Let’s take a moment to talk about this. I mean, because first off, “Tell cars not to hit kids.” Well, yeah, we do that all the fucking time, idiot. Ever seen signs like these?
We have classes and signs and laws about it, and people are constantly reminded. So your argument only works if we put up signs everywhere reminding assholes not to rape. But you’d rather talk about how rape victims have it coming to them.
But the dumbest part of this crap? Roads exist for cars to drive on. Children need to be careful to cross the street because they’re entering into an environment that exists specifically for something that is dangerous to them. The only way this shit is a valid comparison is if you think that bars, parties, and the world in general exists specifically for men to have sex with women. And I gotta break it to the guys who support this stupidity- your dicks are not that important. So knock off this bullshit and stop excusing rapists.
TW: Rape, Sexual Abuse
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.”
She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying.
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, indoctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
Pop culture and art are just the cherry on the top of the icing on a huge cake. The United States is among the most religious of all countries in the industrialized world. So, while some people wring their hands over hip hop, I’m more worried about how men like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli explain to their daughters why they can’t be priests. I know that there is hip hop that exceeds the bounds of taste and is sodden with misogyny. But, people seem to think that those manifestations of hatred are outside of the mainstream when, in reality, it’s just more of the same set to great beats. Hip hop has nothing on religious misogyny and its political expression.
An entire political party’s “social policy” agenda is being pursued under a rubric that insists women need “permission slips” and “waiting periods.” The recent shutdown? Conservatives holding the country hostage because they want to add anti-abortion “conscience clause” language to legislation. Whose consciences are we talking about? All the morally incompetent and untrustworthy men who need abortions?
It’s no exaggeration to say that distrust of women is the driving force of the “social issues” agenda of the Republican Party. From food stamps and “legitimate rape,” to violence against women and immigration policy. “We need to target the mother. Call it sexist, but that’s the way nature made it,” explained the man who penned Arizona’s immigration law. “Men don’t drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do.” I could do this ad infinitum.
I am usually against violence… but WOW. THAT ATTORNEY!
This is an excellent write up, but the casual dismissal of other people’s pain, as though they need to be convinced that you’re worth believing especially when it comes to this…is difficult to stomach.
PAX is not, and has never been, a safe place for me to be.
In 2008, I went to PAX for the first time. Despite all of the male gamers trying to tell me how to play StarCraft, despite all of the hungry looks, despite all of the catcalls, it was the most welcome I have ever felt at the con. And this was the year I met the man who raped me.
He instantly bothered me. He was clingy but arrogant and dismissive. But he was a friend of friends, friends who insisted he was “a decent person but takes some getting used to,” and also “totally harmless.” Wrong on both counts. Over the course of the weekend, he singled me out several times, telling me that he could tell I was into him, and that I should stop resisting his advances. At one point he had grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me outside, down the block. He took me away from the safety of my friend’s apartment, into the streets of an unfamiliar town, at dark.
Many excruciating things transpired in the next six weeks. I was endlessly harassed and bullied by this man. I was kidnapped on my twenty-first birthday. I was woken up in the middle of the night, over and over again. So I did everything I could to distance myself from him, but because he was a friend of my friends, I just couldn’t get away from him. I asked my friends to not leave me alone in the same room with him. I asked them to always check in with me when they saw me on Vent or AIM.
And six weeks later, he showed up at my door.
I lived alone. And I mean ALONE. No roommates, no local friends. I didn’t even know a neighbor in the complex who could help me. He forced his way into my home with the singular intent of raping me. I only remember little pieces of what happened (thank you, traumatized brain, for protecting me). I remember very clearly trying hard to breathe and trying hard not to cry. I remember thinking, “If you can just survive, you can put the pieces back together later.”
For six months, I was a broken human being. I quit my job. I stopped going to classes. And I started drinking. Once, I reached out to another member of my WoW guild to tell him what had happened, only to be completely cut off from him and the rest of my guild. Like many victims, I felt ashamed and guilty about being raped. Some days, I even felt like it was my fault. Like, “If only I had not gone to this convention where all of these men told me they want to do terrible things to me, maybe I would not be such a fucking wreck right now.”
