attack, feminism, feminist, GBV, gender, misogyny, race, racism, rape, sexism, Uncategorized, violence, Violence Against Women, women

A New Year’s To Remember in Cologne, Germany

It’s more than a little shocking – moreover it’s absolutely appalling and disgusting – that in our ever shrinking world (where we can contact the other side of the world via word, photograph or video within seconds) that the news of MASS SCALE SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON WOMEN only begins to gain attention after a week of silence.

The New Year went off with more than bang when mobs of men in city Cologne, Hamburg, and Stuttgart in Germany turned violent and angry. Reports reveal that fireworks were thrown into crowds and the police claimed to have felt notably intimidated by the angry crowds. The final results were worse, with over 100 women assaulted  by the mob: many reported being groped and verbally insulted, some where even raped by men in the crowd.

Little has been done in the way of appeasing or supporting these women’s fight for justice – news is only now breaking of the mass scale of the assaults and the horrid nature of what seems an almost systemic attack on women in these cities. Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker has disappointed the public, with her response seemingly admonishing the women for being out in the first place – she has advised women to travel in group and keep an arms length between themselves and men, she has even promised to publish a set of guidelines, her “code of conduct”,  advising and preparing women, how kind of her. Furthermore, the Cologne Police Chief has been removed from his post following weak responses, both during and after the events (no one has yet been arrested despite the public and mass nature of the assaults) and after allegations that the scale and nature of the event was being covered up within the police force.

The nature of these attacks rest on the crux of a very volatile social issue currently shaking Europe: that of Syrian refugees and the immigrant crisis. Germany, crucially, has been both applauded and criticised for welcoming scores of Syrian migrants into the country and it is these people who are largely being held accountable for these attacks.

The facts and as we know them are as follows and are updated with some common sense knowledge:

  1. Mobs of men (over 1000 in Cologne) are reported to have sexually assaulted a number of women on New Years Eve 2016.
  2. These men are reported to have been of Arab and African descent – just to be clear, this is what is being stated in many newspapers at the moment, if the crowd is as large as stated (over 1000 men) not all could be so clearly identified, some may have been white, Asian, Mexican, or even – shockingly – German.
  3. No arrests have yet been made.
  4. No political, ethnic, social or racial group has taken responsibility for the attacks.
  5. Several reports are stating that Syrian men were boasting of their new reputations in Germany to police – this, obviously, does not necessarily mean these men were actually Syrian.

Finally and most crucially:

What is going to come across most as this event gains more media attention is the racial crux. What the media and subsequently the people will discuss and condemn will be the Syrian men who commited this act. This is not a racial issue; this is an act of gender based violence. This is an act of misogyny in its most volatile form. This is the physical form of sexism at its most extreme.

The problem with what happened in Cologne was little to do with race and everything to do with gender; the perpetrators of this crime were men. In over 95 per cent of cases regarding rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment and intimidation, the perpetrators are men.

Rebecca Solnit, in her illuminating essay “The Longest War” states:

We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human right’s issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.  (http://www.commondreams.org/views/2013/01/24/longest-war-one-against-women)

 

That gender is, unfortunately, male. Solnit apologetically continues by stating that of course not all men are violent (thank God); but violence is often perpetrated by men.

That is why what needs to be focused on following these large scale events is not the Syrian or migrant elements of the attacks – of course, should any Syrian men be found responsible and guilty of these crimes they should rightly be punished – but should concentrate on the fact that of the 1000 people committing these attacks there is one definite determining factor which binds them: they are all men.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

We all know what New Years Eve is about. We all know why we join with our loved ones and celebrate – boisterously, sanguinely, or quietly. We do it to ring in a not only a New Year, but a new opportunity, another 12 months. We do so with optimism and hope and sometimes alcohol.

We have insurmountable expectations for the year to come; but for the women of Cologne this was not the expectation. None of those women expected or deserved this to happen.

 

 

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feminism, feminist, gender, misogyny, rape, strenght, Uncategorized, violence, Violence Against Women, women

50 Voices Verses 1: Cosby Finally Charged

After more than 50 women testifying and many waving their rights to anonymity, Bill Cosby has FINALLY been charged with the sexual assault of a women almost a decade ago. 

