Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Julian Assange Rape Debate: Which Women Do You Support? The Most Privileged and Empowered, or the Most Marginalised, Traumatised, and Disbelieved?

Naomi Wolf is a white liberal heterosexual feminist who has extraordinary privileges and it shows up in her viewpoints and analysis; she is an advocate for viewing rape as something that can only happen when women verbally express no to every action men take that may be coercive, manipulative, or accomplished while a woman is dissociated or  asleep. She, like the somewhat younger white class privileged writer for mainstream media, Ariel Levy, go out of their way to keep the spotlight off men as a class of terroristic, violating, and controlling abusers of women. These two prominent spokespeople for U.S. white feminism are problematically pro-WHM, in my view. Both women are on record for distancing themselves from radical feminist activists, which I see as a sign of internalised and externalised misogyny.

Jaclyn Friedman, is the editor of the popular U.S. book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. But her viewpoint is closer to that of women whose views and perspectives on rape I find respectful of women as a class, not just speaking out for the most privileged Western white women in that class of gender-oppressed people. But I don't believe "Yes" can consistently mean "Yes" in a world where men economically, culturally, socially, environmentally, spiritually, racially, and sexually terrorise women and women experience dissociation, post-traumatic stress, Stockholm Syndrome, fear of being deported, fear of being silenced and shamed again, fear of being re-victimised in and by a criminal justice system, fear of losing their children in a custody battle if they reveal they've been raped by their ex-husbands, etc.

Why it is that only privileged white women are allowed to speak on Democracy Now on the issue of rape is a bit beyond me. White women don't speak for all women and aren't aware of what many women experience as the context in which rape occurs--in the context of also being racially denigrated, marginalised by immigration status, or by not being a First or Second World woman.

White women, no matter how privileged, are women-in-a globalised racist capitalist patriarch-ruled world, however, and do illuminate the condition of women in racist patriarchies: they just aren't the authoritative voice for all women and I wish those with such extraordinary privileges as Wolf would own how those privileges shape her own views on what constitutes rape by men of women. Wolf and Friedman are U.S. women and don't speak for women in Sweden, including either of the two women who are named by Swedish police as possible victims of Assange.

Sweden has demonstrated, as a country and a nation, a commitment to make political, economic, and social equality between men and women a reality in a way that I doubt the U.S. ever will. Sweden is serious about stopping sexual exploitation, violation, and subordination of women which means their laws about men's predation, abuse, and domination of women are necessarily more radical than are the laws in the U.S., which are liberal at best.

So what are we to expect U.S. liberals to say about what Sweden is doing to stop rape and hold rapists accountable? If you've been watching Democracy Now over the last two days, you have a good idea of how these conversations are allowed to occur in liberally progressive media. It's not encouraging; it's depressing, to me. Each woman defends her credentials in being able to speak for rape survivors. And Wolf only ever speaks about a kind of rape that is the least common form of rape--that which is unambiguously predatory and criminal according white het male supremacist law.

If Democracy Now refuses to have women of color speak as women about rape, they might consider booking Catharine A. MacKinnon, who has a far more compassionate and sophisticated view of what rape is, how it is accomplished, and why it is that most rape survivors are often reluctant to ever name their experience as rape, let alone report it as such, let alone prosecute the rapist as such. I believe we ought to consider the many ways in which women of color are often silenced by more means than white women, when it comes to speaking out about rape? And how immigrant women without a secure legal status are often not able to speak out for fear of drawing attention to themselves as immigrants.

And what about poor women, academically uneducated or illiterate women, incest and child molestation survivors, mentally or physically challenged women, emotionally and physically traumatised women, Indigenous women who do not live on U.S. land and are raped by white men who know this, non-English-speaking women in countries or places where English is the dominant language, or trans people, or lesbians, or women in prostitution, who have learned, along with their more privileged sisters, that speaking out about rape is not going to be respected or regarded as truthful and may land them in jail or negatively impact them in any number of other ways?

For more in depth discussion about the problems with how rape is currently understood in most of the West, please see chapter 19, "A Sex Equality Approach to Sexual Assault" in Women's Lives, Men's Laws. That is one of the best Western-English white discussions of rape I've ever read.

Here's one effort underway to give voice to women who are able to speak out. *Here* is the source website for what follows next.

In english

Talk about it

Sometimes it’s difficult, even impossible, to talk about negative sexual experiences. About the times when our boundaries were violated, but we didn’t say anything. About times when we violated others without realizing it. About times when we violated ourselves. Initiating an honest conversation about sex and consent is scary. Reactions can be cold or even hostile towards those who try. Because of this, many people hold their tongue and put a lid on their thoughts – but that doesn’t make the thoughts go away.

