This is rape culture

I wrote this a few weeks ago, after the Steubenville verdict and ensuing reaction from the press. I wrote it and I was afraid to post it here, choosing instead to hide it in some more secret, anonymous spaces. Well, today, I say “eff that.”

Because then I read this story (and others, but it was mostly this one). Every time this happens, which is far too often, I am heartbroken. Again.

I’m starting out leaving comments on but moderated, but I’ll close them if I feel I have to.

Soapbox on.

TW: discussion of rape and rape culture. not graphic

You’re fourteen, and you go with a friend to a party at some older kids’ house. One of the boys asks you if you want something to drink, and you refuse a couple of times before saying, “Okay, I’ll have a Coke.” They bring you the coke and it kind of tastes funny, so you take a couple of sips and leave it somewhere before slipping away.

You’re sixteen, and you’re with your boyfriend at a graduation party, and some of the guys are sneaking extra booze into that girl’s drink when she’s not looking, and they’re laughing and making jokes. You don’t think anything happened to her, but you’re terrified about what could have happened.

You’re eighteen, and you’re trying to break up with that same boyfriend. He threatens to rape you, because if you’re going to leave, you’re going to leave really hating him. You’ve never been so scared…but then he stops and begs you to forgive him. (And you do, sort of, because you’re not quite ready to get out of this mess yet.)

You’re twenty-five, and you’re on a beach vacation with your girlfriends. You and one of the other girls are dancing and having a good time, so you stay out while everyone else goes back to the house. The guys you’re hanging out with invite you to come back to where they’re staying, a few miles down the road. Your friend drives, and you follow them. The guy you’re hanging out with turns out to be very sweet, a total gentleman, and one of the last things you say to him is, “Thank you for being a good guy,” because you can’t stop thinking about how differently this night might have turned out.

You’re twenty-nine, and you’re going to meet a guy you’ve been chatting with on an online dating site. You tell your roommate where you’re going, like you always do, “just in case.” You make jokes about it, but deep down, you know you’re not really kidding.

A comedian makes a joke about a member of his audience getting gang-raped, and the Internet jumps to defend him.

A story breaks about the gang rape of an eleven-year-old girl in Texas, and the media writes about what she was wearing.

A story breaks about a gruesome gang rape in India, and the Internet won’t shut up about how we must do something about those horrible woman-hating rapists over there. People warn their female friends who are visiting India to be careful.

A story breaks about the rape of a teenage girl in Ohio, and even as evidence mounts against the rapists, people blame the victim. The rapists are found guilty, and the media wrings its hands about how those poor boys’ lives are ruined. They don’t say very much about the victim, except to point out, at every opportunity, that she was drunk.

Don’t wear a skirt that’s too short. Don’t get too drunk. Don’t let your drink out of your sight. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t be a slut. (And don’t forget, you don’t get to determine what it means to be a slut. Everyone else does.) Don’t be out there looking to have sex, because everyone knows if you want to have sex with someone, that’s just as good as wanting to have sex with anyone.

Don’t get raped.

Because if you get raped, it was obviously your fault.

Because if we can believe that, we can believe that it won’t happen to us.

Because if we can believe that, we don’t have to do anything about this problem. We don’t have to try to do better.

Because we don’t have a problem, do we?

Some other good reading on this and related topics:

No, dude, it’s not bigotry

F*ck everything, let’s talk about rape

Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak) weighs in

UPDATE: this link is on the Laurie Halse Anderson post, but I wanted to add it here, too.

Donate to RAINN

So this is the new year…

I have a number of random things to throw out there, so this post will be in numbered list form.

1. An awesome time was had by all at the Lowest of the Low New Year’s Eve show at Town Ballroom. See Jen’s post. Many thanks to Jen and Chuck for dragging us out! If you haven’t already seen it on Facebook, lookit this cute pic:

TB

Awww…

During the show, I tweeted that “Salesmen Cheats and Liars” just wasn’t the same without Lawrence, and he responded by calling me a “doll.” Teehee.

Most awesome exchange between Jen and me during this concert, while the band is playing the song “Winter Sleepers” from Sordid Fiction:

Jen: I don’t like this song.

Me: (shrug) It reminds me of…

Jen: X (code for my ex-bf)! I KNOW! I read something on the Internet today that reminded me of him…Oh, I know…it was a Yahoo article about how not to break up with someone.

Me: *laughs for 10 minutes*

2. I am back to school. I have a ginormous pile of grading to do that I did not do over break that I am procrastinating doing by writing this blog post.

3. I went to the GYM today.

4. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t spend a lot of time here these days. Here’s a list of other places, complete with links, I can be found online:

Please feel free to follow/friend/whatever me in those places… 🙂

5. I tend to not make resolutions as such, but I’ve been making an effort to be a healthier/happier/less stressed me, and plan to step that up in the coming year. There may be more on this later, unless I get too busy, which is highly likely.

6. I read 47 books in 2011, which is just short of my usual 50 or so…I started reading a 48th, but am not yet finished with it. I was feeling some mild guilt about this, but then I said, “Wait a minute…this is silly.” So I’ve decided that my only reading “goal” for 2012 is to enjoy as many books as I can and not allow myself to feel one second of stress over something I do for fun.  See #5.

7. I think I posted here something like…8 times in 2011? While there’s a part of me that would like to post more, well, see #5 and #6.

8. On that note, I should find something productive to do…happy 2012!

We Are…heartbroken

For a good week or so now, I’ve been struggling to put my feelings about the Penn State scandal into words, wondering if I should even try. I’ve been struggling with the feelings themselves, wondering why it’s hit me so hard.

I didn’t go to Penn State. I don’t live there. I did grow up in Western PA, though, a little over an hour from Happy Valley, in a part of the state that bleeds blue and white. The aunt I idolized is a Penn State grad, as is my grandpa. I thought I’d go there too, until I realized how huge it was and opted for a much, much smaller private school. Several of my cousins went there, as well as countless classmates, and some of my good friends still live there. Penn State is a part of my identity.

When I talked to Rand about this, he said he thought he understood. He said it was kind of like what it felt like being a Bills fan when OJ Simpson was charged with murder. “It’s like they took a piece of your childhood away,” he said.

Yeah, it is kind of like that.

I am a little bit heartbroken.

Something that I think people have failed to notice during all of the uproar, all of the anger, all of the reaction from the media and the Internet, is that people are grieving. Students. Alumni. Citizens. Me.

There doesn’t necessarily have to be a death for people to grieve.

It is unfortunate that some people behaved badly. Some of the things students and fans have said that have been quoted are embarrassing. I imagine some of those people will be embarrassed themselves, after they’ve had time to think, after they’ve been confronted with their words in black and white for all eternity. It’s a shame that those people are all most of the world will see…because most of the Penn Staters I know (and hell, even the ones I don’t) are good people who want to see justice done, to see those who had a hand in this punished, even as it means losing faith in people they believed in. (Oh, Joe Pa…even thinking about it makes me so incredibly sad…)

As I’ve watched events unfold, I have been sad and angry on behalf of my Penn State friends and family when I’ve seen people online mocking the average intelligence of PSU students based on the thoughtless words and actions of a small (but admittedly VERY LOUD) minority. It shouldn’t surprise me…after all, this is what we do, time and time again. I think I will remember this every time I catch myself judging a group based on what a couple of loudmouths with signs are saying.

A little while ago, my friend Jennifer posted a link to this video on Facebook, and that video was the thing that pushed me over the edge to finally write this down. Two of the images stuck with me…both of them what I assume to be students holding signs. One read,

WE ARE….#heartbroken

the other,

WE ARE…going to make this right.

My prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy. First and foremost, of course, with the victims and their families—they should be the main focus here—but also, with everyone else out there whose heart is a little bit broken because of it.

Click here to donate to RAINN – grassroots effort by a group of PSU students and alumni

Letter from an OSU Fan to Penn State Fans

Notes from inside a burst bubble

So, someone you admire has done something disappointing

(I turned off comments on this post. If you want to comment, please send me an email, or contact me in one of the other myriad ways.)

Things that are annoying

Stupid comments

Earlier this evening, I was alerted to the existence of a website that I will not name. Basically, it consists of fraternity boys (and sorority girls) posting things that make them look like stereotypical asshats. Example:

The worst part of my summer so far has been having to move for my cleaning lady.

Some of them are disgusting. I won’t share any of the truly disgusting ones here. I started to get offended, then wondered if, perhaps, it was meant to be some sort of joke. So I googled.

I found a blog that discussed said website, written by a sorority woman at a university in California. She expressed her concerns about this website, which I definitely share. Then I read some of the comments. Users of the website had come out in droves to attack the blogger, which is why I am not linking or naming it. (you can contact me privately if you want to know.) These commenters all insisted that this website is a JOKE, and god, why don’t you have a sense of HUMOR already. They attacked the blogger personally, called her names, questioned the validity of her claim that she was in a sorority. Some of them were vaguely violent/threatening. The above comment made me especially sad, as it is apparent from the username that this person is a member of the same sorority that I am.

If it IS meant to be a joke, satirical, all in good fun, it’s failing. All it’s succeeding in doing is perpetuating negative stereotypes, misogyny, rape culture, and all sorts of other things that are bad for, well, everyone. And if other people who are/have been a part of Greek life don’t “get the joke”?

