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20 Things You Can Do to Transform Rape Culture

Maysie
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Maysie
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May is Sexual Assualt Prevention Month.

quote:
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape
20 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO TRANSFORM RAPE CULTURE

1. Speak up. Don't listen quietly to sexist jokes or comments. Tell anyone who makes such comments, including your friends, that you're uncomfortable with how they portray woman.

2. Teach your children to respect children of the opposite gender. Model for them that each sex has an immeasurable value and that neither should be seen as better, more powerful, smarter, than the other.

3. Talk to boys about their sexuality. Tell them about their responsibility, too.

4. Talk to girls about their sexuality. Give them the information that will enable them to make intelligent, thoughtful, responsible decisions about their sexually. Tell them their body is their own and is for their pleasure.

5. Support your daughters, nieces, and neighbours. Encourage them to relish their mental and physical strength.

6. Don't be silent when you see a T-shirt, sign, poster, movie, or anything you find offensive to women. Say something.

7. Insist that your clergy talk about ending violence against women in your church, temple, synagogue.

8. Don't use words that perpetuate the language of the rape culture. Ask yourself if you would use the same word for a man. Ask yourself what the word you want to use implies.

9. Call your public officials. Find out what they're doing to transform the rape culture. Insist on their involvement.

10. Boycott movies that show women being sold, raped, and hurt by men. Help send a message that these portrayals of women will no longer be commercially successful.

11. Ask your child's school if they have a sexual harassment policy. If not, volunteer to serve on a committee to develop one.

12. Encourage men you know to explore and then act upon what it means to be anti-rapist and non-violent. Insist they have the courage to behave in ways that promote a safer society.

13. Make your home free from violence and sexism. Don't watch or allow your children to watch television, movies or read magazines that perpetuate violence and the rape culture.

14. Ask your employer if your firm or organization has a sexual harassment policy. Have they provided or will they provide training for employees on harassment? If not, form an employee committee to advocate for a policy and training.

15. Write letters to establishments you find offensive and tell your friends and colleagues to do the same. If there is no response, be prepared to take more direct (non-violent) action through information picketing, flyering, etc.

16. Have conversations of consent with a potential sexual partner. Verbally explore each other's comfort level with the activities taking place.

17. Learn to say "no". Learn that it is okay to be assertive. Know that it is possible to be respectful of others while asserting your feelings.

18. Support and promote women who provide positive role models. Celebrate the accomplishments of women with your children, partners, and friends. Teach others that the best women to look up to are the ones who are making a difference, not the ones who are the most famous, beautiful, and wealthy.

19. Remember: the rape culture is one for which we're all responsible, but don't blame the victim.

20. Dare to dream of a culture free of sexual and all other forms of violence…a rape culture transformed.

[ 17 May 2006: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]


oldgoat
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Thanks bigcitygal. I especially like the points that seem to be addressed at parents and caregivers of children.

If we follow those points in particular, then some day point 20 won't be just a dream.


jeff house
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I lot of those things are good ideas even for those who don't think that "rapeculture" is particularly descriptive of life in Canada, any more than "raceculture" or "theftculture" or "killculture" or whatever one's favoured cause might be.

Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005
I dunno Jeff, something that affects 1/3 of women in Canada seems pretty damn important to me.

More from Toronto Rape Crisis:

quote:
The purpose of the month is to raise public awareness of the issue of sexual violence against women.

In May of each year, women's organizations and communities across the province recognize Sexual Assault Prevention Month through participation in local events and distribution of sexual assault educational resources.

This year marks the 18th year that Ontario has recognized May as Sexual Assault Prevention Month

1. More than one-third of Canadian women report having had at least one experience of sexual assault since the age of 16.

2. Victimization surveys suggest that only 10% or fewer women who are sexually assaulted report these assaults to the police.

3. In cases reported to police, 80% of sexual assault victims knew the accused - they were friends, acquaintances or family members.

