Sexual Harassment

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I grew up in an environment where if a boy in fourth or fifth grade pushed, hit, or shoved a girl, that girl was told “oh, he likes you”, and he was not punished, or even reprimanded.  Of course, being me, my reaction to being pushed, hit and/or shoved was to usually do the same back.  Now, just guess as to who it was who got reprimanded.  Yes, it was me, since a girl was always expected to be nice, no matter what.  That’s what we were told, no matter what someone did to you, be nice.

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All this conditioning has a price.  That price follows us all our lives, and causes women to “put up” with verbal and sexual harassment without saying anything.  It also causes us to not speak up about other kinds of mistreatment – after all, who want to be known as a “bitch”.  Yes, this is another instance where we’ve allowed others to monitor our voices and behavior.

When I was young, it wasn’t unusual for me to be “felt up” while I was riding the bus, in an elevator, or in other situations.  Did I say anything?  Usually not, however, the spikes of my pumps got quite the workout.  I hope that I did plenty of damage to the offending man’s toes and/or insteps.  The fact of this harassing behavior, is of course, designed to make woman and girls to feel “less than”.  The list of behavior goes on and on: “ratings” based on our looks; verbal abuse telling us to “smile”, trying to force women and girls to interact with strange men – and threatening comments when these men are ignored; women and girls being reduced to just their body parts – the dehumanization of an entire gender.

The examples of rotten comments are too long to list.  However, my husband has told me in just the last few days that I chop wood “like a girl”; and I throw the Frisbee to the dog, “like a girl”.  In my head I thought – if you’re so much better at chopping wood, why the heck aren’t you doing it?

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These comments are considered “normal”, and often if a woman says anything she is considered to be a “bitch”, or a liar, or both.  When we stand up for our rights as human beings, we are told to shut up and be nice.  Being nice has gotten us things.  The biggest “thing” that being nice has gotten us is less wages than men.  Yay!  What a testament to being nice.  Look at the offensive comments that were made by men, about Hilary Clinton when she ran for president.  The sad thing is that some of those same negative comments were also said by women.

Fifty-three percent of white women voted a known sexual predator into national office.  Really?  What the heck is wrong with you?  I will never understand people who vote against themselves.  And, this political party has proved itself to be the party of sexual predators.  Get your head on straight, women.  Together we will be an unstoppable force.  Stand together as one, and see the entire world change for the better.

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What’s New on the Rape Front? – Yes, there is Snark!

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Well, what is new regarding women and rape?  Here are a few things that you might be surprised to learn.  In nine states a rapist has the ability to share custody of the child that was produced from a rape.  Yep, that’s right.  If you’re a rapist, gone to jail for raping a woman, you still get to share custody with the product of that rape.  And, the woman who you raped has to suck it up and have continued contact with you.  Yay for you!

Bill Cosby, who drugged and raped plenty of women, has avoided jail time due to a mistrial, and is now going around the country with the express purpose of teaching other men how to avoid going to jail after they’ve raped women.  I guess you should teach what you know, right?

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Betsy DeVos has rescinded Title IX campus sexual assault guidance, of the legal requirement to report a sexual assault, because maybe, maybe there might be a (one) case of a female student lying about rape, and what would that do to the male student?   Of course, 19% of female college students report being raped, but hey, who cares about that?

And, just to end on a “happy” note, the White House website page entitled “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” has been taken down.  Don’t be too alarmed though, the pages regarding Climate Change and Animal Welfare have also been taken down.  So, victims of sexual assault are in good company.  Fake News, nothing to see here!

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Groping

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Back in another life, I worked as a Paralegal.  I mostly worked on probate, real estate, and divorces, although I’d have to say that I also filled out my fair share of Interrogatories, and filed plenty of criminal related papers with the Court.  Being a Paralegal, most of the people I worked with were men.  We did have a few women lawyers, but at the time most law firms were full of male lawyers.

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So, where am I going with this?  Well, the time was the 1980’s; sexism was pretty much the norm and I endured my fair share of groping.  There was the “accidental” brushing of an arm up against my breast, the sitting much too close in the “break” room or at the copy machine, with the lawyer in question taking the opportunity to rub up against me.  I had my share of whistles, lawyers coming into my office to see what I was wearing on any given day.  (I dressed modestly in business attire – no low collars or tight skirts).  Then, when I worked at a financial investment business there was the full body contact where my boss would stand behind me, usually in the mail room, bend his knees so that he could rub his entire body up against my back as he stood up.  That happened exactly three times.  The third time he did it I threatened (yes threatened) to punch his face off (complete with a raised fist) if he ever did it again.  He didn’t.

