Showing posts with label Women's Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's Rights. Show all posts

Thursday, April 27, 2017

TBT - Show Some Respect, Damn You!

Respect. How does that work, anyway?
























“I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that [s]he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim—so modestly and so humbly—to possess. It is time to withdraw our 'respect' from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever


Respect.  We hear a lot about it. But, how do we as individuals and as a society determine who is deserving of our respect? The Paige Sultzbach story got me thinking about this.

Most of us are taught that we must show respect for the essential humanity of all people. We are told in school, at work and at home that we must respect other people as our equals - fellow human beings. Beyond this baseline, though, people are usually expected to earn any higher, more deferential level of respect through their meritorious behavior. We are not usually expected to pay respect to people who behave immorally, who harm us or who harm other people. Usually, we are not compelled to respect ridiculous or destructive ideas, either. But there is one glaring exception to these sensible guidelines: religion.

We hear every single day that we owe special, unassailable, respect for the religious beliefs of others, simply because they are religious beliefs. There is no way to evaluate the relative merits of religious ideas because the very act of questioning, evaluating or criticizing religious beliefs is deemed disrespectful and being disrespectful of religion is taboo. This catch-22 situation means that even when religious ideas clearly cause harm to ourselves or others, the cultural taboo which demands unearned respect for religious dogma and practices also forbids questioning them.

More precisely, people are pressured every day of their lives to pay respect - and be subordinate - to the religious majority wherever they live. In Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia (to name a few countries under explicit Islamic rule) that would be the Muslim majority. In the USA, Denmark, Hungary, Canada and Great Britain (to name a few countries with explicit or implicit Christian state religions) it is the Christian majority. Of all of these, the United States was the first to explicitly guarantee in its Constitution that no single religion would be established by the state, thus preventing the official empowerment of one religious group over all others. In this way, the framers of the Constitution hoped to provide the foundation for a truly revolutionary new kind of nation: a country where people could be as free as humanly possible; where the rights and welfare of the individual would be balanced as far as humanly possible with the rights and welfare of the rest of the people, preventing both tyranny of the majority and the rise of theocratic dictators.

Freedom of religion!* 
*For Christians only.
The founding fathers, who were educated in religious and political history, understood that religious sectarianism has always resulted in oppression of minorities and the rise of theocratic dynasties - usually, but not always monarchies. Whether they were monarchies or putative republics, the ruling elites always claimed to rule by divine right. The framers of the US Constitution - James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in particular - recognized that constant sectarian strife and vicious social inequities enabled by the power structures which churches prop up would destroy Americans' hopes for a better life in the fledgling new state as surely as the suffocation of those very hopes had driven them out of Europe. And the founders understood that it was state-sanctioned empowerment of favored groups (nearly always identified by religion) which was the reason why the common people in every country in the world lived in miserable poverty under the rule of religiously-privileged "noble" classes.

Demonstrating a wisdom beyond experience (because such a nation had never been tried before), they determined that, in order to form a more perfect union, the United States must be kept free of the appalling religious strife that had destroyed virtually every great civilization in history before them. They were convinced that freedom of religion in a nation that could not legally favor any one religion over the others would offer the best hope for the country to prosper, by enabling the people to prosper in peaceful coexistence as equals.

The freedom to practice their own religion has never been enough for some Christians; they have always sought special status and special power.

But there have always been ambitious groups who seek to restore the bad old days of feudal oppression for their own benefit. There have always been people who consider themselves the chosen ones - the nobility which is called to rule over the lesser classes. Before the ink was dry on the US Constitution, religious groups were attempting to circumvent the prohibition of establishment of state religions. The freedom to practice their own religion has never been enough for some Christians; they have always sought special status and special power. That battle over the separation of church and state has been waxing and waning constantly in the 225+ years since Independence, and while the Constitutional guarantee has held in theory, in practice the religious power-play has succeeded in carving so many inroads into the separation of church and state that the country has been reduced to a de facto Christian nation.

You want to build a mosque? Well, we have news for you.
Just guess whose country we think this is! 
In theory, the First Amendment still protects religious minorities and non-believers from unwanted Christian intrusion into their lives, but in practice this is not so. From public holidays honoring Christian holy days to public religious displays, to compelled silence for Christian prayers in legislatures, in schools and at events of huge public significance, from the casual assumption of Christian privilege and prominence to the very real favoritism via tax exemption and government funding which has enriched churches - secretly and without public oversight - at the public expense, the reality is that churches, especially Christian churches, are intimately entwined with the state. The battle to gain special status and the resulting economic and political power was on from the moment James Madison signed the First Amendment (actually even before) and for good reason from the point of view of the churches. They have benefited enormously from these unconstitutional arrangements.

The truth is that the Christian religion has been quietly empowered both financially and politically, and it aims to gain supreme power by replacing the current republic with a Bible-based state. Christian conservatives will never cede that power willingly. The truth is that when minority religions or the non-religious expect equal respect from the Christian majority, the Christian majority cries persecution and refuses to honor the Constitution that they claim to uphold, but which they are undermining because they hate it as a threat to their ambitions. When a minority's beliefs conflict with majority Christian beliefs, the majority will use every avenue available to force the minority to accept having Christian belief shoved down its throat, even when the Constitution has promised that this will not happen. For Christians, the First Amendment guarantees their religion; they believe that it guarantees that they have the right to strip away the freedom of others to enjoy public life free of Christian proselytizing and the presumption of Christian supremacy. Christians regard the insistence of others that the Constitution guarantees them the same freedoms and rights as Christians as a challenge to Christian rights.

