#BrockTurnerisarapist | rape and rape culture at universities in 2016

I’ve had this post unfinished in my drafts for six weeks now. I am angry, more than anything, as I write this. I am angry and afraid and upset and I have started too many posts this way, and yet, I still cannot fathom the anger and sadness that the victims of rape must be feeling.

Brock Turner is a rapist who is good at swimming. After raping an unconscious Stanford student at a frat party, and being proven guilty – he was pulled off of an unconscious woman by two grad students. The day after the rape, Turner remembered nothing. He couldn’t remember what she said, or whether he left with her. Come the trial, dear Brock, guilty of  ‘twenty minutes of action’ according to his father [that sentence made me throw up in my mouth. Twenty minutes of action? He raped an unconscious woman. RAPED. To call that ‘action’, as if a swimming feat accomplished is everything wrong ] could remember everything. He could remember that she said ‘yeah’ repeatedly. FYI: if all she can say is yeah and can’t form a coherent sentence, you shouldn’t be having sex with her. Brock Turner received six months imprisonment, because Judge Perksy believed that a confirmed rapist would not be further harm to society. Because Brock Turner, the rapist, shouldn’t have to suffer the adverse effects of a longer time in prison.

John Enoch is a rapist who is good at academics. After raping two women in 2013 and 2015,  he was found  faced two counts of felony rape, but was only convicted of misdemeanour battery with moderate bodily injury. Enoch, the rapist, with a bright future in  economics, avoided jail time and was sentenced to just one year probation.

At Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, earlier this year, a series of rape protests took place. The #RUReferenceList was released, displaying the names of people who had raped victims. You can catch up here.

I was in a protest at my university this year. We lay on the ground in silence, showing solidarity with the one in three women in South Africa who are raped. I cried. We sang, and talked, and cried.

I am tired. I am tired of sexual assault being a recurring theme in my blog posts. I am tired of being angry about my friend who was raped. I am tired of having to explain to nineteen year old boys why ‘she was pretty drunk, so’ doesn’t count as consent.

There is one way to have sex. ONE. You ask for consent. If a partner disagrees, you don’t have sex.  It’s that simple. I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know how to write about this anymore. I don’t know. I am sad.

Rape culture is your rape joke, your slut shaming, your fetishisation, your victim blaming. That is rape culture. That is why Brock Turner and John Enoch will walk. That is why this victim’s letter is nothing but a scratch to her rapist.

You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.

Rape is a lack of consent. If you rape someone, you’re not a good kid who made a mistake. You are a rapist.

shalom

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I assaulted someone today.

I BEAT UP A FULLY GROWN MAN TODAY AND NOW I AM TELLING YOU ALL ABOUT IT.


 

I’ve had a lot of trouble with banks this year. It’s only the end of March, but I have been to 5 bank branches (mostly for the same reason), and I’ve been annoyed to the same degree when leaving each of them.

I was at a branch today (that had free wifi and lovely sofas and no queues and the most beautiful aircon I ever did feel), and I left after hearing that my card was locked because someone at a previous branch didn’t give me a form to fill out. I felt fantastic. Amazing. I love having my money locked in a card that I cannot use.

On my way to the mall where I would later meet my sisters, a bakkie (pick up truck?) carrying 13 guys stopped at the red light where I had stopped. I was catcalled (annoyingly, but expectedly) and then, I was yelled at for “seducing [them]”. In my floor length skirt and tank top, my arms (aka the mistresses of seduction) did some serious damage to these guys.

Nonetheless, I kept walking. Earphones in, head down – you know the drill. Until one of the guys climbed down from the truck and started walking next to me.

Perfect.

He did some more catcalling, perhaps believing that the proximity would help his cause. I ignored him. He yelled at me, called me a whore, called my mother a whore, and asked how I dared to put myself on display and then reject his advances.

The logical thing to do would be to get the hell out of there. Heaven knows why I did what I did next.

I stopped walking, took my earphones out and said, “If you touch me, I will hurt you”. He laughed, and grabbed my wrist.

Then, I kicked his ass.

Look, a childhood obsession with Totally Spies and three years of Kickboxing don’t go unnoticed when an annoyed Shalom finds herself in the company of threatening men. They just don’t.

I pushed him over when I was done, and said, “I told you not to touch me.” He swore at me (and my mother) again, and I walked away.

I’m currently in a café, drinking a chamomile tea and looking like the calmest calm person to ever calm. I don’t look like someone who left a grown man lying in a heap on the ground.

Honesty, though – for how long will girls have to take self defense classes so that they can go to the mall? How long will the idea that men on cars have rights of access to women on the street be perpetuated? How many more people have to kick their way out of a violent encounter?

I am so tired. I am tired of this. I am tired of having to fight because I am female. I am tired of “she was asking for it”. I am tired of “what was she wearing?”. I am tired.

If you’re reading this, you owe the world better. We owe the world better. I don’t know how we’re going to fix this, but we’re going to.


shalom xo

 

WE’RE ALL SLUTS HERE

Damn, Shalom! Back at it again with the posts about slut shaming!

(the first one is here.)

Celebrity news is not my niche. It’s not. I have very limited interest or time in and for it. I’m not big on hero worshiping people you think are your friends because they let you see into their lives by means of one of the biggest online platforms in the world. I don’t have any kind of allegiance to Zoe Sugg, or Kim Kardashian. At all.  I am, however, interested in slut shaming & double standards. And by interested, I mean fed the hell up.

Now, I’m not sure if you follow the happenings on the internet the way I do, but we’ve established that I spend 90% of my time on here. Recently, Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella (of YouTube and Girl Online (strong opinions about ghostwriting & lies surrounding said book) fame) posted this photo to her Snapchat (?):

Why #WeStandWithZoe was trending on Twitter last night

source: zoella / snapchat

The world’s Most Reliable and Truthful paper TM, the Sun, then did what any good and trustworthy paper would do: they published the selfie in their online newspaper with the Least Clickbaity Title Ever TM:

Capture.JPG

And so it began. The article called Zoe out for “trying to widen her fanbase”(?) and essentially gave her several virtual slaps on both of her wrists for being the sluttiest slut to ever slut. In her long sleeved shirt & Calvin Klein briefs. Yowza. Hide your kids, hide your wives – Zoe Sugg’s belly button and upper thigh are changing the world and hurting your family.

Did you catch the dripping sarcasm? I hope you caught the dripping sarcasm.

The Sun is a very stupid paper that makes me very tired. In my Media and Society lectures, we talk about the tabloid, and how ridiculous it is. Basically. We study the media effects as well, but we spend a good portion of time lamenting The Sun. Sydney @ Love, Sydney is a die hard Zoe supporter, and made this post with all of the right reasons to back Zoe in this stupid stupid time.

Zoe’s fans, friends, and other supporters had things like this to say, and #WeStandWithZoe was trending within a couple of hours:

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From this all, we can deduce that the people who had made these comments are body positive people against slut shaming, and believe that “skin is just skin” and that Zoe shouldn’t be ashamed for loving her body, yes? Okay. Now, another picture:

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Shalom! Stop spamming us with this, this — this is unacceptable! How dare you give her any more attention! Kim Kardashian is teaching our children how to be — this! She is objectifying herself! She has only gotten anywhere in life because of her body! This woman is a slut! Her children will see this one day! What kind of a woman —

Okay. You be quiet.

To have such a double standard – does it make sense to you? To quote Zoe’s supporters, ” being confident and loving your body IS NEVER A BAD THING”. Sydney’s post reads,

We should be teaching the younger generations self-confidence, and to love there bodies and that we shouldn’t need to feel like we need to hide ourselves. We definitely should not be teaching them that it is okay to slut shame and tear people down when they do have to confidence to post a picture no matter what they are wearing.

Mmmmm. Okay. Are you picking up a discrepancy between what’s said by supporters and what Kim received? I mean, Zoe’s supporters are enraged because, “why is it so shameful to show skin?” Surely, Kim should have received the same support? The ethos is the same, isn’t it?

I’m pretty sure you’ve picked up my position on this matter. I don’t believe in slut shaming. I have no time for it. I have no time for selective defence. I am not here for shaming one woman who clearly loves her body, and supporting another who does the same.

Stop slut shaming, y’all. It’s 2016.  It’ll be 2017 before you know it, and I’m going to make another post like this. I can bet money on it.

