Myths about male sexuality and rape

TW: rape

Kudos to Caitlin Bishop who wrote an article on Mamamia male rape victims. This is a topic that is sadly not talked about very often. Too often, female to male rape – especially when the male is in adolescence – is treated like a win, like something a man should want. If it’s a teacher/ student situation, it’s assumed that the victim has a crush on the female teacher anyway. This portrayal is never, if rarely, present when the genders are reversed. Often when men are raped by other men, this can lead men to mistakenly question their sexuality. CASA Forum Fact Sheet puts it:

For heterosexual men, sexual assault can cause confusion or questioning about their sexuality, especially if their body has responded.

Gay victims:

For gay men, sexual assault can lead to feelings of self – blame and self – loathing. attached to their sexuality. There is enough homophobic sentiment in society to make gay men suffer from internal conflicts about their sexuality. Being sexually assaulted may lead a gay man to believe he somehow “deserved it” due to his sexual orientation.

 

I believe that there is one important thing that people need to start realising – men – like women – can refuse sex. They aren’t animals without inhibitions, despite what society says. It’s their right, just as it’s the right of women to refuse sex. Also, the age of consent applies to males as it does females. If a male is underage or when the woman (or man), is in a position of power (teacher, etc), and any sexual contact occurs, then that male has been raped. It’s not a fantasy. It’s not a “dream come true”. It’s not what they “should want”. If a man or teenage boy can’t or won’t give proper consent, then that man has been raped.

For victims who have been raped by other men –  it’s of NO RESEMBLANCE to their sexual orientation. If a man is raped – regardless of sexual orientation – power has been abused. Again, gay men can refuse consent just as straight, bi, asexual, etc men can. They can refuse or withdraw any sexual contact from other men, just like anyone else. This toxic stereotype and over – sexualisation of gay men would not have done gay male victims of rape any justice, and like I quoted above, it exacerbates any internal homophobia that he may have.

The recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse saw a number of men speaking out their own experiences of sexual abuse and its aftermath. Recently in the UK, the Football Association has been rocked with historical allegations of sexual abuse by former players. According to BBC, ex – Crewe defender, Andy Woodward was one of the first to speak out without anonymity in November. He alleged that he’d been abused by former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell from ages 11 to 15. Other men that have spoken out include: Steve Walters and former England and Totenham footballer, Paul Stewart.

 

Feminists often talk about toxic masculinity and how it affects women. But I think it’s equally toxic for men. Like I said, no, men are not animals. Yes, they should have choice an autonomy over their body and sexuality just like women. And yes, men can – and refuse sex – from people of any gender. If we don’t get rid of these toxic views on masculinity and sexuality, more male victims are going to suffer in silence.

For Australians who need help dealing with sexual abuse here is a list of helpline numbers across the country  

 

 

 

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Intersectionality and feminism

When I wrote about whether or not I class myself as a feminist, a blogger commented saying that feminism needed intersectionality or it wasn’t feminism at all. I agree with this commenter’s sentiment.

I vaguely knew what intersectionality was, but I wasn’t 100% sure. For those who, like me, aren’t fully in the know about intersectionality,  The Telegraph UK puts it:

Intersectionality is a term that was coined by American professor Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989. The concept already existed but she put a name to it. The textbook definition states:

“The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees or intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class ability and ethnicity”. 

In other words, certain groups of women have multilayered facets in life that they have to deal with. There is no one – size – fits – all type of feminism. For example, I [the columnist] am a black woman and as a result I face both racism and sexism as I navigate around everyday life.

Even though the concept of intersectionality in feminism has been around for decades, it only seems to have made it into mainstream debate in the past year or so. And yet, still so many people are confused by what it means or what it stands for.

There’s more to the article, but you get the idea. Reading through the article and thinking about the recent comment on my last post here, I’ve come to the conclusion that people who call themselves “feminists” – and feminist publications – need to be more inclusive on all fronts. Like I’ve said before, struggles from women of colour, such as domestic violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been talked about, but I fear only as an afterthought and very, very rarely.

 

The triviality of modern – day Western “feminism” is making Millennials run away from the issue. Like I wrote about at the time, former Indigenous Adviser to Tony Abbott, Warren Mundine condemned Australian feminists to being largely silent on the violence epidemic in ATSI communities. Columnist for the “Herald Sun, Rita Panahi has condemned Australian feminists for being trivial and largely ignoring the suffering of women under Islamic State rule in Iraq and Syria.

