Category Archives: Research

Feast of Fools vs April Fools

Ok, needing to clear something up since I’ve kind of been having my feed spammed by the ever sexy Clopin Trouillefou (Please, by all means keep up the pictures, I can’t get enough of them!).

The Feast of Fools, made popular by Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is NOT the same holiday as April Fools day.  Clopin actually gives you the date in the movie!

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The Feast of Fools falls generally around the beginning of January (I have seen dates range from the first to the sixth of January).  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “A celebration marked by much license and buffoonery, which in many parts of Europe, and particularly in France, during the later middle ages took place every year on or about the feast of the Circumcision (1 Jan.)“ (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06132a.htm)

As Clopin says in HoND, it is a “Topsy Turvey day!”

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April Fools Day on the other hand, is on April 1st and well…it’s history is quite a bit murkier than the Feast of Fools.  “The earliest recorded association between 1 April and foolishness can be found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). Some writers suggest that the restoration of 1 January as New Year’s Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day)

But either way, keep those sexy Clopin pics coming!  

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Gender issues in the workplace

This is from an assignment from my Communication and Gender class. We were asked to summarize an illegal gender-issue workplace problem and a legal gender-issue workplace problem. We were then asked to discuss why the problem exists, what is keeping it from being resolved, what is being done (if anything), and some of the communication challenges involved. I have put the problems in bold. (Citations were required, so I included them here as well)

Employment discrimination for non-public employees in regards to gender or sexuality is illegal in 20 states.

While most people are aware that one cannot discriminate against someone in the workplace for their sex, marital status, age, or disability, most people assume this also includes sexuality and gender, which for 30 states in the US it does not. While there are still many examples of discrimination occurring in the workplace for the classes protected in all 50 states, gender and sexuality are only protected in 20 states. This means that a transgender person can be legally fired from their job for being transgender in 30 states, and they have little to no way of getting justice since gender is not covered on a federal level. By leaving it up to the states to decide to protect gender or sexuality, it creates an environment where LGBT+ people often times are forced to remain in the closet about who they are, or in the case of gender, are forced to either take a job after transitioning, or spend their entire time working at the job pretending to be someone they are not.

Even in states where LGBT+ people are protected by a non-discrimination act, harassment and discrimination can still occur, which then requires the person affected to either out themselves to everyone, or to stay silent about their gender or sexuality. Another issue is that while it is illegal to discriminate against LGBT+ people on the basis of gender or sexuality in 20 states in the US, people can still discriminate but then give some other “reason” behind their actions, such as refusing to hire a transgender person who is open or unable to pass as their gender, or firing someone for being open about being homosexual (such as a man talking about his marriage and mentioning they have a husband and not a wife). Due to many states being either at will or a right to work state, some employers don’t even need to give a reason for firing a person, which then makes it much more difficult to fight against and prove the reason behind the firing or discrimination.

Currently there is work being done by groups like the Human Rights Campaign to have the federal government pass a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HRC, 2013), but without the removal of at will and right to work laws, the discrimination will still continue to occur as employers don’t have to disclose reasons behind their actions. Also, as can be seen with discrimination of cis women within the workplace, without proper enforcement of the laws and acts, the discrimination will continue and in many cases be swept under the proverbial rug until there are so many cases that people can no longer ignore the problem.

“As Senate Hearing Nears, Nations Leading Businesses Support Employment Non-Discrimination Act.” Human Rights Campaign, 9 July 2013, www.hrc.org/press/nations-leading-businesses-support-employment-non-discrimination-act-as-sen.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 lists transgender people in the same group as pedophiles and people with sexual disorders.

While most people agree that those who are transgender do not fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act just for being transgender, the issue is in how the ADA words their exclusion. While the ADA was updated in 2008, the terminology of Section 12211 continues to list “gender identity disorders” and “transsexualism” as sexual behavior disorders (Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended). The problem with this is not just that the term “gender identity disorder” is now viewed within the medical community as inaccurate and outdated, being replaced with gender dysphoria in the DSM-V and other medical literature, but that it lumps transgender people in with those who have sexual disorders.

