Monday 4 November 2013

The baying mob, or How I carry a torch.

So, you are horrified by the “Roast Busters”, and want to make a difference, but what can you do?

In my more frustrated moments, I would love to be that person carrying a torch at the front of a baying mob, crying for justice and making a difference to the outcome of a trial of people who have hurt someone else.
But we don’t live in a village of 100 people. These young men are not the only people out there perpetrating sex crimes. And we HAVE a justice system. It is flawed, but we need to use it so the flaws are SEEN, and changed, and our system can evolve with our understanding of right and wrong. An example of this is that rape used to be legal within marriage, and the laws evolved for the better with our societal changes.
We can’t nor should we, start a mob of people, so here are some ideas for how you can be brave, and carry your torch out into the community and really make a difference.

Be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Volunteer. Work on help lines. Or just be a strong and vocal voice for justice so that people see you as a safe refuge or support when they need it. Advocate for friends who need a voice. Speak for those still too traumatised to speak. Hold your friend’s hand when they decide they are brave enough to speak up, or pursue justice.

Be the voice of reality.
This issue is raising the topic of “what could possibly make young men behave this way.
Remind people that 1 in 4 women are raped. This act is not a rarity and we live in a rape culture.
It is raising the question of “how to avoid being a victim

Remind people that: most victims know their rapist.
That the rapist drinking is of more importance than the victim as far as causation.

Be the person brave enough to discuss “consent”.
People are often confused about what rape is. We need to start talking about the fact that rape isn’t what the media tells us.
Its subtle, it’s discreet, it is friends, it is family. It is quiet, it is dangerous, and it is under reported.
 You can inform them that in research when men are asked if they have “raped” most will say no. But when men are asked if they have “forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,” or if they had ever “had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it" that answer changes significantly.*

Be the person who knows the facts.
When talking about false reports, there are more false reports for stolen cars than false reports for rape. As a crime it is under reported and really badly dealt with.

                      This image from the USA is incredibly depressing, and NZ is no better off.

Be the killjoy.
Be the person at your work, or social gatherings who when someone makes a rape joke, you look blankly at them and ask why it’s funny. If they have to explain it, it becomes apparent very quickly the rape culture we are living in.

Be the support person.
Be the person who listens without judgement, believes the person talking about abuse, and helps them with WHATEVER THEY CHOOSE TO DO.

Be the person advocating body autonomy for the children and young people around you.
Ask before you hug or kiss friends, family or other people you greet.
When kids don’t want to give you a kiss or hug hello or goodbye, say “that’s ok, kisses and hugs are special and we can ALWAYS choose when to give them.” Empower young people to understand that touch is a choice, and their bodies are their own to control.

Be the person supporting those on the front line.
Donate, remind those around you to donate, and when there are competitions for funding, support organisations who help. Thanks to Natalie for this link here, to resources available.

Not everyone can carry every torch and they are ALL important. Support the other torch bearers. Carry someone else’s for a while to lighten their load.  Accept that we will all need to take a break sometimes.
But as long as we are casting light in our own communities, that will spread, and other people will find the strength to start standing with us.

My love to everyone on the front lines.


*These quotes are from the WHO study, and are therefore gendered in this way.

Edit: a new post on this topic here at THM in response to the question "how could this happen"


Anonymous said...

This is an amazing piece. Thanks for writing it. I will try to do as many of these things as I can. And I will share this article too. Thank you again.

ChundaMars said...

"Be the person who knows the facts."

In that case, might I respectfully suggest that you remove the infographic, which is problematic and has been well criticised as inaccurate and misleading. And no, not just by "MRA types" - here's the most prominent critique (but by no means the most in-depth or the only criticism I've read):

Acid Queen said...

Remind me what's wrong with a mob?

weka said...

Awesome post, thank-you. It's been linked to at the standard. Hopefully it will get wide attention.

Scuba Nurse said...

Chunda, that artical is problematic, even if you only look at the fact that it says "6% of men are rapists". Thats a super cute concept that the study I have linked to above has shown to be MASSIVELY incorrect. I WISH it were only 6%
Thank you for your input, but Im pretty comfortable with using that doc.

Scuba Nurse said...

