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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On trusting men

Posted by A birch tree on July 16, 2008

When I logged on today, the finches said to me “Tree, don’t get sidetracked. We’ve got a huge post on transgenderism/transphobia to research, and we’ll probably have enough grist left afterwards for another Fact Dump. You’ve got three hours, use them wisely!”

Then, just as I got started, I ran into the furor surrounding Kyle Payne. A self-proclaimed radical pro-feminist blogger and sexual assault advocate is arrested for raping and photographing an unconcious student at Buena Vista University, where he is a Resident Advisor.

I read that post and my stomach churned. I read some of the other links back, and did a quick google on the situation, and my stomach positively flipped over.

You know how they say child molestors will try to find jobs or homes where they have easy access to children? That’s exactly the kind of thing this man did; he had a rape fetish and put himself into a position to be close to the kinds of victims he fantasized about. He listened to, and probably got off on, stories of women’s nightmares from the mouths of the victims themselves, who had no idea that they were being re-victimized right there in his presence. He was finally caught acting on his deviant fantasies by the university and the police when they found his homemade rape porn on his computer (some comments in this blog claim that his computers were originally siezed in a search for child pornography, and that it is stated in the search warrant records. I haven’t looked up that information myself, but, you know what? It wouldn’t surprise me at all).

How many women poured their stories of trauma and terror to this man, only to have him masturbate about them? How many women will be afraid to take advantage of services for rape victims due to the harm this man has caused so many women? And, most importantly, how many women did he rape that he didn’t videotape?

This is exactly why men should not be working with rape victims in an advocate or crisis-counselor capacity: men cannot be trusted. Maybe, if I’m feeling generous, I might allow for the idea that “not all men” do this, and there are some loving, caring, wonderfully fuzzy happy men who work in this field for the sense of personal fulfillment blah blah blah. I can’t for the life of me figure out how someone could justify forcing the vulnerable, traumatized women who call these centers to take such a significant risk of re-victimization just because there might be a dude somewhere who has bucked his sociosexual training enough not to take advantage of every perceived position of power over women to fulfill his own sense of entitlement to, among other things, feelings of control and sexual titillation. Is a man’s desire, innocently and helpfully motivated as it may be, to work in this specific field really worth more than women’s desires not to have to worry about being re-victimized? Is this issue really so important for men that it’s worth making rape victims add an extra set of anxieties on top of the ones resulting from the rape itself, for example: “will/is/did my rape crisis counsellor get/getting off on the story of my brutal rape? Was/is that exciting for him? Does he want to rape me too?”

The only people that the whole “Women shouldn’t automatically distrust men, because we’re not ALL rapists!” meme benefits are rapists. Any man who gives a shit about women and their daily struggles wouldn’t be offended by distrust or suspicion. Any man who is trying to toss his load of priviledge and entitlement would welcome the opportunity to prove his general good-ness via a slow progression of time over which he demonstrates in all his behaviors, large and small, in all social and private contexts, that he is not a dickwad, rather than simply having the assumption made that because he has a penis he is the embodiment of all that is upstanding and trustworthy in spite of the intense rate at which crimes against women are perpetrated by penis-wielders in this society.

As far as this specific case is concerned, the ripples from this man’s actions continue to spread. Some blogs go so far as to take his actions as an indictment of the anti-pornography movement (paraphrase: “See? People who don’t use porn are the REALLY dangerous, repressed ones with scary dark sides! This guy proves it!”). Some people say the radical feminist movement should have to answer for this dude, since he claimed to be among their number and linked to a bunch of their blogs. Lots of people are really quick to blame women for either this man’s actions, or for trusting him to begin with. Fingers point. Fur flies. This man’s crimes are used to futher unrelated personal vendettas at the expense of his victims. Women who had no idea this man even existed are called to task for not denouncing him.

We live in Patriarchy, after all; everything bad a man ever does can, eventually, be used to shame, blame or discredit a woman or two. The status quo marches on.

-a birch tree

*How do I make this, and some of the above, assumptions? Pretty simple, actually: he’s a rapist, he committed rape, and he presumably got off on rape. Ergo, this man gets off on rape, ergo, he probably got off on accounts of rape his victims gave him, turning it into an even sicker form of pornography.

Posted in Feminism, Liberal Men, Rape, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Better Late Than Never

Posted by A birch tree on May 30, 2008

I chose that title only because I’m an optimist at heart.

So it seems that the White House has finally released its most comprehensive Climate Report to date… four years after the deadline. And then only because the court ordered them to release it.

Oddly enough, the report says, yes, there is global warming, yes, it is our fault, and yes, it will have a significant and deadly impact on American lives. There’s a shocker. Would Bush have suppressed it for half his presidency if it had said anything different?

On the upside, at least he didn’t try to stealth-edit this one, right?

There’s a cloud to this, and then there’s a silver lining to this. The cloud is that most of the predictions made back in 2004 have already come true; had we been warned, we might be having a better time of it. The silver lining, unfortunately, is a bit morbid: the report talks about things we’re seeing now, but hadn’t yet seen at the time the report was made. It’s a primo example of the predictive power of properly-applied scientific theory, as opposed to the pseudo-scientific reactionism that opposes it.