4. Children and young people under the age of 17 accounted for 61% of sexual assault cases reported to police.

5. About four-fifths of these victims were girls (80%), and more than two-thirds of these females were between 11 and 17 years old.

Sources:
1 & 2: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Minister's Responsible for the Status of Women "Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile" 2002
3: Statistics Canada, "Sexual Offences" 2002
4 & 5: Statistics Canada "Children and Youth as Victims of Violent Crime" 2003

[ 17 May 2006: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]


Steve Tree
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Forgive my ignorance, but could we define "rape culture?"

[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Steve Tree ]


Stargazer
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I imagine a rape culture (minus the quotes because that shows you are questioning if the concept is valid) comprises of the following:

- excessive rape/degradation in the MS porn movement (straight porn)
- a justice system that does not do much, if anything, for rape victims
- a culture that allows and propagates that females are less, and therefore are ripe for picking because they are lesser people
- a culture that makes the shame of rape fall on the victim, not the criminal
- sorry, should have mentioned - a culture that knows the stats, yet hides and does nothing about fixing them


That's just the beginning. I'll think of a lot more....

[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Stargazer ]


greenie
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quote:Originally posted by Steve Tree:
Forgive my ignorance, but could we definte "rape culture?"

Rape Culture.

That site has a lot of information including a dedicated section for what men should do.


Steve Tree
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quote:Originally posted by Stargazer:
I imagine a rape culture (minus the quotes because that shows you are questioning if the concept is valid) comprises of the following:

- excessive rape/degradation in the MS porn movement (straight porn)
[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Stargazer ]

Two questions: How do my quotations marks imply that? It's an innocent question.

The other question - what does the MS in "MS porn movement" indicate? (No patronizing intended by quotation marks - just grammar.)

(Sorry - these might seem like reinventing the wheel, but I'm interested in the topic, and don't recognize these terms.)


Steve Tree
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quote:Originally posted by greenie:

Rape Culture.

That site has a lot of information including a dedicated section for what men should do.

Thanks. A lot of that list, obviously, is pretty reasonable. A few things seemed a little odd:

*When you’re walking behind a woman at night who is alone, do you follow too closely or do you make an effort to cross to the other side of the street?

- Cross the street? No. And I really don't think there's anything wrong with that. That seems a little extreme.

*In elevators, do you do any thing to help a woman feel more at ease and safe?

- What would I do to make a woman feel safe in an elevator? Am I an implied threat?

*When you are introduced to a woman do you shake hands without any sexual overtones?

- I'm sorry - I wasn't aware that one could shake hands with sexual overtones. What would these consist of?

I really don't mean these as flippant questions. I saw the thread title, and was curious what I could do.


Stargazer
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No actually, you don't appear to be curious so much as defensive. Re-read your questions and the answers you supplied.

I don't think you are legit, but that's just me.


Frustrated Mess
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Joined: Feb 23 2005
Bullshit. You're trolling which is why everyone of your comments are questions. Either you have something to say on the topic or you don't.

writer
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Steve Tree, if you are really that curious, there is a whole big world to get information from. For a man to come into a feminism forum and ask uninformed questions is just not on.

Women created this forum for feminists, not as a kind of feminism 101 where guys can drop in and unload whatever is on their minds, assuming we'll respond with patience and respect.

You are not showing us respect with this behaviour.

It's great if you really want to get educated about this. Not so great if you are asking us to do your work for you. Actually, kind of ... uh ... sexist.

A lot of pro-feminist guys have written about this dynamic and what is wrong with it. They are doing the work for themselves, and are open to constructive criticism from their feminist sisters, as we are open to their informed and thoughtful insights.

You could start with an Internet search of "pro-feminism" and go from there.


Steve Tree
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Joined: May 4 2006
Look - I'm not trying to pick a fight. I saw a thread title suggesting that there are 20 things I can do to transform rape culture. I was curious, and read the thread. I had never seen a term before, and I asked if someone could define it for me.

Frankly, I thought this was an open discussion board, and if you really don't want anyone else to participate in this discussion, you should indicate it specifically. I'm really not trying to bother anyone.

