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This made me shake badly, but it speaks the absolute truth about why women are completely hosed when it comes to dealing with and trying to avoid rape.  (Trigger warning, natch.)

This applies to "lesser" assaults - the kind women hear about every day, the kind that many people don't believe is that big a deal because they don't experience it themselves - as well.  Following the rules of "feminine" behaviour means we're attacked from both ends.  And why is it categorized as "not a big deal"? Because we're supposed to be nice, not make waves, not stir up shit, and be good little girls who don't cause a scene.

You know, if I'm going to be attacked either way, I would rather be attacked because I'm being "mean", rather than be blamed after I'm violated.  So I'm letting all of you know that I'm done being polite.  Next time a man demands my attention despite my clear disinterest, I'm going to ignore him.  If he pushes it, I'm going to tell him what I think.  If I'm a bitch for demanding equal consideration for my desires, then so be it.  I am old enough that I simply don't care what strangers think of me. 

The risk that all women face is that a man who is refused sometimes feels he has the right to force a woman to do what he wants.  If he gets violent, I have... options.  I'm not going into greater detail.

This applies to interactions in the SCA, too - anyone who touches me without my permission is going to get an earful.  Tell you what - if I'm at an event you're attending, and some man (or woman) won't leave you alone, or is making you uncomfortable, come to me, and I'll be your voice, your safe space, and the words you can't make yourself say because your training is too strong.  Like I said, I have options, and resources that you may not have.  I pledge to do my utmost to make you safe.

Because I'm done.  If you can't get someone to stop, I'll take care of it.  I can live with being called a bitch - I've been through much, much worse. 

No more Ms. Nice Laurel.

Some useful posts:
Rape Resistance, Not Rape Prevention (Hoyden About Town)
It's Not the Empty Street That Causes Rape (Hoyden About Town)

And, as an addition, here's something everyone should read:
Commentary from women about all the ways they curtail their lives just to feel safe (Shakesville)
And another: We live in a culture that condones abuse


(Deleted comment)
Aug. 5th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)

Starting with social situations and bleeding over into the workplace is probably how it will change, though. People are more able to change fast than institutions.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 6th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
Change has to begin with us women, though.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."---Eleanor Roosevelt. I mention this because there is a self-esteem issue thread running through all women's issues, and I believe it's true that when we permit someone to behave disrespectfully toward us; when we "stand tall and 'don't let it bother us;'" when we act as if we're above *noticing* the smart-aleck-sassy-little-boy-bad behavior of the sexual innuendo, the "clever" *doubl'entendre,* or the not-truly-accidental butt-pat or -fondle or the "boob graze" (Jack Black in "The Holiday"), the "playful" blocking of the door when you're ready to leave, or his coy "misunderstanding" that it's time for HIM to leave ("Just one more cup of coffee for the road? You wouldn't want me to have an accident on the road, would you?" or, "Gosh, I'm really wasted [as in tired, exhausted, but this is SO MUCH WORSE IF HE MEANS 'DRUNK'], I'll just crash on your sofa,") we've cooperated in the "doormat" role.
And we're in something of a double-bind, too, with that "women should be NICE, women should be HELPFUL, women should be COOPERATIVE," and perhaps above all else, "Women, real women, proper, right-thinking women, put everyone else's well-being, happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and gratification, sexual or other, above their own."

And we do this is other areas, as you've observed.
Mrs Roosevelt sometimes gets paraphrased and sometimes just misquoted as, "No one can exploit you without your consent."
It's worth appreciation.
Aug. 5th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
I just had a mid year review where they wanted to put on as a goal on my performance plan for me to be nice and send out more positive e-mails instead of boldly asking for results from the IT people. Please note, that boldly means i asked for an ETA for results of a financial issue on some tax forms that had taken over 2 months to even investigate. The language was strait and to the point. No emotion, no finger pointing. Management knows I am frustrated because I have tax lawyers calling me daily. They say I should be nice not be frustrated. The manager said she wanted to measure the amount of nice e-mails as this was more important than actually getting results. She asked if I would accept this as a performance goal. I said no as my performance is based on getting results, not someone's idea of nice.
Aug. 5th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
I would also ask if she was asking the men on the team to set a similar type of goal.

I also think that her bosses would be surprised that she was setting "niceness" as a goal rather than results.

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