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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


Aug. 6th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
I wasn't me when I joined, either. :) It took me a long time to understand that all the talk about courtesy is mostly just talk, and that the pattern of dealing with sexual predation is more like being in a family, since everyone knows everyone else - they don't want to know about it, and get angry at anyone who brings things to light and objects to them.

We need to become much less tolerant of sexual misbehaviour from the ground up, even if it makes us uncomfortable, and we need to have a zero tolerance policy when dealing with sexual predators. No-one has a right to be in the SCA, and what the hell kind of club are we when we can't guarantee the safety of our most vulnerable members?
Aug. 7th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
A lot of my problem when I joined was that I didn't know who I could go to--especially when Lord Creepypants also talked the courtesy talked well and was (at least to my newbie eye) popular. And because we go on about courtesy and chivalry so much, it's terrifying to chance making waves. Back when I was seneschal of a college, I did have a list of people to warn young women in the college about, and I did (and still do) run interference for women of my acquaintance at parties and camping events.

But yeah--there is definitely a family-that-doesn't-want-to-know aspect. Someone got quietly barred from our local group (and probably kingdom) recently for...bad things. And there were a lot of people who think that he was just misunderstood, which made my jaw drop. But at least there we did have the law as a tool and defense--I don't know what to do about the predators who never actually break a law, other than quietly warn people who might not pick up on the danger signals.

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