As for treating other people with respect, well, I don't know, so far complete strangers have told me what I think on the basis of standard english punctuation, and that apparently I'm sexist for asking people to explain their responses.

If you don't want me to post here, then fine. I can live with that.

(Edited for spelling.)

[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Steve Tree ]

[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Steve Tree ]


writer
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The particular forum that this particular thread is in is the feminism forum. If you go to babble's home page ( http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ ) you'll see that posters to this forum are asked to "Discuss feminist issues from a pro-feminist point of view".

You're new here, and don't necessarily know the lay of the land. You also don't know the history of anti-feminist men coming into this forum and pissing all over the place.

I'm not saying you are one of those guys. I am saying that some have lost patience with questions like yours, and are quick to assume the worst, simply because of what we've seen in the past.

Again, if you are really interested in this stuff, I encourage you to get educated about it, then come back with your insights when you are familiar with what it means to be pro-feminist.

[ 19 May 2006: Message edited by: writer ]


Sineed
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quote: When you are introduced to a woman do you shake hands without any sexual overtones?

For instance, I was introduced to a prominent man who took my offered hand, saying, "Sineed, I'm so very glad to meet you." And he felt all the way up to my shoulder. He was falling-down drunk, so I let it slide.

To be honest, I don't have a problem with Steve Tree. I've had lots of similar discussions with guys, though I understand that in this format, you can't read the non-verbal cues that would let you know if the person is being straight with you or not.


Steve Tree
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quote:Originally posted by writer:

The particular forum that this particular thread is in is the feminism forum. If you go to babble's home page ( http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ ) you'll see that posters to this forum are asked to "Discuss feminist issues from a pro-feminist point of view".
You're new here, and don't necessarily know the lay of the land. You also don't know the history of anti-feminist men coming into this forum and pissing all over the place.

I'm not saying you are one of those guys. I am saying that some have lost patience with questions like yours, and are quick to assume the worst, simply because of what we've seen in the past.

Again, if you are really interested in this stuff, I encourage you to get educated about it, then come back with your insights when you familiar with what it means to be pro-feminist.

Okay, that's fair enough. I figured there might be a history of such problems, and that was probably why people seemed a little touchy. Anyway, I've done some background reading, and will do some more (although I have yet to find a definition of "MS porn," despite the various interesting essays on feminist perspectives on pornography I've come across). In the meantime, I'm just asking for the benefit of the doubt.

quote:Originally posted by Sineed:

For instance, I was introduced to a prominent man who took my offered hand, saying, "Sineed, I'm so very glad to meet you." And he felt all the way up to my shoulder. He was falling-down drunk, so I let it slide.

Okay - I can certainly understand that. But, hypothetically speaking (as listed earlier), if you were walking home at night, would you rather have a man walking on the same side of the street cross to the other side of the street? (I mean, obviously some people look more threatening than others - but, speaking in general terms?)

[ 18 May 2006: Message edited by: Steve Tree ]


Stargazer
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MS porn = main stream porn

As to whether I would want a man walking on the same side of the street or across the street late at night? Definitely the other side. No you are not all suspects, that would be ridicules. But there is always a potential for something bad to happen so why take a chance?

Most men and many women, at least where I live, make a point of talking to a lone woman in the elevator. Gives her a sense of safety that she otherwise would not get.

And yes, some men are very threatening (the latter term dependent upon a whole slew of things).

What some men don't seem to comprehend is that quite a few women have been assaulted by people at some time in their lives so it is only natural to want to protect yourself. i would also assume men knew this stat (because it is a no-brainer) and would be kind enough to make sure a woman feels comfortable and that the man isn't seen by the woman as a potential threat. In fact, many men I know go out of their way to ensure they don't get labeled as threats and help make situations for lone women comfortable.


RP.
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quote:Originally posted by Steve Tree:
if you were walking home at night, would rather have a man walking on the same side of the street cross to the other side of the street? (I mean, obviously some people look more threatening than others - but, speaking in general terms?)