While most people won’t take the time to read through the text of the ADA to reach Section 12211, by keeping the connection within the text it provides ammunition for anti-trans groups and organizations to compare transgender people with pedophiles, voyeurs, and sexual paraphiliacs. Groups such as Gender Identity Watch, which is run by an anti-trans woman known as Cathy Brennan, use text such as Section 12211 to justify their actions which include posting information about trans people (especially transgender women) on their website, doxing (exposing private information) of transgender people, and even stalking and harassing transgender people online. Their claim is that being transgender is a mental disorder that should be called autogynephilia (which itself is a mental illness created by Ray Blanchard that essentially states that certain men gain sexual arousal by thinking of themselves as a woman.), and it is just as dangerous and harmful to society as pedophilia, and as such trans people should be tracked, exposed, and “cured” of their mental disorder.

One of the major factors preventing this from being resolved is the lack of knowledge of what is within the act. Very few people have taken the time to read the entire act, and even though medical knowledge and literature has been updated regarding gender dysphoria and transgender people, legal documents and government acts require the government to justify amending or changing a piece of literature and this usually requires the legislative branch of the government to vote on the changes. As can be currently seen when it comes to transgender rights such as the ability to use the bathroom without being harassed or forced to use the wrong bathroom, it is an uphill struggle. To my knowledge nothing is currently being done to fix the wording within the ADA, and due to the constant pushback regarding matters of gender by not just the government but the public at large, it will take people actively working on adjusting their language and mental presuppositions about gender to create enough of a drive to fix the text within the ADA.

“Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended.” 2008, https://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm

What can we do?

I wish that I could say that there is a simple solution to rape culture and the problem of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. I wish I could say that by simply telling people to respect others and to listen when someone says they’re not interested would fix the problem. I wish that simply holding athletes and those in power responsible for their actions and not letting them off the hook because they make the college money would fix the problem.

But wishing won’t get us anywhere.

With the rise of the Me Too hashtag on Twitter, and the push for survivors and victims to speak up about their sexual assaults, we are slowly seeing a change in the narrative surrounding sexual assault. Slowly the old myths and the usual push back from those who refuse to acknowledge the culture we live in are being undone by the sheer number of cases and people coming forward to speak up. While many of the people who committed the acts will never see a day in jail for their crimes, people are slowly learning that one day, it will all catch up to them.

So what do we do to fix the problem so we don’t have to play catch up when it comes to sexual assault?

The solution is two fold, we must work on educating and enforcing the laws and articles such as Title IX in schools, and we must begin education on consent and respect at an early age. While we are seeing tiny baby steps with working with adults, such as the formation of The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which was formed in 2013, and students actively petitioning and protesting against sexual assaults on campus, it won’t fix the problem on its own.

So hear me out on this.

Most parents balk at the thought of teaching a child sex education, but the truth is that we begin teaching them the moment we start talking about their bodies. If we as parents and educators were to insist on using proper terminology for body parts while the child was a toddler, and we continue to reinforce the belief that if something doesn’t belong to you that you don’t touch it, we will begin to see progress in boundary respect and in how people interact with others.

When we’re little we’re told that if something isn’t ours, we aren’t to touch it without permission, correct?

When we’re little we’re told to keep our hands to ourselves when it comes to touching others, correct?

So what changes between the time we’re little to when we become adults? What happened to “if it’s not yours, don’t touch?”

What happened was that we taught our boys that it was ok to grab a girl’s hair, or to push her.. We taught girls that if a boy was mean to them or pulled their hair that the boy liked them. We began justifying bad behavior that we’d previously told them was wrong. We actively undo the rules that we set in place for our children and then wonder why they don’t follow the rules when they become adults. We teach boys that it’s ok to ignore a person who says “no” so long as the adults around them think it’s cute.

