Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you Mr Jones?

Bob Jones: goading feminist bloggers back from self-imposed blogging rest.

Content warning:  this article features repulsive rape excusing, victim blaming, gross inaccuracies about sexual violence, and is likely to be triggering for people who have been raped.  The fact the NZ Herald published it is an absolute disgrace.  The ethical irresponsibility of giving these views oxygen is quite astonishing.  Shame on you, NZ Herald.

The article is called "Rape a risk for those who walk on wild side".  This may be a sub-editing decision to create controversy, rather than Bob Jones having the right to name his own columns.  Either way, it's factually inaccurate.  Statistically speaking, people are more likely to be targetted for sexual violence if they are young (child sexual abuse effects about 1 in 4 girls and, according to international research, 1 in 6 boys); if they are female; if they are trans* or intersex; if they have an impairment/disability; and in Aotearoa, if they are Maori.  Because sexual violence thrives in situations in which there are power imbalances, and because rapists target people they believe will not be credible "victims", rape is a risk wherever power and oppression thrive.

The first few paragraphs feature the casual sexism of both Mr Jones and a Judge calling 18 year old women "girls".  If you don't think this is a big deal, consider how much easier it is to present "girls" as a bit silly, not very thoughtful, a bit infantile. 

Paragraph three has Bob Jones hoping "some awful fate will befall" the man sent to prison.  I assume he wants this man to be raped.  Delightful.

Mr Jones then moves on to call feminist barrister Catriona MacLennan a "girl" too - I wonder when we are allowed to be women, just quietly, as I'm pretty sure Ms MacLennan is a fully fledged grown up - while he ridicules her as childish, and later foolish, for saying she believes women should be able to move about freely without free of rape.

Now all of this is just snide, ridiculing nonsense.  Pretty common strategy for those with power - rich, white, straight cis-men - who don't need to play the issue, because their views are "normal",  they can just ridicule the player.  Bob Jones is telling us "girls" to stop making such a fuss.

Content warning some more.  Mr Jones moves on the describe feminists marching against rapes as "drowning wet parsons and large banner-wielding women, in both cases implausible rape victims, despoiling our streets." 

I'm assuming Mr Jones is saying feminists are ugly (despoiling) and possibly fat (not clear is the large refers to the banner or the woman) and therefore could not possibly be raped.  Feeling personally very pleased I'm not to Mr Jones' taste - being fond of large banners, feminism and indeed other feminists of all shapes and sizes - this is nonetheless, hateful stuff.

Women are not raped because they are thin, or Mr Jones assessed pretty, or carrying a small banner, Mr Jones.  People are raped because they are unlucky enough to be with a rapist.  For any survivor reading this and feeling pain and trauma again because Mr Jones is saying your rape doesn't count, tell him to fuck off in your head.  Tell him to fuck off with your voice.  Tell him to fuck off by feeling the rage in your body and directing it somewhere else, safely.  Your rape counts.  The fact Mr Jones doesn't want some rapes to count tells us volumes about him, and NOTHING about survivors.

The last few paragraphs are all about how inevitable rape is, apparently marches do nothing to stop rape, sanctions against rapists do nothing, gorillas and sparrows rape, rape is as old as "humankind."

Apparently 99.999% of men do not rape.

Mr Jones' pants igniting aside - why go to the bother of looking up rape statistics for Germany to be accurate, if you're going to literally pull a figure out of your arse to make rape look like a tiny problem?  The only purpose this serves is to obscure how common rape is, and how it usually happens.

It's not in dark parks, it's not when we're hitchiking, it's not a stranger.

For women, it's in our home or his.  We know him.  Recent studies about adult sexual assault show that while a small minority of men carry out a large number of rapes, a much larger number of men use sexually coercive behaviours when it suits them, usually with partners.  These acts meet legal definition of rape.

New Zealand studies show child sexual abuse against girls is usually committed by a male family member.  90% of the time it's someone the child or the family knows.  (We don't have comparable studies about child sexual abuse of boys yet.)

This irresponsible steaming pile of rape apologist crap should never have been printed.  Bob Jones can make all the excuses for rape he wants when he's chatting with his other friends who no doubt share his views.  I'm fascinated by men who distort sexual violence in this way, by men who essentially throw up their hands and say I guess rape is always going to happen, oh well.  What is their behaviour like around consent?  What would their partners say?

Rape isn't inevitable.  Treatment programmes with sexual offenders are pretty damn effective, especially when the sexually harmful behaviour is identified early.  Since most offenders begin offending in their teens, some well-placed resources here would literally change our world.  Sexual violence primary prevention programmes which teach skills in negotiating consent and help young people navigate the harmful gender norms around learning to be sexual are also effective, and should be part of our education system.

This large banner waving feminist is going to keep despoiling our streets.  That's a promise, Mr Jones.  Right up until when we don't need to anymore, because rape is seen as the despicable violation it is, however it happens.

Love and solidarity to survivors everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Jones was only saying that people...especially Women...need to exercise some common bloody sense ...

LudditeJourno said...

Anonymous, please either be brave enough to use a handle, or refrain from commenting. That's the policy here.
And maybe try reading the post again.

Unknown said...

Go away anon. Teach men not to rape, don't curb women's autonomy for the sake of statistical rarity (stranger rape). Here is a recent post by Rape Crisis Dunedin in line with your article: http://rapecrisisdunedin.tumblr.com/post/62874173980/one-girls-response-to-bob-jones

Marama Davidson said...

Anonymous ya troll.

Thanks for writing the above great article, too informed, too intelligent, too awesome for that shite of a publication called the NZ Herald. I wrote this.