So, i read this awful article using bathroom “scare tactics,” which was claiming that trans women are potential rapists. “Men” who dress as women to gain access to women only spaces and force them self on women. This really upset me and i had a bit of a Twitter rant. They were read by others and i was urged to post them in other media also, so i am posting them here. (Edited together in easy reading format from top to bottom.)
This is the link in the first tweet about how there are no cases of a trans woman attacking a cis woman in public restrooms: Link 1.
This is the link in the second tweet about the cases where trans people are assaulted in the bathroom by cis people: Link 2.
if you’re cis and you follow me i’m gonna need you to reblog this
don’t care if you’re cis or trans, this is important.
This is important information for everyone to know.
Tell Radfems to stop fucking lying about Trans Women
Complaining actually does burn calories. Everything that we do burns calories. The energy required to form thoughts, breath in air, move your mouth and speak will all burn calories. Simply being alive burns calories - The only way that you would stop using energy is by dying.
If you sit and complain for an hour? The average person will burn over 100 calories.
Besides - Complaining and talking about our problems is one method of coping. It is a way to release steam, work towards finding solutions, share our emotional state with others and talking through our issues. Complaining isn’t inherently a bad thing. If you don’t enjoy sitting around and listening to someone else complain, then don’t. But don’t blame them for trying to share their feelings with you or for being upset. Not everyone is trying to work towards a tangible solution - Sometimes, voicing our problems is the solution and it’s a valid method of helping us feel better.
Two other women, also breast cancer survivors, said their husbands left them after they were diagnosed. Both had to have mastectomies (in case anyone doesn’t know, this is the surgical operation to remove one or both breasts).
The first woman said her husband told her that he would rather see her dead than see her lose her breasts. The second woman had her operation and waited all day to be picked up by her husband, who never arrived. By nightfall, one of the nurses offered to give her a ride, and she came home to find the house empty.
Obviously, these are extreme cases of a man’s reaction to his wife’s breast cancer, but this is what I see when I see the “I ♥ Boobies” bracelets. I see love of the body parts, not the person being treated—not the patient, not the victim, not the survivor.
oh my god this is heartbreaking
We live in a society that’s sexist in ways it doesn’t understand. One of the consequences is that men are extremely sensitive to being criticized by women. I think it threatens them in a very primal way, and male privilege makes them feel free to lash out.
This is why women are socialized to carefully dance around these issues, disagreeing with men in an extremely gentle manner. Not because women are nicer creatures than men. But because our very survival can depend on it.
The whole article sadly hits very close to home.
1. Trauma permanently changes us.
This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.
This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.
2. Presence is always better than distance.
There is a curious illusion that in times of crisis people “need space.” I don’t know where this assumption originated, but in my experience it is almost always false. Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable. Do not assume others are reaching out, showing up, or covering all the bases.
It is a much lighter burden to say, “Thanks for your love, but please go away,” than to say, “I was hurting and no one cared for me.” If someone says they need space, respect that. Otherwise, err on the side of presence.
3. Healing is seasonal, not linear.
It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.
Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons.
4. Surviving trauma takes “firefighters” and “builders.” Very few people are both.
This is a tough one. In times of crisis, we want our family, partner, or dearest friends to be everything for us. But surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. This is one reason why trauma is a lonely experience. Even if you share suffering with others, no one else will be able to fully walk the road with you the whole way.
A hard lesson of trauma is learning to forgive and love your partner, best friend, or family even when they fail at one of these roles. Conversely, one of the deepest joys is finding both kinds of companions beside you on the journey.
5. Grieving is social, and so is healing.
For as private a pain as trauma is, for all the healing that time and self-work will bring, we are wired for contact. Just as relationships can hurt us most deeply, it is only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.
It’s not easy to know what this looks like — can I trust casual acquaintances with my hurt? If my family is the source of trauma, can they also be the source of healing? How long until this friend walks away? Does communal prayer help or trivialize?
Seeking out shelter in one another requires tremendous courage, but it is a matter of life or paralysis. One way to start is to practice giving shelter to others.