In connection to a conversation regarding the media coverage of the Assange case, Swedish journalist Johanna Koljonen started to tweet, openly and intimately, about her own experiences of drawing lines and negotiating gray areas in sexual situations. Hundreds followed Koljonen’s example on Twitter under the hashtag #prataomdet (”#talkaboutit”). As a result of this, several Swedish magazines, newspapers and other media outlets are publishing pieces on the subject. In a matter of days international media, such as The Guardian, Die Welt, BBC World Service, Norway’s Dagbladet, Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat, and others have followed.

We need a language for sex that isn’t stifled by shame, we need to think about our boundaries as well as others’. Something is going to change. We are going to dare to #talkaboutit.

Are you a media representative who wants to get in touch? Contact us on press@prataomdet.se

Do you want to tell your story, or contribute to the conversation in some other way? Awesome! Unfortunetaly, we are so overwhelmed with responses right now that we can’t promise to publish stories – but what we can do is put up links to other blogs. Write your story as a blog post, send a link to talkaboutit@prataomdet.se, and we will make it happen. If you’re a novice to blogging, here’s a how-toget you started.

Find more english language content here.
*          *           *
All that follows is from Democracy Now. The video that opens this post is Part 1 of a two-part discussion. 
We can note how what Assange is accused of doing is reduced from rape charges to "sexual allegations" in the title. 
Before we get going, I'd like to offer support to activists working to pass legislation that illuminates, challenges, and remedies how liberal rape law is inadequate to deal with most rape cases. And how "not verbally expressing non-consent" does not or ought not imply meaningful consent when men engage in sexual activity that men collectively find unproblematic and non-rapist. 
I'll await hearing from the two survivors of Julian Assange's sexual advances, to know in what ways those two women experienced his behavior as violating, disrespectful, coercive, silencing, and/or traumatic. I have no reason to believe Julian Assange isn't fully capable of violating women. His egotism alone indicates a propensity to ignore or override the will of others and to promote himself and his own self-interest. This doesn't make him a rapist necessarily, but if he did start having sex with a woman who was asleep, and if he did engage in intimidation tactics to obtain what he calls "sex", without observing and validating signs of enthusiastic welcoming of sexual contact from his sexual partners/victims, I'd consider him a rapist and a sexual predator.

And the fact that Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, and many, many other privileged white conservative, liberal, and progressive men are speaking out en masse in support of Assange without understanding much if anything about how rape happens in the lives of most women, leads me to believe that we are far from radically and effectively addressing rape as an atrocity committed by men and boys that disproportionately targets women and girls. For a more complex understanding of the role of rape in some Indigenous women's lives, please read Chapter 1, "Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide", in Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, by Andrea Smith.

Naomi Wolf vs. Jaclyn Friedman: Feminists Debate the Sexual Allegations Against Julian Assange

As more details emerge about the sex crimes allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, we host a debate between two feminists: Jaclyn Friedman argues the sexual assault allegations shouldn’t be dismissed just because they’re politically motivated, while Naomi Wolf says by going after Assange, the state is not embracing feminism, it’s "pimping" it. [includes rush transcript]

Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action & the Media a charter member of CounterQuo and the editor of the hit anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.
Naomi Wolf, feminist, social critic and author of seven books, including The Beauty Myth and The End of America
AMY GOODMAN: More details have emerged about the sex crime allegations that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces in Sweden. Assange was released on bail from a London prison Thursday, in now under house arrest at a country mansion. His next hearing, set for January 11th, will determine whether he’ll be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.
On Friday, The Guardian newspaper obtained unauthorized access to a Swedish police report that provides the first complete account of the allegations against Assange. According to The Guardian, the allegations are based on a 10-day period in August when Assange was visiting Stockholm, during which he had sexual relations with two women that started out as consensual, but the women say they turned into assaults. The Guardian reports one woman told police that Assange pulled her clothes off and snapped her necklace. Then, she said, he held down her arms and legs and prevented her from grabbing a condom numerous times. After he let go and agreed to wear a condom, she claims, he did something to the condom to rip it. Assange denied the allegations, telling police he did not tear the condom and that the woman had allowed him to sleep in her bed for the following week. The other woman in the case told police Assange had sex with her while she was asleep, without using a condom.
On August 20th, the women went to Stockholm police. They had not decided whether to report Assange’s behavior as a crime, but the prosecutor on duty that night opened an investigation, issued an arrest warrant for Assange. Assange and his supporters have said the case against him is part of a wider conspiracy to discredit him because of his work with WikiLeaks.
Speaking to reporters outside his friend’s mansion in eastern England, where he must live while on bail, Assange said the allegations are part of a smear campaign.
JULIAN ASSANGE: This has been a very successful smear campaign so far, but I think its days are numbered, and people are starting to wonder, is what is claimed really true, and if it is true, where is the evidence? Why has no evidence been provided even to me and my defense attorneys?
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, the lawyer for the two women, Claes Borgström, has denied the allegations against Assange are part of a political conspiracy.
CLAES BORGSTRÖM: Well, I think it’s very, very unfortunate for my two clients that they were molested in some way or another by a person like Julian Assange, because what has happened afterwards is not that they will have a fair chance at this moment, because they are sort of being treated like the perpetrators themselves and they have—there is a conspiracy and all that nonsense. So it’s very, very unfortunate.
AMY GOODMAN: The case against Assange has sparked international controversy, as well as controversy within the feminist community. We’re joined by two women right now. Jaclyn Friedman is executive director of Women, Action, & the Media and the editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. She’s joining us from Boston. Naomi Wolf is a social critic, author of seven books, including The Beauty Myth, The End of America. She’s joining us here in New York.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Jaclyn Friedman, as this information comes out, why don’t you talk about your thoughts on the—we can’t even say charges against Julian Assange, because he has not yet been charged.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: We can say allegations. Certainly these women are alleging a crime.
What I want to say is that these are—the details, certainly, have become more clear since that unauthorized leak, but we’ve known those basic facts for weeks, that the allegations—in fact, we’ve known them since August, that the allegations were that he held one woman down, that he raped another in her sleep. These allegations have been out there. The Guardian has been reporting them.
Rape is a very serious crime, and it’s also one of the most underreported crimes across the globe. And one of the reasons is because every time the issue comes up in the media, people come out of the woodwork to blame the victims and to minimize the crime. And unfortunately, when we see someone who is a progressive hero, like Assange is, those critics, those people who are doing that minimization and that victim blaming often come from the left, as well as the right. And we’ve seen that across the board. Unfortunately, with—Naomi Wolf has participated in that, as well as Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck—of course, plenty of people on the right are participating, as well.
And the result of that is not only that these women are receiving death threats, they are in hiding—one of them has gone to Palestine, because she couldn’t feel safe in Sweden anymore—but the even more important result of that, when we perpetuate rape myths in the media—and this is not just my opinion, this has been documented by social research—is that victims, nameless victims, victims who have been harmed by people who are not famous, become much more reluctant to take their experiences seriously, to report those experiences. The system, the justice system that’s supposed to work for those victims—the cops, the juries, the prosecutors, the judges—they become much more reluctant to take these allegations seriously when they are reported. And men become less likely to identify their own behavior as sexually violent. And the result of all of that is that rapists go free.
And what we know about that is, the majority of rapists are repeat rapists. So, the result of perpetuating these rape myths in the mass media is that we literally are creating more rape in the world. And that’s my main concern about the way these allegations have been discussed so far, is that it’s doing real harm to real women around the world who have nothing to do with this case.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Wolf, your response?
NAOMI WOLF: Thank you. Well, Jaclyn, let me say that I’m very, very offended that you’re suggesting that I’m blaming the victim. In fact, it’s because of my 23 years of supporting rape victims, working in rape crisis centers, traveling around the world, to report more than any journalist I know, which, in a way, I’ve been very blessed to have had the chance to do so, from Sierra Leone to Bosnia to Ireland to the United Kingdom, interviewing people who support rape victims and work with the legal system—it’s because of that that I’m raising my voice about these very ambiguous and corrupt allegations.
First of all, let me just correct you. And Jaclyn, these—The Guardian account, which is based on leaked original documents, doesn’t say that he had sex with either of these women without the consent. The reason I’m hearing from rape victims across the world who are emailing me, saying, "I’m a rape victim. Thank you for standing up to put these charges in context," is that this is the only case I’ve ever seen in 23 years of supporting rape victims which is based on multiple instances of consent.
If you read these allegations, he took off Miss A’s clothes too quickly for her comfort. She tried to tell him to slow down, but then, quote, "she allowed him to undress her." This is what the report says. The second woman says she woke to find him having sex with her. When she asked whether he was wearing a condom, he said no. Quote, "According to her statement, she said: 'You better not have HIV.'" He answered, "Of course not." Quote, "She couldn’t be bothered to tell him one more time because she had been going on about the condom all night. She had never had unprotected sex before."
