Seperating Good Advice out of the Victim Blaming

forewarning, I’m stating some of this fairly bluntly. So if you feel you might be triggered, proceed with caution, and the alt+tab button combo handy. Also, I acknowledge that either gender can be the rapist or victim, but the type of victim blaming I’m talking about is mostly experienced by women, and the perps are usually men. So I’m using the appropriate gender nouns.

Okay, I know you’ve read the title, and are getting the proverbial hammer ready. You might think I’m going to blame other women for getting attacked, or saying it’s their fault, etc. I’m not. But while I hate victim blaming more then almost anything else, I also hate seeing people disregard good advice. I also acknowledge that people will try to use the advice as part of victim blaming. But part of the problem is that victim blaming assumes your attacker is a stranger, and the good advice doesn’t.

Should we find a way to discourage rapists from acting on their urges? Yes, we should change how we educate people, do anything and everything to discourage sexual assault from happening. Do I know how to? No, and that’s why I can’t go into length about it here. I might write another post to do so. But it is a different topic (and I’ve seen it before, a person writes a blog, doesn’t go off topic, and gets slammed for it), though a very related topic.

Most of the good advice comes down to this: Keep control of yourself and your surroundings. Yes there are ways to spin this advice that are victim blaming. Like saying “Well why were you even at that party?”. Who gives a flying fig why you were there. I sure don’t. GO have fun, but do so safely. Or “Well you shouldn’t have been drinking.” I don’t care if you drink when you go out.  But don’t over do it.

And even then, you are responsible for your actions. But you are not responsible for some one taking advantage of those actions. I mean you could go walk through a crowd of people naked, etc. , and so long as you aren’t willing if someone tries to have sex with you it’s still rape. Doesn’t matter if you struggle, or stay still. It’s rape. So long as you don’t willing say yes and feel violated it’s rape. Can this get confusing, on the other side of the table. I imagine it can. But that’s where educating them comes in. (dead/cold fish means stop, fighting means stop, yelling ‘no’ or pain outside of scenes means stop, etc.) And if consent could be in doubt sex shouldn’t be happening. And even if you do say yes, it could turn into rape. If you change your mind, and say no, stop, or do anything to indicate you aren’t willing, it’s rape. If you are coerced, or there is a large power difference, it’s rape. If you think you were raped or sexually assaulted, you’re right.

Now some people are getting ready to swing, I’m sure. I’ve actually been fighting how to quantify, explain, etc, my thoughts on this subject. It was hard. I mean, no one is to blamed for being raped. I guess the easiest way to explain it (very inaccurately) would be to say, the victim has the responsibility to *try* and keep themselves away from a situation that could lead to rape. But as soon as the perp actually comes into play, he’s taking control of the situation from the woman, and thus her ability to act. She essentially has not actions, thus no responsibility. Where as the purp, he is the one with motivation, usually stalking the victim in some way, picking her out. It would be like saying it’s the cows fault for being slaughtered, just because it went up the ramp onto the truck.

So why should women take the advice? Well, why the heck wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to prevent getting raped or sexually assaulted? Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to prevent self doubt if it does happen. Make your case the strongest it can be.

So what do I mean, really mean by saying stay in control of your self and surroundings. First, I’m not sorry to say is, Don’t drink is *excess*.  Sure have a drink or 3. But don’t drink enough so you could be led into doing something you don’t want (if you are/were, it is still rape). Watch your drinks, finish them before leaving the table, or don’t touch them when you get back. Even if you have someone watching the table, there is still a possibility of your drink getting spiked. And since most perps are people you know, sadly to say, the person you might leave your drink wth, they might be the person most likely to hurt you. Consider why you are going out. If you are going out to have fun, awesome, to drink away the blues? Unless you are going to drink ’em away by having fun, maybe stay home, with your most trusted friends or family members, and get drunk looking up stupid things (or whatever you can do for fun and not risk loosing a finger/limb). Heck even drink by yourself, if there’s not possibility of self harm. That way, if you really need to get shit faced, you can do so safely, and be in control of your surroundings. If you are going out for fun, know the people you are with, or don’t trust them to see you home. Set up back up plan to get home. Make sure the server(s) know who your DD is, and make sure they stay liquor free. Keep your phone on you, fully charged. (personally I can’t wait to get an actual license to DD, fun/dancing at a bar without drinking seems awesome to me). Know the route to and from your destination. If things to go wrong, be prepared to abandon ship (jump out of the vehicle) if the perp won’t let you out. Have someone you can call if you suspect you’ve been drugged. Or call a cab. Mostly, just think it through. Some of this might seem excessive, overprotective, and paranoid. And maybe it is. But that’s where it’s coming from, protecting you, not blaming you. So if you still feel the need to swing the hammer do so. Just tell me why first.

Edit:

If this doesn’t make sense, think of this example. We wouldn’t blame someone for having their leg cut off, even if they were passed out drunk on the street. So we shouldn’t blame sexual assault victims. But that still doesn’t make it a good idea to drink until you are passed out drunk.

Morals

I want to talk a bit about morals, and not the big social ones, like why child molestation is wrong, or why incest is wrong 90% of the time (see dear prudence’s twincest letter for the other 10%). Rather the smaller more personal ones, like access to birth control, abortion.

Now I must admit, in most cases I am going to lie in the “pro” category, even if I don’t agree with the action. Because for the most part they will not effect me, or people I know in a negative way. If there are harmful side-effects from allowing something to happen (say sexual abuse from polygamist marriages) then rather then just banning them to prevent a potentially small percentage of abuse (since it hasn’t been an acceptable practice for over 1500 years, we can’t say what the actual percentage of the population would practice if it wasn’t illegal) the government should just regulate it (like they do in the example of polygamy, monogamist marriages).

For an extreme example, there are people who are extremely unhappy with a body part, usually a limb (Body integrity identity disorder) to the extent that some wish for it to be removed, and will try to force doctors to remove it. When it goes to that point, and a person will not seek psychiatric help, or it has not helped with the issue, then it should be an option. (then again only if they are willing to discuss it with a psychologist…). If a woman can say that they will never want to have kids (even if it’s they want kids but won’t because they carry a genetic disorder like Tay sachs disease), they should have the option to get their tubes tied. Same in the case of preventative medicine, if a woman or man feels her/his chances of getting a disease (example, having already been diagnosed with breast cancer. Or having had her mother and grandmother die of ovarian cancer) is too high they should be able to do so, even if the doctors disagree, and the patent finds the risk of getting the disease too stressful.

If the decision will not effect you directly, if it only really effects the person or family that makes the decision, and does no harm, why should you, or I or anyone, have a legal say in it. (and yes I do have more examples, and opinions if y’all need them on this topic)

 

Surviving Abuse Part II

So, this morning I open up my web browser and find that Michael Jackson , the late king of pop, has another sexual abuse aligation against him. By one of the young people who claimed he (MJ) had never abused him.  Then I read the comments talking about how he has to be lying now, since he said nothing was happening at the time. I cannot say which is true, except I will always believe the accuser in any case of abuse over the abuser, unless I’ve been given proof otherwise. I know people will say it’s not “guilty until proven innocent”, and while that’s true, in the case of abuse it pays to be prudent and take action to prevent further abuse.

I also know how scary it is to know or think that no one will support you if you say “___ abused me”. I know how it is to spend a decade lying to yourself, your family, the police, everyone, and say that nothing bad happened to you. I spent that long covering for my father. I spent even longer covering for my mother. Why? because as children we are taught not to say bad things about our parents. We are taught our parents love us the most, that they will never hurt us, that they know best. That if our parents do hurt us (spanking, for example) or get mad at us it’s our fault (we broke a rule). As I said before in Part I,  we are expected to forgive them, to keep them in our lives no matter what they did. We are told lies about what will happen if we contact the authorities (be it social services or the police). They could be the better parent, or the understanding uncle, the mother who seems to do anything for her kids (but emotionally abuses them, blames them for everything). Then there is the “bad things only happen to other people” mentality.  the thoughts are like this “It can’t be that bad, I’m blowing things out of proportion”, “It was only a bad dream, I made it, didn’t I (oh god I hope I was only dreaming)”, “It was my fault [insert reason] so it can’t be abuse” “dad would never do that”. Its scary, when it is happening, the person has made themselves important to you (or is an immediate family member), you don’t want that positive (because they need you to feel good, so you’ll get attached) influence in your life gone, but you don’t want to be active in letting the abuse happen (for sexual abuse), or because you are told you will loose your whole family if you get help (verbal abuse).

What kept going through my head with my father, like I said “this can’t be happening” “it has to be a dream” “oh god please shut up”, depending on the moment. Before his arrest for abusing someone else, he was the better parent, both my brother and I had so much more support from him, and life was so much better with him. I mean my mother was the emotionally abusive controlling bitch, my father was the supportive, but strict parent (who likes to touch little girls). My father’s abuse touched a lot less of my life (though I doubt would have stayed that way). So I told myself it couldn’t be happening. When he got arrested I kept hearing my mother (who would have no actual way of knowing, as she didn’t live with him at the time) deny what happened, saying they were making it up. If they were making it up, I had to be making it up, I couldn’t hurt my family this way, by admitting it (and wrecking my whole world). Not that these were conscious thoughts, I was only 11 or so at the time. Most of the denial, that lead me to deny what happened, it was completely unconscious. I actually was waiting for some one to say “stop lying kathlynn and tell us the truth” not that I would have. ’cause you know in a kids mind denial makes it the truth, I didn’t want it to happen, so it didn’t and I would deny it. And guess what. I came pre-brainwashed not to tell, since my mother was doing her own “programming” at the time, teaching me not to tell social services that she was emotionally abusive, kept the house a mess, and only got us medical treatment because of our dad (and his insurance), and later other family members some how forcing her to.

That’s why I don’t instantly dismiss the claims that he was abused, because it’s possible. Completely possible. Kids lie easier then adults some times, especially when they are lying to protect themselves and their families or friends. And when I read the comments about how he has to be lying now, because he denied it in the past, do you know what I hear? “yeah you were right to never go to the police kathlynn, when you stopped denying it happened, because no one will believe you” So EVERYONE who automatically says that the guy is a liar is supporting rapists every where, supporting rape culture, supporting child abuse. Because you are supporting the thought that no one will believe you, and that you are a big fat liar.

So STOP SILENCING ME

that’s all, just please people stop voicing this as your first thought, Please, even if it’s true, it effects more then just this case, it effect all abuse survives

 

Once again Emotions suck

I’ve so many posts going through my mind, but I cannot seem to grasp them when I’m at my computer. And my emotions are swirling all over the place, I’m so blah, sorta sad, but generally in a good place. But I can feel the depression there in the back of my mind, trying to push forward. The anxiety has been triggered so much I haven’t had a chance to relax (a couple small health concerns, doctors appointment soon, triggering it). My mother visiting, causing me to be constantly on my guard and pushing my buttons.

so hopefully I’ll be able to get these thoughts down in the next few weeks or months

the biggest one (and only one I can remember right now, since my mind went blank) is “why we need to change the “statutory rape” laws to “sexual-coercion” laws” (implications, wording, and keeping innocent people out of jail)

Remember, if you want my opinion on something, or have an idea for me to write (or would like for me to draw attention to your post) email me at kstruggles@hotmail.ca and I will consider it.

Age Of Majority

Age of Majority is really complicated. OR at least deciding what it should be is. Nor do I think it should be simple. Because life isn’t simple, life is hard, people don’t mature at the same rate, or anything like that. But I think I’ve finally caught all my loose ends. First, it should be either graduating from high-school, or becoming independent from your parents or turn 18, which ever comes first. So if you cannot stand living with your parents and move out, or they aren’t fit, and no one (including the government) takes over your guardianship you are a legal adult. If graduate school at 16 you are a legal adult. This should not age you out of your parents health insurance, or anything like that, I think health insurance should last until you are 25, no matter what. (but that’s a different subject). What rights should be given at that time, ability to decide if you can drive, smoke, or join the army; Who to vote for, no longer need parental permission to do things. things that should have a different age limit attached to them, drinking and sex related professions. the right to drink should be a year after you graduate high school (but no earlier then 18) or when you turn 19, to give you the time to mature and adjust to being a “responsible adult”. My concern for the drinking is that people will spend their whole budget on it, be taken advantage of (example: a girl graduates from HS early, older BF gets her drunk legally and rapes her), but I want to also decrease openly illegally drinking/partying (until puking) culture that exist in the US and else where. and I actually think that because there is little visual difference from a 16yr old and a 18yr old that the age limit for that should be increased to 20. Completely for the protection of minors.

Driving Laws

Okay, first thing I do not have my drivers license.  But having grown up with a controlling and emotionally abusive mother I could not get one when everyone else did. Now I have to find someone to teach me how to drive. After I renew my “L” (Learners) license. I like the basic structure of the BC driving laws, in fact I think that a less regulated system is just asking for trouble. Because it doesn’t make sure the ‘kids’ can drive before allowing them to do so.

Currently in British Columbia Canada a person needs to pass a written test to receive their ‘L’. If they pass they are given a temporary license, a new driving manual to read and a magnetic red square with an L in the middle to affix to their vehicle. (it must be on when ever some one with an L class license is driving). They are not allowed to drive by themselves and can only have one extra passenger and the responsible adult. The responsible adult with must be over 25 and have their full drivers license. The responsible adult must be in a state capable of driving and sitting in the passenger seat (no drugs alcohol etc in his/her system). They have two years before the license expires and can take the road test to qualify for the “N” (New) license. There are also restrictions on when they can drive and they cannot have alcohol in their blood. And if you are under 19 you must have your parent/guardian sign that you have their permission to take the test.

With the N a person can drive on their own with one none family member passenger. This restriction does not apply to immediate family members. They can have more passengers if there is a responsible adult with them (again in the pass anger seat). After two years you can take the road test and qualify for your full class 5 drivers license.

Here is my problem with the law. It makes it almost impossible for people to learn how to drive without breaking the law.  Okay maybe those with parents who are willing to teach them won’t have this problem. But I don’t know one person over 25 who is willing to teach me how to drive. I could take driving lessons but those won’t help much if I cannot practice, and they are bloody expensive. At least $500 for the full course. So one pay check.  My holiday pay check, a years worth of savings, etc. It’s a lot of money. I feel like if the government wants people to learn to drive properly and have these laws they should have government sponsored driving schools with a sliding pay scale. But it’s not something I ever expect to happen. My brain laughs at me for thinking it.

Then there’s the parent permission obstacle. I’m sorry but I’m not a fan of parental permission. I understand the need for it. But I don’t like it. I know too many kids/young adults (the label depends on the individual) who do not live with their parents. For acquiring your L license I would remove the parental permission requirement and just require it for the N. Simply because you need to have a person over 25 with you to drive. Most people under 25 don’t know too many people over 25 who would be able/willing to teach them. Especially if their parent’s weren’t. But this allows them the chance if their parents are control freaks or if their parents aren’t around. And it speeds up the literal time they can achieve their full license by three years (assuming they don’t get their L until they are 19). See the average person can get their full license as early as 19, if the individual doesn’t get parental permission they cannot get it until they are at least 22.  This is very harmful for the person because the lack of a drivers license severely limits one’s ability to get a job. I know I’ve been stuck at the same joint for almost 4 years because I don’t have wheels and live just outside of town (20 min walk to the nearest bus stop y’all).

I do not think it is a good idea to hand out full licenses after a written test or a three month road permit that I’ve heard is all some states require. I do think that driving is both a right (only because of how vital it is to getting a job) and a privilege. You should have to prove that you can drive. But getting the knowledge should be easier then it is in the current system in BC (for people like me). And once you have your license I think every 10 years you should have to retake the driving test. And when ever you renew your drivers license they should check your vision and you should have to retake the written test. Why? because most people cannot drive safely and almost every single time I get out I almost get hit by a negligent drive. Whether I’m on my bike or walking

 

vulnerable

I am vulnerable. I admit it, I try to fix it but it’s the truth. I do not like to argue. I’ve done so too much in the past. So I walk away from arguments, I refuse to participate. But that makes people get more aggressive or think that you admit that you are wrong. It makes them feel more powerful. I do not have a way with words (out side of writing them down), my brain has to focus too much on containing my emotions, so I don’t scream, cry or yell out the wrong shit. It also differs because I cannot argue every point because I cannot remember them. People do not prove their points yet expect me to prove mine. I find out their lies but cannot confront them without causing drama I’m supposed to avoid. This all makes me vulnerable. Other people cause the problems but I am supposed to fix them, let it go, or compromise (with me the looser). I accept responsibility, we can argue whether or not I take enough, too much, or not. But I do so in way many people I know don’t. I do not shirk my financial obligations, or things I feel obligated to do. Even if I don’t want to. While I wouldn’t marry some one out of obligation, it is a spot I’m vulnerable at. Because I’ve known too many people who aren’t responsible, and that shaped me to be honorable. But honor leads to vulnerability you cannot be completely honorable without getting taken advantage of. People can also hid who they are, So I sometimes trust the wrong people until it’s too late and I am taken advantage of (say house sitting when I don’t want to, or moving in with another person). I do not lie without reason. I may avoid mentioning something (like admitting to using my mp3 player when caught but not my cellphone at work), but that happens as rarely as a lie. It leaves me vulnerable because people still believe I lie, or for example accuse me of stealing and it upsets me. I do not lie, there is no proof of any wrong doing, yet people feel the to accuse me of doing so.

 

Website replies

hey everyone, thanks for reading this, following my blog, and liking my posts. I’d like to make one small request. More feedback please. Instead of just liking it, if you can please comment on it as well. I’m not going to get upset if you don’t though.

You know what gets annoying. Contacting large businesses with legitimate complaints, or suggestions, and having  them brushed off. For example, back in 2009 I pre-ordered a book well in advance. It was not shipped in a timely manner. So after two weeks (the 25th of november, the book came out on the 9th) I contacted the company I ordered it from. They shipped it the day they replied. I got the shipping confirmation just minutes before they responded. Instead of saying that they had responded to my complaint, and my book was on it’s way, they replied that my book had been shipped and they were sorry for any inconvenience. It was so formal, not personal at all. And all the responded I get are like that. Half of them ignore my issue. Like my bank I tell them that I find their display of information confusing, and that it caused me issues until I figured it out. The response, telling me what I’ve already figured out. Another time I sent a scathing complaint to Kobo, because they don’t have a shopping cart function on their site, and require you to purchase each book separately. (which has caused me to accidentally go over my free transaction limits for my bank account.) They were just like “oh, no we don’t have that feature.” I don’t have the email anymore so I can’t say more then that. But I still can’t believe how nonchalant and impersonal the reply was. I mean I understand that they need to watch what they say, for liability reasons. But they also need to be less formal, more emotion in the reply (which I know is hard to do.). Otherwise they will lose customers. The only personal responses I’ve ever gotten was from small internet based companies. Like GOG, I bought a game their, and it started to crash. I found the solution online, and contacted them so they could update their support page. The responses I got from them didn’t feel like they’d been c/p’ed out of a standard reply file, yet were very professional. It made me like and trust that company more. Where as the responses from every other company has made me trust them less, because it feels like they don’t have the customer in mind, rather the bottom line and liability.

Internet Piracy

 

Ok, I have to admit, while I hate doing so, I condone on-line piracy or illegal file sharing/reproducing/altering. I won’t say much about the last, because often it’s done for legit reasons. Say some one purchases an Ebook, but it’s not in a format they can use on their ereader, well they can illegally download it in a different format, or violate license terms (or law) and alter the file (at least this is what I’ve heard).

I’ll focus on piracy right now. First I know many people who actually look down on me because I try my hardest not to illegally download songs. I admit to a few instances, like using a file converter to get the music video’s version of reba’s “the night the lights when out in georgia” (which I’ve purchased on multiple CD’s it that matters), which I consider significantly better then the original song. I would have bought it if it was available/I knew how. I’ve downloaded songs of artist that I only know one song of, and my local store didn’t have it (often fairly old songs).  And yes I’ve downloaded a movie because I wanted to see it, and it wasn’t offered via netflix. So I guess the movie and song industries should complain to the local/federal police department to get a warrant for my arrest. But the biggest thing that keeps me pirating and condoning it. The disproportion of wealth in the developed world. OR in other worlds, most of the people cannot afford to, or would not, buy 90% of what they have pirated. another portion, which many have people from the first category included, pirate items, like books, that they have purchased, but do not want to pay as much or more then they would pay for a physical copy of the book, ESPECIALLY if they already own it. another owns the game they stole, but they lost the validation key, or it’s no longer compatible with their computer.

There are several things the entertainment industry can do, First, give out discounts to people who can prove that they have physically purchased these items. Or sell them in deals, like you buy a physical version of the book, you get the Ebook version free, or a coupon for a few dollars off. For books I’ve heard that it’s expensive because of all the format variants, well why the heck are they footing the bill. Make the device makers pay to have to content available, USE Calibri, OR get all the device makers to use one common format. Offer two types of license, limited use (one to a few reads) and unlimited use, have the first upgradeable, but cheaper than the unlimited use. The unlimited use should not exceed the cost of a standard paperback book (NOT one of those hardcover size books). the duo sale would be a good gimmick, sold along with hardcovers (buy the combo, get the Ebook version now, the paperback as soon as it’s released/printed). Get more authors to release their earlier, no longer in print books (use volunteers to type and edit the books?) to open domain, so that people have access to free books, and can save their money for new books. it would also promote sales on later books (I know any series that I really like, I have to buy/own ALL the books with in it).

For games, more companies need to find out what games are still being played, or in demand (TRY gog.com). update those games to be compatible with the newest systems, and sell them again, or sell updates/patches to make them compatible. Release abandoned games into open source public domain. For example, I would love to own and play Diablo I, but I don’t know how to find a new copy of it, and if I did so I don’t think it would be win7 compatible (or I’d have a heck of a time making it so). I truly think blizzard should spend a little time updating the game, maybe adding a few special extras (like auto saving, and if possible improving graphics, not redoing them, just make things sharper or what not) if they feel like it.

Music, well that’s a loaded bullet. What would make me stop downloading? the ability to listen to all the songs I wanted before purchasing them (not everything is available on-line). The ability to buy music videos (at a reasonable price). And well, being able to afford to buy all the music I want. But then again I do buy +90% of the music I have gathered on my computers over the years. What do I think would make most people stop stealing them, often more money, and well nothing. While I do it, and thus must condone it. Most people who steal are either too poor to buy the music and/or don’t give a fuck. This is where I’ve actually been told “I can’t believe you would buy ___” because, yeah, most people don’t see why people would buy music (where as I don’t see why people would steal music, but then go pay $70 on a game they will only play for a month or two, or until they wrap it.

Movies, they complain about piracy, about netflix and streaming. Well why don’t they join the bandwagon. I don’t hardly ever watch movies, or buy them. I can’t stay still long enough to watch a movie at home (I do see a few movies in theaters). My proposal would be either a monthly or $x /movie fee, where the studio offers all the movies/shows they have all the time. what’s a quick way to make money? offer people movies they can’t find anywhere else. Keep the price as low as you can, say 1 dollar a movie or $5-$20 a month, with the ability to purchase movies, for those who like to watch or own physical copies of movies (I wouldn’t be one of those.). They could also offer special editions of movies/series. Like combining all the dance scenes in the step up franchise, ’cause while I love the movies, sometimes all I wanna see it the dancing (others the plot is best). heck the soap opera industry would seriously benefit from this, ’cause they could upload all the old footage of the shows, and people could start at the beginning of the series, and see how everything changed. And I’m sure a publicist, advertiser, or a million other people could come up with other things they could do, or ways to benefit from this.

One other thing. Copy write laws. Well they need reformed. My view: people should be able to sing what ever they want, without paying for it, or being infringing in another’s rights, as long as they are not gaining money from it or claiming the lyrics as their own. Any written work should be public domain after 20 years. This includes computer programs. Unless it would risk the physical safety of people, or people’s financial information or actual identity (like computer security code, or witness protection services). I may have views on medical or scientific copy rights/patents, but that’s a slightly different matter (and I can’t remember them)