6. Do not offer platitudes or comparisons. Do not, do not, do not.
“I’m so sorry you lost your son, we lost our dog last year … ” “At least it’s not as bad as … ” “You’ll be stronger when this is over.” “God works in all things for good!”
When a loved one is suffering, we want to comfort them. We offer assurances like the ones above when we don’t know what else to say. But from the inside, these often sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.
Trauma is terrible. What we need in the aftermath is a friend who can swallow her own discomfort and fear, sit beside us, and just let it be terrible for a while.
7. Allow those suffering to tell their own stories.
Of course, someone who has suffered trauma may say, “This made me stronger,” or “I’m lucky it’s only (x) and not (z).” That is their prerogative. There is an enormous gulf between having someone else thrust his unsolicited or misapplied silver linings onto you, and discovering hope for one’s self. The story may ultimately sound very much like “God works in all things for good,” but there will be a galaxy of disfigurement and longing and disorientation in that confession. Give the person struggling through trauma the dignity of discovering and owning for himself where, and if, hope endures.
8. Love shows up in unexpected ways.
This is a mystifying pattern after trauma, particularly for those in broad community: some near-strangers reach out, some close friends fumble to express care. It’s natural for us to weight expressions of love differently: a Hallmark card, while unsatisfying if received from a dear friend, can be deeply touching coming from an old acquaintance.
Ultimately every gesture of love, regardless of the sender, becomes a step along the way to healing. If there are beatitudes for trauma, I’d say the first is, “Blessed are those who give love to anyone in times of hurt, regardless of how recently they’ve talked or awkwardly reconnected or visited cross-country or ignored each other on the metro.” It may not look like what you’d request or expect, but there will be days when surprise love will be the sweetest.
9. Whatever doesn’t kill you …
In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:
"Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.
There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.
10. … Doesn’t kill you.
Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.
It also may not.
In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you.
|—||Catherine Woodiwiss, “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma” (via lepetitmortpourmoi)|
"How To Not Get Raped" A Tip Sheet By femifesto & CollaboratorsOn July 14th there were two sexual assaults reported to the police in Ottawa. The safety messaging released by the police and the mainstream media as a response continue to be directed at women. These “safety tips” are unfortunately not unique to Ottawa. Versions of them are repeated in communities across the country on a daily basis. This has inspired femifesto and collaborators to make our own tip sheet on how to avoid sexual assault.
End #rapeculture & #victimblaming.
Safety Tips Released By the Ottawa Police:
"Ottawa Police have issued safety tips on their website to help females protect themselves:
- Try not to walk alone at night but if you do, be alert and avoid dark or isolated areas. Instead, walk out in the open, away from walls, doorways and pillars.
- Whether you are walking or driving, determine the safest route before you leave. Take the longest route if that is the safest.
- Tell friends or family members where you’re going, and then let them know when you reach your destination.
- Have your key ready as you approach your house or vehicle.
- Don’t enter environments where you feel unsafe. Trust your instincts.
- Know your physical capabilities and limitations.
- Don’t carry offensive weapons such as knives. They may be used against you.
Ottawa Police say if you suspect you are being followed:
- Cross the street or walk on the side of the road.
- Go immediately to the nearest well-lit or populated area.
- If others are within hearing distance, turn to the person following you and say in a loud and assertive voice: “Stop following me!”
- Contact Police immediately—go to a house or a store and call the Police or flag down a taxi and ask the driver to call the Police for you.
- If the person following you is driving a car, take out a pen and paper, look at the licence plate and write the number down, making sure that the driver sees you do this.
Ottawa Police say if you are attacked:
- Try to remember the complexion, body build, height, weight, age, and type of clothing worn by the attacker. If possible, write down the information while it is still fresh in your memory.
- If an attacker is after your purse or other valuables, don’t resist. If you have the opportunity, throw your purse away from you to the distance the attacker from you.”
How To Not Get Raped: The smart way
Start Young: Learn self defence but know that you are physically limited and cannot defend yourself. Learn not to talk to strangers before you learn to talk. Learn not to walk alone before you learn to walk. Especially learn how to be accountable for your rapist’s actions.
Trust Your Instincts: Avoid all environments where you feel unsafe and where sexual assaults commonly take place: walls, doorways, pillars, streets, sidewalks, corridors, elevators, lobbies, parking lots, cars, public transit, cabs, parks, bars, restaurants, apartments, houses, offices, universities, colleges, nursing homes and government institutions.
Always Conform: Don’t embrace the power and pleasures of your own desires. Don’t dress to impress - yourself. Don’t find yourself gorgeous and alive and wanting to share that. Don’t wear flirty skirts or revealing dresses. On the other hand do not be tomboyish. Avoid any expression that does not conform to gender norms as some people may use rape as a way to “discipline” you.
Don’t Ask For It: Do not smile or be charming. Be pleasant and polite to everyone you meet — if you’re hostile, you may be asking for assault. Also, be sure you don’t lead on your attacker. Never invite anyone into your home, but never be alone. Don’t be coy. Don’t be brazen. Don’t confuse anyone — mixed messages can be dangerous.
Protect Yourself: If you live alone, install extra locks, buy a dog, and carry a small weapon. If you live with others, carry the dog and weapon around your home. Also, make sure you don’t carry the dog or weapon with you, as weapons could be used against you.
Date Smart: Don’t go on dates alone, you could be attacked. Don’t go on dates in groups because then you could be attacked by a number of people. But don’t decline date offers either - insulting a potential suitor is just asking for trouble.
If Attacked: Scream and struggle unless your attacker is the type who will kill you for fighting back. If you stay still for survival, make sure that they wouldn’t have let you go if you had resisted. Talk kindly to them, but don’t say anything that might sound bad in court. Protect yourself from injury, but make sure you get some bruises to count as evidence.
Call the Police: Unless you face institutional barriers to accessing justice i.e. Aboriginal peoples, women of colour, persons with a disability, trans* people, queer folks, sex workers, Muslim women that wear the niqab, youth, low income individuals, homeless people, newcomer women, those with precarious status, Deaf people…you get the picture.
Avoid Rapists: Most importantly stay away from those who commonly commit assaults; strangers, family members, friends, partners, spouses, co-workers, bosses, clients, teachers, doctors, teammates, and police officers. Be extra careful during peak times when rapes occur i.e. daytime, nighttime, dawn, afternoon, early evening, tea time, nap time. If you suspect you are being followed, go to a well lit area: unless you can’t because it’s dark outside - then set off a flare gun or light a torch. (Why are you outside when it’s dark anyway?)
Created by femifesto: Sasha Elford, Shannon Giannitsopolou, Farrah Khan, in collaboration with Rebecca Faria, Stephanie Guthrie, Julie Lalonde, Chanelle Gallant, and Lisa Mederios.
Inspired by the Ottawa Police:
By Megan Ryland
[Newspaper Clipping: Black and white photo features a white, middle aged woman holding her head in her hands and grimacing, while an older white woman with glasses observes her distress. The headline reads, “These Hysterical Women.” The article proceeds from there but is unclear.]
One sure fire way to undermine someone is to accuse them of being overly emotional. In a world where appearing irrational can be used to undercut your argument, it is often a fatal blow to be called “emotional”—the presumed enemy of rationality. The assumption that emotional = irrational has supported systems of oppression for generations and it’s about time we deconstructed that idea.
If you are being discriminated against, it’s only rational to be emotional about it. It’s only reasonable to be angry. In fact, it’s not rational to be calm in the face of injustice if being calm means accepting the status quo. It is a particular skill to be able to discuss oppression dispassionately, and one that is cultivated by those who are constantly told that their emotional reaction - their response to their oppression - must be biasing them, clouding their judgment, or making them irrational. The art of swallowing injustice and speaking calmly over the nausea is not a skill you want to be forced to learn.
Unfortunately, in order to be listened to, marginalized people must often play along with the rules of Western, masculine society that is constantly waiting to say, “You’re just being oversensitive” (aka creating a problem where none exists by having feelings) or asking, “Are you on your period?” (aka is menstruation making you incapable of rational thoughts? Are you… PMSing?). Many of the classic derailing tactics are aimed at marginalizing people for expressing emotions, especially anger, hurt, grief or trauma (click here for a great list of examples).