So, if you’re going to treat women as moral adults and if you’re going to take the issue of rape seriously, the person who’s engaging in what he thinks is consensual sex has to be told, "I don’t want this." And again and again and again, these women did not say, "This is not consensual." Assange was shocked when these were brought up as complaints, because he had no idea that this was not a consensual situation. Miss A kept Assange in her home for the next four days and threw a party for him.
So, because I take rape seriously, because I’m aware that in 23 years, you know, in Sweden, which has been criticized by Amnesty International for disregarding rape, for letting rapists go free, because you have a better chance in Sweden, if you’re a rape victim, of, you know, dying in an accident or getting breast cancer than having a serious rape allegation prosecuted or getting any kind of legal hearing, according to Amnesty International’s report "Case Closed"—it’s because of that that I know that these charges are utterly, utterly atypically handled. In 23 years, I’ve never seen any man in any situation this ambiguous, involving this much consent, have any kind of legal process whatsoever. And all over the world, women who have been gang-raped, brutally raped, raped in alleyways, pimped, prostituted, trafficked, you know, their rapists go free.
So, yes, this stinks to me. And yes, it’s about politics, and it’s about the same kind of politics that dragged you, when you were trying to cover a march, you know, violently into legal jeopardy, because really this is about a journalist who has angered the most powerful and increasingly brutal nation on earth, and it’s about all of us who are journalists being dragged into a dangerous situation because of criticism of the government.
AMY GOODMAN: Jaclyn Friedman, your response?
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Wow. First of all, I’ve also been working with rape survivors for 20 years, and I am one myself. And I can assure you that you do not speak for me or many of us. I, too, have been speaking with rape survivors around the world since this case broke, who have been so hurt and disappointed that someone like you, who understands about the danger of perpetuating myths in the media, would be perpetuating rape myths that hurt all of us. There are so many rape survivors that are up in arms about the way this case has been discussed and the way these women have been disregarded.
NAOMI WOLF: But Jaclyn, Jaclyn, with all due respect—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I fully agree—no, no.
NAOMI WOLF:—where did they say no?
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I did not interrupt you when you were speaking, and I would appreciate—
NAOMI WOLF: I beg your pardon.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN:—if you don’t—I’m going get to that.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: OK. So, I fully agree with you that the zeal, shall we say, with which these charges are being pursued is politically motivated. We have no disagreement on that. That is not an issue here. We are in agreement about that. I bet Amy agrees with us, too.
But if you want to talk about what the women in Sweden want, you should look at their political actions. There is a massive Twitter campaign that the women of Sweden have launched called "Let’s Talk about It." I think that’s right. It’s translated from the Swedish, because they are all—
NAOMI WOLF: That’s fair. Let’s talk about it.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I’m talking about it right now. They are coming forward, and they’re saying these things aren’t taken seriously in Sweden, and this is an opportunity to prove that the Swedish government can take these issues seriously. This is an opportunity to set the international bar higher for the way we take seriously rape charges.
Now, let’s talk about those charges. Those women did not consent. If she was consenting, he had no need to hold her down. A woman in her sleep cannot consent to sex. Consent is not a light switch, OK?
NAOMI WOLF: I have to speak to this.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Just because you’ve consented to choose one sexual activity, say, taking your clothes off with someone, does not mean you’ve consented to all sexual activities.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Wolf?
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: That’s preposterous.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: If I go home with someone, it’s not consenting to every single thing that might be done to me by the person I’ve gone home with.
AMY GOODMAN: Jaclyn, let’s get Naomi Wolf’s—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Both women have clearly claimed that they did not consent.
AMY GOODMAN: We need to get—we only have a minute to go. We need to get Naomi’s response.
NAOMI WOLF: Jaclyn, of course I agree with you that consent isn’t a given and that obviously with every sexual act, everyone needs to be sure that everyone is consenting. There is no doubt about that. But I don’t know if you’ve actually read the Guardian report, because again and again and again—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I most absolutely have.
NAOMI WOLF: Alright. So, again and again and again, Assange consulted with the women about what they wanted, and they didn’t say no. And to me as a feminist—and this is why I’m hearing from so many rape victims around the world—and of course the issue needs to be discussed more, obviously, but the reason, as a feminist, I am distraught about this miscarriage of justice is that you can’t—you’re not respecting women by casting them as unable to assert what they want, unwilling, you know, to speak about what they wish. The women—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Women may be afraid.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: If she’s been held down by someone, she is afraid.
NAOMI WOLF: But wait, read—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: She’s in a state of fear.
NAOMI WOLF: Listen to me. Jaclyn—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: No is not enough. Every sexual person—
AMY GOODMAN: We have 15 seconds.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN:—has the responsibility to get affirmative consent from their sexual partner.
NAOMI WOLF: He then consulted with her—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Not just no, but affirmative yes.
NAOMI WOLF:—and asked her what she wanted, and she did not say no. She continued to have sex with him. And what I’m saying is—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: She was afraid. He had held her down. She was in a state of fear. Many, many women—this happens over—you talk to rape survivors. I can’t believe you don’t know this. Many women are in a state of fear and unable—they’re in a panic situation. This is so common as to be laughable. And the reason they don’t take these seriously is because you tell them that.
AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds. We have 10 seconds. Naomi, you can respond.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I travel in the country and the world talking to rape survivors.
NAOMI WOLF: I mean, all I can say is if a man or a woman who’s engaging in a sexual act that they think is consensual never hears "no" and hears "yes, yes, yes—yes, let’s go ahead without a condom; yes, let’s go ahead"—that insults rape victims.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Wolf, Jaclyn Friedman, we’ll continue this after the show. Go to democracynow.org. Thanks so much for joining us.