This behavior also followed me out into the street where the construction men seemed to think that if they didn’t yell sexually inappropriate things at me and the other women, they would be remiss in their “alpha male” duty.  I was groped while standing in the bus on my way both to work and to home.  There were the men who would sit so close to me that they were almost in my lap.  Then, there were the random men who thought that I should just start either talking with them, or smile at them.

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The worst part of this behavior is that it makes you feel as though you’re the one who has done something wrong.  Maybe it’s your clothes, maybe you look like you like this attention.  But as a woman you haven’t done anything wrong.  I knew that in my head, but I still felt like I’d done something to be on the receiving end of this behavior.  How many times did I simply move away from that too close man; just walk away as fast as I could from that construction guy who tried to grab me?  Countless times.

Women are people.  We are not just something to be groped.  My advice to all those “alpha males”?  Grow the f*ck up!

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Let’s Think About It – School Dress Codes

Is Sharia law in the U.S. school system? Well, I suppose that depends on what you think sharia law is. The definition of sharia law from the Merriam Webster dictionary states that it is Islamic law based on the Koran. Now, as we all know, a lot of sharia law has to do with the behavior and dress of women. This is addressed because supposedly what women wear could have the effect of inflaming a man’s desire to the point that he simply would be unable to control himself. Therefore, a woman must be shamed into covering herself completely, since we all know, for a fact, that a woman’s behavior is always at fault for a man’s overwhelming inability to control his more “base” desires. How do we know this is true? Well here are a few cases where it has been “proven”. Here a three year old is held responsible for her own rape.
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/04/07/creepy-judge-reduces-pedophiles-sentence-suggests-little-girl-caused-her-own-rape/
In another case, a judge told a 14 year old girl that she was partly responsible for her own rape. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/judge-rape-award_n_7131804.html
I could go on and on, but will stop at these two examples.

When a woman or child is raped, the first reaction from the police is often that the victim was somehow doing something wrong. I know this from personal experience. When I was in college I was raped, sodomized, beaten, choked and left for dead. The first response when the police were called in was that I deserved it, since I had been wearing over-sized sweat pants and an over-sized sweat shirt. Somehow that was “sexy” attire. I had “deserved” the abuse I was given.  My ribs were broken, there was excessive tearing internally, and I had hand prints on my neck for months.  My clothing had apparently “inflamed” the rapist, and it was my fault.

So, how does that mesh with school dress codes? Well, look at what those dress codes say: a girl is denied the ability to wear certain clothes basically because those articles of clothing “could” distract boys, and lead them to uncontrollable behavior.   Not only are the boys in danger of being “distracted”, but there is also the question of how male teachers could also find young girls bodies distracting.  Does anyone know the definition of pedophile? Now, I find this interesting. In a era when we are all told to take personal responsibility for our own problems, it seems that men don’t have to. It’s a girls fault if a boy is “distracted” by what she is wearing. The boy therefore has no responsibility for his own distraction. Hmmmm.

Our young women are being taught that their bodies are dangerous, and if they are harassed it is their fault for “showing” them off. Boys are not expected to control any of their urges, and often if a girl is harassed, nothing is done.
http://time.com/3892965/everydaysexism-school-dress-codes-rape-culture/
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2015/05/14/how-dress-codes-make-things-worse-for-high-school-girls/56GhUPJ1sp5CsEi4L6HxFP/story.html
While we are telling women that they are extremely powerful since they have the ability to inflame men and boys; we are also telling them that they have no rights. If they are harassed, it is simply “boys being boys” and that their actions caused the harassment anyhow.Girls and woman are beginning to stand up against these practices.

Here is information regarding dress code “violations” and some accompanying pictures.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/school-dress-code-violations/

http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_28142156/girls-via-online-petition-stand-up-against-sexist

This is a great step forward; however these dress codes are very troubling. We live in a culture that shows extreme hatred for the Islamic Sharia law while at the same time passing dress codes that embody them. Apparently sharia law is fine as long as it defines what a girl can and can’t wear.

What are your thoughts on dress codes?