Personal Experiences with Rape Culture

I started this blog because I know I have many personal experiences with rape culture and I know many other people do too. I think those experiences should be shared. If you have an experience I would love for you to share it, the submission button is always open. We have 3 mods here. I'm Rage, there is also Spider and Isis. Our "abouts" are on the home page

Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, a three-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, was arrested  on complaints of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery and indecent exposure. He was being held in the Oklahoma County jail in lieu of $5 million bail.

Holtzclaw is accused of stopping women — some as they walked through neighborhoods — and threatening them with arrest, Citty said. Police said Holtzclaw forced women to expose themselves, fondled the women, and in at least one instance, [raped] a woman, Citty said.

The chief said all the victims are black women between the ages of 34 and 58.

Because most white women aren’t entrained to understand from the day we’re born that the police can arrest you for nothing. The threat of arrest for nothing has to be believed. 

And the history of letting cops harass black people, and threaten them with arrest for nothing, and arrest them for nothing, and disbelieving them when they say they weren’t doing anything illegal, all conspired to make Holtzclaw’s threat meaningful to black women in a way it might not have been for most white women. 

Which is not to suggest non-black women haven’t been exploited this way. They have. My point is that Holtzclaw chose victims he perceived as most likely to be intimidated by a threat of arrest for nothing and least likely to want to interact with the police to report him.



If anyone’s in the position to understand people’s relationships with the cops, to exploit it, it’s a police officer. And no one is more intimately familiar with the rape culture, and how to exploit it to his advantage, than a rapist. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
(1) I'm writing a novelette and my main character has been raped. And the tale is meant to show her struggles with coming to terms with the fact, realising she's not to blame and that she doesn't have to necessarily forgive anyone. I don't want to, however, use rape as a plot device or belittle it. I've never been raped, and I know research is nothing compared to experience, so I wouldn't want to be unrealistic or rude. The point is: is this alright or should I stop writing? I'd rather
rapeculturerealities rapeculturerealities Said:

(2) find a new plot than be insensitive. Thank you!

I think there is a lot to be said for accurate portrayals of women dealing with rape and the aftermath in books.  Very many stories out there right now get it so horribly wrong and that’s a disservice to us all.

It’s good that you are aware of how often rape is used as a plot device as if it’s the only way to portray a woman can triumph over hardship or make a female character more authentic.  Also, it’s pretty sickeningly used as shorthand for drama or just to make a male character spring into action and get revenge.  And so many of the plot lines are by-the-book (no pun intended) when it comes to rape, which depicts only one scenario and set of circumstances.  

Often the rapists are boogeymen who lurk in the shadows, which ignores the reality that 2/3 of survivors already knew their attacker. Worse yet,sometimes rape is written as just another part of romantic struggle; a lover’s quarrel or a way to tame a “wild” girl into a more suitable partner for the “hero”.  In addition, the plots don’t really examine the implications of rape on their protagonist (blame, disbelief, emotional struggle, social impact, intimacy issues etc.)

If you are looking for examples of books that depict rape in an honest way, there are a few that come to mind:


* Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
* Lucky by Alice Sebold (which is autobiographical)
* The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
* Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
* Easy by Tammara Webber
* Broken Wing by Judith James 

A lot of authors who have written honestly about this topic have spent time speaking with survivors, volunteering at rape crisis centers or discussing the topic with hotline counselors and survivor advocates in order to get the story right.  Do your homework and be cognizant of the fact that the story you are writing is a reality for so many of us out there. 

-Spider-

This has been popping up in my news feed lately. I don’t read comics, and I didn’t really read much of the commentary on the “Spiderwoman” cover issue, but I do see a lot of the comments. Most of their arguments are “but men get objectified too!! but you don’t see us complain.” OK. Trying hard not to get into a fight with strangers on facebook.

What’s funny about this (and by “funny” I mean gross) is that the cover is actually a rip off of the artist’s own porno comic  

The tired argument about “men get that treatment too” is stale because it presumes that all other things are equal and they aren’t.  Male characters get better plot lines, more varied stories, their own movies and movie franchises,  

Women in comics are so often killed off just as catalyst for the hero’s righteous anger that there’s a term for it .

We are seeing more frequent and varied representations of women in comic books these days, (notably the fact that Storm, a Kenyan woman just got her own solo series run and it’s getting pretty good reviews & Ms Marvel is a Pakistani.-American Muslim), but it’s far from a level playing field.  

Comics are becoming more accessible to a wider audience and thankfully, women have been vocal about what they want to see more of in the pages.  Marvel seems to have taken more of an interest in what their female fans have to say (DC’s pretty tone deaf when it comes to the ladies, doing things like asking fans to draw a popular female character nude and committing suicide)

It remains to be seen if Marvel will listen to female fans about this cover, but I’m not surprised that so many people are just shrugging it off.  It would get lost in the sea of similarly sexual covers at any local comic shop, which is one reason many women choose to keep their pull lists online.  

