The voice of Amanda


Leave a comment

10 years

Ten years have now gone by, ten long years since my body and my trust were violated. Ten years of rebuilding my self-confidence, my body image, my perception of sexuality. The letter written to Stanford rapist Brock Allen Turner by his victim brought on a wave of emotion- sadness, anger, frustration. I need to say a few things, too. 

This woman deserved her moment of truth. Her words were eloquent, heartbreaking, honest and raw. She sounds like she could be anyone’s friend, sister, daughter. Her attacker was caught in the moment, her rape was obvious from the moment it happened. And STILL she was tormented during a trial, having to defend herself as if she was guilty until proven innocent enough for the world to care. Despite all this, her attacker only got six months. Six fucking months for forever damaging her. How is this justice? 

The country has surprisingly supported this woman and outrage has been flooding social media regarding the rapist’s light sentence. This story isn’t new. We can’t possibly be surprised that an affluent white athlete was given a pass. Are we suddenly outraged because this victim is the one we needed? The circumstances left nothing for us to judge about her? And even with this ideal victim a rapist gets a slap on the wrist. 

This. This is why I held my tongue ten years ago. Society had already trained me to question how I had brought about my own rape. Did I fight hard enough? I knew my rapist and he was a friend of mine. Maybe I sent mixed signals (even after pushing him off me, crying out “no,” maybe I wore something slutty?). I had been drinking a lot. What was I doing at a club drinking if it wasn’t to “hook up?” Maybe he only did it because he liked me and I shouldn’t be so offended. With these thoughts swirling in my head, I’m not surprised I tried to kill myself shortly after it happened. 

I didn’t want to admit it was rape. I didn’t want to be one of those people who had been raped. The way I would explain it in my head was “I am really confused why he was inside me when I didn’t want that.” It wasn’t until after I tried killing myself and saw a psychiatrist that the word rape was even brought up. At that point, legally speaking, it would be my word against his. And clearly I was crazy, I had just tried to kill myself! Who would believe me? What was the point of pressing charges? 

Years later I found out my rapist had done the same thing to two other women I know, though they were in high school when it happened. From what I understand they also didn’t feel anyone would believe them and kept quiet, allowing him to continuously prey on new women. Our silence was a heavy burden within our own selves and a dangerous pact that guaranteed more to join us. But the legal system and societal norms continue this tragic pattern. We do not believe victims. We judge them. Even when the truth of what happened is right in front of us-witnesses, physical evidence-our legal system does not stand with them. 

I wish I had been able to address my rapist in a courtroom, see the fear in his eyes as he realized the consequences of his actions. I was not someone to strip down and dehumanize, I was not a “passing bit of fun,” I was not your power trip. I didn’t get that moment of reckoning, but I hope this outrage against Brock Allen Turner helps another woman get hers. I hope this outrage creates a backlash against our rape culture, our victim shaming/blaming, our rapist apologists. 

Rapists be warned- you will not be able to hide behind a cloak of alcohol, the guise of athleticism, the blanket of wealth. We are seeing the monster underneath and will plaster your face on every social media outlet until you feel as exposed and vulnerable as the ones you have tried to victimize. Your days are numbered. 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Abortions and the Holocaust

Did I really just have to explain the difference between abortion and the Holocaust to several people? Do people truly think like this? Maybe to rational folks with the ability to look deeply at social issues and history it seems obvious, but I found there are those who have yet to reach this point.

First and foremost, my opinion on abortion does not stem from a religious upbringing. I was raised with God in my life, but my parents wanted me to come to my own conclusions about what happens after we die. They taught me morals, decency, humanity and independent thought. I thank them very much for this.

I suppose for those raised in an ultra-Christian home, the message might have been a little different. Do I think all Christians are extreme? No, of course not. I would identify as Christian….maybe agnostic…but I have taken a broader glance at the meaning of religion and saw the ultimate message of living your life the best you can, helping those in need and finding peace and comfort in the idea of a benevolent creator. I do not act the way I do to seek reward for a golden afterlife- I do it as a human to have a better existence for myself and my fellow humans.

I see the ultra-Christian passing judgment and condemning women for a terribly personal and life-changing choice. In my sense of religion, this feels wrong. How can we know what God is thinking about that person? How could we ever know the circumstances and emotions of another person’s life and feel so high and mighty as to call them a murderer, comparing them to Hitler?

Let’s head back to the topic of abortion and the Holocaust. Since it obviously needs some clarifying for some, I will make it easy.