I realized right away that was not the right train of thought. After all, I’d just met plenty of awesome people at PAX! Many of them were not interested in causing me bodily harm at all!
Remember: 2008 was the most positive experience I had with PAX. I have attended six consecutive PAXes, each more discouraging and toxic than the last. To be fair, there is always fun to be had at PAX. It’s a neat convention. Except when you get down to some of the people who attend it.
I used to think that the man who raped me was in the minority. That the men who shouted obscene things at me just didn’t fucking know any better, because hey, we’re all geeks. We’re not exactly known for possessing stellar social skills. I used to think that the men attending PAX who didn’t respect, or even like, women were the exceptions instead of the rule. But now I know better. Because Gabe told me so.
In 2010, the Dickwolves strip was published. It wasn’t a funny joke to begin with—treating victims as punchlines is never funny to me—but as a rape survivor it offended me and made me question my value to the community. Obviously Penny Arcade has never really catered to me, not really, but this was the first instance where I felt worse than worthless to them. This was the first instance that I realized the founders of the community would rather make jokes at my expense, at the risk of my safety, than admit that they were wrong and withdraw their statement.
So on Monday, when Gabe’s statement about regretting the retraction of the Dickwolves merch was met with raucous cheers of agreement, my stomach churned. My vision went blurry. I felt dizzy. That entire room of people supports him making money from minimizing the most excruciating experience of my life. The entire room validated his stance. Every cheer reaffirmed his belief that rape is something to laugh at and to profit from.
Let me be clear: I do not think all members of the PAX community are rape apologists. In fact, I think many of these people are wonderful humans. But the community has progressed to a place where it is UNSAFE for me to even say that I’m offended. Let me say that again: standing up for myself within the Penny Arcade community has become a threat to my physical well being.
I don’t even know what else to say. But why the fuck do I have to be the one to say it?
Friends, please read all of this. And remember that the merch that was pulled was created in the first place to make fun of the people who complained (politely, at first) about the comic strip. Their response to the concerns of rape survivors was to mock them and make money at it.
I’ve seen several people on the change-it-from-within front saying “but if they keep us out, they win.”
I think that’s true in many situations. I don’t think it’s true of PAX. Once they’ve got your money, and they’ve shown over the past three years and more that they have no intention whatsoever of listening to your voice. Short of a majority of the Enforcer team going on strike for change, nothing is going to change PAX from within because the owners have already shown they’re not open to it.
As far as they’re concerned, they’ve won the moment you buy your ticket.
Mike Krahulik (Gabe) of Penny Arcade has said he regrets taking down Dickwolves merchandise. Which, if you aren’t familiar, was created with the express intent of mocking rape survivors.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I think my friend Ryan put it pretty well:
To be totally firm: @cwgabriel saying that he regrets pulling the Dickwolves merch is saying that he regrets listening to women.— Ryan Macklin (@RyanMacklin)
I’m generally pretty up front about my dislike for Penny Arcade. I haven’t been a fan for a while. But this is the last straw. This is where I’m ready to burn bridges over it. Continuing to support Penny Arcade and PAX is making a statement. That statement is “it’s okay to perpetuate rape culture and make nerd spaces worse as long as I think you’re funny.” It’s “I value survivors less than a webcomic.”
This is pretty personal for me. I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually assaulted. I’ve been harassed in nerd spaces. This is pretty directly my skin on the line, in terms of making nerd spaces safer for everyone.
This is #1reasonwhy. This is why women don’t feel safe at conventions. Because the men who spearhead them, their figureheads, actively advocate for rape culture. Because their leaders actively devalue women’s safety. Because a crowd cheers them on.
So, like what you’re gonna like! Do what you’re gonna do! But this is to the point where I will absolutely consider it a testament to your character if you go to PAX, support Penny Arcade, or try to minimize an audience cheering Mike’s bigotry. I will consider it, and I will not trust you.