But DC and Marvel are not the only game in town!  I can personally recommend some wonderful comics that depart from the boys club:

Rat Queens: Medieval fantasy series featuring a bunch of ass-kicking ladies, diversity in skin color, sexuality and body types, some pretty funny jokes.

Sex Criminals about a couple who can freeze time when they orgasm. The first issue shows our young heroine discovering the joys of masturbation and the confusion of feeling like she’s different because of what happens (resulting in some pretty funny interactions with her schoolmates)

Lumberjanes about 5 girls at summer camp who are dealing with the supernatural creatures in the forest. This one is suitable for younger children too and is also pretty diverse.

These are just a few.  There are many wonderful comics out there doing it right. If you don’t see what you want out there, demand it.  Or make it!  Put your money where your values are and with our growing numbers and influence, those that produce comics will be forced to listen.

-Spider-

sourcedumal:

jaclynxhyde:

makeupandchucks:

This is great.

this needs to be criminalized everywhere. and upskirting/creeper shots. 

GOOD!

(via stfurapeculture)

When you become a woman

and your breasts start to show

in a way that makes vice principals shake

and neighborhood boys stare.

You begin to know three words so perfectly

they string together like a banner from eyelash to eyelash.

Just in case

You see them while you pay $12.99

for that hard pink plastic tube

of pepper spray.

While your car keys

form hard calluses

between the soft skin

that webs your middle

and pointer finger.

While you walk

in groups of three or four

after the sun sets

and the moonlight forgets to

warn you of the shadows.

A boy put his finger on the trigger

because he thought you were in debt.

Well, you’ve got this shiny pink tube

and this cab fare

to prove that you had insurance.

But he has lives

and you have a self defense class

on Thursdays.

He has blood

and you get pulled to the side

for a skirt too high

or a top too low.

They say, “slut.”

You say, “just in case.”

They say, “whore.”

You say, “just in case.”

They say, “she was asking for it.”

You say, “just in case.”

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Last year, I was 14 years old in middle school dating an 18 year old junior in high school. The first time he fingered me, I had said "no" multiple times and tried to remove his hand from me. But, he had told me it was okay because I was having an orgasm and kissed me, so I allowed it to happen and kissed him back. At the time I didn't realize how abusive the behavior was, among many others. I remember seeing him flirt with other girls online & I was crying because I let him do it(1. continued)
rapeculturerealities rapeculturerealities Said:

2) and he was already trying to get with some other girl. I remember feeling really disgusting without knowing fully why. Then, later that night on the phone he was talking about how great it was to get intimate and asked me if we were going to have sex the next time we hung out. I said no, but he started going into very explicit detail about how when “he stuck it in” and took away his hand he was able to thrust and how we had sex. He told me it was okay though and that he loved me but I could

(3) not remember and he didn’t seem to be lying. He also was able to tell me how I orgasm during, etc. I was also very sore the next day but I had assumed that was from being fingered. There was also another time when I had consented but it began to hurt so I asked him to stop but he had held me down by my wrists and said he wouldn’t until he was done. As for the not remembering thing, I’ve recently been getting nightmares and waking up saying “stop” without remembering what I was dreaming, my

(4 or 5, lost count) face drowned with tears. And I really don’t want to believe that I’ve been raped. I know his behavior was abusive and we’re no longer together and I cut off contact with him a while after the break up because I realized his behavior was wrong, but I can’t quite tell myself that I was raped and I’m very sorry for the mass messaging; I’ve been silent for over a year. I don’t know what to do because my dreams are becoming more frequent & I feel alone & scared that it’s my fault

First of all, you need to know that none of this was your fault.  Not any little bit of it.

Going by the textbook definition, there are several factors that you mentioned (underage sexual contact, digital penetration without consent, sex without consent) that apply, but if rape isn’t the term you want to use, you don’t have to identify it that way.  Use words that fit best for you.

I’m glad that you realize now what a terrible person this guy was and how he manipulated you.  It’s tough to revisit painful memories like that, but seeing the truth in them is something that can help you grow and gain closure. Cutting off contact with him was the right thing to do  And writing here about what happened is a huge step too- don’t sell yourself short on the bravery that it takes to reach out.  You’re doing good.

Know that you don’t have to deal with this alone. You can call a hotline like Safe Horizon or RAINN to speak to someone anonymously about what happened.  If you feel like it might help, you can find a local counselor or support group to speak with.  If you have a friend or family member who you can trust, starting with them can be a more comfortable way to be able to talk about what happened.

