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Archive for the ‘rape/sexual abuse’ Category

The sext needs defending. I believe this, as a mother, as they say for bonus authority in op-eds. I say it as someone practicing monogamy in the suburbs, with kids and bills and jobs and housework; as someone who will be talking later today to her partner about fixing the dishwasher, about whose turn it is to pay for the groceries.

If there is something in the domestic environment that, between you, makes your heart skip, your breath pull tight? Seize it.

From here. 

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Incredible victim statement from the victim of the Stanford rapist! Just, incredible.

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Smacking women out of love… or something. This montage of films that Jezebel put together of men spanking women when smacking was part of a romance trope is kind of extraordinary to watch.

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This is a good and very useful examination of vertical and horizontal concept creep around topics like harm, trauma and addiction. I would argue that the concept of co-dependence has also experienced a broadening to the point of becoming virtually useless as a term.

Some of the concept creep is about increased sophistication in our understanding of impact, but some of it is about a failure to examine interactions from multiple perspectives. The perspectives most overlooked will tend be those of the most marginalised, as demonstrated below.

Two stories illustrate how concept creep can be a force for good or ill.

Story 1: During the 1950s, third graders would climb into their parents’ cars and ride around without seatbelts. When stopping short, fathers and mothers would use their right arms in hopes of keeping their little ones from hitting their heads on the dashboard. These kids lived in houses slathered with lead paint and spent hours in family rooms thick with cigarette smoke. Today, there are laws against letting children ride around without seat belts, lead paint is banned, and there is such a powerful stigma against exposing children to second-hand smoke that far fewer kids suffer from poor health outcomes related to such exposure. Society’s concept of what constituted an unacceptable risk, harm, or trauma expanded for the better.

Story 2: During the 1950s, third graders could walk to school, play alone at the park, or bike 10 minutes to a friend’s house without anyone worrying or objecting, so long as they came home for supper or before the street lights came on. Today, though kidnapping is just as rare, a parent who allows that same behavior is at risk of arrest or even losing custody of their children to their state’s child protective services bureaucracy. Society’s concept of what constituted an unacceptable risk, harm, or trauma expanded for ill. In Hanna Rosin’s words, it  “stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer.”

From Conor Friedersdorf’s “How Americans became so sensitive to harm” in The Atlantic.

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“If I Had a Gun” by Gig Ryan at Australian Poetry Library. Link via James Tierney, @viragohaus.

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When I work with a person, I work with them for three hours. Nobody can perform for three hours. I have stamina, and I will wear them out, and that’s pretty much how I work. Every time I work with somebody, they say, “What do you want me to look like? How do you want me to be?” And I say, “Sit where you are and do whatever you want.” I’m refusing to tell them what to do.

There is nothing to hide behind, so a person is folding and folding and folding, and I think that’s why, almost every time, the person ends up looking like a child. They look like they are toddlers. I’ve been using the hashtag #TheBodyIsInnocent because when you strip it down, there’s a little kid in every single human, and that is something I saw afterwards. That was not my initial idea. Whatever my initial idea was, my discovery was a child. I was like, “Everybody’s just a baby.”

It seems like consent was important every step along the way, which I found interesting because we rarely talk about consent in non-sexual contexts. Why did you choose to do it that way?
When I tell other photographers [about my process], they react like, “That is crazy. You cannot do that. You’re just wasting your resources.” Because I’m expending my resources and my money to do this, and when I photograph someone who then changes their mind, that’s time that I didn’t photograph someone else. People say, “No, don’t use this.” What people don’t like is often the best picture in my eyes; they’re vulnerable in [those pictures], and that’s why they don’t like them.

But I feel like that’s the only way [this project would be] possible. If you always had that door open behind you and you knew you could walk away at any moment, would that change the way you were in the photo session?

From Suzannah Weiss’s “The photographer fighting against’body positivity'”, an interview with Anastasia Kuba in Broadly via Clem Bastow.

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Very interesting analysis here from my friend, Dr Petra Bueskens at Online Opinion.

And because the Left are defined by the most radical or progressive end of liberalism (the political place I too call home), their focus is on social change – there are always more battles to be won: closing the gender pay gap, fighting casualization, ending domestic violence, legalising gay marriage, reducing climate change etc. Because of this it is difficult to take stock of just how good, in historical and cross-cultural terms, things actually are!

Given the epistemic relativism that defines western liberalism, few are willing to celebrate the attributes of their own culture, ironically, because they are so steeped in it. This is the political vacuum that many concerned liberals, including myself, are worried the xenophobic and fundamentalist Right are filling with hate speech. That is, right wing anti-immigration groups in the West and conservative Fundamentalism in the Middle-East, which of course speaks to and potentially recruits disaffected Muslims in the West.

We may conclude, then, that feminists and others on the Left, were and are unusually quiet about Cologne because it invokes both a critique of Muslim fundamentalism (or, in other words, another political culture) and because it involves a defence of liberalism. In this specific case, the rights of women to bodily autonomy and the free and full use of public space.

While being at pains not to point the finger at vulnerable asylum seekers, we fail to address a social problem; we fail to protect women and we engage in a ‘white wash’ in not acknowledging the capacity for the reified victim to also, at times, be a perpetrator.

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