Women in particular have a track record of emotions being used against them as a group. The term “hysteria” has a long history and its application to women justified many different treatments, abuses and one-way trips to asylums. Women could be diagnosed with hysteria for a variety of ridiculous reasons in Victorian England, but the most common motivator seems to be the fact that a woman had some sort of emotions that could not be controlled. Today, a woman is more likely to be questioned about her periods than accused of hysteria, but it comes from the same place: the assumption that women are irrational. We’re just “crazy” right?!
Gaslighting is the term often used to describe the process of manipulating someone into believing their reactions are unreasonable or “crazy.” A popular 2011 Huffington Post article addresses the topic well if you’re unfamiliar with the term. I think that gaslighting has been a tool for oppression for a long time, used on a societal scale when marginalized people are told that they are not being oppressed. Every time an Asian American is asked to ‘prove’ his experiences of racism, or a trans woman is told her gender isn’t valid, or anyone argues that sexism/racism/heterosexism/ableism/classism is over, they are implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) saying that experiences of oppression aren’t real. They’re saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just overly emotional/overreacting/over sensitive. You’re crazy.” When someone expresses anger about their oppression, they’re simply turned into a stereotype so that they can be ridiculed instead of listened to and/or further marginalized through ableist accusations like “crazy.” This is gaslighting on a social scale. This constant gaslighting can then become internalized until you don’t need anyone else to tell you that you can’t trust your own emotions—you do it to yourself.
Being unapologetically emotional about what is important to you is a radical act. It’s a step towards self love to stop apologizing for having feelings, but it’s also a rejection of the pervasive cultural opinion that says having emotions weakens you (and your argument). Having feelings about a subject doesn’t unfairly bias you—in fact, it may inform you. Everyone in political conversations has emotions in play (that’s just the near constant state of the humanity) but emotions come under fire when they’re from someone inconvenient. If it’s from a woman who wants the right to reproductive freedom, or a migrant worker who wants a just path to citizenship, or a queer youth who wants to feel safe in their homes, emotions are said to distract or detract from an argument. They are seen to blur vision, not sharpen focus on their needs and the solutions. It’s a lie.
Having feelings is human. It’s also part of what drives people to make change. We can’t have a movement without them. No more apologies for caring, or crying. It’s our movement and we’ll cry if we want to.
I wrote a post a while back about how some people are very good at getting away with doing intentionally creepy things by passing themselves off as just ~awkward~.
Recently, I noticed a particular pattern that plays out. While creeps can be any gender, there’s a gendered pattern by which creepy men get other men to help them be creepy:
- A guy runs over the boundaries of women constantly
- He makes them very uncomfortable and creeped out
- But he doesn’t do that to guys, and
- He doesn’t talk to guys about it in an unambiguous way, and
- When he does it in front of guys, he finds a way to make it look deniable
- And then some women complain to a man, maybe even a man in charge who is supposed to be responsible for preventing abuse in a space
- and he has no idea what they are talking about, since he’s never the target or witness
- And he’s had a lot of pleasant interactions with that guy
- So he sympathizes with him, and thinks he must mean well but be have trouble with social skills
- And then takes no action to get him to stop or to protect women
- And so the group stays a place that is safe for predatory men, but not for the women they target
- Mary, Jill, and Susan: Jim, Bob’s been making all of us really uncomfortable. He’s been sitting way too close, making innuendo after everything we say, and making excuses to touch us.
- Bill: Wow, I’m surprised to hear that. Bob’s a nice guy, but he’s a little awkward. I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. I’m not comfortable accusing him of something so serious from my position of authority.
What went wrong here?
- Bill assumed that, if Bob was actually doing something wrong, he would have noticed.
- Bill didn’t think he needed to listen to the women who were telling him about Bob’s creepy actions. He didn’t take seriously the possibility that they were right.