If feminism is all about intersectionality and caring for the rights of ALL women, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, class, etc, then, I’ve got to ask, does Australia in particular and maybe the West as a whole, have a feminist movement at all? Can what we have in the west be classed as “feminism”? There does seem to be a lot of whitewashing of so – called “feminism” for sure, with sporadic voices from people of colour sprinkled in. Surely we can do better than that! I stand by my last post, there has been good work and advocacy done by self – described feminists. But there is definitely room for improvement. And, there does need to be more voices – like the columnist at Daily Mail UK that I linked above – from women of colour talking about their own experiences or both racism and sexism and feminists working together to stamp that out.

 

I know I keep referring to the same sources and the same names. Maybe I’m missing something. Do you know of any feminists who do intersectionality and including women of colour really well and often or is the lack of intersectionality a problem across the board? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Melania vs Gigi – what are your thoughts?

Recently, I wrote a post slamming Gigi Hadid for mocking future First Lady Melania Trump. While I still don’t like the idea of anyone being mocked, after reading this article, I’m starting to question what I wrote and how a commenter was right about Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

So, what do you guys think? Should Gigi Hadid apologise for her parody? Has Melania Trump been treated more unfairly than other First Ladies?

Am I a feminist?

Lately, I’ve trawled YouTube and have been watching videos on different women and how they view feminism. A number of them classify themselves as “anti – feminist” or neither anti or pro feminist. Here are just some of the videos I’ve watched lately.

Content warning: coarse language

OK, that’s one of the videos I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. I have seen others, but haven’t found them (note to self – keep titles of YouTube videos in mind or written down!).

Anyway, just trawling through the videos just then (there are MANY both pro and anti feminist videos out there), a question came to me – am I a feminist?

Well, it depends what you mean by “feminist”. These days, I believe the term has been hijacked by social justice warriors that have made women in particular run from the label. When you have “feminists” like Clementine Ford and Van Badham, I, like other Millennials want to run away from the label faster than you can say “I am woman”. Also, there are a lot of myths that have plagued feminism, like the 1 in 5 rape statistic in America that is apparently debunked:

 

Closer to home, feminists have been accused of pursuing trivial causes, while ignoring the suffering of women in the Middle East and Africa under Islamic rule. Feminists have also been accused of ignoring the domestic violence epidemic in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in the Northern Territory. To be fair to feminists, sites like Mamamia have reported on DV in ATSI communities, but it has been few and far in between from what I’ve seen, which, if I’m looking properly, is disappointing. Then again, it’s not hard to do. I’ve only written about the issue once. Then, there’s the whole political correctness overkill, trigger warnings overkill, etc, etc. Yep, it’s turned into a bit of an unfunny joke, really.

 

However, there are feminist blogs I do read and I do agree with some of the sentiments. Sites like Ravishly are very inclusive and do give voice to women of colour, as well as Caucasian women, including many LGBTQ+ women. I do have respect for how they allow women to talk about different struggles such as mental illness. Also, again, closer to home, last week, in light of disability awareness, Mamamia did a great job giving voices to women affected by a physical disability or looking after a grown child with a disability. Despite the criticisms I’ve made toward publisher, Mia Freedman, I do admire her for her advocacy a number of causes, many of which her and the rest of the Mamamia team do very well.

So, feminist publications do a good job in raising awareness about issues. But, am I a feminist?

To be honest, I’m actually not sure. I mean, I do write and care about women’s rights, yet, I’m critical of modern day feminism. Then again, I can see that, without going to the fringes, feminists can do good. I haven’t been actively involved in feminist activism or anything (I used to get quite involved on – line, but not anymore). I think if you take away the blown up statistics, the seeming exclusion of minorities, especially the plight of ATSI women, hypocrisy, etc, then I guess you could say, yeah, I am a feminist. It’s not perfect by any means, and like I said, there are people that give it a bad name, but I don’t think the overall cause in and of itself isn’t bad. If we, including me, as feminist can drop the double – standards, triviality and stand up for all women, then I think feminism can be made even better.

 

What are you? Feminist? Anti – feminist or something else? Who are feminists past or present that you respect?

What is sexism?

Content Warning: some of the links in this post contain articles on underage marriage and such stories on (inevitably) rape may trigger survivors. 

Apparently asking asking women to smile is “sexualisation”. Still can’t understand what makes it ‘sexist’. Commenting on a woman’s “charm” has also been condemned as sexist by the Radio National (RN), on the ABC. The spike of number of child brides in Australia?

*Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet*. To be fair the ABC has published a few  on – line articles and radio transcripts, such as herehere and here. It’s still a pity that I have to use Google to find any evidence though.

 

People don’t like the Murdoch media (Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, etc). I get it. But let’s give credit it where it’s due. None of the mainstream media, at least what I’ve seen, a part from the “Daily Telegraph” and a few other media outlets, commented on the worrying increase of children as young as nine being sent overseas to be “married’, i.e. raped, often by much older men. According to current Australian Federal Police statistics, the number of children taken overseas by parents to be subjected to this is 73. I wrote about it here. I argued that there needs to be much more done when it comes to abuse of children – that’s including dealing with cultures that seem to normalise child rape – at least in cultures where it’s widely practised.

 

Women have every right to speak up about behaviour that they find uncomfortable. Men should adhere to cues that women are giving on whether their conduct makes them feel OK. To me, that’s personal autonomy – something that everybody regardless of gender should be free to exercise. And others should always respect the boundaries of the ohter person, including in a professional or platonic context.

But how can something like  what looks like a compliment cause such a storm when the media on the whole is very quiet about children as young as nine being raped by much older men? That is ridiculous. It’s wrong! It’s why feminism continuously gets a bad name! Enough’s enough. We need to stop attacking those who mean no harm and start condemning those who do! There should always be mores that are used to protect the vulnerable, including children, regardless of cultural background. Anything less should not be tolerated.

And let’s stop screaming and calling everything sexist! It doesn’t do anyone any favours. Neither does falsely calling people sexist – including someone who you don’t like or strongly disagree with on ideological grounds. Can we, those who call ourselves feminists – and even those who reject the label but agree with the underlying principles of gender equality, autonomy, etc, use our voices usefully and call out atrocities against women whenever they occur? There are good cause for feminism in the world, but so – called feminists seem to constantly miss the mark.

 

What do you think? Do you label yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Body positive movement: what is it and what isn’t it?

I don’t often write about body positivity on any of my blogs. Nor do I associate with any of that sort of “community”, in real life, social media, etc. I found this video via Everyday Feminism. A lot of YouTube users seem to disagree or not like what she’s saying. Check it out.

Note: there is swearing in it.

 

I think she may  have some points. But yet, she says you can’t “be on Weight Watchers and be body positive”. Apart from that, she does make some OK points (I think), like being inclusive of men and trans and gender diverse people. She goes on to talk about how people in the body positive movement shouldn’t judge someone on how much or little sex they have. Exactly what that’s got to do with body positive movement, I’m not sure. Is that often talked about in body positive spheres (blogs, social media, etc? I though it’d be more about size, dieting – or lack of, etc).

 

So, what do you think? I’d like to particularly hear from those who are active in the body positive movement.

Child brides in Australia and the broader issue of sexual abuse

Trigger warning: child sexual abuse. Please proceed with caution if this is triggering for you. 

Yes, you read that right. According to Peter Kurti of Rendez View, Daily Telegraph:

According to Australian Federal Police figures released recently, the number of reported forced marriages rose from three in 2014 to nearly 70 this year.

Three is too many, obviously. Nearly 70 is abominable. Before anyone makes a snarky comment and putting this on the same route as same – sex marriage, let me paraphrase the above quote slightly: According to Australian Federal Police figures released recently, the number ofcreported GIRLS BEING RAPED BY MEN USUALLY OVER TWICE THEIR AGE rose from three in 2014 (atrocious) to 70 this year (you can’t be serious!). 70 prepubescent girls are being FORCED to ‘ marry men and ultimately be raped. Tony Abbott’s former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin was spot on on Sky’s ‘Paul Murray Live’, last night, this is paedophilia. Pure and simple.

This, of course, has made Andrew Bolt Australia’s immigration policy, yet, a young man has been accused of rapingvhis 12 year – old foster sister before she was reportedly killed.

This is happening in Australia in the 21st Century. What the hell is going on? Why are young girls, often barely pubescent, being abused like this by people who are meant to look after and love them? Why has the Australian media largely ignored the horrendous spike in child brides? Political correctness? Fear of being seen as racist? Whatever excuse people may have, this is just not on. If a person or family come from a country where this occurs, they need yo leave it when they come here. As a community, we need to make the protection of children against abuse paramount. And we need to demand any family who comes to Australia that they do the same.

 

This isn’t the only instance of children being let down by their own families. 12 – year – old Tiahleigh Palmer, who was murdered by her foster father allegedly after her step – brother sexually abused her. Friends of the young girl have told the media that she regularly expressed that she didn’t want to go home to her foster family. According to Kidspot, the foster father, Rick Thorburn has been charged after waking from a coma. This case has bought back a lot of painful memories, one survivor of Paramatta Girls’ Home , Bonney Duric has to,d news.com.au of horrific abuse she and her late sister duffered. The abuse cases were heard in the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response of Child Sexual Abuse.

 

 

Too many children are being let down by those who are suppose yo protect them. The safety and well  – being of children should be paramount to evrrybody, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. Anyone who fails their duty of care abd are either active or complicit in the abuse and/ or death of children should feel the full extent to the law. No more excuses. Stop letting generations of young girls down.

 

If this has bought up any issues for you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14.