THE BEAT: As you may know, there’s been a huge uproar recently about something Mark [Millar] said. There were some concerns about how in the comic there is a rape scene and in the movie they did tone it down and–
JR JR: Wait a minute, there was no rape scene in the book. There was an intimation of what could happen and what happened but you never saw a rape scene. It was foul language and it was violence to a lady, she gets hit. But there was no rape scene. I get a kick out of having been sent emails that said I can’t believe you depicted a rape scene in your book [because] it never happened…
And that was when my jaw hit the floor. Yes, the rape happened off panel (because there’s only so much even Mark Millar can get away with), but to flat say there was no rape scene — to utterly dismiss the subject by diving into technicalities — is the most obtuse, weaselly crap I’ve seen from an industry pro in a while. And then, of course, he goes on to say what a good man Millar is, how his statement must have been taken wrongly, etc.
- Since 2006, more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. military
- More than 86% of service members do not report their assault
- Less than five percent of all sexual assaults are put forward for prosecution, and less than a third of those cases result in imprisonment
I hate that I can attest to accuracy of this post. I never reported my assailants. I had a friend who did. She got looked down upon, name called, moved to a crappy shift and generally treated like trash from a good number of people in our command, including some superiors. The male who molested her got a “talking” to, a slap on his wrist and then essentially promoted. And that was on shore. I can’t even begin to tell you what happened while we were on the ship. It’s just unbelievably horrifying.
Can I fucking tell you how true this is???? Even though I did report the shit dick that did this to me; OSI treated me like I was lying, saying things like “you’re not acting like a victim”, and “this is impossible” when they made me draw out a diagram of what ‘position’ we were in when it happened. My sergeants basically called me out publicly calling me a slut, other airmen called me easy, and the bastard is still enlisted to this day. The most I got was a medical discharge with PTSD and a monthly check that isn’t even half of what I was making a month when I was enlisted. They cover their tracks and slap the assholes on the nose like they’re simply misbehaving pet dogs who pissed on your carpet.
God fucking bless the USA.
“We live in a country where politicians call rape a “gift from God” and suggest that women regularly lie about being raped. Where a group of young men in high school think so little of sexual assault that they thought it was fine - hilarious, even - to post pictures online of a passed out rape victim, and to live-tweet the rape, joking about the victim being urinated on. We live in a country where media as revered as The New York Times finds it necessary to describe an 11-year-old gang rape victim as “wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.” Where a woman can be fired because her boss finds her “irresistable” and a woman’s rape case falls flat because she isn’t married.
It’s time to acknowledge that the rape epidemic in the United States is not just about the crimes themselves, but our own cultural and political willful ignorance. Rape is as American as apple pie - until we own that, nothing will change.”
Yeah so Americans can climb right off that ‘India is so backwards w/r/t women’ high horse right now.
[Discussion of rape/consent issues.]
So, I went from being upset about things in the latest Spider-Man comics, to being furious at the response from editorial.
Spoilers everywhere in the linked piece.
Also, be aware that the things I’ve tagged here are triggers for the piece I’ve written.
Please don’t go if it may upset you.
Amazing Spider-Man 700, Avenging Spider-Man 15.1, and the handling of sexual consent in comics.
Jesus Christ, someone actually said that? And believed it?
That’s almost as bad as the ol’ “I’m not racist, you’re racist for bringing it up!” argument.
I wish I could say I were surprised, but this is standard M.O. for the Marvel staff in general and Wacker in particular. It’s Marvel’s boilerplate circular logic — “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it!”/”If you didn’t buy it, you can’t have an opinion about it!” — applied to social issues. “I am not a bad person, therefore the people suggesting I or the group which I’m associated with have done a bad thing are the real bad people.” There’s no room for admitting wrongdoing or even for
The irony of that kind of thinking associated with a franchise like Spider-Man, whose lead character is the quintessential good person working through the consequences of his bad actions…
It’s also depressing that Spider-Man’s PTB apparently learned nothing from the Chameleon/Michelle Gonzales controversy and still think this is a worthwhile path to go down.
Same shit, different writer — between Van Lente’s spider-rape and Joe Casey’s hipster racism in the book and Slott’s stalker-behavior and Wacker’s usual antagonism outside of it, the Spider-Man books are corner of the Marvel U I decided to avoid on principle.
Oh god. Is there a link somewhere so I can share in the horror?
TW: Discussions of rape and rape culture at links:
Dissection and appropriate rage: