Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If ever you need a reminder of why feminism is important and relevant

Then this week is, seemingly, for you. (Trigger warning: rape culture, victim blaming, you name it.)

I've already gone over the backwards-moving direction of the Arizona state Senate, and the load of "date rape doesn't exist" manure pushed into the world by American University student Alex Knepper. But boy oh boy is that only the tip of the iceberg.

I mentioned in this week's Sunday reading that Jamie Leigh Jones (who was drugged, gang raped and held hostage while working in Iraq for KBR/Halliburton) is able to go forward with her case against KBR/Halliburton, because KBR dropped an appeal that would've prevented her case from reaching court. KBR also did this (via The Nation):
In a document posted on the company's website, KBR, after first stating "it would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of the case," goes on to do just that: A firefighter accused of raping Jones says it was "consensual sex," KBR states. And get this: "several witnesses present at the social gathering outside the barracks observed her having several drinks and flirting" with the firefighter.
Let the massive corporate- and government-backed victim blaming begin!

Jezebel has posted a link to Jones' original filing, which says:
Tragically, on the evening on July 28, 2007, during her off-duty hours, Jamie was drugged (by what was believed to be Rohypnol) and brutally raped by, on information and belief, several Halliburton/KBR firefighters, including defendant, Charles Boartz, while she was in her room in the barracks. When she awoke the next morning still affected by the drug, she found her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants were ruptured, and her pectoral muscles torn - which would later require reconstructive surgery. Upon walking to the rest room, she passed out again. When she returned to the living area, she found Charles Boartz lying in her bottom bed. She asked him what had happened, and he confessed to having unprotected sex with her. Jamie reported the rape to the [sic] Pete Arroyo, one of the operations personnal, who then took her to a KBR medical personnel.
Yeah. Hey KBR, I don't think you can fake things like ruptured breast implants. I hope we all join in support of Jones during this trial, because she is obviously going to face major victim-blaming and other awful rape culture attitudes and comments.

Then there's this. "'RapeLay' video game goes viral amid outrage" (via CNN), Yeah. I'll tell you right now, I hardly have the mental energy to even contemplate why the fuck this game exists. But it does. We live in a world where not only does a video game exist that allows you, the perpetrator, to grope, assault, rape, gang rape, impregnate and force abortion on a woman or group of women, but in a world where the game goes viral. I often ask, rhetorically, "what is wrong with people?" when I hear about something hurtful or harmful or stupid. But this? This is beyond. Utterly sick and disgusting and as far as I know, the ONLY reason it exists is for players to virtually rape women. That's not just "part of" the game. That IS the game. Because sexual assault and rape is a game to some people. And it makes me want to fucking vomit.

Right. So there's the Jones victim-blaming and the rape "game." There's also the case of the 15-year-old year old girl in Massachusetts who committed suicide after being constantly harassed and bullied by other teens. She was bullied to death. And she isn't the first teen to commit suicide to escape bullying, and sadly she probably won't be the last. Somehow, a number of teens (nine were ultimately arrested and charged with crimes relating to her suicide) thought it perfectly okay to "[call her] "Irish slut" and "whore" on Twitter, Craigslist, Facebook and Formspring. Her books were routinely knocked out of her hands, items were flung at her, her face was scribbled out of photographs on the school walls, and threatening text messages were sent to her cell phone." The she killed herself. And then? "Her tormentors posted vicious comments on the dead girl's Facebook memorial page." You know, I get that group think happens and that being a teen is hard and fitting in is important and that being popular is just the end-all-be-all for some kids. What I want to know is, are schools implementing any kind of anti-bullying programs? Offering safe spaces for students who are constantly harassed? Even responding, at all, to complaints of bullying? The story of this girl's suicide indicates that many adults knew what was going on, and ignored it. What the fuck.This isn't a localized issue. This is all across the country.

Then there are stories like these:
Odds are, I'm missing a good 10 or 15 stories that should also be mentioned in this post. And guess what people?? It's only Tuesday.

Maybe one bright spot I've come across so far is this quote, by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, on her visit to Canada at a meeting of G8 foreign ministers today:
“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions."
^More of this please, and soon.

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