told him that I had a boyfriend, not because I owed him any answer, but my past experience has shown that these type of men, when hearing you are ‘taken’ often will leave you alone out of respect, not for you of course, but for the man who already ‘has’ you.
He walked all the way to the block I lived, talking away, moving closer to my side while I clutched my keys, splayed out between my fingers in one pocket and my cell phone in the other, mind frantically going over my options to get out of this situation. How to get away from this man without angering him. How to get into my apartment without him seeing where I lived.
When I turned the corner of my block I saw that the bodega was open. I told him I had to go to the store and said, again, good night. He followed me into the store, where with witnesses and the store owner who knows my face I had to courage to tell him to stop following me. That I didn’t want him to know where I lived. To go away.
He called me a bitch.
The store owner made him stay in the store long enough for me to dart across the street, duck into my apartment, and lock the door behind me.
I’ve spent most of today going over in my head what I did wrong to get into this situation.
I was stupid to give him a dollar. To speak to him after. To let him walk with me so far. To be so concerned with being polite.
But what that really boils down to is that I, my entire life, have been told that being a woman in public is asking for attention, and once received it is my fault in some way.
I don’t owe anybody conversation, my number, my time. It’s not a complement.
The truly insidious thing about harassment is that in the moment, the potential violence, quiet, persistent and vague threat combine with a world of people telling you that if something bad happens to you it’s YOUR fault. The conditioning women receive to be ‘nice’, be polite, smile for goodness sake (lest, horrors of all horrors we become that horrendous monster, a bitch). All this is why we accept being uncomfortable, being afraid, why we consider how our keys could be used as a weapon.
The man called me a bitch, and my biggest regret today is that I wasn’t a bigger one.
A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday. Personally, I am so sick of rape culture and what it’s doing to us. (via thearetical
Fifteen rape victims have formed martial arts movement and are prepared to confront abusers if no one listens to their complaints…
A GROUP of women are fighting back against the sickening culture of rape which they say infects India. Fifteen determined females – all victims themselves – have trained in martial arts and are prepared to hand out rough justice if no one listens to their complaints. And the movement, called the Red Brigade, is growing rapidly following the gang rape and murder of medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey that horrified the world.
In a nation where a woman is reportedly raped every 20 minutes, the group’s leader Usha Vishwakarma said: “We are fighting back – and the boot is now on the other foot.” Member Sufia Hashmi, 17, said: “We’ve caught a lot of men recently. I joined because men always used to pass comments on me and touch my body but now we beat them and they run.”
Like the other members in the northern city of Lucknow, 25-year-old Usha has first-hand experience of the daily dangers women face in the huge nation – a teacher tried to rape her when she was 18. She said: “He grabbed me and tried to open my trousers. I kicked him in the crotch and ran.” Usha complained to staff but they told her to forget it and allowed her attacker to carry on teaching. She said: “Many parents tell girls to quit school so there will be no sexual violence. But we said no – this has to stop. We decided to form a group to fight for ourselves, not just complain.” MORE
As a martial artist and a woman, I approve of this.
Hell yeah! Kick their asses, ladies. Also, I had no idea it was so bad over there. That is disgusting and heart breaking.
Finally, this happens. Instead of hiding or letting a bad experience ruin their lives, these women have taken control and done something about it. I’m happy about this. Women should do this everywhere and men should support it.
Don’t wait for it to happen. Take action, now!
"I joined because men always used to pass comments on me and touch my body but now we beat them and they run."
This conversation about the rape scene in Game of Thrones has made all the gross men with their gross opinions come out of the woodwork.
I tried going to the subreddit earlier to see if there was any critical discussion going on about this, and it was just a bunch of dudes lamenting about how the conversation is stupid and irrelevant, and let’s move on. Pretty easy things to say for people who have never feared rape and have no stake in what’s being talked about.
If you’ve spent any time having conversations about consent, you’ll probably have encountered the following question: ‘Is it rape if somebody has sex while drunk?’ Now, when men used to ask me this kind of question, the conversation requests I actually used to hear were, ‘I have sex with drunk people, or can imagine myself doing so; I want you to tell me that I’m not a rapist’ and/or ‘I like the pressure that alcohol allows me to put on people’s consent and I’m seeking social approval for this tactic.’
Have you ever heard the phrase cockblocking? You know, you’re at a bar, talking to a girl, and what happens? Her less attractive friend comes over and ruins everything. Cockblock. Well I have to tell you something guys: I have been the less attractive friend, and you were NOT cockblocked. I was following orders from my better-looking friend that she did not wanna fuck you. …Girls have two signals for their friends: ‘I’m gonna fuck him’ and ‘HELP.’
Amy Schumer [x] (via rashaka)
The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
I especially like how, in the majority of cases, you don’t have to verbally communicate what your signals are to other women. I’ve had women I didn’t even know come save me. Literally every woman recognizes the “Dear god, help me” facial expression, and knows exactly what they should do. We don’t get a handbook for this. We don’t have a sit-down nail polish party where we talk about a standardized woman code for preventing creepers. It’s just part of being a woman.
BUT LOL RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST.
Yup. I’ve definitely taken strangers by the arm and pulled her aside to go, “Oh my GOD it’s you! How ARE YOU?!? It’s been so long!” and then been like “hey I could overhear that guy who wouldn’t leave you alone so I figured I’d give you an out” and then see their VISIBLY RELIEVED expressions. This is part of girl code, because rape culture is that pervasive.
I once had a girl sit on my lap and say “hey baby” after she witnessed a guy (who was easily 20+ years older than me) hitting on me and harassing me for my number even after I told him I was taken. After he got up and left she asked if I was okay. I couldn’t thank her enough times, I even bought her a drink.
We have done this. In fact, we are this. Because we are asexual and we don’t like alcohol so we never drink, we have gone with friends to parties/places where our sole job was to keep an eye out for everyone and be the permanent ‘aggressive man-sheild.’ Not one of our female friends has ever questioned this or found it all strange. In fact, often once they realized we were willing to do it, it would be pre-arranged. Every guy friend we ever did this in front of or tried to explain to looked flabbergasted. They had no idea that this was a) an intentional thing, b) a planned ahead thing, or c) universal.
Rape culture is the fact that every woman understands this. Male privilege is the fact that no guy on earth seems to know or understand.
I’ve been asked to pretend to be my friend’s girlfriend every time we go out at night, just because she wears clothes that show off her curves and guys won’t leave her alone. They only back off when I put my arm around her and act as if we’re together romantically, and sometimes not even then.
i once ran interference for a friend, only to receive the unwanted advances myself. he wouldn’t back off until my (male) friend literally wrapped me up in his arms and acted as if he was my S.O.
It happens online too. A guy I know started Facebook-stalking me after a recent interaction, and my roommate immediately got on Facebook and told him she was my girlfriend. He thankfully backed off after that.
I can’t count the number of times I have pretended to be somebody’s girlfriend or sister in a bar when a guy wouldn’t leave her alone. Both with friends and strangers.
After reading these, I feel like taking a shower. Because I’m the designated driver pretty much every time, not being a big fan of alcohol, but I rarely, if ever, intervene. And yeah, I’m small and pretty physically weak, but I could put my foot down verbally if it came down to it. I’m just too scared.
You’re probably scared of confronting the guys. And you should be. That’s what this whole post is about. Rape culture is so prevalent and socially accepted as the rule of the land that if someone confronts a guy and tells him directly to back off, someone is getting hurt. That’s why all of the testimonies here are examples of how to deflect. How women all learn methods of pulling a woman away from a situation with a guy who isn’t allowing her to say no, by making up some lie that will get the guy to let her go without sending him into a rage and deciding to teach you both a lesson about knowing your place and submitting to rape culture. Men are dangerous in these situations because all of society backs them up as just a nice guy who deserves a chance, and vilifies any woman who refuses to give him a chance. Women are not allowed to say no. So other women have to rescue the women saying no and pull them away with some made up excuse. Otherwise the situation will escalate and the ones who get hurt are always the women.
Women absolutely have to learn rescue tactics for each other, but it’s kind of funny how we describe really obvious facial expressions and body language as “secret signals.” The reality is that women telegraph disinterest in these aggressive men, making it super obvious, but men choose to ignore it. Total strangers who are just sitting nearby or happen to glance their way will be able to see that the woman isn’t interested, but the guy making the advances is somehow oblivious? Unlikely.
this is why I hate when in discussions of sexual assault people always have to derail them to talk about men. whether it’s MRAs bringing up male survivors to downplay the stories of female survivors or average men bringing up their lay theories and fudged statistics of false accusations, they generally seek to downplay rape culture and further marginalize female survivors of sexual assault - not to help survivors of any gender.
there is a reason why men care a lot less about sexual assault than women, on average. they are far less likely to be sexually assaulted than women and many of them can imagine themselves in the position of the perpetrator more than that of victims. of course, this is in spite of the fact that they are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than to be falsely accused of sexual assault.
they are more likely to fear that their actions will result in them being accused of sexual assault (in a situation that they didn’t perceive to be sexual assault) than they are of being sexually assaulted.
You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.
If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”
On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.
The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.
There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?
Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.
This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.
For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.
an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced” (via lostgrrrls)
HOLY FUCK THE TRUTH.
Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it. Which is where you come in.
Literally crying from the truth in this. Also:
Imagine a friend asks you to play a game of Russian roulette. Serious Russian roulette, with a six-shooter and a single bullet. If you say no because you don’t want to die, is it appropriate for your friend to object by arguing, “What, do you think all of the chambers are loaded?” Of course not, because that’s not the point, is it? The point is that one of them is loaded, so each turn of the game you play could potentially kill you. (source:
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!!!
Thus far, my sorors and I have been working hard to spread the word, from our “Teal Tuesdays” (teal is the official color for the commemorative month), to sharing statistics and facts with the student body, to our whiteboard campaign. It was great to see my peers willingly join in and express themselves, as we worked to raise awareness about SAAM. :)
This is just a few of the MANY photos we have taken, posted, and shared…and from what I’ve been informed, our movement has been picked up by the Deltas and our sorors at Bethune-Cookman University, as well.
Service…gotta love it!