You can also try writing down what you remember (as a letter to yourself, in third person or just as a list).  Writing about your experience can help you to consider and confront  the feelings you have.  

It’s really important to take good care of yourself right now.  Try listening to soothing music or meditating before bed to help ward off nightmares.  Make sure you are getting enough to eat and try to at least check in with others (isolation might feel safe, but too much can be harmful).  Find some things that can pull you back when you get too stressed; a favorite book or movie, a long walk, anything that makes you feel better.

I know it’s a struggle but you can do it.  Every time you heal a little bit, you win.  You’re stronger than this.  Be brave. And remember- it’s not your fault.

-Spider-

When I was in High School, I was overweight. Not more than 30 pounds, but I was the fattest in my year. There was a boy that one day grabbed my ass and I told him if he ever does that again I’ll break his arm and he said I should be happy because that will be the only time a man will ever want to touch my “manly fat ass” … I still remember it, it wasn’t traumatic or anything, but it made me so angry having all of his friends laugh at me after that…

Asker Anonymous Asks:
my ex sexually and mentally abused me for 2yrs. he struggles with paranoid schizophrenia, and whenever i tried to stand up for myself i was made to feel shitty for stressing him out, which he claimed would effect how the meds worked. even tho i know he was terrible, and he had assaulted me times, i have a lot of guilt because my experiences w/ him have made me reluctant to date any1 with a mental disorder or illness. i rly don't wanna b like ableist this, but i'm so afraid it'll happen again. :/
rapeculturerealities rapeculturerealities Said:

I think it’s important to keep in mind that the abuse you suffered and the schizophrenia are two separate things.  Your ex chose to be abusive; his mental condition is not a means to explain away his actions, even if he tries to use it as one.  It was a facet of him as a whole person, but it was not what made him treat you the way that he did.

I can understand where you are coming from as far as fearing similar issues will come up with new partners.  I was with a man who had Aspergers and sexually assaulted me on multiple occasions.  He tried to make me believe it was because he couldn’t “read” my reactions.  For a long time, I blamed his condition.  Then I blamed myself.  But I realize now that the only one to blame is him.  

There are so many people out there living full, brave lives with mental illness.  In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than to cause it .  The spectrum of mental illness is so vast and there are many people all along that spectrum who have healthy and fulfilling relationships (myself included).  

Bad choices make bad people, and anyone can make bad choices.  Keep that in mind as you navigate the dating pool.  Turning someone down because of your misplaced fear could cause you both to miss out on something really wonderful.  An open mind and an open heart will go a long way.

-Spider-

The concept of purity is a big contributor to rape culture.  The prevalence of abstinence-only sex ed and societal adherence to the double standard of virginity work to keep women confused about their bodies, their sexuality and their autonomy. 

Purity balls are exclusively aimed at young women, encouraging them to see their bodies and sexuality as property owned by their father until they are married, when they are handed over to their husband.  At no point in this transaction does the young woman ever get to exercise ownership of or enjoy herself as a sexual being.  

This lack of sexual self-determination, coupled with the belief that girls who have sex are “dirty” is a gold standard of rape culture.  Women’s bodies and minds are heavily policed, given a strict moral code that ensures they are never in control of their own pleasure or sexual experience.

To maintain this impossible standard of purity, women must negotiate a world where being sexy is considered social currency, but only if it is for enjoyment of others, all the while keeping in mind that their purity is a commodity meant to be consumed only by their future husband.

In addition, women are often blamed when the very fact of their existence “tempts” a man. This can lead to survivors blaming themselves for behavior that is entirely out of their control.   If the most important thing about you is that you are “pure”, what is left if that purity is stolen from you?

Elizabeth Smart  famously spoke about feeling like she was no longer of any value after she was raped after being kidnapped.  Tying self worth to a made-up construct like virginity has dire consequences for survivors of sexual assault.

This belief in purity and its ownership also contributes to the myth that marital rape doesn’t exist.  If a husband “owns” his wife as a sexual being and her body is her gift to him, then she is denied a voice when it comes to sex within marriage.  

Distilling the worth of any woman down to her sexual experience or the perceived condition of her genitalia is another means to subjugate women.  Treating the vagina as a possession (See “Your Vagina is not a Car) to be bought, sold and traded reduces women to chattel.  This is unacceptable.  

Our worth is not predicated upon who we choose to be intimate with and when.  Rejection that narrative in favor of one that values women as whole beings is key to fighting rape culture.  Your body, mind and spirit are what make you indispensable.  They are yours and yours alone and anyone with whom you choose to share them should consider themselves lucky to have had the honor of the experience.  

-Spider-