The victims of the Holocaust were breathing, thinking fully formed humans with a history and footprint on the world. They endured atrocities for lengths of time, ranging from starvation, humiliation, experimentation, disease and emotional mind fucks. Their families were ripped apart. Their loss has echoed through generations, creating a wound that still seeps down through family trees.

An aborted fetus is a collection of cells that has yet to form into a coherent viable form. The impact is felt in the woman who has to make the choice, not on a global level like the Holocaust. That cell cluster did not breathe, did not think, did not know or understand what was happening to it. Look at a child who is abused to death and tell me it’s the same thing.

Hitler is recognized in history as an evil and over zealous person with a hatred for the Jews (and others who were deemed “different”) so that he strategically starved, tortured, experimented and ravaged millions of them. Pro choice people are not in any way close to this. It’s insanity to even make that comparison. Our belief is that a woman has the right to what happens in her body and in her life, a choice that is hers to make and no one else’s. To listen to some, pro choice people are rounding up babies and hacking them with a machete. That is ludicrous.

If Christians are so adamantly pro life, I wonder why we have so many children who have already been born who lack food, shelter, stability and sometimes love. What about those children? Why do I not hear impassioned cries for them? Why do I not see signs protesting the miserable condition of their already existing life? Why is there a need to bring more children into situations of neglect? If I saw more Christians opening their hearts and homes, I’d be a little more eager to listen to them and take their shit seriously.

In my discussions, I also saw the underlying implications that the pregnancy was punishment for the woman engaging in sexual acts. Yikes. That’s a can of worms.

To summarize, it is so outrageously offensive to people who have lost family members in the Holocaust to compare their history with a woman choosing to end her own pregnancy. The legal system thankfully recognizes this, and as long as rational people continue to outrank on this issue, things will remain that way.


Leave a comment

Enough is enough

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/08/16904780-south-africans-mourn-rape-victim-say-enough-is-enough?lite=

http://world.time.com/2013/02/08/a-gang-rape-reinforces-acapulcos-decline-but-what-of-mexicos-other-resorts/?iid=us-x-mostpop2

The stories of gang rape and brutality continue around the world. How
many more of these will there be in the next year, or for that matter
the next week? I cannot understand how attacks on women continue. I
cannot understand how men continue to work together as a pack like animals, lacking emotion or empathy. Obviously there is a power component to their disgusting actions, but what compels them to cause such mental and physical trauma on another human being? Do they hate their mothers? Do they hate themselves? Clearly they lack a set of moral standards to which the rest of society tries to adhere.

I know that Canada had put out a commercial awhile back targeting how men should behave rather than how women can “prevent themselves from getting raped.” This is definitely a step in the right direction. I know there are events like Take Back The Night. I’m discouraged by the ignorant comments by politicians (which I discussed in an earlier post), and things like that lead me to believe that somewhere in our system we are failing. People legitimately believe in completely backwards ideas on rape. How has this happened?

Now I am left asking myself this very important question- “What can I
do to help stop this from happening?” How can the voices of reason be heard over the garbled lies and misinterpretations of how and why rapes occur? I feel almost helpless when I think about the staggering change that needs to take place when it comes to how women are viewed and treated in this world.

BUT

I cannot stop bringing attention to this.
I cannot accept that this is just the way it is.
I cannot stop hoping that intelligent and empathetic creatures such as human beings can make progress.


Leave a comment

Steubenville

Steubenville, Ohio has been put under a microscope after several of their football players were named in a rape case from this August. This case has received attention because of the picture, video and social media documentation of a passed out girl getting assaulted, followed by a seemingly indifferent local law enforcement. The assailants’ attitudes make me disgusted beyond measure. What have they been taught? Who told them it was okay (and even funny!) to have sex with a girl who was unresponsive and “unable to move”?

I’ve been reading articles from several different sources. Everyone can agree that she was immobile and that boys were laughing as they tossed around the word “rape.” In fact, a group of Steubenville students earned the abhorrent moniker “rape crew.” The adults in the town seem to be guilty of diminishing the severity of the crime and protecting their star players…sooo if you win high school football games you can put your dick wherever you want regardless of consent? Sure, that sounds reasonable.

I was interested to read not only the info from Anonymous, but this blog post as well- http://localleaks.blogs.ru/2013/01/01/steubenvillefiles/
-It sounds pretty extreme, but the videos and tweets are what get me.

The victim has already had to endure physical and emotional trauma, furthered by the sudden attention to this case. If it’s any comfort to her, I think everyone outside of that shitty Ohio town can see the need to punish these egotistical, depraved guys. Nobody is above the law…especially douche high school football players.