Love and light,
shalom xo

 

I AM THE GOD IT WAS BUILT FOR

there is only so much one can take, relating to this subject. the number of times i’ve had to explain that “asking for it” is not an excuse, the number of times that i’ve had to explain that “she already said yes” doesn’t allow you to continue after she said no, the number of times i’ve had to tell well meaning boys that they cannot whistle at girls on the street because they think it’s a compliment.

i have held friends to sleep because a boy would not stop. because he didn’t listen, because he held her down and forced his 90 kg body on her 54 kg frame, because she couldn’t move underneath him, because her mother told her she should have “dressed better”, because her thighs must have been too much for his pathetic level of self control, because she was blamed for her rape because she wore a skirt, because she is pansexual, because rape culture tells him that he is correct, that she is a slut, that her sexual liberation is a joke, that a nineteen year old woman should not be taken seriously when she reports a rape to the police.

because she is not the first friend i have had to hold.

savannah brown released a new slam poem this week called, hi, i’m a slut and i think it’s important that everyone hears it. in it, she says, “my body is a temple, and i am the god it was built for”. i am the god it was built for. i am the god adorning myself with winged eyeliner and chokers and leggings because i am trying to be the master of my fate. i am the god hiding in the same oversized grey hoodie every time i’m out past 10 pm for fear of men with nothing to lose taking all i have from me. i am the god who has been ripped to pieces by every “she asked for it”, “the bitch deserved it”, “feminism is for pussies”, “how fucking dare she say no to me”.

i am the god it was built for, and i have had enough.

shalom

SLUT|| the identity series

Recently, I’ve been thinking more about who I am,  why I am that person and what it means in terms of the way that I live. “Recently” is issue sensitive- some I’ve been pondering for a year, and others for closer to eight. Either way, this is what it culminates in: a series of posts concerning something vital to my being: identity.


Okay, so that title wasn’t what you were expecting.

To be honest, it wasn’t what I was expecting either. I had no clue I was going to write this post, until I scrolled down my own instagram profile. (Also, Shalom posting twice a week???? She definitely doesn’t have two serious exams in the next four days, like maths and physics!!! She’s so not procrastinating out of panic!!!!)

I was publically slut shamed for the first time twenty-two weeks ago.

Slut-shaming is a form of social stigma applied to people who are perceived to violate traditional expectations for sexual behaviors, commonly applied to women and girls. Some examples of circumstances where women are “slut-shamed” include violating accepted dress codes by dressing in perceived sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control,[1][2][3]having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, or being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted (which is known as victim blaming).

(thanks, Wikipedia.)

slut

this is taken directly from my instagram, and the caption was, ” ‘who are you getting cute for?’ MY DAMN SELF. Happy Friday, pals!”

Don’t get me wrong, it had happened before. Just never to this extent and to the point where I was affected enough to change something I did every week (i.e go to youth group) for five years.

I wore this outfit because I felt good in it. I liked the way my legs looked. I love that red sweater because it belongs to a gorgeous friend of mine (Sorry Shivs, you’ll never get that back, ily) and I think of her every time I wear it. I felt great, and I was going out to an event with a group of teenagers (13-19) and all was well.

Until I got told I was “asking for it”. That I was “distracting the younger boys” and “being irresponsible” with my body. Until I was informed that “you’re not supposed to dress like a slut at church”.

Yes, I went to church.

It’s safe to say that after that fateful Friday night, I didn’t return to Youth for weeks. “Matric is just so busy,” I’d tell everyone. It’s whatever. Onto the point of this post:

I was slut shamed because I was comfortable with myself for the first time in a long time and other people were not. I was slut shamed because I am a female and due to my gender I have been sexualised since my birth. I was slut shamed because my extreme “irresponsibility”, which was manifested in the exposure of probably 40 centimetres of leg and my stomach, is not appropriate around “the younger boys”. I was slut shamed for how I dressed and it is bullshit.

Here’s the thing about reclamation, people: once it happens, the people who once used the word in question negatively no longer have any functional power over it.

Screenshot (202) Screenshot (203)

The word slut is being reclaimed. It’s happening,and there is undeniable proof: slutwalks happen all over the world, and Tumblr is having none of anyone’s crap. There’s a thorough description of what slut shaming is and why it’s not okay here.

In brief? I’m the slut of the hour. And I’m 101% good with that.

love and light
shalom x