[Part 2 doesn't offer a transcript yet but the video discussion follows.]

Part II...Feminists Debate on the Sexual Allegations Against Julian Assange


Clarissa said...

Great post! Finally, I'm reading a piece by a male writer who isn't dismissing rape allegations as "strange" or "hooey."

The Assange case has demonstrated that rape culture is very much alive and isn't going away any time soon.

Julian Real said...

Thanks, Clarissa!

Good to hear from ya too! Happy Solstice.

Yeah, the level of white-het-boy-bonding over this whole mess is really disgusting. Puke-worthy, in fact.

What I hope is that what we learn about the Swedish model for understanding the presence of consent, or lack thereof, takes hold here. Again, I'm not holding my breath, but I sure hope people in North America begin to re-assess whether "consent" is an adequate and meaningful concept to apply as "the measure" of whether or not rape has happened.

If most of us freeze and become unresponsive in situations where sexual aggression is present, then "saying no clearly" must not be the standard for what constitutes a rape occurring. If a woman is battered and then knows if she doesn't submit to her husband sexually, he'll beat her some more, we ought not call that "sex" something that has "meaningful consent" present when the marital rape occurs. And for those of us who are dissociated, we ought not be expected to have the kind or moral agency that Naomi declares women must have, as if women are not a population under siege by men. Her assumptions about people who have sex are so outside the realm of most people I know that I simply don't know who she's pretending to speak for, other than herself and a few other VERY privileged/unraped/unincested/untraumatised/undissociated/fully empowered people who always know when they want to have sex and what type of sex they wish to have.

I've almost NEVER been that person! And, yes, I had to stop having sex because of it. But given that some people prey on those they can sense are vulnerable, we must consider the experiences of vulnerable populations and not pretend they have exactly the same agency as the predators.

Her assumptions about a level playing field when it comes to sexual approach and responsiveness among sexual actors, are, frankly, more wishful than truthful, in my experience.


Level playing field Naomi Wolf? In your dreams Wolf because there is no level playing field but there certainly continues to be the centuries old male sex right to women 24/7.

It is this pseudo male sex right which radical feminists have challenged and will continue to challenge because men do not have the innate right of sexual access to women, despite their claims to the contrary. Wolf demonstrates she knows nothing whatever about how men coerce, threaten or simply use their physical bodies in order to gain sexual access to women, girls and sometimes boys.

Wolf is deliberately attempting to deflect attention away from Assange's actions and behaviour because of course, women must always be the ones to 'gatekeep' men's sexual aggressions and demands. This is despite fact women do not have the same or even a tiny amount of the socio-economic power men are accorded.

I've never met one female survivor of male sexual violence who had the 'agency and choice' Wolf claims all women supposedly have. But I do know many, many women who sadly have blamed themselves for the males who raped them/subjected them to sexual violence and this is despite fact these women know they could not have done anything to prevent the male rapist(s) from raping them.

There is no 'ideal rape survivor' but there are certainly many pseudo feminists such as Naomi Wolf who are determined to continue blaming women for men's violence committed against them and this neatly excuses/justifies men's free and informed choice to commit said violence against women.

Men must be held accountable for their sexual predatory behaviour and men must be held responsible for ensuring that they do not assume a woman is 'consenting' to their sexual demands/advances. Men need to understand that a woman's silence/not saying 'no' is not 'consent' but rather is submission, because the woman/women know(s) the male is not going to cease sexually assaulting her until he succeeds in penetrating her body.

Men continue to choose to ignore women's rights of ownership of their bodies because all a male has to do is to ignore the woman's reluctance/fear/terror and simply continue to rape her. Then of course the man claims 'but she didn't say no so I thought she said yes.' There is no misunderstanding in men's minds, rather they choose to ignore the woman's sexual autonomy and rights. But of course our male supremacist culture supports men's pseudo sex right to women 24/7 because men are human and only men have ownership of their bodies.


Note too whilst pseudo feminist/rape apologist Wolf is busily blaming the two Swedish women who dared to charge a white, powerful left-wing male with rape - other white left-wing males are congratulating themselves on the fact their pseudo sex right to women remains unchallenged and unquestioned. This is what male supremacy always does - it positions pseudo feminists against real feminists and then watches the argument from the side-lines. Whilst this is happening men continue their violence against women unnoticed and unchallenged.

That is male supremacy - using women as pawns in order to maintain male domination over all women. Wolf is a pawn even though she will say this is not true, because male supremacy does not view her as human but simply a tool to be used and then discarded.

Women are not all the same but all women because we are female not male can and are too many times, subjected to male sexual violence simply because of our sex. This fact continues to be ignored by male supremacists and their male left-wing allies. What feminists have discovered that irrespective of a woman's race, class, ethnicity etc. it is because she is female that she is seen as an appropriate target of men's sexual violence. The same excuses/women blaming/misogyny is to be found within all cultures and societies - not just in the west. In India for example - women continue to be blamed for men's sexual violence and similar rape myths abound. Why? Because women globally are not human and a woman's social position or access to a smidgen of male power will never protect her from male sexual violence and furthermore the male(s) perpetrator(s) will not be charged - unless they are viewed as 'abberant'/'monster(s)' by male supremacist system.

Julian Real said...

Thanks Jennifer, for adding your voice, your analysis, to this discussion.

What Naomi Wolf and millions of men have been doing--supporting the maintainance of rapist civilisation as the globalised one--is something that needs to be called out again and again.

I'll offer this response to a couple of portions of what you wrote, while standing in basic agreement with the main themes and points you've made.

Women are not all the same but all women because we are female not male can and are too many times, subjected to male sexual violence simply because of our sex.

I don't really disagree with that point--I find it to be a basic and tragic truth of a world where racist patriarchal values and practices have been globalised.

I recommend, if you haven't yet, reading Andrea Smith's book Conquest, because it, along with many other books by women of color, makes the important point that while most women are targeted for sexual violence by men due to being female, many are targeted for being female AND of color: Indigenous, Asian, Brown, Black.

And supporting whiteness means supporting male supremacy and misogyny (and also racism and white supremacy, of course). Acting on white privilege strengthens male privilege, because one is effectively tethered to the other, in terms of how racist patriarchal practices and institutions function.

The same excuses/women blaming/misogyny is to be found within all cultures and societies - not just in the west. In India for example - women continue to be blamed for men's sexual violence and similar rape myths abound.

I would simply add that India is a nation that was colonised by the British. Few places on Earth are now uncontaminated by white euro-men's values and practices of misogyny and genocide.

And there are, still, Indigenous societies that are not patriarchal or rapist. And I don't want to have them be invisibilised here on this blog.

That they don't garner media attention because the owners of media and militias, including those of the G8 are mass raping, relocating, and mass murdering Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

The dominant media doesn't want the white West to know anything truthful about those societies. It wants us to not know they exist so that if and when they succeed in exterminating them, we won't notice.

Atrocity upon atrocity comprise the white het male supremacist West. And I hold most responsible those media-controlling, World Bank-controlling, IMF-controlling, highly militarised nation-states and governments, as well as a whole gendered class of people--men, internationally--who protect and defend rape and genocide as worthy endeavors.

Too often I see some anti-rape activists speak as if the enemy of women is manhood. Yes, that's true. But whiteness too is utterly violating, domineering, subordinating, dehumanising, and gynocidal of women of color globally. And focusing on one while leaving the other unchallenged does not create the conditions in which women of color can be safe and respected as fully human in the First, Second, Third, and Fourth worlds, imo.