Raging on a Thursday: The Topic of Consent

 

http://feminspire.com/why-i-never-play-hard-to-get/

This is an article that you need to read. Yes, need to. It’s thought provoking and insightful. More importantly, it made me call into question some of my own experiences. I recently had a Twitter argument with a friend about the new concealed carry law in Illinois. I think it’s a horrendous idea, he thinks it’s a joy among joys, an early Christmas gift from Santa. I see it from the perspective of being a woman, he sees a manly right to bear arms against…bears? 

Well, I’m really not certain. I haven’t had to defend my home against anyone… ever. My body? I’ve gone to battle several times to protect my body, I’ve even lost. Would a gun have protected me? Not a chance. In fact my rapist was the one with a gun. A gun which he had obtained legally, it was given to him as part of his duties as a police officer. He still carries that gun.

The idea that women can now protect themselves because of this new law is preposterous! Obviously the people lobbying on behalf of concealed carry haven’t read the statistics. It’s one more thing they can blame us for. Why didn’t you scream? Run? Fight? Punch? Kick? Scratch? Why didn’t you shoot him with your new Gloc as a result of your right to bear arms, bitch?!

What is certain is that rape, domestic violence, and child abuse are under-reported and under-prosecuted. Leaving the perpetrators with no records, nothing to tell the state that these are “bad people”, meaning guns for all! Plus, as we all know, there is NO WAY to get around the background checks…

http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Children_and_Families/Guns.pdf

The damning statistics about gun violence and it’s twisted relationship to  gender violence is terrifying. Especially in light of the current legislation. However, I could go on all day about that, getting back to consent. 

As Rachel Kay states in her piece, our culture, this culture that devalues the feminine, is appalled by the innate femaleness of a woman, believes that a broad just doesn’t know what’s good for her. Until some man shows her. This is what we have done to ourselves,  take “The Rules” as an example. The 90’s guide book for the single woman, it demanded that  women play hard to get, begging to be “taken”. This has stimulated a battle in a culture that already doesn’t hear the word “no” as a demand for the desistance of an action, but as a challenge. 

As I read the piece I kept hearing the words of my rapist, it sounded something like this:

I need to leave.

No, you don’t.

I’m leaving with, (I’m redacting my SO’s name to protect his undeserved privacy.)

I’m going home.

He’s no good for you, I’m a better guy.

I’m leaving, I’m leaving.

Come on, let me show you.

No.

Come here.

No. 

(Don’t worry boys, I was fighting him off during this whole “conversation”. No need to victim blame here.)

I think we need to revisit the topic of consent and how it is understood in our culture.

Book Review: The Trauma Myth by Susan Clancy, Ph.D., Part 1

 Ninety-five percent of children don’t fight it

because they don’t understand what’s happening

and because when they tell the truth nobody cares.

Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D., to Thomas Rogers at Salon.com.

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Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D. looks a little bit like Cybil Shepard, not the researchy post-doctorate fellow that I would have pictured her being. It took reading her interview at Salon.com to really grasp her message and get a feel for her voice. I finished her book, The Trauma Myth, last week. I started writing this blog and realized I was going to have to spread the material out over a couple of days. The next few days I will be posting about the book and my thoughts.

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There’s something I would like to add. 

Despite all of this media and research attention on sexual abuse for the last 30 years, I still don’t hear the answer to one question: What the fuck is wrong with all of these men? 

Sexual abuse is not women; it’s men.

Every once in a while a woman will sexually abuse,

but in 95 percent of cases it’s a man that is known to the child — a teacher, a friend, a family member. 

These are high-functioning people in society who are choosing to molest children. All this focus on the psychology of the victim is a way to sidestep this central question: What is going on in society that so many men are choosing to get off on small children? 

I can find almost no studies on the subject. People will go into jails and interview a perpetrator, but most of these people don’t go to jail, and most of them aren’t caught.

Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D., to Thomas Rogers at Salon.com.

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Dr. Susan A. Clancy, Ph. D., is a cognitive psychologist currently working as Associate Professor in Consumer Behavior at INCAE business school in Nicaragua, she is the Research Director of INCAE’s Center for Women’s Leadership, and she is also a Post-Doctoral Fellow from Harvard. Her focus is on memory and she is the author of another book called Abducted: How People Come to Believe That They Were Kidnapped by Aliens (Harvard University Press, 2007). That’s a pretty impressive resume.

According to her interview at Salon.com, it was the work she did on her second book, The Trauma Myth, that drove her (in part) to Nicaragua. The reaction to her controversial work was vehemently negative, and as she states in the book, she was accused of hurting victims more than they already had been and that [she] was a friend of pedophiles (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p.77).  She was accused of having a political agenda, one biased against the victims (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p.78).

Why such a reaction? Any research is good research, and the more we understand what causes trauma the better we can help people recover, correct? Not so. Dr. Clancy states that the current advocacy system is heavily dependent on its current belief structure and advocates and researches have a vested interest in ensuring its perpetuation.

The current therapeutic structure in regard to child sexual abuse is that it is traumatic. The experience itself is traumatic and when it’s happening it’s traumatic, there is a lot of fear regarding what could be lost if we tossed years of research out the window.

However, Dr. Clancy states that during her research she discovered that it wasn’t the abuse that was traumatic. Instead,  most of her research subjects, 92% (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p. 38), qualified the abuse as confusing. They stated that they didn’t understand what was happening, didn’t understand that it was wrong and so they did not find the experience traumatizing. 85% stated that they knew something about the situation was wrong (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p. 39) (However, the subjects that had required medical attention as a result of the abuse did qualify the abuse as “traumatic”).

This is an explosive assertion. But what if she is correct, what if we have been handling this all wrong? What does that mean for the advocacy community?

Those that didn’t qualify the abuse as traumatic at the time of its occurrence stated that the traumatic aspects of the abuse came later. If they didn’t report the trauma, the eventual realization of what had happened to them was traumatic. The trauma came as a result of understanding that their trust had been violated, that someone had used them in a most despicable manner. If the subjects did report, often the trauma came from the reactions of others.

As you can see, Dr. Clancy’s book was incredibly interesting. I am spreading my thoughts out over a few days and would love to hear from you. Stay tuned.

Mission Statement 2012

It’s amazing to me that we are still having this conversation. It’s amazing to me that there are pundits who believe that the domestic terrorism of violence in a relationship is a secondary issue to who controls the oil in the Middle East. It’s amazing that Donald Trump demands a birth certificate and THAT gets more airtime, (it felt like a lifetime) than Nancy Grace bullying a woman on her show, the result of which was the woman’s suicide.

People twist the truth and change the numbers, spinning away until we’re all nauseous. It’s a game of power: chess and we’re the pieces. The truth is this: the safety of women, children, and men in this country should NOT be a political issue. It is NOT a talking point for the left, right, center. It IS a person’s right to be safe, secure, and sheltered. How else can one pursue their right to life, liberty and happiness? 

So together, over the next few days we are going to review some interesting facts. Some things that we all should know. How who and what we vote for actually DOES impact our daily lives. Let’s get informed, because we need to be. Now more than ever.