Yet then we turn around when they become of age and tell them what they’re doing is wrong!

Look at it from their point of view, they went from being treated like what they were doing was perfectly fine, but then the moment they turned 18 it became wrong again. How would you personally deal with that if you’d grown up that way? I bet you’d feel confused, possibly even like you’d been set up to be punished by some imaginary force (the Patriarchy!™) or by the evil feminists out there who are only out to punish men for some imaginary reason. They begin to buy into the belief that women only claim rape to ruin people’s lives, or as revenge. They gravitate towards the various “men’s rights” groups out there that tell them they’re not the ones to blame for their actions, they can’t help it that they want to do whatever they want to others or that they’ve been punished for things outside of their control.

If parents and the other adults around them simply kept consistent in their rules and in enforcing boundaries, many of the problems we’re seeing would most likely not exist. It would also remove many of the so-called “grey areas” surrounding sexual assault and rape. There are hundreds of different sites online that offer ways to teach children about sex and about bodily autonomy from a young age (as early as two in some cases), some of which I will list at the bottom for further reading, but every single one holds the same message:

Teach your children about their bodies, about privacy (boundaries included), touching, and age appropriate talk about sex.

The one thing that they all seem to ignore though, is the consistency needed to keep those lessons fresh and in place. As parents, we need to continue stressing the points we have taught, and to not fall back on harmful thoughts such as “if he hits you he likes you” or “boys will be boys”. As parents, we need to make sure that all children understand that they need to be respectful of others and to not assume that because they said yes once, that it will always be a yes.

We also as parents, need to respect our own children’s wishes. If a child doesn’t want to hug someone, then we shouldn’t force them, because that teaches them that their word of “no” means less than someone else’s. It makes us contradict ourselves, and teaches the children than no doesn’t always mean no (which then can lead to “they secretly wanted it!” excuses during a sexual assault case).

So, here’s what I propose:

  • We start teaching children early on about their bodies using proper terms (no “pee-pee” or “wee-wee” type words, but actual penis and vagina).

  • We teach and enforce the rule that if something doesn’t belong to you, you don’t touch it without permission.

  • We teach and enforce the rule that if you don’t want to be touched or to touch someone else, that you can say no and that it will be respected.

  • We teach children that if something does happen, that they can come forward and safely speak up about it to a trusted adult.

  • We STOP using excuses such as “boys will be boys” or excuses for assault such as “he doesn’t know how to show he likes you so he hits you”. There are no acceptable excuses for assault.

  • We make sure that adults receive “refresher” courses on consent and bodily autonomy.

  • We make it so that those who have been assaulted or harmed can come forward safely, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, race, or ethnicity. No more police judging them and turning them away at the door.

  • We make sure that those who need help can get help, through counseling, support services, etc, even if they never report their assault to authorities.

  • We actively work to ensure that male victims and survivors can come forward safely by breaking down the patriarchal lies about male rape victims.

While it will take a lot of work, we can turn things around and make things safer for students of all walks of life. Yes, crimes will still happen, but if we implement my proposed actions, we will not only see less of them, but the victims will be able to get the help they need instead of having to hide it from others and let it fester until it destroys them.

For further reading:

Sex Education:

Sex Education for Preschoolers

Age-by-age guide to talking to kids about sex

Toddlers and Sex Education

Sex education and talking about sex to children: 0-8 years

Sex education: Talking to toddlers and preschoolers about sex

Sexual Assault and Men:

Male Victims Of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out ‘We’re Up Against A System That’s Not Designed To Help Us’

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Bravely Share Their Stories In Project Unbreakable

Jason’s Story

For Male Survivors of Sexual Assault

Man tells his quite rare story of being raped by a woman

I Know Men Can Be Rape Victims Too

This story of a male rape survivor will shock you

Men and Rape

Captives recount boy rape in Sudan

Male Sexual Assault And Rape Survivors Reveal Why So Few Victims Come Forward

Matt – Because not all rape victims are females

The CDC’s Rape Numbers Are Misleading

What Happens After Men Get Raped in America

When Men Are Raped

A Male Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault

Statistics:

Statistics about Sexual Violence

Victimes of Sexual Violence: Statistics

Prevalence, Incidence, andConsequences of Violence AgainstWomen: Findings From the NationalViolence Against Women Survey

Rape statistics

When Rape Culture Meets Reality:

An Unbelievable Story of Rape

Resources for Survivors:

RAINN

Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center

Safe Horizon

Those Standing in the Wings

While the focus when it comes to sexual violence both on and off campus has been predominantly on cisgendered women (and it has every reason to be, as they are the largest group targeted), far too often people forget that there are others out there. People often forget that transgender people are targeted at almost the same rates as cisgender women, with transgender men often being lumped in with cisgender women when it comes to statistics due to their assigned sex at birth. It is stated that approximately 25% of transgender people have been assaulted sexually after the age of 13, and many of these people are included within the one in five statistic of college sexual violence. What is more concerning however, is that within the LGBTQIA+ community, we see that gay and bisexual men are over ten times more likely to be the victims of sexual assault than their heterosexual counterparts.

If we look at that fact, coupled with the information stated in Kate Harding’s book, Asking For It on page 75 where nearly 2% of men in the US have reported being raped, and 20% report being the victim of some other sort of sexual violence, it leads us to question how many victims are simply staying silent out of fear or the stigma of being a victim of rape. The push for masculinity and to always be in power means that those men are forced to struggle between the perception that they are less of a man, or the stigma that they were too weak to be a “real man” and therefore they deserved the sexual assault.

For transgender men, it is even harder. We are forced to deal with constantly proving we’re men to those around us, and if we come forward to speak up about a rape, it only adds to the attacks against us.

“If you were a real man you wouldn’t have been raped.”

“A real man would have been able to fight off his attacker.”

“Perhaps you’re secretly wanting to still be a woman, that’s why you let him rape you.”

“If you look like a chick and you have a vag [sic] then you’re just asking for it hanging around all those guys!”

I wish I could say that these are all made up quotes, that they haven’t been said to myself or my friends. I wish I could say that transgender men are treated with dignity and respect among their peers. Yet unfortunately those are very real statements, and many of us who are survivors of sexual assault are forced to hide what has happened to us if for no other reason than to keep yet another piece of ammunition away from those who would wish to keep us “in our place” under them.

While the percentage of transgender, genderqueer, and nonconforming students is far lower than that of cisgender women or cisgender men, there is a frightening fact lurking just below the surface. The statement of one in five is often touted when it comes to sexual violence against cisgender (and as I stated, lumped in are often transgender men) women, and this statistic in and of itself is horrifying when we look at the success rates for prosecuting the victim’s rapists, but what is even more frightening is the percentage of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) students. According to RAINN, 21% of them have come forward to report having been sexually assaulted. As we already know from looking at other figures, this number is most likely lower than it actually is, due to many people either being afraid to report, unable to prove their sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt, or in my case, not looking enough like what a victim should look like to even warrant an investigation.

So the question we are left with is this:

What do we do to not only help prevent or at least lessen the prevalence of sexual assault on cisgender women, but what more can we do to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those within the TGQN community?

What steps do we need to take so that victims can safely come forward and not just report their assault, but get the help that they need (counseling, medical services, etc) to help them heal after the event?

How can we work towards dismantling the stigma against both cisgender and transgender men that often prevents them from coming forward about their assaults?

Evolution of Satan, God, and the Changes to the Norse Pantheon Through Christianity

Originally, Satan didn’t exist as we know him today. In the Old Testament, there wasn’t even a devil or Satan, as it was believed that everything (good AND bad) was because of God. I can go more into that one, or give you some really interesting videos to watch if you’re interested about how God became the monotheistic God we all know today.

There was a group of beings in the Old Testament known as the Ha-Satan, who were a group of celestial beings that would question God or point out things that were going oddly on creation to God’s attention. A good example of this would be the Book of Job, where the Ha-Satan pointed out to God that Job was only faithful because God rewarded him. Because of this, God did all that he did to Job, with the Ha-Satan pointing out to God various things.

The word “satan” itself means adversary or to obstruct, which is why in the Old Testament Ha-Satan isn’t evil, but more of an accuser and judge of those who have done wrong (and then God punishes them). The term Ha means the in Hebrew, and thus Satan is a title, and not a person. There are only 13 times the Ha-Satan occurs in the Old Testament, and only in Job and Zechariah. The other 10 instances where people see “Satan” in the new translations of the Bible aren’t actually the person Satan, but accuser or adversary. It has only been through Christianity going back and changing/re-translating the biblical texts to “fit” with the New Testament and /their/ stories, that we see “Satan” as a person in the Old Testament.

Satan was later translated in Greek to diabolos(slanderer), which again is not Satan or Devil, but slanderer. Yes, this is where the word devil is derived, but it does not mean Satan as we know it today.

The serpent in Genesis is NOT Satan or even the Ha-Satan, but actually a crafty trickster animal (think like Coyote, or even Loki). It was created by God to actually be that way, and not an instrument of evil or Satan/the Devil. Another example used would be that the serpent can be compared to Pandora’s box, or a personification of curiosity.

The serpent BECAME Satan/the Devil later on even though the one Christians currently call Satan (Lucifer) didn’t fall until the New Testament, after the fall of man, and thus could not be the serpent. For more information on the whole concept of Lucifer, check out  “Dude, Where’s My Lucifer?”

Fun side note, the serpent originally had legs, hence the curse that he was to be on his belly and eat dirt for the rest of his life. He is basically the “Father of snakes” while other serpents remained as dragons and other mythical beings.

The concept of “Satan” as he’s known currently first shows up in 1 Chronicles, where an independent agent provokes David to destroy Israel, but it is often believed that it is because of the influence of Zoroastriuanism (the religion of one of the lands the Jewish people lived in during their exile), but it’s not specifically Satan himself doing it, so that one is up in the air. All other times, it is the Ha-Satan, and it cannot act on its own, and is dependent on permission from God to act in any way. My husband, Harvey, said another good way to look at it is that the Ha-Satan can be seen as the good/bad angels on people’s shoulders in stories. They can’t act on their own, but they can make suggestions/bring things to light for the person to then act upon.

When Christianity started gaining strength, they had to find a way to explain away that it wasn’t God who was a total dick in the Old Testament, and also they had to get rid of the fact that there were multiple gods in the Old Testament. There is a reason that Genesis says “Made in /our/ image”, and that is because the Babylonian mythos that the Jews took with them during their exile (and Zoroastrian mythos as well) had many different gods, including El or Elohim (one who is most high), Ba’al, Yahweh, and Asherah.

El or Elohim was generally believed to be the top dog of sorts, and he eventually became the God of Christianity.

Ba’al was the god of fertility, and he is the reason for many of the laws in Leviticus, because the Jews did not approve of Ba’al worship, since it was closely tied with sex and prostitution (Leviticus 18:22 speaks of male temple prostitutes used for sexual rites).

Yahweh was the god of war (why do you think the OT god is so violent?  ), and his name is the one that was kept on as a name to be given to God, even though God supposedly has no name.

Asherah, the consort of Yahweh, was almost written out of the Bible when Christians got a hold of it, because it showed that there was both a male and a female god, and for a monotheistic religion – you can’t have that.  That is why we have man and woman looking different. Another reason she was written out (but she still shows up if you know where to look, because one can’t completely edit someone out without completely changing the story) is that the religions in the area that Christianity was growing in were either matriarchal, or they were gender neutral in many aspects. In fact, even the Greek religion was originally matriarchal, but I’ll go into that later if you want.  If one is looking to make women into second class citizens and to subjugate them to men, what better way to do that then have it ONLY be males who did the good things in the Bible, and women are either written out, or are sinners/causers of trouble?

What they (Christians) did, was combined all the gods together into one god (Yahweh or Yehova/Jehova), made Ba’al an impotent and useless god, and got rid of Asherah. Next, they had to find a scapegoat for everything bad that happened. Enter “The Devil”.

To explain the evil that happened, they began writing about the battle in heaven, and the fall of Lucifer for his refusal to do what God said. It was to show that those with pride and the desire to walk their own path were wrong/evil and only through subservience to God, could they be righteous and proper. Lucifer himself didn’t even become Satan until much later, through editing and translations and story telling.

The editors went back over the years, slowly changing where the Greek word diabolos(slanderer) to Devil, and eventually to Satan. In doing that, they had a way to show that there is someone who is evil, and that it isn’t God who is the one punishing/doing evil, but another entity.

The body shapes of Satan come from the various religions that were taken over and eventually destroyed. By borrowing images from other religions, they were able to vilify and demonize those gods until they were no longer worshiped. If you’re attacked and accused of worshiping Satan for worshiping say, Pan, eventually you’ll either go into hiding or you will stop worshiping him all together to stop the attacks.

It’s also why we have so many pagan holidays and rituals/beliefs. Communion is actually an Egyptian ritual borrowed and used by Christianity, to make it easier to bring in the Egyptians.

Christians are also responsible for the “evil” Loki, as he was originally more just chaotic and a trickster. Odin was also a trickster, but while Loki’s tricks generally didn’t result in permanent damage, Odin’s were sometimes flat out EVIL. But if one wants to convert the Norse to Christianity, they need to make Odin less of a dick, and more like Yahweh/Yehova…so gone are the really nasty and evil things he did, and the others were made less evil.

Needing to have a “Christ” figure, they used Odin’s son, Baldur, to be the one who was ruthlessly killed and prophesied to rise again after the world is destroyed by Ragnarok. Instead of the lustful and evil (in many ways) Baldur, we now see a much tamer Baldur, one who is cursed with horrible dreams of his death, and who is innocent of wrong doing. It is through treachery and hatred that he is killed, not because he tried to steal and rape a woman and her lover protested.

And of course, we have our beloved Loki. Loki was as I said, originally more chaotic than evil. He was the god all other gods turned to when things went south, and in many cases he was viewed as the god of last resorts. People prayed to him when they were at their wits end and nothing else worked. He also could command fire and illusions/shape-shift, which added to his tricks. Often times, he would be the reason he had to get everyone out of a mess, but he always came through. But they needed a villain.

Slowly, Loki became more and more evil with each passing story, turning him from a fun loving nimrod with a few interesting kids and a penchant for sex changes, to this evil bastard who brought on the death of the most beloved of children of the gods. He became the Judas of Norse mythology, the betrayer, and even compared with Satan since he did “evil” things and gave birth to “monsters”.

I Shouldn’t Be Afraid, But I Am

My hands sweat as I readjust my keys, making sure they stick out between my fingers. I’ve done this since I started driving, the constant reminder of my parents that I could be attacked on my way to the car ringing in my ears. I don’t carry a purse, and my back pack is held in my hand instead of strapped to my back. I can feel my heart race as the light near my car flickers, I really should have parked in a better place, but I was in a hurry to get to class. It’s only after I open the door to my car, scurry inside, and lock the doors that I breathe a sigh of relief and feel myself begin to calm down.

It’s my first term here, and before I’d even completed my orientation I and the other new students had been given information on how to protect ourselves against sexual assault. Tips like traveling in groups, making sure people knew where you were at all times, taking some form of self defense training, things I’ve been told since I’d hit puberty. There was nothing new, except who to call should something happen. Some of the men around me, who don’t know I’m one of them due to my feminine body, scoffed and made jokes at the information, saying things like real men can’t get raped, or how if a man lets another man rape him, he’s secretly wanting it. They ignore the fact that almost 3 million men have been the victim of attempted or completed rape. Because the percentage of men who have come forward as victims of rape is so low, only around 3%, they don’t believe it could possibly happen to them.

When it comes to rape, people often focus on blaming the victim, even if they don’t mean to. If it’s a woman, she must have done something to deserve it. She didn’t take enough precautions (some of which I list herefor reference), she must have given her rapist mixed signals, or she just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other women around her were just more prepared than she was, and that was why she was assaulted.

If only she’d been more careful.

Men on the other hand, their rapes are often brushed off as “hazing”, or that they secretly wanted it. How else would that person have been able to rape them? If it was a woman who raped them, it must mean that they’re gay if they didn’t enjoy the sex. It couldn’t possibly be that they didn’t want to have sex and she forced him to do so against his will because men are stronger than women and he could have easily fought her off if he didn’t secretly enjoy it…right? Besides, women can’t rape men! They don’t have a penis to use! Rape only happens if you’re penetrated by a penis!

Yeah, that’s not how rape or sexual assault works, thankfully.

 In 2013 a new definition for rape was adopted by the FBI, replacing their old UCR definition, removing the requirement that rape only be possible if the victim was a female, and only via sex. The new definition stated, “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” allowing for a much broader interpretation and allowance for men to be included as victims and survivors of rape. The problem though, is that very few men actually come forward after their assaults, due mostly to the belief that doing so means they’re weak and, like women have been taught their whole lives, they must have done something to deserve it. It was their fault after all, they should have been able to fight them off.

While rape is the most well known thing to be considered sexual violence, I can’t help but think back to the times when I’ve been groped, had people grab me without my consent, or grind against me to simulate having sex with me to show me how they “liked me.” I’m not the only one to deal with this, as most of us have been conditioned to brush off these events instead of coming forward. “Oh, he pulled your hair because he likes you!” rings through my ears when I think about how I was trained to believe sexual and physical assault meant affection and love. A man grinding against he means he likes me, and he wants to know me better. Someone grabbing my rear end means they think I’m cute. Having my breasts groped means I’m attractive, and if I fight back, I’m just some prude who (and I wish I was joking when I said this) “just needs a good dicking to fix” my problem. Apparently if I just didn’t fight back and allowed them to have sex with me, all my problems would be solved.

It turns out, being a man doesn’t remove the fears and paranoia I’ve been conditioned to feel.

Even though I am now out, and I dress and act like a man, even though my voice has dropped two octaves since starting hormones, I’m still constantly on edge as I travel about. I’m afraid that my dirty little secret will be discovered, that my private parts are still those associated with a woman.

If the men who have accepted me as a guy find out…will I become yet another victim? I’m still smaller than them, and even though I’ve taken self defense classes, and I refuse to drink alcohol or any form of drink offered to me, what if they drug me? What if it’s put in the food? What if more than one of them decides to join in?

All of these fears and more course through my mind whenever I’m out. I’m hyper vigilant, afraid of my own shadow when traveling in places with low light. I see others around me strolling along, and yet I am here just waiting for a bogeyman I know is statistically improbable to jump from the shadows and drag me off, just like I’d been taught would happen if I didn’t take every precaution possible.

I was taught to make sure I was less rapeable than the person next to me…

 

We Have the Resources

People claim that we can’t ensure everyone’s basic needs are met (food, shelter, clothing, fresh water, etc). Yet it’s not because we lack the resources to do it. We as a society lack the COMPASSION and EMPATHY to do it.

UPDATE: Some people have stated that the only rights we have are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is wrong on SO many levels, the least of which because the original phrase was from John Locke, and it was “life, liberty, and property.” Jefferson, like most of the founding fathers, was against everyone having property, because that would mean that they were all equal to those in power. So Jefferson switched out “property” with “pursuit of happiness.” This ensured that only those who had property would be those in power, and they then could set forth the rule that only those who were men of a certain age who owned land could have a say in the new government.

It had nothing to do with wanting everyone happy. It had to do with keeping certain groups of people out of power, and maintaining the power of the rich, white, male elite. The founding fathers didn’t want equality for all, so to claim that the only rights we have are rights that were plagiarized and changed slightly to ensure an imbalance of power, is a claim filled with ignorance.

Transcribed from Twitter moment “We have the resources, but we refuse to use them“

Everyone deserves shelter. Everyone deserves fresh & safe water. Everyone deserves enough food to eat, and that that food isn’t just cheap “filler” foods such as pastas and rice. Everyone deserves adequate heating and cooling to help ensure proper health and homeostasis. Everyone deserves top level healthcare, not just the rich.

For some reason, people believe that the basic needs for survival should be conditional, or that to provide them means taking from someone else. Some people even claim that to make sure everyone has their basic needs met would turn others into slaves!

Because we’ve been raised as a society to believe that not everyone deserves the basic needs to survive.

I look around and see houses standing empty while people are living on the streets, unable to afford shelter. I see food stores destroying left over food instead of donating it to food banks while people go hungry. I see clothing manufacturers destroying clothes that aren’t “perfect” instead of donating them or giving them to those in need of clothes. I see companies buying up water rights and selling the water for inflated costs while whole communities are left without water. Flint, Michigan isn’t the only community without water to even take a shower. Many of the people on the reservations have been without safe water for far longer.

Here’s a hint. The resources are there, it is greed and disregard for others that is preventing access to said resources. When we put a dollar sign on the things people need to survive, we are saying as a society that only those with money deserve to live. We as a society are telling people that unless they have money, they are not deserving of what they need to survive. Because of this, we have people who are unable to give back to society due to their inability to have their basic needs met. We’ve seen that if we make sure people have their needs met, then they are more able to put back into the system that helped them.

NO ONE deserves to live in poverty, or without adequate food/water/healthcare. You shouldn’t have to EARN the “right” to such things. They should be for EVERYONE regardless of “earning it.” 

By actually giving two shits about people other than yourself and working to fix broken systems and systems of exploitation. The fact that we view necessities for life as something that not everyone deserves shows that the economic systems we’re using to day are flawed and detrimental to those who aren’t willing to step on others and use them.

The US would rather destroy food than let people have it if it’s left over.

Our society encourages and rewards greed and selfishness while empathy and compassion are often considered weaknesses. We make huge deals about celebrities donating to a charity, while ignoring that everyone has the ability to help out their fellow human being.

States like Utah have shown that by providing people with the basic needs for survival, such as shelter, food, water, and clothing, that people are able to start giving back to society. When they are no longer spending all of their time trying to figure out where they will sleep that night, or if they will have enough food to eat, they are able to focus on other things such as work and contributing to society.

We as a society created the problems we are having. We created them by giving the wealthy more money while taking away from those in need. We slashed the budgets for housing, food, health, education, and the like in the hopes that the rich would pick up the slack.

We’ve seen that they have no intention of doing so.

 We as a society destroyed the middle class in favor of the rich minority, because we were told that if we just allowed them to get a little richer, they would fix the economy and bring prosperity to us all. We created a society of debt and poverty, and then we turn around and blame those asking for help.

Instead of blaming people for what they don’t have, how about we work on compassion and empathy?

We have the resources available, but we as a society need to learn to put our fellow human beings first instead of profits. We need to realize that the more people we shove into poverty and homelessness, the fewer people we will have to be part of the workforce.

While it might cost money up front to ensure housing, food, water, and clothing for everyone, as well as proper healthcare for everyone, the end result will be a healthier society that is able to put back into the community what they took out.

We just have to put in the effort to fix the problem, instead of blaming those who were harmed.