Photos from SlutWalk Toronto. Protest date to come soon
Last night my sister sent me a link to an article about U.S. Congressman Todd Akin who has found another way to distinguish between legitimate rape and illegitimate rape.
According to this man, cause men know everything about the female body and what women want, that “legitimate rapes” of women do not result in pregnancies whereas “illegitimate rapes” do.
“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said of a rape victim’s chances of becoming pregnant. -CTV News, August 20 2012
This is one of the biggest loads of bullshit I’ve ever heard! The belief that pregnancies are “proof” of rape is insulting, disgusting and sexist!
Akin’s statement further promotes the idea that abortion rights should not be allowed even for women who become pregnant after a rape, since she clearly wanted the sex anyways which is how she got pregnant (oh shoot me now). The fetus is still also seen as innocent (which it is, this isn’t the fetus’ fault) therefore should be allowed to live with the women who will have to look at part of her rapist every day (I hope my sarcasm is coming through).
I know some women who are raped, become pregnant, keep and love those children and I support and commend you for raising your child despite the asshole who attacked you (http://www.pandys.org/articles/rapeandpregnancy.html). For those who abort or chose adoption I support and commend your decision and can only imagine all the emotions and thoughts that must be going on in your mind!
So Akin has just created another way to blame women for their rapes! Pregnancy must mean she wanted it from him or else her body would have shut down. THIS IS GARBAGE!
This also defines rape as only vaginal sex, by a man to a woman, that results in ejaculation (which is how Akin is saying “true” rape can be determined). This excludes rape committed by same sex partners and rapes that still involve other body violations.
Akin claims that he misspoke (of course he would) and has great empathy for the many women who are assaulted and abused but I can’t see how he could have meant anything other than what the above quote says.
Today was SlutWalk Toronto 2012!
It was super hot but the Walk was BEAUTIFUL!!!! My friends and I got a spot right near the front of the Walk which is really awesome! There were a bunch of speakers and they were amazing! So inspirational!
I’ll post others later! I’m super tired!
All my sisters and I have gone to the same schools for the most part. It has been devastating for me to hear that my baby sister is experiencing the same sexist comments and lack of action that I experienced when I was her age, 13.
I decided to ask my friend Jeff Perera for some help in providing me information about the White Ribbon Campaign so I can pass it along to some important people in charge of Whitby schools. I’m sending my email to the Whitby Trustee, Whitby Superintendent of Education, Safe Schools, and Substance Abuse, Violence Prevention Coordinator.
I’ve sent my letter to my sister to get her to look at it. I don’t want to send it until she has given me the okay!
Here are bits of the email.
Gym is one of the hardest times, as my sister has described it to me. She reports that the boys prefer to not have girls on their team and will avoid including them unless they have essentially proved themselves (ie: on school sport’s teams). The boys continue to comment on how playing against girls will be “easy” and my sister has had her male classmates tell her that because she is a girl it is ok that she is not good at sports. The teachers do nothing to stop these comments or encourage fair playing.
My girl friends and I dreaded gym and were ignored and ridiculed by our male classmates to the point of verbal outbursts and tears. Again, teachers did nothing except get angry, not at the unfair treatment, but at the outbursts which would occur as a result.
While at [high school] I would eventually drop out of Gr.12 co-ed gym from the sexist comments myself and the other girls had to endure…The bulk of this harassment was from a young man who I had attended [elementary school] with. He had said the same things at 13 years old that he was now saying at 17.
I was told repeatedly that girls could not play sports; some of us were made fun of for our appearance and one girl even for her sexual orientation.
My sister has also told me that teachers and staff single out the young girls in regards to their clothing. She has witnessed a fellow female classmate be yelled at by a teacher and threatened with a detention when her shirt rose up a bit when she stood as a result from sitting at her desk. Another staff member said to all the girls, with the boys present, that they should “cover up” despite the young boys wearing their pants below their waists and displaying their underwear.