I thought that was just common sense. I understand the desire to understand, and I do think you're asking questions innocently. But you are questioning, that is, putting into question, women's experience, whether you mean to or not.

Anyway, I try not to post in the feminist forum anymore. I find it better to sit back and just read. Feminists don't need me to chime in with my male perspective, but I do need to learn what women's experience is like.

This idea really had to be pounded into my head, but it really is worthwhile and valuable for me as a privileged person (white, protestant, anglo, hetero, male) to let marginalized voices just speak without my interjection.


Stargazer
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RP thanks for that great post! You said it very eloquently.

Steve Tree
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quote:Originally posted by Stargazer:
MS porn = main stream porn

As to whether I would want a man walking on the same side of the street or across the street late at night? Definitely the other side. No you are not all suspects, that would be ridicules. But there is always a potential for something bad to happen so why take a chance?

Most men and many women, at least where I live, make a point of talking to a lone woman in the elevator. Gives her a sense of safety that she otherwise would not get.

Thanks - that makes things much clearer. Honestly, it would never have occured to me to cross the street, but I'll keep that in mind. Obviously, talking in the elevator makes sense - I had just never considered that as being a particularly sensitive environment. (I'm clearly approaching this from a different perspective, which is why I ask.)

RP - generally, I'd be inclined to agree with you, but this seemed like a topic that was directed at men as much as women. In future, I'll try to pick my places a little bit more though, as I seem to have been a bit of a disruption. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


Stargazer
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Steve, you can't go wrong if you are being honest. Ask questions, just expect some people to be gun shy because too ofetn this forum is trolled by very hateful people.

Steve Tree
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Cool - understood. I am, as noted, new here, and still feeling out the lay of the land.

Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005
Hi Steve Tree,

I see Stargazer and RP have said what I was going to say to you, so I will say welcome to babble and welcome to the feminist forum.

One thing I will suggest is that if you are truly interested in talking about a feminist issue that you don't get and want to get, start a thread about it, with a subject line like "Beginner feminism question" or something like that. Those of us who have energy and patience for the issue (this can change on a daily or hourly basis [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] ) will engage with you. Those of us who don't, won't.


Summer
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Joined: Apr 21 2006
I'm new too and haven't been here to see much trolling, so am not as fustrated as others. I think it's great when men take an interest in the feminist perspective, so here is my take on your original questions

quote:Originally posted by Steve Tree:

*When you’re walking behind a woman at night who is alone, do you follow too closely or do you make an effort to cross to the other side of the street?

- Cross the street? No. And I really don't think there's anything wrong with that. That seems a little extreme.

And that attitude makes sense from a man who would never dream of ever attacking a woman. The unfortunate truth is not all men are nice guys and we can't tell them apart on sight alone. I know the odds of being attacked by a stranger on the street are very slim, but that does not stop my heart from racing on the rare occasion that I pass by someone and get an uncomfortable vibe. I fully admit that it is likely all in my head. Still, I really appreciate the man that gives me lots of room on the sidewalk late at night.

quote:Originally posted by Steve Tree:

*In elevators, do you do any thing to help a woman feel more at ease and safe?

- What would I do to make a woman feel safe in an elevator? Am I an implied threat?

Same idea once again. I have never had this experience, but I had a co-worker who was sexually assaulted in an elevator by another co-worker. Again, normal people like space in an elevator and will try to stay as far as possible from others (ie. corner, corner, corner, corner, middle, always staying straight ahead). Imagine how weird you would feel if instead of the stranger in the elevator moving to the opposite corner, they stood right beside you.

quote:Originally posted by Steve Tree:

*When you are introduced to a woman do you shake hands without any sexual overtones?

- I'm sorry - I wasn't aware that one could shake hands with sexual overtones. What would these consist of?

I'm sure I'm not the only women who has shaken hands with someone who tickles your palm and looks at you suggestively. It's like the people who do the kisses on the cheek and come in way too close to your lips or sometimes even on your lips.

Like I said at the beginning, you would probably never dream of doing any of the things I have described above, so it makes a certain degree of sense that the suggestions seem absurd to you.

I hope you continue to take in interest in the forum.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004
I think the men who act like that are insecure with their own sexuality. And I think they must also have low self-esteem to believe they have to be in a woman's face all the time, as if to increase their chances for whatever. Women are capable of noticing men without them invading personal space. Some men just don't want to work at gaining a woman's trust and admiration, and refuse to accept that women in general just don't find them attractive, physically and otherwise. And women are capable of having and demonstrating great affection for the worst of us, I'm sorry to have to admit.

And younger women these days aren't above perpetrating cat calls themselves when in groups of two or more, although it's more common among men, definitely.


arborman
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I HATE when I find myself on my way to a destination, off in my own world, and then suddenly realize I'm making someone nervous.

I'm a big guy (6'4"), and I've been told my neutral (spaced out) face is a bit stern. I also walk a lot (almost exclusively). So I very often have these sudden realizations that I'm strolling along 10 or 20 or 40 feet behind a woman who happens to be walking the same direction as me.

What I do depends on the situation. Sometimes, depending on where it is, I think it's better to wait for a well-lit area, then speed up and pass her (with lots of room) - though I worry that it will result in a nervous moment for her.

Most of the time I'll cross the street or turn a corner as soon as possible. It's a big city, there are lots of routes to wherever I'm going. This can be problematic if I'm in a hurry (i.e. late for a meeting or something).

It is most uncomfortable when I am going to the same place as whomever the woman is - the same apartment building or something. I imagine it must be pretty creepy to have someone appear to be following you for blocks, then turn into your building as well.

I fully understand the issue - I remember being a bit freaked out as a kid when big people appeared to be following me. The worst part is that sometimes women are targeted in our society, which means that women are quite justified in feeling nervous when some stranger happens to be walking the same direction as them.


CMOT Dibbler
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Forget it. Dumb post.

[ 27 May 2006: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


Stargazer
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What a great thread. It's sad that so many men have to be super aware of how women may feel threatened when so many men do not engage in such negative behaviour. But the sad truth is, those who do have made some of us hyper sensitive to things such as being alone in elevators, etc.

I know it must be hard and I really appreciate the conversation made in the elevator and the way some men go out of their way to make us feel safe. I just want to say thanks to the men who listen and understand and don't make us feel stupid for things that sometimes we already feel stupid for feeling.

I hope that made sense.


quelar
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Joined: Jun 7 2002
I'm glad you appreciate it, ~I~ have to cross the road (which I do a lot of the time - I also do the 'speed past' in appropriate situations), I have to make idle conversation in the elevators with people (I just hate the silent ride no matter who's in there), I've called friends out with 'offensive' jokes about women, etc etc... and it pisses me that I have to do these things because a surprisingly large percent of our population are a bunch of assholes.

I've been lurking in the variety of threads about this issue, but don't feel that I had much to interject, but I would like to point out about this thread that yes, there are things that women can do to improve things, but sorry ladies, the VAST majority of work needs to be done my the guys.

Men are the overwhelming perpetrators, we propegate stereotypes and cultural biases, and until we get our shit together I don't know how much change you can effect on your own.

Don't take that as a 'leave us alone' or anything like that, keep yelling and screaming and pointing out the injustices, but the male 'locker room' attitude is the biggest problem that is still a cultural artifact that doesn't seem to want to die off with the age it belonged* in.

* it doesn't actually 'belong' anywhere, but I'm not finding a good word here.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004
quote:Originally posted by quelar:
...I've been lurking in the variety of threads about this issue, but don't feel that I had much to interject, but I would like to point out about this thread that yes, there are things that women can do to improve things, but sorry ladies, the VAST majority of work needs to be done my the guys.

Men are the overwhelming perpetrators, we propegate stereotypes and cultural biases, and until we get our shit together I don't know how much change you can effect on your own.

Glad you said all that you have quelar!


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