Acid Queen, By all means, start a mob. I totally understand how damn compelling it is. I was just discussing earlier with a friend how tempting it is to get on that bandwagon.
But then we need a mob for every single victim, and not all attackers are as media friendly bad guys (facial piercings and a public admission.)
It’s hard to get a mob when it’s your white, charming, father of three boss.
It’s hard to get a mob when you are a sex worker.
It’s hard to get a mob when you were married to or dating your rapist.
Unless I can promise a mob for every victim I would rather work on the system, our community, and being a support person.

Scuba Nurse said...

Weka, WOW! It has? I’m starting to wish I'd A)checked my grammar and B)not written while tired at the end of a late shift :)

Scuba Nurse said...

annon, your comment has been removed. Please use a consistant handle to avoid confusion.
I will not be allowing comments that speculate on the validity of rape claims, or victim blame. This has been a bad enough week for rape victims without a feminist blog tolorating that rubbish.

Acid Queen said...

Well Scuba, I am not actually in favour of a lynch mob.

But I do think there are times when we as feminists and activists have to realise that the patriarchal authorities will not protect us and take action to protect ourselves. I call this direct activism, maybe even revolutionary activism. The patriarchal authorities call it a 'mob' to try to delegitimise it. I'm trying to reclaim the term.

And believe me, I know plenty of staunch queer sex workers who would be happy to mob up against a white father of three who raped someone he was married to.

BTW, I am all for 'working through our community'. I don't know about you, but the NZ police and court system are most definitely not a part of my community.

weka said...

Hey Scuba, I just sent an email to Lynn at the standard asking if they would consider putting up your post as a guest post there. I cc-ed in the Hand Mirror's email. Sorry I didn't ask first, hope that's ok, it will be entirely up to you. I just felt there are a lot of people in the wider blogosphere who should see what you wrote and would love to see more discussion around it too.

weka said...

re the mob, I'd be more supportive if it were (a) done intelligently and (b)done with the true wellbeing of the victim in the centre of concern. Unlike say the 52 fathers calling on FB for video of the Roast Buster rapists being given a beating.

Scuba Nurse said...

Hi weka, thank you very much for your enthusiasm. The standard has already very kindly linked to this post from thier site, which I do appreciate.
I work full time and blogging is a "spare time" thing for me, I have limited time and energy to deal with comments and questions which means that keeping everything in one place is much easier for me to deal with. As the piece is posted here, and over on my own home blog, I think that two different spots for me to monitor is enough to cope with.
Thanks again for your encouragement though, it means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post. Thank you so much for sharing constructive things that pretty much anyone can do!

Every blessing.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I did a double-take at this statement though: "But when men are asked if they have “forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,”..." This implies it's ok for a man to force his wife or girlfriend to have sex ... ?

weka said...

No worries Scuba, I completely understand. For future reference, afaik it's perfectly ok for people to guest post at the standard and then not take part in the conversation. I appreciate that you might not want your work somewhere that you can't be involved with though.

One of the things I like about the standard at the moment is that there are more women commenting there now, and with both men and women a much higher degree of awareness about rape culture, so many hands making the work lighter in terms of how the debate goes. It's a good way to get the issues a wide read.

There have been discussions on ts in the past about having more women writers, and I hope in the future we'll see more women guest posting there. That's a general comment, not an expectation on you :-) I'm just a commenter there btw, nothing to do with the authors or admin.

Hmm said...

Yes, people should know their facts, but they should not rely on infographics,they should read actual studies. Media articles and and infographics are generally highly misleading, almost always oversimplify and should never be taken at face value.

There are a lot of problems with that infographic. Thats going to be almost inevitable given all of the epistemic problems that come with trying to gather this kind of data.

For a start it should say rapes not rapists. But more importantly, it should also say that only 2 percent of REPORTED rape claims are found to be false IN COURT, not that 2 percent are false out of all 1000 rape accusations. We don't actually know how many of the other rape accusations in that infographic are false since most of them were never taken to court or reported. There are all kinds of epistemic problems there. Yet this image makes it out like only 2 out of 1000 rape accusations are false, as if its simply a fact.

Also, I read their justification for the report and their support for the 2 percent says “when more methodologically rigorous research has been conducted, estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.”

Notice how they chose to take the lowest estimate at 2 percent instead of 8?

And this is all independent of the primary question of whether the studies sourced have been conducted well.

I'm all for the primary message in your piece, but I don't like oversimplifying data or any form of intellectual dishonesty, even if its attempting to be used to achieve something good.

Hmm said...


*not that 2 claims are false out of all 1000 rape accusations.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post. Just pointing out that the link you provide to organisations that help is to Victim Support which rarely provides specialist sexual abuse and rape support and their link to rape crisis is actually to Rape Prevention Education, a prevention organisation based in Auckland. For a comprehensive and national list of specialist sexual violence services this would be better link

Scuba Nurse said...

Natalie, thanks for that Link,
the link on the blog *should* be going to the links page on victim support which links to a wider range of support networks for trauma, not specifically rape, not specifically women. If that's not the page that it is going to, please let me know. The reason I did this is that the politics around different crisis centres, and resources is not one I choose to get involved in on a basic 101 page like this one, or at a time when this page is being accessed by people who may be looking for support links. I chose to keep it wide. Thanks for the link, I will add it to the post.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scuba,

For future reference if you do ever want to cross-post at The Standard I'm happy to be on standby to wield a fierce feminist mod-hammer in comments.

Acid Queen said...

@Hmm: Obvious troll is obvious.

Actually we need a word that is worse than 'troll' for people who are calling rape survivors liars in a post about supporting survivors.

Scuba Nurse said...

Hmmm… Just to clarify, your biggest issue with the event this piece is discussing, the following discussion, and the community response is that you DON’T LIKE THAT INFOGRAPHIC??
So I can probably make the assumption that your priorities are not the same as mine.
I also want to point out that I linked to the biggest international study on rape so far and you have chosen to instead discuss the infographic, so if you will excuse my scepticism that “intellectual” anything is your main issue.
I’m going to waste the ONLY spare hour I had between 6am and 11pm today to clear this up for you.

Scuba Nurse said...

Let’s say I humour you and instead use the statistic of 8%
Let’s take that 8% of rape cases (WE UNDERSTAND IT’S NOT 8% OF RAPISTS) who go through the awful experience of someone maliciously ruining their reputation by lying about something they didn’t do. It’s fucking horrific. It probably ruins their lives. I imagine they have trouble sustaining a relationship.
They may lose their job.
I imagine it causes depression.
I suspect it would ruin my faith in other people if someone did that to me.
I absolutely agree that this is a terrible outcome. It occurs in 8% of cases.
8% of Rape cases.
Not 8% of the male population. Not 8% of rapists as you so cleverly pointed out. 8% of rapes.

Scuba Nurse said...

If we now flip the coin…
If we remove the 8% of rapes that were found to not occur we are left with the 92% of rapes that were real.
It’s fucking horrific. It probably ruins their lives. I imagine they have trouble sustaining a relationship.
They may lose their job.
I imagine it causes depression.
I suspect it would ruin my faith in other people if someone did that to me.
It’s awful. And that’s ALL THE OTHER CASES.
According to our most current research (look it up yourself, it’s about time you learnt something) that’s 1 in 6 New Zealand women. (reports vary between 1 in 4 and 1 in 6, but I will make it 6 for you)

Scuba Nurse said...

Not 1 in 6 rapes. 1 in 6 rape victims. That’s actual people.
That’s one person in every row on the Devonport ferry that you fill.
That one woman in every 6 who are selling you a fedora.
That’s 2 women on every all female football team with a spare.
That’s one woman in every 6 of the women that you work with, live with, speak with, love with.

So you will have to excuse me if I forgot my give-a-shit face that 8% of RAPE CASES turn out to be a false charge, and you don’t like the INFOGRAPHIC.
My heart goes out to the people who had to go through that false accusation, who are more than just a statistic, who are people who had to deal with a very real, very horrific event.
But YOU, I can’t help but feel that you are missing the point.

Scuba Nurse said...

ideologicallyimpure you do an epic job with a hammer, thank you! I will keep that in mind :)

Mac said...

On a slight tangent , Radio Live's website has shut down comments on 'that' interview, without exception the comments condemn Jackson and Tamihere .
Their Facebook page is also inundated with similar comments.
Good to see so many kiwis onto it

Scuba Nurse said...

Thanks so much for that good news Mac.

Oyster said...

Hey Scuba Nurse, great post. I was wondering if I could get a reference for your comment that in NZ, there are more false reports of car theft than rape. It would be handy for making some points.

Scuba Nurse said...

Hi Oyster, I cant find it. I know that I saw it, but it was a while back and it was a US stat not NZ I think.
Can anyone help me out?

Sorry for the delay in response. A big week for me, both personally and professionally and Ive been unable to get back to you.