Hello, can you please explain your feelings on that quote you just reblogged, about feminine traits? (I understand if you don’t want to spend time explaining it but I would really appreciate it! Thank you either way)
It’s not called feminism because women are “shamed for their feminine traits,” it’s called feminism because we live in a society organized around a hierarchy of the sexes, where males violently subordinate females and oppress us on the basis of our female sex. Part of that oppression is the construction of femininity to make us weaker, less educated, more docile, more encumbered, less powerful, and more subservient. Femininity doesn’t just happen to exist naturally and men don’t just happen to dislike it and shame us for it, it is specifically constructed AS THE MAIN ENGINE OF OUR OPPRESSION and is not natural or innate.
Menstrual Hygiene Day serves as a neutral platform to bring together individuals, organisations, social businesses and the media to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management.
Menstrual Hygiene Day will help to address the challenges and hardships many women and girls face during their menstruation, but also to highlight the positive and innovative solutions being taken to address these challenges.
The day catalyses a growing, global movement that recognizes and supports girl’s and women’s rights and build partnerships among those partners on national and local level.
It is an opportunity to engage in policy dialogue and actively advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into global, national and local policies, programmes and projects
It creates an occasion for media work, including social media.
A rape victim falsely accused of lying by detectives has won £20,000 in damages after suing police under the Human Rights Act. The woman, who cannot be named, was 17 when a man raped her in Winchester in April 2012 after a night out with friends. Her mother reported the attack hours later and the victim told officers her T-shirt may contain her attacker’s DNA.
But the garment was never sent for forensic testing and weeks later the girl, who has mental health problems, was accused of lying about the rape and arrested for perverting the course of justice. During the arrest, one detective told her: “This is what happens when you lie.”
Documents seen by the Guardian reveal that detectives from Hampshire police decided within two days of the rape report that the girl was lying. A detective inspector, who was supervising the inquiry, told a junior colleague: “Fucking nick her.”
But six months later – after a complaint by the girl’s mother about her treatment – a new team of officers reviewed the investigation and informed the mother and her daughter that they believed her. The T-shirt was sent for testing, and the suspect, Liam Foard, was tried and found guilty.
Hampshire police have apologised to the family and admitted liability for false imprisonment and assault. The force accepted there was a breach of its duties under the Human Rights Act to properly investigate the rape.
The victim’s mother said: “I’m glad that they had admitted they were wrong, but how many time does it have to happen? If it can happen to my daughter, how many more can it happen to?” She said her daughter had yet to receive an apology in person.
Four officers faced disciplinary action after an internal investigation by the Hampshire force’s professional standards department. Three avoided any sanction after they retired or resigned, and the fourth was given a written warning.
Debaleena Dasgupta, the young woman’s lawyer, said: “Many people wrongly assume the police have a legal obligation to investigate crimes. However, the only way victims of crime can seek justice for these sorts of issues is using the Human Rights Act, which imposes a duty on the police to properly investigate very serious offences.”
In the days after the rape, the girl was attacked twice in the local area and called a “pathetic rape victim”. The police investigated both incidents but no further action was taken. Eight weeks after her rape complaint, on June 22 2012, the girl was asked to come to a police station, where she was told she was under arrest for perverting the course of justice.
“I just thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’” her mother said. “I knew what perverting the course of justice meant, so I knew they were arresting her for lying about the rape. So at that time my daughter had just turned 18 and I insisted because of mental health problems that I sit in on the interview.
“She [my daughter] tried to run away – she just couldn’t believe it. And she did put up a fight in the police station.”
After her arrest, the girl was on police bail for months while Hampshire police consulted the Crown Prosecution Service about whether to charge her. “It was horrible, because it was like she might have gone to prison. And what would she do, how would she cope, how would I cope, how would the family cope?” her mother said. She added that her daughter’s mental health deteriorated as they waited for the charging decision, and that she began self-harming and attempted suicide twice.
“She was upset because she couldn’t believe that they couldn’t believe that it could happen to her,” the mother said. “We didn’t find out until a later date that they hadn’t done the forensics on the clothes. And that was partly the decision to arrest her, for perverting the course of justice.”
In October, on the day the teenager was due to answer bail, two officers visited mother and daughter at their home. “They told me that my daughter didn’t need to go to the police station to answer bail and that they now believed her story and they would now be taking over the investigation,” said her mother. “I remember standing in the living room saying, ‘They believe you, they believe you.’ She didn’t believe it. She had lost all faith in them by then.”
Malone is one of 60 officers working in GMP’s serious sexual offences unit (SSOU), which is profiled in a BBC2 three-part documentary starting this Sunday. Based in a heavily fortified modern building in Ashton-under-Lyne, the officers spend all of their time investigating rape or attempted rape. “You have to be a people person, rather than a cold, hard facts person, like some detectives are,” said Det Supt Jon Chadwick, who has run the SSOU since its inception three years ago.
“Rape victims are a class of people on their own … It just has an impact like no other crime. Trying to keep that person safe, manage their expectations day to day, trying to get them into the recovery process – that’s the biggest challenge.”
That’s why Chadwick decided to set up the SSOU. “It was about getting a bit wiser to the fact that rape is a special crime. We’ve had murder teams, drug teams, armed robbery teams for ages. This was about realising we should be doing a lot better and doing things differently, because rape has such a massive impact on victims. The idea is you can teach anyone to be a detective. You can’t teach anyone to be a good rape detective, because it’s about the way they deal with victims.”
In the three years the unit has been running, two rape survivors killed themselves after GMP and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) took their abusers to court. In January 2013 Frances Andrade committed suicide after giving evidence against her abuser, Michael Brewer, former head of music at Chetham’s school of music in Manchester. The following February a woman called Tracey Shelvey threw herself off a car park roof in Rochdale after the man she and five others accused of rape was acquitted. Occasionally suspects take their own lives too, sometimes leaving notes protesting their innocence.
When a person has been raped, they’re “all over the place”, said Chadwick, a laconic man with a goatee beard and idiosyncratic fashion taste.
Rape detectives have to accept that the first account given by a victim may have holes in it, he said. “It will be inaccurate, it could be at the wrong time, the wrong day, the wrong place, in the wrong order. And there is an instinct among detectives that you just want to check things straight away.
“But the fact is, if someone has just been raped they will get things wrong. You need the right person listening and taking that case from the start and building around the victim, rather than thinking, ‘hang on, that’s not what she said, she’s got the day wrong.’ All the investigative skills are there. You just have to have a more open mind.”
From the start, Chadwick knew his officers would be busy. But he was not prepared for how overwhelmed the unit would be. In 2011-12, GMP recorded 737 rapes. Three years on, that figure had leapt 124% to 1,649 – a result, he thinks, of increased public confidence in the police. Around 40% of these reports are domestic incidents. The same percentage of the total are classed as “historic” because they weren’t reported until a year or more after the attack.
The conviction rate for rape in Greater Manchester, however, is poor. According to the CPS, in 2013-14, 274 cases reached court, with just 158 ending with successful prosecutions. That can be explained by GMP charging more rapes than other areas, argued Chadwick. “You go to other CPS areas and you need the most airtight case you’ve ever seen in your life before the CPS will charge it, and then you get a high conviction rate because you only send rock solid cases to court.”
Whether running a trial which the prosecution might lose is good for the victim is another question, he said. “That’s a case-by-case thing. I don’t think you can generalise.”
The unit must keep up as the law changes. Last month GMP received two complaints of revenge porn within days of new legislation coming into force making it a criminal act to disclose private sexual photos with intent to cause distress. On Friday the first man to be charged under the act in the area appeared by video link at Bolton crown court. Kevin Bond, 30, is accused of raping a woman twice in her home and then sending intimate images of her to another person.
Modern technology offers ever more opportunities for the determined rapist, said Chadwick. “We’re seeing an increasing number of people being raped by people they meet on dating sites. It’s just another tool that’s easy for rapists. You don’t have to approach someone in a bar any more. You can do it all online and rape them on the first meeting.”
Rape investigations have changed a lot since Larkin joined the force 25 years ago. “A victim used to ring up and say, ‘I’ve been raped’. Previously, before we made a crime report, we would try and prove or disprove – in some cases, not believing the victim. Now we always believe the victim in the first instance. Sometimes, when investigating, we can prove that the victim has lied or misunderstood or whatever. But we start off by believing them.”
Around the corner, a detective was investigating a crime which from the outset looked unlikely to ever reach court. A 14-year-old girl in Bolton, already known to police as being at high risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE), had accused an older man of raping her while her friend went off and had consensual sex with another man.
The officers who attended the scene quickly encountered a problem: her friend insisted it was all lies and that the pair had stuck together all evening. Looking through the alleged victim’s file on the police computer, it emerged that this is not the first time she has made an allegation of rape. But an officer must still dedicate time to the case, in consultation with a dedicated CSE unit.
The new victim-focused approach can be “massively frustrating” when officers know people are wasting their time by making false reports, admitted Larkin: “We do get people making up allegations because they want to get their own back, for whatever reason. If A and B are courting and A has an affair with C, sometimes B will say that A has raped her … It’s not massively common but it isn’t uncommon either.”
Later, Larkin’s boss, Chadwick, explained that less than 3% of all rape reports received by GMP turn out to be fabricated. But unlike other forces, GMP has never prosecuted a victim for making a false allegation. Instead, they have dished out the odd fixed-penalty fine for wasting police time. “The numbers are very low,” said Chadwick. “One of the considerations is the vulnerability of the victim. Generally those people making false reports have some sort of vulnerability.”
Chadwick adds: “Murder is easy compared with dealing with this. And I’ve done a lot of murder. It’s a completely different game when you’ve got a human being who has been subject to the worst crime you can be subjected to and survive.”
Why aren’t fathers teaching their sons how to respect women and their daughters how to identify predator behavior instead of “protecting” her with overt displays of hyper-masculine violence that does nothing to actually teach his daughter how to make grown up, informed decisions about her sex life or change the culture his children are growing up in? Why aren’t fathers considering that their daughters might not want to have anything to do with men or boys, sexually or otherwise? Why are fathers insisting on publicly obsessing about the sex and dating lives of their pre-teen daughters and then acting appalled that other men would view her sexually? Why are men incapable of not being the fucking worst?
Men could save themselves so much time and energy if they focused on understanding that women are human beings and teaching other men to do the same instead of getting all roided up in pointless displays of machismo over the mere thought of someone else treating women the way they treat women.
Men call women they disagree with cunts, dumb bitches, stupid whores, and more because they can’t conceptualize of a woman having worth without her “belonging” to him, then get upset when other men treat “their” women women with disrespect. Men treat women with violence and disrespect and then go around terrified that other men would have the audacity to do the same to “their” women. They say they need to protect their wives and daughters and sisters from “little punk ass boys who would treat them like shit” without realizing that the abyss has stared fucking back, and the punk ass boy is you.
A senior United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic.
Entitled Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces and stamped “confidential” on every page, the report details the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by French peacekeeping troops who were supposed to be protecting them at a centre for internally displaced people in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.
Donovan said: “The regular sex abuse by peacekeeping personnel uncovered here and the United Nations’ appalling disregard for victims are stomach-turning, but the awful truth is that this isn’t uncommon. The UN’s instinctive response to sexual violence in its ranks – ignore, deny, cover up, dissemble – must be subjected to a truly independent commission of inquiry with total access, top to bottom, and full subpoena power.”
The boys, some of whom were orphans, disclosed sexual exploitation, including rape and sodomy, between December 2013 and June 2014 by French troops at a centre for internally displaced people at M’Poko airport in Bangui.
The children described how they were sexually exploited in return for food and money. One 11-year-old boy said he was abused when he went out looking for food. A nine-year-old described being sexually abused with his friend by two French soldiers at the IDP camp when they went to a checkpoint to look for something to eat.
The child described how the soldiers forced him and his friend to carry out a sex act. The report describes how distressed the child was when disclosing the abuse and how he fled the camp in terror after the assault. Some of the children were able to give good descriptions of the soldiers involved.
The report contains interviews with six children who disclose sexual abuse predominantly at the hands of French peacekeepers. Some children indicated that several of their friends were also being sexually exploited.
The interviews were carried out by an official from the OHCHR justice section and a member of Unicef between May and June last year. The children, who are aged between eight/nine and 15, disclosed abuse dating back to December 2013. Entitled “Sexual abuse on children by international armed forces”, it is stamped confidential on every page.
The allegations include claims that Chadian soldiers, who are part of the peacekeeping mission, were also involved in abuse.
The children all talk of being abused in return for food rations handed out by the soldiers. One interview details how two nine-year-old children were sexually exploited together by two French soldiers.
The child goes on to describe how he and his friend were told to carry out a sex act on both soldiers before being given three packs of military food rations and some money.
Another nine-year-old child described how he went to ask for food from the French military at the IDP camp at M’Poko airport.
He says the soldier told him to carry out a sex act on him first. The report states: “He [the child] had friends who had done it already, he knew what he had to do. Once done, the military gave a military food portion and some food. X said the military had forbidden him to tell anything about him to anybody and that if he would do so he would beat him.”
A French judicial source revealed that a number of French soldiers accused of the abuse had been identified from the descriptions provided by the children.
In Bangui on Thursday, the mother of one child told Associated Press her son was just nine when he was assaulted by French soldiers. Her family had fled to the airport on the first day of the sectarian clashes in December 2013 and she and her son are still living there.
“The children were vulnerable because they were hungry and their parents had nothing to give them, so the children were forced to ask the soldiers for food,” she said.
“They took advantage of the children forcing them to perform oral sex and also sodomising them,” she said. “The moaning of children in the area often started around 10 pm or 11 pm.”
Another resident said other abused children ranged in age from 10-13.
“In exchange for cookies, the soldiers demanded oral sex,” she said, recounting what the children told her. “Afterwards, they were given bottles of water. They even sodomised the children.”
“Susie”, a victim who was interviewed by Louise Casey, appointed by Eric Pickles to lead the inspection of children’s services at Rotherham council, was a happy girl who did well at school. She came from a loving family. At the age of 14 she met one of the ringleaders in Rotherham’s child sexual exploitation gangs.
She said that the report was no surprise to her.
“I was expecting the report to be bad. I’ve lived through it. It’s good that Louise Casey believed people like me and acted on it. It was emotional to hear and read but it’s a good day. It’s the beginning of the truth. People want justice, we won’t get that til the truth comes out.”
Soon after meeting the brother of a trusted school friend, Susie was besotted with the handsome, charming, older man. But within months, the dedicated student had distintegrated under the spell of a man who terrorised her with threats and beatings.
Her rapid decline and underage pregnancies failed to elicit real support from agencies, and, at 15, her frantic parents agreed to put her in care hundreds of miles from Rotherham. But her abuser remained in contact.
“He had the house phone so if he couldn’t get me on my mobile, he rang the house phone.”
Eventually, when her abuser threatened to kill her, Susie ran for her life.
But the damage was done, and Susie spent over a decade working in the sex industry until persistent rages and violent outbursts led her to seek support. It was 12 years before Susie realised she had been exploited. “I’m angry because I can’t believe how much and for how long they have got away with.”
“I would never have been able to put any trust in Rotherham council (RMBC) – now we can begin afresh and a lot of people feel the same way. There have been too many horrific things have happened within RMBC and now we need the same investigation into South Yorkshire police.”
“I was with another victim when we heard the news and even though we have lived with this all our lives it brings everything back.
“Even after the Jay report I was called a liar by members of the council. Now I think I will be taken more seriously. I’m not the only person it happened to, we have all been through this pain and it can never be undone, and now we have to make sure other people don’t go through the same pain. I’m happy that the report has been done because it is what I have always known.”
QotD: “Rotherham council is to come under central government control after an independent inspection of its handling of child sexual exploitation concluded it was not fit for purpose”
Rotherham council is to come under central government control after an independent inspection of its handling of child sexual exploitation concluded it was not fit for purpose and was more concerned about protecting its own reputation than its most vulnerable citizens.
The cabinet of Rotherham metropolitan borough council (RMBC) immediately announced their intention to resign en masse in the wake of Louise Casey’s scathing report commissioned by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles.
The council leader, Paul Lakin, said he would quit both as leader and councillor. He could and should have done more to prevent child sexual exploitation (CSE) when he was in charge of children’s services, Casey’s report said.
On Wednesday Pickles ordered commissioners in to take over the council pending new elections in the borough next year to “renew” its leadership, as the National Crime Agency announced plans to investigate criminal allegations stemming from the latest inspection.
The cabinet resignations came after Casey, the government’s lead official on troubled families, said the council lacked “the necessary skills, abilities, experience and tenacity within either the member or senior officer leadership teams”.
Concluding that the council needs a fresh start, Casey’s 154-page report said: “The council’s culture is unhealthy: bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced ‘political correctness’ have cemented its failures.
“The council is currently incapable of tackling its weaknesses without a sustained intervention.”
She also criticised the council’s deep-rooted culture of suppressing bad news and ignoring hard issues, writing: “RMBC goes to some length to cover up information and to silence whistleblowers.”
Her “reluctant” conclusion was that “both today and in the past, Rotherham has at times taken more care of its reputation than it has its most needy”.
The Casey inquiry was commissioned following the publication last August of another report by social worker Alexis Jay, which said blatant collective failures by the council and police had led to the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children in Rotherham over a 12-year period.
Yet 70% of current Rotherham councillors, including cabinet members, dispute Jay’s findings. One told Casey’s team: “I would challenge lots of the Jay report, we feel bruised by it. Where is our right of reply? Who is fighting our corner? People are rolling over and just accepting [it].”
Denial of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham remains a serious problem, said Casey. “We have concluded that the 1,400 figure is a conservative one and that RMBC and South Yorkshire police (where some also dispute the figures) would do better to concentrate on taking effective action rather than seeking to continue a debate about the numbers.”
Casey said she considered it an uncontested fact that children in Rotherham were “sexually exploited by men who came largely from the Pakistani heritage community” and that not enough was done to acknowledge this, stop it happening, protect children, support victims and apprehend perpetrators.
Yet on arriving in Rotherham she found a council in denial. “They denied that there had been a problem, or if there had been, that it was as big as was said. If there was a problem they certainly were not told – it was someone else’s job. They were no worse than anyone else. They had won awards. The media were out to get them.”
Casey found that council staff and councillors lacked the confidence to tackle difficult issues “for fear of being seen as racist or upsetting community cohesion”.
She added: “By failing to take action against the Pakistani heritage male perpetrators of CSE in the borough, the council has inadvertently fuelled the far right and allowed racial tensions to grow. It has done a great disservice to the Pakistani heritage community and the good people of Rotherham as a result.”
Though her report focused on failures in RMBC, Casey reserves some opprobrium for South Yorkshire police. “There seemed to be lawlessness in relation to CSE in Rotherham. Perpetrators seemed to face no consequences. Nor were their activities disrupted,” she wrote.
The report gives a number of examples of insensitive policing, such as the officer who consoled one victim by saying: “Don’t worry – you aren’t the first girl to be raped by XX and you won’t be the last.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is already looking into CSE policing in Rotherham. The watchdog is currently investigating 10 officers and has received 20 further complaints, said a spokesman.
On Wednesday the National Crime Agency confirmed it would be examining “a number of potentially criminal matters identified during a recent inspection of Rotherham metropolitan borough council”.
QotD: “She will have developed the idea that some acts are unforgivable, especially those that involve powerful people mistreating the helpless”
There is a misconception that not forgiving will lead to hatred, obsession, poor emotional health, or perpetual rage on the client’s part. The implication is that forgiveness is the fullest release from the pain of having been so violated. This simply is not true.
An incest survivor is urged to absolve the perpetrator of his crime, let go of the anger she feels toward him, release him from suffering any consequences of his actions, and to move on with her life. There is a popular notion that if a survivor does not forgive her abuser then she will be stuck, unable to fully recover from her wounds and steeped in perpetual anger. Does this make sense? Is this healthy for the client? Are other crime victims similarly pressured?
If a client does not forgive her abuser, she retains a self-protective warning system. That system guards her from further harm from her abuser or other dangerous people. She will have developed the idea that some acts are unforgivable, especially those that involve powerful people mistreating the helpless. She remains forever aware that betrayal and violation are possible even from those she loves. This may cause her to always leave a piece of herself tucked away so that if she is ever hurt again she can survive again. In short, she will maintain a survivor’s stance rather than a victim’s stance. A victim believes that “No matter what pain someone causes me, I will eventually offer my compassion and forgiveness,” thus leaving herself open to any unkind act. A survivor says “Never again will anyone have the power to annihilate me.”
Nicki Roth, Integrating the Shattered Self: Psychotherapy with Adult Incest Survivors
At the 1967 National Conference for New Politics in Chicago, Shulamith Firestone and Jo Freeman submitted a resolution that would still be controversial today: they wanted marriage and property laws to be more equal, women to have control over their own bodies and to be represented to the strength of 51% on the conference floor. “Cool down, little girl,” the chairman said, and, as Freeman remembered, “literally patted Shulie on the head”. Firestone didn’t cool down: at 22, she would set up the first radical feminist groups in New York; at 24, she would organise the first abortion speak-out in America; at 25, she would write The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, now brought back into print by Verso after 45 years.
The Dialectic of Sex is dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir, “who endured”, and it borrows her method from The Second Sex. Firestone tears through Freud, Marx, Hemingway and Mailer, showing how their work has upheld ideas about femininity she wants to sweep away. The family traps women and hobbles children; contemporary forms of romance demean women; current feminism has failed them. While the world is as it is, she wearily admits, there is nothing to do but play along. But what if society were organised differently? If contraceptives and robots freed us to organise in household units of 10 to 12, children could be brought up communally, chores shared and people freed to do the work they choose. At the end of The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan proposed letting someone else make the bread; Firestone imagines a new society.
Firestone abdicated her position at the centre of radical feminism after her book’s publication. She worked as a painter and spent periods in psychiatric hospitals, before writing a book of short stories, Airless Spaces, about the experience. On her death in 2012, her life as an activist, short and fire-bright, was celebrated by everyone from Kathleen Hanna to Kate Millett. With a name like Shulamith Firestone, how could you not change the world?