...as long as it is Christianity
Merely requesting that the Constitutional guarantee for religious freedom for all be upheld results in public outcry from the majority, lawsuits, threats and ostracism of the individual(s) who dare to stand up for the right of the minority not to be oppressed by the Christian majority.  Respect for Christian beliefs is deemed of such paramount importance that we must disrespect the beliefs of others or we are accused of persecuting Christians and oppressing Christian belief. On the rare occasions when citizens (sometimes even Christian themselves) push back against the ubiquitousness of Christian belief  - for example  by objecting to its illegal injection into the publicly funded spheres of our society - the Christian majority shrieks that it is being oppressed or persecuted.

The very act of respecting the beliefs of non-Christians - or even of allowing them to be visible, free to simply exist in this society - is perceived by Christians as an attack upon them. In short, the Christian majority claims to be oppressed if they are prevented from oppressing others. It is an amazing fact of western life that the concept of religious persecution has been perverted by the Christian majority to such an extent that it is no longer recognizable as a meaningful description of the reality of what persecution actually means. It has been turned on its head. In the United States today, Christian religious belief is accorded such a level of public respect that it must be deferred to in every situation. In schools, in government offices, in supermarkets, hospitals and gas stations, non-Christians cannot escape the constant demand for public obeisance to Christianity.
Ah, religious respect 
for girls and women.

Last week, a young girl was made the scapegoat in a fundamentalist Catholic power-play. The fact that Christian misogyny is still so open and accepted in society is bad enough, but the repeated expressions of respect by everyone involved - including the victims of the discrimination itself - for this medieval, systemic marginalization of women and girls was little short of amazing. In a breathtaking show of oppositional apologia, the ultra-conservative Catholic school in question brazenly couched its policy of discrimination against girls as "teaching boys to respect ladies". Apparently, the only way to "respect ladies" is to bar them from sports they are qualified to play, deny them opportunities to compete with their ability peers and generally limit their horizons as far as possible within strictly segregated, narrowly traditional gender roles.

The gender roles that Our Lady of Sorrows and similar ultra-conservative Christian organizations advocate for boys and girls tend - as always when "religious tradition" is invoked - to mean these things: active, dynamic, leadership roles for boys;  passive, submissive, invisible roles for girls. In this religiously-fueled zeal to squeeze their female adherents into a suffocatingly circumscribed world of few joys and almost no choices, conservative Christians are exactly like their conservative brethren of other faiths - ultra-orthodox Jews and the Islamist Taliban, for instance - which enshrine repression of women into their orthodoxy under the same perniciously virtuous-sounding label of "respect for women".

A lifetime of shrouded invisibility.
Now, that's respect!
These religious extremists do not respect women. Their actions betray that their motives are the polar opposite of respectful; they intend not to respect the rights and autonomy - the humanity - of women and girls, but to deny them autonomy and rights - and their humanity. The purpose of this dogma is to control women for the use and service of men: to keep them subservient, less than men, silenced and invisible. The farce of conservative respect for women is nothing more than a cruelly ironic cover for the conservative campaign for the subjugation of women. There is real harm being done in the name of religion and it ought not to be allowed to continue without vigorous criticism.

I do not respect the beliefs of Our Lady of Sorrows school. I condemn their beliefs and their actions as the  immoral, repressive expression of deeply misogynistic theology. Attempts to establish medieval religious extremism should never go unchallenged in a civilized, egalitarian, free society. We would do well to remember that no society is impervious to the ever-present danger of right-wing authoritarianism. Domestic turmoil usually lays the conditions for the rise of oppressive theocracies, but war and failed government are not the only ways that authoritarian rule can gain a foothold in a contemporary society. Too often, authoritarian theocratic regimes take over when the people of a country have become complacently overconfident in their ability to detect and deflect such extremism. Tolerance of religious oppression is not respectful. It is foolhardy.

We would do well to remember that no society is impervious to the ever-present danger of right-wing authoritarianism.

It is time to stop paying undeserved respect to religious groups which marginalize and disrespect selected groups of human beings - usually female-bodied human beings. People who possess sincere respect for the essential humanity and dignity of others must refuse to offer "respect" for these oppressive ideologies. We must stand up and declare that this behavior is an affront to human dignity. It is immoral and people must have the courage to call it what it is. Religion is powerful. It is powerful enough to call for the elimination of its opponents in many parts of the world, and most religions do not hesitate to do so when they feel threatened. But, if people who value freedom of religion and who understand the threat which tyranny of the majority poses will not stand up, then we are - willingly? - participating in the destruction of our own democratic republic.

(This post was previously posted in 2012)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beatriz Is Still In Danger



























Yesterday in El Salvador, after months of life-threatening delay, a seriously ill young woman was finally delivered of a non-viable fetus by cesarean section.  Beatriz's fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly early in the pregnancy and could not survive. The baby died within hours of its delivery, as expected.

For many people who have been watching this story, there was a collective sigh of relief; Beatriz's life has been saved!  Over here at NiftyIdeas I am relieved, yes, that one part of this woman's horror story has come to an end, but I am angry because the story does not end there.

 Beatriz is finally free of a doomed pregnancy.
 She now faces the difficult recovery from 
major abdominal surgery as well as from 
the physical and psychological fallout 
of having been made a reproductive prisoner 
of the state for several months.
One woman in El Salvador was forced to pay the price of a government bowing to political pressure and ruling that all of its citizens must obey the dictates of religious conservatives.

One woman in El Salvador was denied the right to freedom from reproductive slavery; was denied the right to "stand her ground" and defend herself from the threat of physical harm and even death.

