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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 40,638

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

What Kind Of Woman Won't Report Sexual Assault?

As Canadians and CBC listeners struggle to come to terms with the Jian Ghomeshi allegations, many are troubled or angry that his accusers didn't report their claims to the police for investigation. Unquestionably and unjustly, Mr Ghomeshi has been deprived of due process and the opportunity to face his accusers and make full answer and defence.

And Canadians have been deprived of an orderly resolution to a crisis of confidence in a beloved public figure.

And yet, as a former Crown prosecutor who's run many sexual assault trials, I'm not at all surprised that none of these young women reported their experiences (if they are true). Most members of the public, until they're in the situation themselves, don't understand the reluctance of women to report, and what they'll face if they do.

Trigger warning: This article contains information about violence which may be triggering to survivors.


Hey, Jian Ghomeshi, I Call B.S.!

A few days ago, news broke that Jian Ghomeshi, longtime host of CBC Radio's culture magazine Q (for which I was once interviewed), would be taking an indefinite leave of absence for "personal reasons." At that point, there was no reason for Americans—except perhaps fans of Q on Public Radio International—to give a damn about a Canadian demi-celebrity who sounded like he was probably just headed to rehab.

Those were happier times.

On Sunday, news broke that the CBC had decisively cut ties with Ghomeshi, rather than leaving things open for him to return. Also, Ghomeshi was suing the CBC for $50 million, for "breach of confidence and bad faith." And then, after consulting with his lawyers and Canada's answer to Olivia Pope and Associates, Ghomeshi published a 1,600-word Facebook post telling his side of the story—which is that he was fired for his personal sexual proclivities, which include BDSM.

His version of events is that he broke up with a woman with whom he'd had consensual kinky sex, and she was so furious about the rejection, she initiated "a campaign of harassment, vengeance, and demonization" that would come to involve multiple women. Even though Ghomeshi assured us that a major newspaper had looked into the women's claims and decided they weren't even worth covering, he apparently still had a strong suspicion that shit was about to go down, and it would look a little like this:

In the coming days you will prospectively hear about how I engage in all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom. And the implication may be made that this happens non-consensually. And that will be a lie. But it will be salacious gossip in a world driven by a hunger for "scandal". And there will be those who choose to believe it and to hate me or to laugh at me. And there will be an attempt to pile on. And there will be the claim that there are a few women involved (those who colluded with my ex) in an attempt to show a "pattern of behaviour". And it will be based in lies but damage will be done.

As the writer Rebecca Makkai said on Facebook, "This is a little like when my 7-year-old runs out of my 4-year-old's room going 'I didn't hit her with a plastic tomato!'"

- See more at: http://www.damemagazine.com/2014/10/28/hey-jian-ghomeshi-i-call-bs#sthash.kPKW8tzh.WSEVu06X.dpuf

Flashback to 1971

Throwback Thursday: In 1971, we talked about rape and consent
Our columnist condemned the fact that in cases of sexual assault, the victim’s conduct is often scrutinized more closely than her aggressor’s. It’s a conversation we’re still having 43 years later.


This .

How to Talk to Your Guy Friends About Not Threatening to Rape and Murder Women on the Internet

(Divine rant)

Maybe you think that goes without saying—that everybody knows threatening to aggressively sodomize a total stranger is not the coolest thing on Earth to do. But hey: It doesn’t go without saying for everybody, because literal thousands of somebodies are currently out there on the Internet right this minute terrorizing people with the promise of sexual violence of all kinds.

Those somebodies have brothers and dads and uncles and nephews and bosses and coworkers and yoga teachers and friends and fellow fantasy-footballers and dudes they always say hi to at the bodega and professors and grandfathers and mechanics and favorite bartenders and ARE ANY SINGLE ONE OF YOU TALKING TO YOUR BROS ABOUT HOW IT’S FUCKED UP IN THE EXTREME TO THREATEN TO RAPE PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET?

When’s the last time you heard a dude making a rape joke or saw your buddy harassing a woman on the street, and you actually fucking said something to him about how gross that is? When’s the last time you shared a Facebook post about enthusiastic consent? When’s the last time you tweeted or Tumbled an infographic about the prevalence of domestic violence?

Have you ever actually said out loud, in front of a bunch of dudes, that you don’t think abuse is a punchline, or that you wouldn’t stay friends with a guy who assaulted someone, or that you’d never put up with a dude who sent a woman anonymous emails full of bloody fetus pictures telling her to abort herself? (Shout-out to that guy! Don’t worry, bro, I got your message!)


Woman walks around New York for a day, is catcalled more than 100 times

Street harassment is a real occurrence that affects real women on a daily basis. It is characterized by a variety of behaviors — whistles, winks, “hey babys,” “bless you mamas,” stares that last too long. It is uncomfortable for many people, and overwhelmingly happens without invitation and despite efforts to dismiss it. In case you don’t believe any of the things I’ve just written, here’s some substantiating evidence.

Hollaback, an organization dedicated to eliminating street harassment, partnered with creative director Rob Bliss to produce a PSA about the realities of catcalling. Shoshana B. Roberts, a New York-based actress, volunteered to walk around Manhattan for 10 hours while Bliss walked in front of her with a GoPro camera attached to his backpack to capture her trip. Roberts carried a microphone in each of her hands, recording the seemingly infinite comments men made to her while she walked silently around the city.
The clip is just under two minutes long, but the number of comments is astonishing. Hollaback estimates Roberts received more than 100 unsolicited advances over the course of the walk. At one point, a man comes up next to her and walks close by her side for five straight minutes. She presses on, and it is clear from the look of discomfort on Roberts’ face that she is not acting.

Watch the PSA, via Hollback, below:



Wearing the hijab: 'It's a choice'

Probably should add the caveat that it is not a choice everywhere

"Are you hiding bombs in your skirts?" a stranger yelled from a car window as 12-year-old Radiya Ali walked down a Hamilton street in the mid-2000s. She had arrived to New Zealand as a refugee from Yemen, four years after 9/11 - an innocent among hicks and alarmists who saw young girls wearing the hijab and thought it stood for terrorist.

"Did you steal those curtains you wear?" people hollered at her as they passed. "Why are you wearing sheets on your head?"

Salma Salat came from Kenya 17 years ago, when she was 4.

"I don't remember it, but my mum found it tough adjusting and raising kids in a time when people were shouting things out from the streets."

In the days post 9/11, a man approached Salma as she was walking with her sister. She remembers him yelling at them, "terrorists". She was 7 and didn't know what it meant.

Radiya and Salma are 21 now, and they are friends. They tell these stories with wide eyes, in the can you believe it way adults recall their traumas from childhood. You won't find gentler, or stronger, young women. They are innocent in many ways, but they have seen.

They report things are different now on Hamilton streets.

"There's more discussion," says Salma. She gets approached by people asking why she wears the hijab, but it's a conversation she doesn't mind having.

Waikato Interfaith Council figures from last year state 1395 Muslim women live in the Waikato. In 2001, there were 687. Salma is studying nursing and observes "at the hospital, every fourth/fifth female is wearing a scarf". It's no longer remarkable to see a Muslim woman, in fact, the colours of the hijab illuminate our streets.


I found this interesting as I work with a large muslim population, I never ask if they "choose" the hijab, it would be disrespectful for a casual acquaintance. My good Muslim friend-- the one I can ask anything--is a male, and has an excellent working knowledge of Islam as well as Islamic politics and the Quran. I think we've taked about the Burka, but not the hijab. It should be an interesting discussion

Bring back the abortion underground railroad

On Oct. 14, the Supreme Court allowed 13 Texas abortion clinics to reopen, blocking parts of a state law that impose onerous requirements on abortion providers. Without this ruling, all but eight of the state’s abortion clinics would have been forced to close, and many women would have had to travel up to 600 miles for an abortion.

Though a welcome decision, the ruling provides only temporary relief for Texas women, since the entire law is currently under review. Most of the clinics that have reopened aren’t bringing abortion services closer to those who need them so much as expanding the capacity of large cities such as Houston and Dallas, where abortion was already more accessible than elsewhere in the state.
Abortion restrictions in Texas reflect a nationwide trend. Last year the Virginia Board of Health voted to require abortion clinics to meet medically unnecessary hospital-style building codes designed to put many of them out of business. Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana and Wisconsin have passed similar laws designed to shutter clinics by requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges. The fate of Mississippi's sole remaining abortion clinic is hanging by a thread, thanks to a court order blocking a similar restriction.

These ongoing crackdowns belie the popular notion that abortions are readily obtainable in the United States. The truth is that while the procedure is legal, its accessibility depends on having time, money and a flexible schedule. The injustice created is so gross that the only recourse for many women may be civil disobedience.

The Trollslayers: 3 Women Who Took on the Internet’s Misogynistic Underbelly

At the height of the age of chat rooms and online message boards—around the dawn of the new millennium—trolls looked a bit different than they do now. Rather than being people who use anonymous Twitter accounts to send death threats, trolls were people who would pose deliberately outrageous or derailing arguments just to make people mad.

Like when someone would come to liberal forums discussing the best way to implement marriage equality, trolls would show up to say that gay people should be rounded up and put on an island somewhere off the coast of Japan, so that no one else would “catch the gay.”

A successful troll could put on a convincing show of really believing this was reasonable and, with one or two posts, completely derail an entire conversation because everyone involved now had to stop and tell the bigot how much of a bigot he was. Then he would slink away to pop up again under a different name and different type of bigotry.

There was also another breed of trolls called "flamers"—people who would verbally abuse and harass others. They would single out one user at a time and throw slurs and various insults until their fingers got tired—without actually posing any kind of counter-argument, the way a standard troll would.

In those days, ignoring the trolls often worked. If no one “fed” them by getting angry at their posts, they would get bored and leave—except for the flamers. Flamers couldn’t be starved out because the venting of anger and hatred was its own reward, even if the flamers were universally reviled.

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