- Bill assumed that women who were uncomfortable with Bob must be at fault; that they must be judging him too harshly or not understanding his awkwardness
- Bill told women that he didn’t think that several women complaining about a guy was sufficient reason to think something was wrong
- Bill assumed that innocently awkward men should not be confronted about inadvertantly creepy things they do, but rather women should shut up and let them be creepy
A rule of thumb for men:
- If several women come to you saying that a man is being creepy towards them, assume that they are seeing something you aren’t
- Listen to them about what they tell you
- If you like the guy and have no idea what they’re talking about, that means that what he is doing is *not* innocent awkwardness.
- If it was innocent awkwardness, he wouldn’t know how to hide it from other men
- Men who are actually just awkward and bad at understanding boundaries also make *other men* uncomfortable
- If a man is only making women uncomfortable but not men, that probably means he’s doing it on purpose
- Take that possibility seriously, and listen to what women tell you about men
tl;dr If you are a man, other men in your circle who are nice to you are creepy towards women. Don’t assume that if something was wrong that you would have noticed; creepy men are good at finding the lines of what other men will tolerate. Listen to women. They know better than you do whether a man is being creepy and threatening towards women; if they think something is wrong, listen and find out why. Don’t tolerate give predatory dudes who are nice to you cover to keep hurting women.
My father called her a slut.
She wanted to tell me something. We were sitting on the back step at my house. I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew it was important. She started, “I…” and the back door opened, “Dad” came out. He lit a cigarette and leaned over the fence, looked at the neighbours yard. Listened to us.
"Wanna go watch TV?"
We got up and went inside. We sat huddled together on the couch, in Whispered-Secret-Telling position. She laughed when I got the shivers from her breath on my ear. “I love you so much,” she whispered. Then my father came in, turned up the volume on The Price Is Right, and sat in the chair across from us.
"Wanna go for a walk?"
Out the front door we went. When we got to the gate she asked if we could just stay there; she didn’t want to walk, this was too important. We barely sat down on the steps before he was behind us on the steps, the smell of cigarette smoke following him to the gate. As he leaned over the gate, he farted loudly without any acknowledgment of having done so. I had known long before that day not to say anything when he did that. He was sensitive about having his intrusiveness pointed out.
I took her hand and guided her back inside. Instead of going to our usual indoor hangout, the basement, we took the stairs to my room. She kissed me quickly before sitting on the bed. I leaned back, against the dresser, and she told me.
She had been raped. Brutalized. She gave me details I will never forget. I asked her if there was anything I could say or do.
"Don’t let this change things."
The door flew open and that’s when he spat it at her. Squinting so hard you’d think or even hope the bulging vessels on his forehead would explode.
“Get [and he took a breath] your [and another] slut [louder and more venomous] out [his jaw jutted forward as if he was jabbing it into my eye] of this house!”
I stepped between them and guided her out of my tiny room.
"Don’t call her that!" I yelled it right into his face, turned, and followed her down the stairs and to the front door.
“Or what?!" He chased us down the stairs, out of the house, and caught up just in time to slam the gate between us - her out there, and me in here… in the yard… with him.
He stared hate into my eyes. I stared it right back into his.
"I’m not doing this," I said. I hopped the fence.
He yelled after me as I ran to catch up to the one who had just disclosed a rape as though she was the one with a confession to make.
“Come back and fight like a man!" He yelled. "You goddamn chicken. Cluck-cluck!”
I turned back and yelled at him to leave us alone. He remarked on the wetness in my eyes as he closed the gap between us. I put my hands up in time to stop a slap to my ear. The ears, along with self-esteem and any sense of safety, were among his favourite targets.
He started forward and I threw a kick in front of his face. It worked to keep him back, but only for a moment. As he darted in again, I threw another kick and he bounced back again.
"I don’t want to," I said. "I just want to go."
“Keep your feet on the ground,” he said. “Fight like a white man.”
I threw a kick toward his mid-section. When his hands went down to protect his testicles, I stepped down hard and punched him across the face, breaking his nose.
“That’s better,” he said and turned and walked away.
She didn’t want to talk about it anymore. About anything, really. That was okay because neither did I. We walked back to her house, she went inside, and I walked around in the rain for a few hours waiting for dark, hoping I wouldn’t be locked out.
The next time I saw her, she told me they were moving. We exchanged letters for a little while but, like typical teenagers, it wasn’t long before the letters stopped and we never heard from each other again.