In the last year the comedian has had numerous chargers of solicitation, drugging and subsequent assault and rape leveled against him, and though more than 50 women have come forward to testify against him, Cosby still maintains his innocence and had even began a defamation lawsuit against several of the women testifying against him.

cosbycover

The women involved, and those following this case with baited breath, are undoubtedly between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The rock being Cosby: a wealthy and famous man with a vast network of support and aid to back him and the money required to ensure a smooth ride. The hard place: the American law system and an ill-placed Statute of Limitations which renders most of these women’s experiences and suffering invalid.

In between the rock and the hard place is the environment these women inhabit: patriarchal society, where women’s experiences, their histories and their voices are misrepresented and distorted to suit the status quo. There is the age old mantra: she was asking for it. There is the stereotype: she’s a gold digger. There is the ever-present fall back: women are liars/crazy/jealous and everything in between which frees men from the accusation.

Here is the simple truth of this case: over fifty women have presented themselves as victims of Bill Cosby’s privilege, his disregard for human life and choice, his perception of the female body as an object for his consumption and pleasure. In a word, his entitlement to women.

More than fifty women have cried “wolf”, only to watch that wolf be welcomed back among the flock of sheep with open arms. These women’s experiences – like so many others – have been deemed invalid against the claim of one man and disregarded in the eyes of the law.

Andrea Constand claims Cosby assaulted her in 2004. Nearly a decade later, with thanks to Constsand and this unfortunate sisterhood of women, this wolf will finally be charged for his crimes against women.

These voices will be heard.

 

 

 

 

 

advice, feminism, feminist, misogyny, rape, sexism, strenght

Kitesting Could Prevent Rape

Trigger warnings: Rape, sexual assault, rape schedule.

 

MIT graduate Stephan Boyer’s new online service, Kitestring, could prevent your rape.

That might seem shocking. Taking action to prevent your own rape, but it’s something women are expected to do almost every day in little ways – don’t walk down that laneway, don’t go out alone after dark, don’t drink too much – Kitestring, however, is an encouraging take on protecting yourself and taking safety into your own hands.

Boyer himself stated:

I founded Kitestring to keep my girlfriend safe

And maybe in this case, it’s less about the rape schedule and blaming women’s corporeality, than about feeling safe and creating a new safe environment. Especially if, say, you know you’ll be out alone or in a dangerous neighbourhood and you want to take that extra unit of safety into your own hands – without literally taking a weapon – you can just take your mobile.

The service works just as shown above – detail your outing/plans and Kitestring will check in with you at an agreed time. Should you fail to reply, the service will forward on an emergency message to a contact, as shown below.

The premise is simple, and with so many pointless – MyLighter and Seismometer (seriously!?) – and slightly frivilous – Snapchat and Confide – apps and websites available, it’s a welcomed change for women and men who do feel they need the increased security.

There’s always the heightened concern that women are taking the happenstance of their rapes into their own hands. The rape schedule dictates how women should avoid sexual assaults, and frequently, therein, create a vicious circle of self-blame and guilt to which women already dealing with the severe difficulty of rape should not be exposed.

On the other side of the story, however, are the anxious-prone individuals or perhaps those who’ve experienced an assault in the past. If Kitestring helps put this group at ease, allowing them to socialise, communicate, commute, or just exist a little easier then my fingers are crossed that it truly does make a difference.

abuse, feminism, feminist, misogyny, rape, women

“We Have All Been Touched By Evil”

Trigger warning: rape, abuse, distress.

An Irish man has been handed down two consecutive life sentences for the rape and abuse of two young girls (age 6 and 9) in county Athlone, Ireland.

But this is not about him, or the political system. This isn’t even about justice being served.  This is about two young children, on the cusp of adolescence, who probably still enjoyed the sunshine, the sound of chains clanging on their bikes, and the laughter of their friends.

Their own supportive and grieving families came forward to the media with the following statements:

We have all been touched by this evil.

The youngest victim’s father has since stated that the families must now “live everyday” with this nightmare,  and that his daughter has since experienced severe anxiety, has difficulty sleeping, and sees “creepy men” everywhere.

Her mother emphasised:

Words cannot express my hurt, anger and pain. I feel I am living a nightmare I can’t wake up from

Justice Paul Carney, upon handing down the charge, stated that he found it “too upsetting to rehash the details,” such were the harrowing statements involved in the court case. But, once again, this is not about the court case, or the judge, or the details involved. The is about two little girls.

Those girls will never again experience the same innocence and trust in the world or in humankind. And how dare some selfish, inhumane excuse for a man take that away from them.  How dare anyone assume that kind of power over another human being.