If it had come out in ’04, and then we saw the results it predicted, our woefully short national attention span would have completely forgotten that these things were previously forecast, and then came to pass. With the late release, we have sudden attention placed on the report and its predictions while the effects it warns of occur simultaneously.

It’s really hard to call global climate forecasting “junk science” and be taken seriously when such a stark juxtaposition exists, as both prediction and observed effect are lodged in the national consciouness at exactly the same time, ready for anyone with three working neurons and access to Yahoo! News to compare and contrast.

Let’s take a moment to review. The report forecasts:

  1. Increased deaths from heat. Between 1978 and 1999 (19 years), 7421 deaths in the US were heat-related, a median of 274 per year. Between 1999 and 2003 (4 years), 3442 deaths were heat-related, an average of about 688 per year. This one is a “hit”.
  2. Worsening water shortages. If you think it’s bad in Atlanta, you should see the rest of the world. Another “hit”.
  3. Increased electricity demand in the summertime, possibly leading to shortages in the longer term. The peak electricity demand in the US was 12.1% higher than in 2004, and 4.0% higher than in 2005. “Hit”.
  4. Increased wildfires. The number of acres burnt in the last 5 months is already double the 2001-2008 average. “Hit”.
  5. Increasing insect infestations. It’s tough to find accurate data about the US, as this isn’t usually a newsworthy topic, but other countries, like Sweden, are certainly seeing this one. Should I call this one a “hit”?
  6. Increased cases of water- and food-borne disease outbreaks. This is the only one I couldn’t find any supporting statistics on, and more for lack of time than anything else (even though I’m friends with the guy monitoring everyone’s computer time, I can still only ask for a reset so many times in one day).

In the end, Bush may have done more damage to his anti-climate-change crusade by stifling this report for four years than he would have caused had he just released it when the law said he had to. Who remembers anything that was in the news in 2004? We forget major events appallingly quickly around here, maybe as a symptom of a people with such a relatively short history to begin with. But coming out now, just as most of the things it predicted are coming into the limelight as well? In addition to the suspicious-looking skullduggery of sitting on the report until the courts forced him to release it? Ouch.

It’s getting harder and harder to deny that we’re in deep poop. I’m starting to worry if the whole point of said denials is to postpone any significant actions until it’s too late to fix anything, if it isn’t already. I mean, from the time global warming was first proposed in the 1970’s, the forces arrayed against it seem to have been engaged in a delaying action. First, they ignored the idea entirely. Then they said “There is no such thing as global warming.” Now they’re starting to say “Maybe there’s such a thing as global climate change, but it is absolutely not our fault and there’s nothing we can do about it,” and maybe tomorrow it’ll be “Well, I guess you were right, there is global climate change and we did cause it, but it’s too late to stop it now. Oh well!” and all the while the status quo of energy consumption and radical consumption ideology will prevail.

Scary stuff, yo. I’m gonna go hide under my mattress now.

Posted in Global Environment, Global Warming, Hard Facts, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Lie?

Posted by A birch tree on April 17, 2008

…the patriarchy wants us to believe it’s because women are cunningly evil and yet dumb as posts.*

Evil, first, because only a truly evil person would try to frame some wonderful, upstanding, flawless example of a perfect citizen of our society for a heinous crime. Stupid, second, because it doesn’t seem to actually do anything positive from a woman’s perspective, and in fact, does a lot of negative things. Let’s examine:

Patriarchy expects us to believe:

  1. In spite of the fact that “women lie” and “it was her own damn fault” are the most common themes expressed in the opening remarks of nearly everyone, male and female, who hears about a rape, somehow men are convicted just by the accusation alone.
  2. In spite of the fact that every single action and thought that is even remotely sexual that this woman has ever had will be revealed, dissected, and examined by a lawyer more ruthless than the most cold-hearted and sadistic dentist in front of the entire nation, it’s men’s lives that are ruined forever before they even get a verdict.
  3. In spite of the fact that accused rapists never have to take the stand and present their side of the story, or in any way defend their actions, and who never have to worry about any past accusations or even convictions coming back to haunt them during a trial, rape shield laws make the process unfair against them.
  4. In spite of the fact that one 6% of rapists ever see a day in jail, rape accusations are an effective revenge tool for jilted or otherwise angered women.
  5. In spite of the fact that men are making lots of money from having been accused of brutal rapes, a man will forever be a community pariah even if accquitted, and will forever be socially and professionally crippled by the whole boondoggle.

Someone tell me how reality and popular conception can differ so radically from one another to the point that they’re actually diametric opposites?

And I have to leave it at that, since I only get 30 minutes of computer time at the library until my internet is back up. This is a bit frustrating.

Until tomorrow!

-a birch tree

*[I point, once again, to psychological projection.]

Posted in Feminism, Rape, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »