Consent, Disclosure and the Cotton Ceiling

This is another debate I have not yet commented on but a conversation today on twitter made me want to clarify my thoughts publicly.

I do not believe anyone has the right to sex. I believe that full disclosure is necessary even for casual or one-night relationships. I believe anything less invalidates consent.  Lying about your marital status should invalidate consent. Lying about your health in a manner which could compromise the health of your partner invalidates consent.

The police officers who had sexual relationships with women in order to cement their cover whilst spying on left-wing organisations committed rape. Their lies invalidated the consent of the women involved. The fact that this is not illegal simply demonstrates how utterly woman-hating our laws of consent are.

Consent, as it stands now, is a joke. It is designed so that men can fuck whoever they want whenever they want without any consequence. Women’s boundaries and bodily integrity are violated in a million ways every day. The law is designed to defend these violations by men rather than protect women.

We need to rewrite the law completely in order to defend women’s bodily integrity [and, of course, the children and men whose bodies are violated]. This means we need to start with full disclosure before any, however temporary, sexual relationship. And, yes, this will mean difficult conversations. It will also mean forgoing sex because we cannot disclose for whatever reason but including safety.

These conversations will, I have no doubt, be more difficult for transwomen who will be faced with the increased possibility of male violence. It is this very real threat which makes it all the more important for us to smash the patriarchal construction of consent. It may very well mean a decrease in sex for many but no one has the right to sex. We are morally required to ensure the safety of others and that safety includes not violating bodily integrity.

Real consent can only be given when both parties are in possession of all the facts. It is that simple.

This is why I find the term “cotton ceiling” so disturbing. I understand the need for Trans* to self-organise to share stories of full disclosure and offer mutual support over a difficult issue, however the term “cotton ceiling” does not imply respectful discussions of consent and disclosure. The idea that lesbian women are somehow providing a barrier to sex which must be smashed just like the glass ceiling in employment sounds remarkably like denying women bodily integrity. The term itself implies a level of coercion; coercion removes consent. Lack of consent equals rape. This may not be what was meant when the term was first used but the implication is clearly there and it is supported by suggestions that lesbian women are “transphobic” for refusing to have sexual relationships with transwomen.

Being sexually undesirable by someone who you fancy sexually is a horrible position to be in but no one has the right to sex and lesbians have the right to refuse to have sex with whomever they want. Everyone has the right to refuse sex whatever the reason. We need to have conversations about consent and disclosure but they must be done from a position of honesty. If  you cannot disclose the truth [whatever that may be] to the person you desire sexually, then you should not have sex with them. This is as valid for one night stands as it is for long-term relationships.

Some personal reflections on two recent events:

The first, and I will not link to the source of this story for their own protection, was a Lesbian woman watching a Dyke march who came across a Transwoman, on the march, with their penis on display. It was a public march and a Transwoman felt it was acceptable to display their penis without any concern for those around them. Regardless of your political beliefs, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that genitalia not be displayed in public. It’s not generally considered particularly people-friendly.

1 in 4 women are victims of male sexual violence. At least 25% of the women born women on the Dyke march will have been a victim of male sexual violence. Other Transwomen will have experienced male sexual violence. Displaying one’s penis in public isn’t a form of protest. It is the belief that you are more important than anyone else around you, including children who really don’t need to be exposed to the genitalia of complete strangers in the middle of the road. I would go as far as to suggest that this was a form of sexual harassment with the deliberate intention to trigger women.

The second incident I came across on a blog. I’m not going to link to the blog or name the Transwomen who wrote these statements on twitter. Instead, I’d like the statements to stand for themselves.

If cis women were forced into sterilisation and criminalised for having sex we would hear about it. Trans women though, few care.

As a woman I can never have kids b/c of cissexism. Where is the outrage that trans ppl are being sterilised for being poor? Nowhere.

I was going to ignore both of these statements because, frankly, the lack of basic knowledge of 20th century is just embarrassing.  Then I googled and discovered that this complete ahistorical understanding of sterilisation isn’t necessarily uncommon. It is predicated on the fact that the hormones Transgender people take render them infertile. Clearly this is true. But, is it “forced sterilisation”?. I take the definition of forced sterilisation to mean without consent. Transgender people take hormones with consent [except in the case of Iran where Gay men and Lesbians are forcibly required to transition in order to cure them from being homosexual]. Becoming sterile is a consequence. It isn’t a nice consequence but it’s a consequence many women born women experience when they have treatment for cancer, degenerative conditions like arthritis and even mental illness. It may not be a nice choice to make but it is not the same as “forcible sterilisation”.

Many millions of women born women [and men] have been sterilised in the past 150 years without consent.

It’s called eugenics.

Even if you know nothing about the history of North America [and particularly the state of California], most Western-educated people should have heard of Nazi Germany. The Nazis sterilised a lot of people: for being “asocial” or “subhuman”. The Nazis forcibly sterilised women convicted of prostitution, those deemed mentally unwell, people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and anyone else who didn’t meet their specific ideals of the Aryan nation. They sterilised prostitutes and women with “inappropriate political beliefs’. In the concentration camps, men had their testes removed in surgeries performed without pain killer. Women’s uteruses were injected with toxic chemicals. And, these were some of the “experiments” which people managed to survive. The first people the Nazis murdered were the mentally and physically disabled to prevent them from reproducing their defective genes.

Eugenics is still codified in law across the world. Look at American states which require women [and usually only those of colour] to be sterilised in order to receive state benefits. These “non-permament” forms of sterilisation have a nasty habit of being permanent; not withstanding the issue of medicaid only paying for the original treatment. If the women react badly to the coil or other forms of not-quite temporary sterilisation, they have to pay to have it removed themselves.

Until recently, Sweden required all Transgender people to be forcibly sterilised before transitioning. That is “forced sterilisation”. Choosing to take hormones which make you sterile is not the same as the government sterilising you without your consent or being required to be sterilised before transitioning.

Claiming that no “ciswomen” have ever been sterilised without their consent is asinine and simply wrong. It demonstrates a rather remarkable inability to understand women’s lived experiences. Transwomen who are poor aren’t the only ones who lack reproductive choice. Many women cannot conceive and cannot afford the very expensive medical treatments required to test why they are infertile. Not all women-born-women are fertile. Some can conceive but can never carry a fetus to term. This is the reality of women.

Women are also frequently criminalised and labelled “asocial” for having sex. Ask any rape victim who has been told it’s their fault or any child in Afghanistan who is forced to marry their rapist. Teenage girls who get pregnant are treated as pariahs and blamed for the destruction of society whilst the boys who help get them pregnant are never held responsible. Women are labelled sluts and denigrated in the press for having sex whilst men are celebrated for being sexually promiscuous. Prostituted women are criminalised for selling sex but the men that buy them suffer no real consequences, even when they rape or torture prostituted women.

I know these examples are only of two Transwomen but, increasingly, I becoming extremely uncomfortable, particularly on twitter, with the discourse that Transgender people should not be held accountable for the consequences of their actions or words because they are vulnerable. Millions of people are vulnerable. Making statements which are clearly fallacious helps no one. Allowing someone to state such ridiculous things without pointing out their historical inaccuracy is enabling behaviour and it is good for no one.

Particularly not the millions of people forcibly sterilised who are erased from this narrative of victimhood.

A Spectacular Piece of Victim-Blaming

The Daily Express ran a truly spectacular piece of victim-blaming yesterday. Virginia Blackburn called women who don’t like being sexually harassed by men “wusses”.
Apparently, we should consider it a compliment if men repeatedly harass us into having a drink with them. Women’s boundaries are completely irrelevant when men’s feelings might get hurt. We have to acquiesce because NOTHING is more important than the menz’ feelings: not our needs or our personal safety. Men come first.

Blackburn also labels women who have reported their experience of sexual harassment or assault whilst vacationing in the Mediterranean “liars”. You see, Blackburn has never experienced sexual harassment whilst on vacation so other women can’t possibly be telling the truth.
Cheers for that Virginia.

Cross posted at Everyday Victim Blaming.  

Valid Excuses for Murdering your Wife and Child

On Thursday June 29, the Independent published an article on a murder-suicide involving a British family living in Costa Del Sol. Apparently, the man murdered his wife and child because he lost his job and they were ill. 

Because, it is completely reasonable to murder your wife who is ill and your daughter who is disabled when you find yourself unemployed and in debt. 

A woman and her adult daughter were murdered by a man who was supposed to love them but who believed he owned them. Family annihilators are almost always male and financially stable. They kill their families when they learn they aren’t the centre of the universe.

This is male violence. 

There is no excuse for killing your partner and child and we need to stop making excuses for these men. They are not mentally ill. They are violent and controlling men who kill their family because they can. 

No more excuses. 

No more victim blaming. 

We need to name the problem: male violence. 

Then, we need to hold individual perpetrators responsible for their own actions.


If Men Want to Help:


This is reblogged from Radical Wind: blowing through female outerspace

If Men Want to Help:
There’s been a bit of discussion lately about how men who posture as pro-feminists are worse than useless, such as John Stoltenberg or this Dude.
I could write an entire essay about each “pro-feminist”, why and how what they write and do is wrong, but it’s a complete waste of energy and time because all we need to know is that men cannot be feminist and should not get ANYWHERE NEAR feminism or talking in the name of feminism, at all. They are not to be given any important or prominent tasks within any feminist organising, they are not to be given any position or presence (even small, let alone a public one) within any feminist group or woman’s support group, and are not to be integrated in any decision-processes or debates concerning women whatsoever; they should refuse any such position or invitation even if asked by women.
The pattern is that pro-feminist men will very easily occupy and monopolise key positions and publicity in feminism so they can posture as heroes-victims-of-masculinity, and behind the scenes, not only do they do NOTHING to help women but they continue to steal women’s work, abuse women, manipulate women, rape women, promote the work of rapists or publish misogynist content, etc, etc ad nauseum.
The foremost reality about so-called pro-feminist men however is that their mere presence (just PRESENCE, that is, without even saying anything YET) inevitably and automatically triggers in most women the illusion that men can, after all, be nice and care about women, and that it is worth staying around them investing energy and time trying to change them (and why not be my nigel?). In other words, it reinforces trauma-bonding to men, or alternatively, causes consciously-experienced fear, rage, suspicion, hypervigilance or other normal reactions to men’s presence. This means that men’s presence will inevitably be experienced as a threat by women, whether consciously or unconsciously, and will thus paralyse movement into feminism. Whether we want it or not. Encouraging trust and especially trauma-bonding to men endangers all women, exposes women to more abuse and surveillance from men, it prevents women from going to the end of our thoughts and sabotages women’s spaces and work.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg, this chain of paralytic effects on women caused by their mere presence in feminist spaces. This alone is enough to warrant their complete exclusion from all things feminist, before we even look at what scum they might be.
To make it easier for everyone, I will lay out a brief and very simple, minimalistic instruction manual as to what men can do if they are taken by the desire to give women a hand in destroying man’s dominion. It’s not an instruction as to how to be a feminist man, because as I said earlier, it doesn’t exist and men’s presence is highly undesirable and noxious to feminism. It’s not an instruction as to how to free women from men, because only we can do that. It’s just, if men want to do something for women, this is the LEAST, the VERY LEAST they can do, and it’s easy! No need to say anything! No faux-posturing or lying needed! No invading of women’s spaces! No stealing women’s work!
  1. Stop sticking your dicks in women. This is rape. This is torture.
  2. Stop sticking your dicks in women. NOW. For EVER!!!! Ever ever. Like, don’t ever put your dick in a woman or a girl again.
  3. The above is the utmost, absolute MINIMUM men can do to help women. This does not even count men’s infinite every-day torture that surrounds rape and impregnation of women by men that they should stop too. A man who sticks his dick in girls and women is a rapist (and scum). He is not helping women.
  4. Give back to women what you, and men in general, have stolen from women:
  5. Women need Land. Give land back to women.
  6. Women need money. Give money back to women.
  7. Women need houses and rooms of our own. Give houses back to women.
  8. Women need resources (food, water, equipment of all sorts…). Give resources back to women.
  9. Women need time. Clean your own shit.
  10. Reminder: stop using your dick against women, stay away from feminism, and refuse any credit for your what you give back to women. For a thief is not to be thanked for handing back what he stole.
This, above, is also the LEAST men can do. It’s very easy, all it takes is doing it, with no consequences to men’s personal integrity other than minor material loss. As opposed to more complicated things, like sabotaging the porn and prostitution industry, ridding us of the most violent rapists and abusers, things like that. Which men are also free to do of course, but let’s start with more simple things and see how it goes, ay?
To all women who may be reading: remember: if a man claims to help women, ask yourself (or him) what he does: does he continue to stick his dick into women? Yes? You can forget him. Is he parasiting a space meant to be reserved for women (feminism, support for victims, healing groups, whatever female only space…)? Easy: he shouldn’t be there, his very presence is anti-feminist. You can forget him too, or tell him to get out. If he doesn’t, then, bye bye. He claims to do things useful to women? Does he do any of the above, discreetly, without taking any credit for it, and making sure it goes to the right hands? Take it and don’t look back! Don’t feel grateful! It is impossible to steal anything from a man.