One woman in El Salvador is a symbol for millions of women all over the world who have suffered a similar fate - or worse - and the millions more who will continue to suffer from state-sanctioned reproductive slavery and even murder.

Because she was a pregnant woman, Beatriz was denied a basic human right: the right not to have any part of her body - or her whole body - forcibly used by the state to serve the needs of another human being. That is a form of slavery. No man can legally be forced to give up control of his organs or blood to keep another human being alive - not even if that other human being is his own innocent child. Even non-pregnant women are usually permitted to protect their own bodily autonomy in the same way. The ideology called "sanctity of human life" which urges states to force pregnant women into giving up bodily autonomy no matter what the risk to themselves disappears in a puff of smoke once a fetus emerges from a womb as a living baby. Then, it can go to the devil as far as "pro-lifers" are concerned. They fight to deny babies life-saving health care, food and education after birth equally as hard as they fight to force their mothers into giving birth in the first place.

The cesarean section that Beatriz underwent yesterday was not a satisfying conclusion to a dramatic political and religious fight. The sighs of relief are premature and misplaced. Except for the long-overdue ending of her doomed pregnancy, Beatriz has suffered as horribly as it was possible to suffer because of her country's sick theocratic laws and she is still not out of danger. Beatriz was at risk for every kind of regular pregnancy injury and she has certainly suffered several. She has almost certainly suffered severe and permanent damage to her health, too and she could very likely have died. She could still die as a direct result of the chain of health repercussions that this forced pregnancy has caused.

Beatriz was forced to endure months of high risk pregnancy as a slave to other peoples' ideological demands. Like every woman who has experienced pregnancy, Beatriz will have lifelong effects to her body and her health due to the stress that even a normal, healthy pregnancy would have had on her body. Unlike most healthy women, however, Beatriz has undoubtedly suffered major repercussions which will negatively impact her health for the rest of her life. Kidney failure is not a minor, easily reversible thing which will magically disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. She may or may not ever recover from that. The triggering of a severe autoimmune disease flare up is not a minor thing which will disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. Autoimmune disorders are like a genie in a bottle - once that cork is popped and the evil genie escapes, the repercussions spiral outward from there; there is no stuffing it back inside the bottle.
Beatriz's fetus suffered from a 
fatal birth defect: anencephaly
It's brain and parts of its skull
were missing
 It could not survive.

Finally, the cesarean section itself was major abdominal surgery involving cutting through the densely muscled abdominal wall, cutting into an organ - the uterus - and removing the fetus. It should always be the last resort in normal healthy women because the risk of harm to the woman is so high. Beatriz should never have been forced to endure a doomed pregnancy for so long that her only medical option in the end was to face even more risk to her health and life by undergoing a major surgical procedure.  It was unnecessary for Beatriz to have ever been forced into that situation, and I contend that it was criminal for her government - and the theocrats who control her government - to have persistently harmed her in this way.

The risks of pregnancy have been minimized and dismissed by proponents of forced birth, to the point where the general population is almost completely ignorant of facts. The average man on the street actually believes that because it is both "natural" and commonplace, pregnancy is no big deal - that it has only trivial deleterious effects on a woman's life and health - and that labor and vaginal birth or even cesarean section are likewise no big deal, either. Pregnancy is indeed, "natural" - as are many biological functions which may exact a very high cost on the functioning organism - but it is by no means a trivial matter.

Illness, injury and even death
caused by pregnancy is a reality,
as are lost wages, high medical bills
and countless other hardships
suffered by women but ignored
or minimized by society.
Every pregnancy causes lifelong negative changes in a woman's body. No mother escapes that. These range from the universally-experienced, relatively benign, but still psychologically painful (stretch marks, loss of youthful tone in the body) to the frequently-experienced, moderately serious and both physically and psychologically devastating (permanent loss of bladder control; vaginal and perineum tearing resulting in permanent scarring, damage and pain; damage to the abdominal wall resulting in lifelong weakness and risk of hernia) to the rare, but significant number who suffer serious pregnancy harm (massive blood loss and organ failure causing lengthy and incomplete recovery; months of debilitating pregnancy complications requiring expensive, bankrupting medical care; loss of ability to work and earn a living or care for other children; loss of life).

The reality of c-section is that
it is a major surgery carrying
a risk of major complications
and months-long recovery.
Statistics for these harms are difficult to pin down because the popular narrative discourages reporting of pregnancy-related harm, and in fact many pregnancy or childbirth-related injuries and deaths are recorded as caused by whatever secondary cause stemming from the pregnancy actually killed the woman. In other words, if a woman's organs shut down due to massive blood loss in delivery, her death might be recorded as " catastrophic organ failure" and never be factored into any statistical analysis pointing to risks of pregnancy and delivery. Further, hospitals in most places are not required to report maternal injury or death statistics as a separate database.

These flaws in reporting help to conceal the extent of the risk that women take on when pregnant and it helps to perpetuate the false narrative that pregnancy is a natural, easy "choice" which is always better for a woman as well as an embryo. In fact, pregnancy is never objectively better for a woman than either abortion or never conceiving in the first place. It is much worse for her in every way - physically, psychologically, economically and legally. Obviously, human beings still wish to reproduce and many women wish to become mothers so they voluntarily risk these hardships. The problem is when society compels them to undertake these risks.