Leave a comment

Rape- consequences and punishment

http://news.msn.com/world/six-charged-with-murder-in-india-gang-rape-after-woman-dies

It has heartbreaking to see that the Indian woman attacked and gang-raped earlier this month passed away. As more information has emerged about what actually happened to her, I hope to see the death penalty for the men responsible. Though this assault happened on the other side of the world, its impact has been far reaching, putting even more pressure on the Indian authorities to issue a fitting punishment.

Even before this young woman succumbed to her injuries, Indian citizens were demanding the death sentence for the men who not only took turns raping and beating her, but damaged her internal organs with an iron rod. It has taken this devastating brutality to awaken people to the apathetic attitude surrounding rape and the lack of police follow up when one is reported. The question is, should death be a suitable punishment for someone who forces themselves on another?

I am liberal and firmly believe in many of the liberal ideals. However, my thoughts and opinions also come from my experiences. On the issue of rape, I believe the death penalty should be a possibility. Yes, perhaps the victim was left alive after the initial attack, but what others fail to see is the irreparable damage that will haunt them. This article even pointed out another woman who was gang raped, reported it, received little help (even ridicule from police), and then killed herself. The rapist(s) may not wrap their hands around their victim’s neck. They may not stab or shoot them. The attacker has instead left a persistent fear and self-loathing that can cause their victim to slowly destruct from the inside. Those who have never experienced it cannot fully comprehend the shadow that will trail behind every aspect of life from that moment on.

Even in America, the attitude and understanding of rape is insane. If 2012 proved anything, it is how much progress still needs to be made when it comes to rape and the female anatomy. Several fails this year:

-An O.C. judge doesn’t think a rape was bad enough, plus shows his idiocy regarding how the female body works. “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case,” Johnson said. –http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/14/local/la-me-1213-judge-rape-20121214

-If you’re going to be raped, you may as well sit back and enjoy it! http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/scarce/clayton-williams-victims-rape-should-relax

-Rape gets classifications! Was it legitimate or not? –http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/us/politics/todd-akin-provokes-ire-with-legitimate-rape-comment.html?_r=0

 


Leave a comment

Iowa fails

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/21/justice/iowa-irresistible-worker/index.html

If it wasn’t apparent how women are still being discriminated against in our country, this should add some clarity. This employer did not feel like he could keep it in his pants and his employee was too attractive (how dare she be pretty!). I love that this completely blindsided her since she had not put out any signals or acted flirtatiously. In fact, he was the one making inappropriate comments. This is leaving the door open to other unjust firings for asinine reasons. Hopefully someone will have a shred of common sense and reverse this ruling on appeal. Otherwise, what sort of message is being sent? What sort of power is being put into the hands of employers? Of course there are people who deserve to be fired for not being able to perform the functions of their position, but this is not a case about job performance. It’s a matter of a man who cannot control his sexual urges and chose to rip away a ten year career from a woman for looking attractive. I am curious to know- would the ruling stand if the genders had been reversed?


Leave a comment

I am a feminist- aren’t you?

http://noisey.vice.com/blog/katy-perry-billboards-woman-of-the-year-wants-you-to-know-shes-not-a-feminist-and-why-that-matters

In my last post, I mentioned that our society is impacted by the role models we present our children. Katy Perry was chosen as woman of the year, a pretty big statement that seems to indicate strength, intelligence, perseverance, poise, etc. You would think she would speak of her empowerment while treading through a male-dominated field and finding success. Nope. Her big statement was that she is not a feminist (but go team! Women are super cool!).

How are you NOT a feminist? If everyone actually looked at what being a feminist means, how would you say you are less? Contrary to popular beliefs, a feminist is not a bra-burning, man-bashing crazy lady. A feminist is a person (male or female) who sees the need for equality. It is not about one gender over another, it is an equal playing field for all. It is equal pay for equal work. It is respect for opinions and ideas.

What has feminism done for us? Women can vote. Women can receive the same education as men. Family leave act. Access to birth control. While the United States has made some staggering advances, we are not done yet realizing full equality. If you extend the scope of feminism around the world, it is even more clear how important it is.
http://www.unwomen.org/2011/11/advance-womens-rights-change-the-world/

So what about Katy Perry? She puts on a plastic face and sings fun songs. She makes a lot of money. She seems like a nice enough person. However, what is she representing? What message has she sent to our kids? And what about her current message separating herself from feminists? This is just perpetuating the belief that a feminist is a bad thing, but I can tell you this. I am proud to stand up for equal rights and recognition for women around the world.

If given the choice of a role model, I’d gladly choose a feminist.
http://www.univer.omsk.su/gender/famous_fem.html