…the message that one gender should “cover up” over the other sends a message to both girls and boys about what girls should be wearing which has recently been spoken about by local feminist groups (ie: SlutWalk).
I’m hoping the new interactive White Ribbon workshop for young people, especially boys, is something the school board will seriously consider!
A friend of mine, Jeff, is apart of the White Ribbon Campaign which is organized by men who want to end violence against women. The White Ribbon Campaign aims to redefine masculinity and tell boys and men that violence does not make a man!
Recently, Jeff has been speaking at local schools and doing activities with the kids. This post explains some of those experiences!
SlutWalk Toronto 2012 is coming up in a few weeks. My friend Lillian and I spent a whole night (about 5 hours) working on signs for the event! I decided that on the back of my sign, which quotes Girl, Interrupted on the front, I should write the statistic of how many women with mental health issues experience sexual assault. I was googling this yesterday with not much luck but came across something new to put on my sign, a new DSM V disorder called Paraphilic Coercive Disorder.
Here is the proposed definition from www.dsm5.org, Paraphilic Coercive Disorder.
Paraphilic Coercive Disorder
A. Over a period of at least 6 months, an equal or greater arousal from sexual coercion than from consensual interaction, as manifested by fantasies, urges, or behaviors.
B. The individual has acted on these sexual urges with a nonconsenting individual, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The diagnosis of Paraphilic Coercive Disorder is not made if the patient meets criteria for a diagnosis of Sexual Sadism Disorder.
D. The individual is at least 18 years of age.
This new diagnosis would make individuals, but more specifically males, who commit or attempt rape be seen as ill instead of as a criminal. Rape and rape fantasies would become a mental illness.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have been telling the DSM 5 task force that this “disorder” should not be included but the DSM 5 website shows an update as of April 2012 which I interpret as it’s inclusion very likely.
I want to be calm, cool and professional in arguing this but I’m furious! I already disagree with so many new inclusions and exclusions that are being proposed for the DSM 5 that to find out about this new “disorder” is just another smack in the face, especially to women and men who have experienced sexual assault!
One of the issues with having a mental health diagnosis is navigating responsibility. “If I have an illness then how much of what I do, say and think actually within my control?” It gets very tricky. Paraphilic Coercive Disorder would experience the same.
I am disgusted thinking that some men could be diagnosed with this “disorder” and be excused from their destructive behaivour! I have a vision of men who commit rape being given Prozac instead of jail time and it makes me very nervous.
Not all undesirable behaviour should be disordered! Unfortunately we need to face the fact that humans do things bad things while being perfect “normal”.
The most important issue to mention while talking about Paraphilic Coercive Disorder is that it completely ignores patriarchy’s role in sexual violence! Patriarchy is an illness but it’s a social illness, not something we can blame on one individual person! Rape is about power! “I didn’t mean to rape her judge, I have a mental illness”……ugh! Women are already blamed for their rapes! This is another way to excuse men from their violent actions!
We need to acknowledge that our young men are being told from very young ages that they are supposed to be violent and that women are lesser than they are. This message encourages a rape culture to form and this DSM 5 proposal not only encourages a rape culture but validates it and gives yet another escape for men who commit sexual violence!
Societal roles have huge impact on mental health and that is acknowledged but still individualized. If we can teach our young men to appreciate women and that having emotions is something men are allowed to have then I guarantee that Paraphilic Coercive Disorder would disappear!
I am not qualified to say what is a disorder and what is not but clearly neither are these DSM task forces that keep pumping out these manuals! Sexual violence is a problem but it’s not a mental illness (if anyone has a mental illness it’s the victim of the assault. PTSD, depression, anxiety etc can occur after experiencing a rape). It is a deeply ingrained belief that men are dominate over women, that women ask to be raped and that men are not responsible for their violence because “boys will be boys”.
Rape is not a mental illness!
Here are some resources: