There is a lot to cover this week in the world of feminism. Women have been kicking goals and taking names all over the place, and I can’t even keep up. Instead of addressing each of these issues in separate posts, I’ve decided to smash it all out in one, because women will continue to rock the fucking casbah and I’ll have more inspiration for you next week.
BROCK TURNER, VICTIM BLAMING AND BEING EVERY WOMAN
A brave woman who has blown me away this week, and is currently going by the moniker “Emily Doe” has accidentally become the poster girl for victim blaming. Emily was assaulted by Brock Turner, who you will all have seen smiling at you from your screens with all his white, upper-middle-class privilege screaming out for the world to see. I’ve been posting about this on Facebook as new parts of the story unfold, and what I’m seeing is a fucking joke. This 21 year old kid has basically used this experience to have a cry about how his life is now all fucked up because he raped a girl (Emily Doe) behind a dumpster and left her lying there, naked and exposed for the entire world to see. He says he’s sorry. He’s not sorry. He might be sorry he got caught, and he might be sorry he’s going to jail, but he’s not actually sorry he did it. He got handed a sentence of six months, which is also a fucking joke. He will only actually serve around three months of this sentence, which is more than what 97% of rapists serve, and that is no victory. It doesn’t make me feel like Emily Doe got justice for what happened to her, and it gives me zero confidence in the American judicial system.
The law is supposed to protect the innocent. The weak. The violated. In this case it is protecting the strong, the rich and the powerful. Brock Turner is a kid who comes from money, his family are obviously wealthy enough to hire the kind of lawyers who are great at victim blame and shame. His entire defense seems to have been made up of character statements and letters from old friends claiming that he is different to “normal rapists” and that he only did it because he was drunk, and that his sentencing was only a guilty verdict because political correctness.
Now, I’m only going to lay this out once so listen carefully. ALCOHOL IS NOT TO BLAME HERE.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been drunk a few (thousand) times in my life. I’ve been drunk in the presence of some pretty shady guys (I can say that, they’re my oldest friends. They’re dodgy sometimes, but they are generally good people), and I’ve done some stupid shit when I’ve been drunk. I’ve even made some pretty terrible decisions when I’ve been drunk. Most of the time those decisions are along the lines of “Yes, stripping naked and running into the ocean is a BRILLIANT idea, who cares about riptides and sharks and drowning and shit LETS DO IT!” and when I wake up the next morning I remember exactly why that is a stupid idea. But alcohol is not the problem.
Here is the problem. Some guys are entitled pricks, and they’re entitled pricks because all their lives they’ve been told how wonderful they are and their coaches, fathers, teachers, and other authority figures have taught them they can have whatever they want. Alcohol has the capacity, deep down, to unlock the what we’ve always wanted to do. Those hidden desires, the ones we think other people will judge us for. For me, that means dancing like an idiot, or running naked where I probably shouldn’t (remember for next time, night time + beach = freezing). But even at my most intoxicated and foolish, I’ve never lost sight of the inherent morals and values I have been taught. And that includes the fact that hurting other people is wrong.
Entitled pricks like Turner aren’t taught that. Or they are, because everyone who is sober and rational knows that raping women isn’t something society is ok with, but their entitlement overpowers that when all other logic has flown the coop. They were taught that they can have what they want, when they want, including women. And that’s called being a man. Brock Turner thought he was entitled to a little “action” any way he could get it, and he thought that long before he got drunk. It was only after he was drunk and saw Emily Doe lying behind that dumpster passed out that he thought “Why not?” The alcohol didn’t introduce that thought, it unlocked it. That thought: “I can take whatever I want, including her”, was planted and watered by a whole, rotten village.
It is right that we shame him, and his father, and the friend that came to his defense, and the judge, and every other entitled prick we meet. It is right, because what they have taught him is lack of compassion, lack of understanding and lack of emotive thought. They have taught him that this behavior is inherently ok, and for that they need to be shamed. They need to understand their role is what he has done. I am not excusing him, he is an adult and must take responsibility for his own actions; but he is a product of his environment and for that I cannot excuse his father or any other role model in his life.
Emily Doe has been incredibly courageous in the light of all these victim blaming and shaming statements. She has allowed her victim impact statement to be published by the media in full, and in doing so she has opened her soul to the world. We don’t know who she is, but she stands for all women who have ever been or ever will be assaulted, raped or depraved in any way. She has become an accidental role model and pillar of strength for every woman in the world. Her victim impact statement almost broke the internet, and she should be proud to know that she hasn’t gone unheard. Unlike so many women before her, she will make a difference. How we view rape and victim blaming will shift because of her.
RACE FOR PRESIDENT & RAINING GLASS
GUYS! The US presidential election process is complicated and weird for those who don’t live there – but huge news! Hilary Clinton is officially the Democratic party leader, and therefore actually in the running for President now. It definitely comes down to her or Trump, now that she’s knocked poor Bernie Sanders out of the running. Do you remember when Obama was named President? People cried. They cheered. They ran in the streets celebrating. Why? Because they broke history, and for the first time they elected a black man. And now they’re doing it again. Hilary has a chance to be the first female POTUS, and you don’t have to love her or her politics to be excited by that. We are witnessing history in the making.
Eight years ago, when Clinton conceded to Obama in the race to the finish she said “We weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time.” And now, even if she doesn’t win she will still be the only female to have represented a major party in a general election in US history. Again, she will be the only female to have EVER LED A MAJOR PARTY.
On Tuesday night, as her victory was announced she stood to thank her supporters and said, “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls, in 1848. When a small but determined group of women, and men, came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights.”
We teach our young girls they can be anything they want to be, but do we really mean it? In the US women and girls have never seen another woman give the State of the Union address. They’ve never seen a woman appoint a Supreme Court justice. They’ve never seen a woman address the nation as Commander in Chief in a time of crisis. They’ve never seen someone who could actually get an abortion holding the power to veto federal anti-abortion legislation. They’ve never looked up on the walls in history classes and seen a woman’s face up there alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Never has our gender been equated with the ability to lead the country they live in. They’ve never seen that glass ceiling broken, and it is maddening. And now, Hillary has done it. It’s raining shatter glass over all her haters, and she’s probably loving every minute of it. And so she should.
There are times I don’t love her. There are things she does that I want to yell and shake sense into her. She loves big business, and she’s far too fond of tax breaks for those guys. I don’t anticipate that the things I hate about her will ever change, my politics are far to left and socialist for her. But my personal feelings on her politics don’t change the fact that there has never been a female leader of a political party until now. It matters because a woman first ran for President 144 years ago, and now one of us might finally make it.
MORE VICTIM BLAME & FAMOUS MEN
I’m sure you all saw that Johnny Depp’s wife accused him of beating her and now they’re getting a divorce. What you might have missed was the part where comedian (and I use the term very loosely) Doug Stanhope used the story in an article he wrote and accused Amber Heard of blackmailing Depp. In response to this, Heard’s lawyers filed a defamation suit against Stanhope and more than twenty of his associated. The thing I love about this the most is that all the money she would win in damage claims from this one lawsuit, she’s going to give to a women’s shelter in Arizona. It’s written into the suit. So all the judge has to do is say yes to Heard, and Stanhope will be forced to pay money to this shelter. I can’t think of a more fitting punishment. #IStandWithAmber
WOMEN STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES
Like I said, women have been kicking goals all week and I could not be prouder. The woman that this attack I am about to share with you wants to remain anonymous, but this Facebook post went viral this week. In a week of big female news, this anonymous girl’s story was heard far and wide. And women are outraged. We are outraged for one reason, because it could have been any one of us, at any given time.
“Today, I talked back to a man who touched me in the street without my permission. It doesn’t matter what I said. What matters is that he grabbed me by the back of the head, called me a whore, and threw me into a wall. Because I stood up for myself *after* he put his hands on me.
The details are irrelevant. I will tell you that this happened in the middle of the afternoon. I will tell you that there were onlookers who did nothing to help. I will tell you that as I crawled around on the sidewalk, feeling for my dropped glasses, nobody came to help. I will tell you that as I walked away, shaking, bleeding from my mouth, nobody offered to walk me home.
I will tell you that I sobbed in the arms of a friend, and asked him to help me invent a story to tell the rest of my friends, because I was so ashamed. I will tell you I blamed myself for being too mouthy. I will tell you I’m still crying.
I will tell you this isn’t the first time. That I anticipate it will not be the last. I expect to get hurt again. I expect to be hit by more men in my lifetime. I expect to be called names and threatened. I anticipate it. It has happened enough for me to anticipate it. And still, I was not prepared.
I will tell you I was terrified to post about this for fear of being called more names. Things like “over-dramatic” and “attention whore”. I was terrified to even tell anyone what happened. Because I assumed I would be blamed. I will tell you that I’m a tough cookie and a badass woman, and I still can’t help but blame myself.
This is 2016. I was attacked by a man, and I am preparing myself to be asked what I did to deserve it, and told what I should have done to prevent it. This needs to be talked about. My story is not even a little unique. #notallmen helps no one, when #somemen are all it takes.”
That’s all from me for today. Just remember ladies, be kind to one another. We have enough problems in the world just being women without adding girl on girl hate to the pile.