Maybe it’s just not that funny.

 

I seriously need time to slow down, or days with more hours in them or something…I seriously love my job, and I love my second job (the college teaching thing), but entire weeks go by when I barely have time to breathe, let alone blog or read a book that’s not school-related. I see everyone posting about NaNoWriMo, and I get a little wistful…ah, maybe someday I’ll get there again.

So anyway, here’s a bunch of random stuff:

  • Rand and I went to a couple of Halloween parties last weekend, and here’s what we looked like:

IMG_3156

  • I very much enjoyed this article, from The Onion. (I’ll spare you my rant about reading and literature and Cliff notes…or at least save it for my rarely-updated teacher blog.)
  • I found Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream at BJ’s, which made me the happiest girl in the world. It did not disappoint.

IMG_3149

  • OMG, I love Modern Family. We got the first disc from Netflix, and finally started watching it last week. Before finishing, we ordered season one on Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, when we got them, we discovered that we need an update for the player before we can watch them. Grr…have to wait for a disc from Sony. Double grr. Since I’m talking about this, can any of you fans out there tell me how important it is to watch the episodes in sequence? (like, can we watch the current episodes before seeing all of season 1?)
  • Enjoyed a celebration of the invention of the flux capacitor (which is what makes time travel possible) Friday night at the house o’Lehnen. Much laughter was had by all. 🙂
  • And with that, I dive back into the pile of grading. ‘Night!

Are you kidding me with this?

Last year, I purchased a super cheap subscription to Real Simple magazine. Seriously, it was like $5 for a year or something. As it got close to the renewal date, they kept sending me invoices, but their offers were nowhere near as good. I think they want me to pay $10 for six issues now, which I’ve been kind of meh about.

I just got this notice in the mail:

4TH REQUEST FOR PAYMENT

Your subscription payment is 90 days PAST DUE and we’ve had to suspend delivery. This is one more reason you need REAL SIMPLE. Each issue gives you time-saving solutions for everyday tasks, like how to pay your bills on time. Return the invoice above with payment no later than 8/31/10 so we can reinstate your service.

I hate to break this to you, kind folks at Real Simple, but I don’t owe you anything…I don’t resubscribe, you don’t send me the magazine. Are people really gullible enough to fall for this???

Ew. Just ew.

I don’t think I have any other words to describe how I feel about this video. Watch it and see if you can come up with some.

“The Wet”

Anyone who has known me for any length of time has probably at one time or another heard me talk about my fear of The Wet. I understand that just exactly what constitutes The Wet can be confusing, so I decided to put together this handy guide.

First, things that are wet, but not The Wet:

  • Shower/bath
  • Hand washing
  • Dish washing
  • Swimming pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Waterslides

Things that are The Wet:

  • Water from the sink/bath/shower/pool spraying or splashing you while fully clothed
  • Stepping in a puddle of water (especially with socks on)
  • Snow or slush that creeps into your socks
  • Getting caught in the rain without an umbrella
  • Being tossed or pushed into any body of water with clothes on
  • The dish towel hanging on the edge of the sink that accidentally gets soaked
  • Any water trapped in an item that comes out of the dishwasher that unexpectedly comes out, soaking me or dripping all over the floor
  • DISHES PUT AWAY WET. ACK.
  • The bottoms of pants getting soaked with rain/snow
  • Dishes at the salad bar that just came out of the dishwasher-WET. (dude, I’m not putting my bread on a wet plate.)
  • Overhanging eaves/ledges that drip water on you (especially on your head)
  • Amusement park log rides

Disclaimers/exceptions

On hand washing…I can’t stand to wash my hands with my rings on. I must set them down or put them in my pocket, and put them back on only after my hands are totally dry, otherwise, water gets trapped underneath them. OMG, the WET. Also, I hate those stupid blowy air dryer things. I keep hand sanitizer in my purse for such occasions.

I am nearly certain I’m forgetting something, so I will add on if anything else comes to mind…

One of those weeks

hole punch

See this hole punch?

I spent WAY too much time this week looking for this hole punch. Convinced it was gone forever, I bought a new hole punch.

Today, I’m running around trying to get things ready for this craft show tomorrow…I look down, where I have a bunch of craft supplies just kinda hanging out, and there is my hole punch.

Now, the new hole punch was all of $1.99, so it’s not really such a big deal, but seriously? It was right there the whole time? Argh.

I blame the gnomes.

What he said

After I read this aloud to him:

oh, pleez

And expressed my opinion that this, clearly, is NOT what Glenn Beck wants, Rand replied:

“sure he does. he wants us scared shitless, and willing to do whatever the republicans tell us.”