Sadly, Savita Halappanavar
did not survive her state's
determination to murder her.
When a pregnancy is voluntary, most women willingly take on the health risks even when they are properly informed about the potential seriousness of those risks because they choose to be pregnant. Often however women are not informed of the risks of pregnancy because the narrative has been controlled by anti-choice activists who promote the minimization of pregnancy risks and dismissal of the huge impact pregnancy makes on a woman's life. Because of deliberate miseducation, many women voluntarily become pregnant without understanding the full range of risks they are taking, and if the pregnancy later causes or uncovers a serious health issue, these women are put into a horrific quandary. Furthermore, whether women understand the risks or not, their ability to choose whether or not to take on the risks of pregnancy is being more and more reduced, even in so-called "progressive" countries where constitutionally-protected abortion rights still exist at least in theory.

Beatriz will never be the same again. If she survives the surgery and its aftermath, she will still endure a lifetime of severely diminished health and strength as a direct result of the actions of the Salvadoran state. She was forcibly harmed by the Salvadoran state, through its religiously-mandated laws and its theocratically-controlled government. I'm going down on record to say that the fact that this can still happen to any woman in the 21st century is an outrageous affront to human morality and a terrifying miscarriage of justice.

As the Republican party - representing the extreme religious right wing of society - continues to push anti-choice legislation through state legislatures and Congress, the safety and human rights of women
The 2012 Republican-dominated
Congress put policing women's
health before jobs, in spite of the
promises that got them elected.
even in the USA is in jeopardy. Access to safe legal abortion might be denied to women in a modern, democratic country is no longer guaranteed. In fact, in many states it is nearly impossible for a woman who needs an abortion to get the health care she needs and in most other states, it is increasingly difficult. What happened to Beatriz and Savita is already happening here, and has been happening for years. One reason why the stories are not publicized is because of false reporting of the causes of injury or death as noted above. But it is the implacable resistance in society to the notion that pregnancy might pose dangers to women which fuels willful blindness. In the USA and Canada, people don't know that many women every year are denied the healthcare they need, because they do not want to know.

Women are at risk of reproductive slavery and medical malpractice all over the world including in the "progressive" west. Instead of prioritizing women's health, increasing access to effective contraception for every woman and abortion services for women who need them, societies romanticize pregnancy and childbirth, fight against comprehensive sexual education for young people, limit access to healthcare, force pregnancy and childbirth and then saddle women with all of the physical and economic costs of involuntary parenthood. Men and women who value justice and human rights ought to be paying attention. Tomorrow we may be reading about a Beatriz or Savita in our own hometowns.





Friday, March 8, 2013

Pwned! (An International Women's Day Feature Presentation)



























In honor of International Women's Day, may I present a great story about a remarkable woman. This story has it all: a courageous heroine, vicious enemies, conflict, cultural relevance, tension and drama. And a very satisfying conclusion. It's like the best video game ever!

Anita Sarkeesian is a young feminist. She has also been an enthusiastic video gamer since childhood. As she grew from happily video-playing child to thoughtful teen and feminist adult, Sarkeesian became increasingly disturbed by the portrayal of female characters in video games. It seemed that the vast majority of female-identified characters were either victims, trophies or wily (lying) temptresses - always, always hyper-sexualized and all too often brutalized as some part of the storyline.

Sarkeesian talked about this portrayal of women in video games on her video blog as part of the overall discussion of the issue of the negative depictions of women in all aspects of popular culture. She discussed it with other gamers, too, and while she did receive encouraging feedback from many, she also received angry blowback from some. Recognizing that this sexist portrayal of women characters was not accidental, Sarkeesian decided to try to examine the issue a little more closely.

But, it's just a game!
Why can't these b****es lighten up?
In 2012, Sarkeesian made the "mistake" of launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of videos examining the prevalence of sexist gendered stereotypes in video games. While the project was hailed as a great idea by many feminist gamers (both men and women), it was met with outrage by a significant subset of gamers and misogynists on the internet. The resulting firestorm of misogynistic harassment ranged from expletive-laced comments on the website to threats of rape, torture and death. Her blog, Feminist Frequency, was hacked. Enraged gamers created "games" featuring Sarkeesian as a character who is raped, beaten or killed (or all three) - one was called "Beat up Anita Sarkeesian" and featured the *fun* of punching the animated Anita until the blood-spatter turns the screen red. Furious gamers sent videos of the violence being done to her "game character", perhaps meant as a warning and a threat, but undoubtedly meant to harass, intimidate and silence her.

Fortunately for young women everywhere - and more directly for women gamers - Anita Sarkeesian did not let the harassment silence her. She persevered in her quest. Other feminist gamers supporting her effort spread the word about the Kickstarter and the rest, as they say, is history.  Here is Anita Sarkeesian speaking at TED+Women last fall telling the story in her succinct, engaging and calmly awesome way:



Online harassment - even harassment that reaches criminal levels - is almost never successfully prosecuted. The law has not caught up to the technology yet and in any case the anonymity and enormous size of the online population makes enforcement of any laws problematic.  The internet is the perfect home for enraged cowards who lob verbal and visual attacks at their targets before scuttling away into the shadows of the interweb. While it is likely that most of these lowlifes would never risk their own hides by coming out into the open and attacking the object of their wrath in real life, the sobering fact that no one can be certain about what rage-filled people might do is often enough to frighten a victim of online harassment into silence.

What? It's just a simple beach shot!
Why do those feminazis always get
their thongs in a twist, anyway?
The goal of the anti-feminists who perpetrated the campaign against her was to silence Anita Sarkeesian through online harassment so vicious and threatening that it is actually nauseating to read about.  Instead of achieving their goal, however, they inadvertently assisted her in her goal of funding the video series. With great courage and determination, Sarkeesian not only continued to promote her project but she actually used the online campaign of terror against her as a case in point supporting the need for exactly the series her kickstarter was attempting to fund.

The TED talk linked above occurred last fall and this week, Ms. Sarkeesian released the first video in the series, Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games.

Upcoming videos in the series will include:

The Fighting F#@k Toy - Video #2
The Sexy Sidekick - Video #3
The Sexy Villainess - Video #4
Background Decoration - Video #5
Voodoo Priestess/Tribal Sorceress - Video #6
Women as Reward - Video #7
Mrs. Male Character - Video #8
Unattractive Equals Evil - Video #9
Man with Boobs - Video #10
Positive Female Characters! - Video #11
Top 10 Most Common Defenses of Sexism in Games - Video #12

In addition to what looks to be a fantastic series of videos about this issue, Sarkeesian is developing materials for a classroom curriculum kit to help educate a future generation of gamers and internet media participants. As she pointed out in her TED+Women talk, "video games are the fastest growing form of mass media today". This is a huge communication tool, with enormous power to influence and shape our culture. As a society, we can sit back and allow it to more deeply entrench harmful tropes which dehumanize, objectify and exclude women or we can use it to help build a more just and equitable society.

Clearly, a significant, vocal and vicious subset of society wishes to enforce compliance with the first option. But feminists like Anita Sarkeesian and her supporters have fought for and achieved a small step toward ensuring that the second option has a chance to flower.

In short, Anita Sarkkeesian pwned the very people who wanted to force her to shut up and go away.

Well done, Anita Sarkeesian!

Take a few minutes to view the masterfully done video below. It is entertaining, quick-moving, and makes its points clearly and concisely. The video clips from some of my favorite games are fun, too!

Best quote:

"In the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team; they are the ball."

QFT.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yes, It Is Rape.

Today's post is a Nifty PSA that I hope my readers will pass on far and wide. Let's make it go viral on Facebook. There is no banner photo on this post because the subject is too serious and I do not want the TRIGGER WARNING* that this post discusses rape culture to be missed.

We live in a culture - the culture of virtually all of humankind, not any particular national culture - which refuses to hold men accountable for acts of sexual aggression against women. The sociological term for this is Rape Culture.

Glamorizing rape.
  Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
  Rape Culture affects every woman.  The rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape.  This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture. (Rape Culture, Marshall University Women's Center.)

 From very early ages, men and women are conditioned to accept different roles. Women
are raised to be passive and men are raised to be aggressive. We are conditioned to accept certain
attitudes, values and behaviors. Our conditioning is continuously and relentlessly encouraged and
reinforced by the popular media, cultural attitudes and the educational system. The media is a
major contributor  to  gender-based  attitudes  and  values.  The  media  provides  women  with  acomplete list of behaviors that precipitate rape. Social training about what is proper and ladylike,
as well as what is powerful and macho, teaches women to be victims and men to be aggressors.
 The high incidence of rape in this country is a result of the power imbalance between men
and women. Women are expected to assume a subordinate relationship to men. Consequently,
rape can be seen as a logical extension of the typical interactions between women and men. One
way to analyze the power relationship between men and women is by examining some of the
common social rules women are taught. (Defining a Rape Culture, UC Davis web publication.)


Glamorizing violence
Whittling down the definition of rape to such a thin sliver of possible scenarios that it might eventually simply disappear as a "crime" entirely, has become the vogue these days. The impetus behind that social and legislative push is that many men (and many women, too, since we all are immersed in Rape Culture) believe that, in most cases, forced sex is justifiable. Most people agree that it may not exactly be polite, or the smoothest, nicest way to behave, but coerced sex is usually not really rape: it's just a guy doing what comes naturally when he finds a woman attractive. If men don't pursue, the human race will go extinct! She probably asked for it. If she didn't say "No', then she probably meant "Yes", and if she wasn't clear, how is a guy supposed to know anyway? If something happened that she didn't really want, then she ought to have thought of that before going on that date/accepting that drink/asking him in for coffee/smiling and flirting/pick any scenario because they all lead to forced sex somewhere every day.

With very rare exceptions,  not quite consensual sex is seen as the inevitable result of mistakes made by women (leading men on, dressing like sluts, asking for it, etc) and therefore most people are uncomfortable labeling such incidents "rapes". After all, it somehow strikes people as unfair to call a man who uses a woman's body against her will a rapist, when he is otherwise a nice guy and anyway it was a natural reaction by any red-blooded male to female provocation. For many people there is really only one definition of rape: the violent 'bushy-haired stranger' (this imaginary monster is always a 'bushy-haired stranger', ever notice?) who sexually assaults a virgin, leaving visible injuries. 

Violent stranger rape is comparatively rare. If Republican hopes to narrow the definition of rape to so-called "forcible rape" are realized in every state, rare violent stranger rape could become the only kind that will be recognized as criminal, while women actually live in fear of the myriad forms of "not-really" rape that can happen to them at any time, while society looks the other way. Since in Republican dreams the coercive power of the threat of force is not equivalent to the use of physical force, cannot be measured and is probably all in the woman's hysterical, over-reacting imagination anyway, nearly all of the most prevalent rape scenarios would no longer be considered crimes. Women will be victimized by the sexual aggression of men without even the inadequate protection of seldom-prosecuted laws to give them the courage to step out into the world knowing that they have the legal right to not be sexually harrassed - even though that right is assaulted every single day in a thousand little ways. This systemic intimidation which limits women's ability to pursue their lives and happiness as freely as men is sanctioned and encouraged by Rape Culture. 


22 Ways to Stop Violence Against Women
Below is an ad airing in the UK which addresses Rape Culture in a gut-wrenching, all-too-common scenario: a party, probably with drinking, the initial trust of the young woman, the expectations of the young man, and the eventual rape. Rape culture ensures that many young men really do not believe that forcing sex on a person who is saying 'No' is rape, especially if she was initially flirting or drinking at a party or has had sex with him before. This ad underlines the truth that rape occurs whenever one person coerces another into sexual activity against the second person's wishes

*TRIGGER WARNING!  Please be aware that this ad portrays a commonly-experienced scenario where a rape occurs, and though very well-done, it may be painfully triggering to many viewers.

via Love, Joy, Feminism


Friday, November 2, 2012

Barmy Bible Study - The Biblical Kind of Rape



























It's Wednesday Thursday Friday night! Time for Barmy Bible Study!

In light of recent public confusion about the rape thing and what the right-thinking Christian view on that whole thing should be, our text for tonight will be a selection of verses pertaining to this issue. Because the Biblical promises and exhortations for righteous rape are so numerous, I will only post a small sampling here. For extra credit, go and read more on the subject yourself. The Good Book™ is stuffed with stories of the Biblical kind of rape so you'll have no trouble finding plenty of references.

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault; violence.

(Atheists and other haters of God's Holy Word skip down past the blue text)

Exodus 21:7-11 (Righteous treatment of female property)
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Judges 19: 20-28 (A rape is prevented)
20 Then the old man said, “Welcome! Let me take care of your needs. Just don’t spend the night in the city square.” 21 So he took the Levite to his house and fed the donkeys. After they washed, they ate and drank.22 While they were enjoying themselves, some worthless men from the city surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They told the old man, the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so that we can have sex with him.”23 The owner went out to them. He told them, “No, my friends! Please don’t do anything so evil! This man is a guest in my home. Don’t do such a godless thing! 24 Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. Rape them, and do with them whatever you want. Just don’t do such a godless thing to this man.
Thank God! A legitimate rape was averted!
25 But the men refused to listen to him. So the Levite grabbed his concubine and forced her outside. They had sex with her and abused her all night until morning. They let her go when the sun was coming up. 26 At daybreak, the woman came to the door of the house where her husband was and collapsed. She was still there when it became light.27 Her husband got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and was about to leave. His wife (that is, his concubine) was lying at the door of the house with her hands on the doorstep. 28 The Levite said to her, “Get up! Let’s go!” But she did not answer. So he put her on the donkey and left for home.

2 Samuel 12:11-14 (David's punishment)
 Thus says the Lord: 'I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.  I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor.  He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.  You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.'
 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."  Nathan answered David: "The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.  But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die."  


It isn't legitimate rape if a man has
paid fifty shekels for that girl!
That's Biblical rape - the godly kind!
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (Justice for stolen property)
“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

Judges 21:10-14 (God will provide)
Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives.  But there were not enough women for all of them.  The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel.  So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead?  There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever.  But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."
 Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.  They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards.  When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife!  And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding.  Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'"  So the men of Benjamin did as they were told.  They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.  

Deuteronomy 22:23-24 (Justice for woman's sinfulness)
Why didn't she cry out?
Evil temptress! Stone her!
“If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Zechariah 14:1-2
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14 (Enemies who ask for it)
“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you.

Judges 5:30
‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?— A womb or two for every man; spoil of dyed materials for Sisera, spoil of dyed materials embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

Study Questions for The Biblical Kind of Rape

1. Does God intend for rape to happen? If so, what would be Biblical rape?

2. Is there any such thing as "legitimate rape"?

3. What can we learn from God's rules about Biblical rape and how can we apply these lessons to modern Christian life?
Yes, exactly as God intended
What is the matter with
you silly feminists? 

Read your Bible, Ban!

Before these questions can be properly answered, we need a little background. Bible-believers understand that there is a foundational Truth™ upon which all of the Abrahamic religions are based. Everything written in the Bible about rape - and every "extreme" thing that Christian hardliners have been saying - makes perfect sense once this fundamental Biblical Truth is clearly understood. It is about time for every righteous person (and you too, ladies!) in the Christian United States of America to shout it out, loud and proud:

God's ultimate creation is MAN.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2.

The book of Genesis tells us with crystal clarity that God did not create two "equal" sexes at the beginning of time, contrary to the revisionist theology of liberal so-called Christians. God created man, who alone was given dominion over all the other creatures of the earth and over the land and the waters, too. Adam was the prototype for all mankind; the original - the only soul-breathed, fully human creation in our male God's image. All of the politically correct, feminazi-controlled language which insists on twisting God's Holy Word to pretend an unBiblical, inclusive equality obscures the Truth™. Feminist women and men (may God forgive them!) have caused enough confusion and it is time to put a stop to it. It's time to take back the language, too, America! God did not create "humankind"; He created "mankind". Man is God's only fully human creation and it is high time we stopped bowing to godless liberal pressure and pretending otherwise.

Thank you, God,
for not making me a woman!

(Men's daily prayer)
This is the Biblical Truth™ which Christians intend to restore to its proper place as the foundation of human society: Man is the ultimate, soul-breathed  godly creation while wombman woman is an afterthought. She is a flawed thing - not quite human and not quite animal - created to serve man's needs. The men who wrote the book of Genesis were unquivocal: God had no prior plans to create woman in her own right like the beasts of the land, the fishes in the sea and His pièce de résistance - man. She was merely pulled out of man - a fraction of the man, so to speak - a little bit like him but much less than he. Man is primary, the pinnacle of creation, moral and thoughtful, a living soul - the delight of the Almighty. Woman is derivative, an animal made from a spare body part, amoral and thoughtless, devoid of the god-breathed soul which entitles man to his amazingly god-like dominance over all of creation, including her - the afterthought of the God of man.

Before the fall, man was right with God. He ruled over all the creatures of the earth without cruelty or strife. That was before the mistake of woman. Woman - that afterthought probably best left uncreated - brought man down and they were expelled from Eden and condemned to die. No longer guaranteed eternal life, the man had to procreate so that his kind could live on after his death. For this, he was able to use the womb that God had provided, which is why for all of Bible-influenced history women have been ruthlessly reduced to their biological reproductive function. Finally, the female helpmeet's role was defined! Sex was employed (reluctantly by man, lasciviously by woman) after the fall as a way for man to reproduce and carry on his line (while he awaits the day when God finally relents and restores him to eternal life). Bible-believers understand that the womb woman's duty is to be the vessel through which man brings his issue into the world. Look, don't blame Christians, this is God's Holy Word.
Tch tch! Is it any wonder people
don't believe he is a Christian?
Thus, a woman's sole purpose in life, according to God's Holy Word, is to conceive and bear children to men - sons to carry on his line and daughters to provide wombs for his sons to continue the line of man. Males are persons while females are empty vessels to be used by men to produce more persons. A woman is meant to suffer in childbearing; it is God's punishment on her for the sins of Eve. She must never have control over any man; she is the tool of man so that he can beget sons. Her daughters will also be the tools of men. She has no right to choose, to consent or to deny. Like a man's livestock and beasts of burden, her purpose is to serve man. Like the livestock, she has no thoughts or feelings that are worthy of notice; she is the property of her father until she becomes the property of her husband. As our own CHIC, Ann Romney, so succinctly put it: It's how it is.  This is simply the inerrant Biblical Truth. 

It isn't that Christians want it to be this way - indeed, in their human frailty, most men mistakenly believe in the humanity of women and many are deeply troubled by the Biblical god's insistence that females have no intrinsic worth. But we are a Christian nation! The Bible has tough parts that liberal men may not want to hear, but righteous Christians must insist that they listen. It is imperative that this humanist morality be rooted out and replaced with stronger, righteous Biblical morality, which is why getting Bible-based teaching into our schools and into our laws is the top priority of Christian fundamentalists.

When the Truth™ (according to the author of Genesis) is understood, the lessons about sex, rape and procreation in the Bible - and indeed, the teachings of all of the Abrahamic religions regarding relations between men and lower creation - make perfect sense. Armed with this knowledge, the sincere Bible believer can easily answer the study questions in tonight's Bible Study.

1. Does God intend rape to happen?

Listen up, Liberals: there was no mistake.
These godly men speak nothing but
the Truth™ of God's Holy Word
The short answer is yes. God allows - and sometimes even commands (2 Samuel) - men to force sexual intercourse onto unwilling women and to force pregnancy upon women without their consent. Because He loves man and recognizes the weak human morality which tends toward empathy for others, God would prefer to see mankind enjoy the dignity of loving, consensual unions with willing women. Indeed, that is the Christian ideal, but the provocative nature of fickle, flirtatious females sometimes gives some Christian men no choice but to force the issue.

But, that is not legitimate rape. It is Biblical rape. As explained above, women were created for the use of men - in particular, to be used by men so that men can have children. As human breeding livestock, women have no more right to consent to sexual relations or to pregnancy than a dog can consent to fetch or a hen can consent to lay eggs. Because they have wombs, women must be forced to exist in a perpetual state of readiness to accept precious gifts from God, even if those gifts come through the actions of men whom they may not know, nor love nor want to have children with. As noted above: what women want or feel or experience is of no consequence. This is about every man's right to reproduce. This is about human life!

Recently, the news has been full of reports about good Christian men in government under attack because they have dared to speak the Biblical Truth™. The Bible makes it clear that God does intend rapes - and pregnancies caused by rapes - to happen. It is all part of His Plan. This is uncontroversial among Bible-believers and indeed, it is plainly written in dozens of places throughout scripture. Willful denial of these facts does not erase the truth, it only confuses the masses. If people would only pay attention to what the Bible actually says and stop trying to make it all so politically correct, there would be far less confusion in this country. Hopefully, this Bible Study will help to dispel the confusion.
Yes, it is what God intended.
 Read your Bibles, heretics!
Think of Biblical rape as an umbrella term for all of the resourceful ways that God provides wombs wives and children for the less fortunate of mankind: the men who cannot find willing wombmates. A multitude of passages in the Bible clearly show that it does not matter how a man manages to take a wife - trickery, rape, abduction, slavery; everything is allowed (sometimes even ordered) by God - nor what methods of conception he uses to get his issue into the world. It doesn't matter whether he impregnates a woman through stranger rape, wartime rape, slave rape, incestuous rape or legally-purchased spousal rape or through trickery, sabotage, intimidation, or coercion - just so long as his right to reproduce using whatever womb woman he can thrust his penis into is protected by Biblical mandate.

Godly men can opt for the straightforward sale (eg. Exodus 21: 7-11) by the father of a breeder daughter to an eligible man (thirty shekels of silver was the going price in Moses' day). This usually requires that the man pass muster with the woman's owner father, since the mating will also impact the father's genetic line. A suitor found wanting by the prospective grandfather may be turned away. This situation might quite rightly enrage a rejected man, but luckily, the Bible has a solution...

To wit: the forced sale (Deuteronomy 22: 28-29) If a rejected suitor can manage to rape a female breeder, her father will then be forced to hand over his property to the rapist. The rapist must then, in addition to the usual price paid for a woman, pay a premium (fifty shekels of silver) to the father for the insult of having robbed him of the ability to choose a son-in-law. This form of Biblical rape is meant for the disadvantaged yet daring man. He may not have much luck securing a wife unless he steals one, so this form of Biblical rape provides the perfect solution to the less genetically-favored men in Bible-based societies. Praise God! He will always provide!

'A womb or two' - or more! - 
'for every man'.
That's the Biblical way!
When large numbers of "wives" are needed for restless armies of (ahem) vigorous young men, God has the solution: Biblical wartime rape (Deuteronomy 20: 10-14, Judges 21: 10-14). God orders His armies to murder all the people (in other words, all of the men) in some ill-favored place and carry off their livestock (including all the virgins) and chattels. Divvy up the spoils evenly among the godly young men, including the virgins, and voilà! Womb-shortage averted!

Yes, the women may be taken against their will and impregnated against their will, but that is not legitimate rape because God wills it. The Biblical God clearly sanctions rape as a method of conception for men who might otherwise be at risk of not having any offspring. Think about it: if given a choice, some women might refuse to have children. Some women might reject the sexual advances of perfectly nice guys. Already, some women actually demand that all women be given the power to control when and if they will become pregnant - literally threatening all men's right to reproduce! - and in some places, there are simply too few women to go around. Women must be prevented from holding reproductive power over men. We are talking about life here - the sanctity of a man's right to continue his genetic line. It is what women were created for and what a Bible-based America will insist upon. Read your Bible.

2. Is there any such thing as "legitimate rape"?

Yes, there is such a thing as legitimate rape.  When a male says he has been raped, that is legitimate rape. The seriousness of this heinous crime should be obvious to all and it is clearly forbidden by the Bible (Judges 19: 20-28). Terrible stories of the abuse of boys and young men by trusted religious and community figures are met with universal outrage and public demands for the arrest and severe punishment of the perpetrators are entirely appropriate. While centuries of Biblical rapes of millions of women and girls were of course unremarkable, the relatively rare instances of legitimate rape against (non-slave) males are quite rightly front page news. This is because it is virtually impossible to legitimately rape a woman, and of course Biblical rape is A-OK according to our Moral Guidebook, but the sexual assault of men and boys is a defilement, an abomination, an outrage against mankind.
Got that, Girl? 
Come on, you know you think I'm hot.
Now use that little ladybrain
and vote for me.
My sex appeal will shut that whole
thinking thing down.
3. What can we learn from God's rules about Biblical rape and how can we apply these lessons to modern Christian life?

The Bible makes it clear that women are entitled to absolutely no rights over their own bodies, over their lives or over their fertility. A woman's destiny is to be a mother, under the control of the father of her children. Every pregnancy is a gift from God, no matter how it occurred. A man is a person and the fruit of his seed is also a person. The vessel into which the man deposits the seed is not a person: it is a mere woman, sinful and fallen. These are the Biblical principles upon which godly men rely when they declare that abortion is murder, but denying an abortion to a woman who will die without one is not. Under no circumstances - not for rape (which never legitimately happens to females), nor incest (Genesis 19), nor to save a woman's life - should abortion ever be permitted. It is a crime against mankind. As soon as we restore its Biblical foundation, the Christian United States of America will re-criminalize all abortion without exceptions.

Likewise, female-controlled contraception is unBiblical and immoral. It is woman's role to conceive and bear children. She is a vessel, a breeder of men - but she is also untrustworthy, immoral, licentious and a liar. No woman should ever be permitted to indulge in lustful degeneracy and escape the consequences. She is incapable of moral behavior; she lacks normal human feelings toward life and will murder for convenience; she is a captive to her sexual urges and will sink into promiscuous dissipation which will destroy the American dream unless men regain control and restore order in society. In a Christian United States of America, female-controlled contraception will be banned and women returned to their rightful position of fearful submission to the will of man God (and man).

Our Christian nation must elect godly men who will enforce these Biblical precepts and restore this country to Bible-based righteousness. Finally, we have such men in the Republican party.Gov Mitt Romney (MA), Rep Paul Ryan (WI), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), Sen Todd Akin (MO), Richard Mourdock (IN), Rep Steve King (IA), Rep.Joe Walsh (IL), Gov.Bob McDonnell (VA), Gov Mike Huckabee (NM), Gov Rick Perry (TX), Rep Frank Guinta (NH), Reince Preibus, Gov Jan Brewer (AZ), Gov Dennis Daugaard (SD), House Speaker John Boehner (OH), Sen Marco Rubio (FL), Gov Rick Scott (FL), Sen Rob Portman (OH), Gov Tim Pawlenty (MN), Sen John Thune (SD),  Rep Jim Buchy (OH) and literally hundreds of other state and federal respresentatives are leading the final charge in a war on women that has been brewing for more than thirty years.

These brave crusaders for a Bible-based Christian United States of America are not outliers: this is the Republican party today, on both the federal and state levels.  God's Own Party is strong, revitalized and - after the election - you betcha, they're ready to push women back where they belong - out of the workplace where they currently are stealing men's jobs (for less pay), out of the military and out of college - virtuously married (to a man only) unemployed and forced to bear as many children as possible. That's the Biblical way!

Praise God!

Class dismissed.