Proposed Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill: ACTION REQUIRED – WRITING TO MSPS

This following message is from SCASE:

Proposed Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill: ACTION REQUIRED – WRITING TO MSPS

Rhoda Grant MSP has lodged her proposed Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament, which would make the purchase of sex an offence.  Many feminist and women’s organisations were heavily engaged in the consultation process leading up to the publication of this Bill and responded in a supportive way to the consultation.  The responses to that consultation are now available to view at ….

In order for the proposal to proceed to the first formal stage of the Parliamentary process, there needs to be support secured amongst at least 18 MSPs from across a range of political parties in the Parliament.  

At 6 June 2013, the MSPs who have supported the proposal are:
Drew Smith, Margaret McDougall, Hanzala Malik, Ken Macintosh, Michael McMahon, Patricia Ferguson, Murdo Fraser, Anne McTaggart, Elaine Murray, Iain Gray, John Pentland, Jayne Baxter, Claudia Beamish, Siobhan McMahon, Malcolm Chisholm, Hugh Henry, Claire Baker, Paul Martin, Elaine Smith, Graeme Pearson.

The deadline for MSPs to support this proposal is Friday 28 June 2013.

This list only has MSPs from the Labour party and Conservative party.  It is necessary, therefore, to particularly seek the support of SNP, Lib Dem or Green/Independent MSPs; without the support of an MSP from at least one of these parties / party grouping, this proposal will fall and any further discussions on the proposal to criminalise the demand will end.  The WSP support the policy intent behind the bill to put the legislative focus onto those who choose to purchase sex but believe this is only one aspect of a criminalising demand approach.  This also needs to look to decriminalise those who sell sexual activity and ensure that quality long-term support and exiting services are available

We are now asking for people to contact their MSP and ask them to support the progress of the Bill to the next stage.  This does not mean the Bill will be passed but will ensure that a full discussion can take place as to the best approach to address the harm and inequality in the sex industry.

WRITING TO YOUR MSPS

Step one: to find your MSPs (you have 8: 1 constituency and 7 regional MSPs), use the Scottish Parliament’s MSP locator: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx This will enable you to find contact details and information on the party affiliation of each MSP.  Bear in mind that SNP, Lib Dem and Green/Independent support is particularly vital at this point in time.  If your MSP is included in the list above as having already supported the Bill, you may wish to instead write to them to thank them for their support. 

Step two: prepare your letters or emails to MSPs., MSPs really value the personal approach, and so if you have a particular piece of information or local evidence that you can include, please do so.

IMPORTANT: when corresponding with your MSPs, always include your name, address and post code at the end of your letter/email.  MSPs only deal with correspondence from people within their area.  

Step three:  please let us know if you have done this, and do keep us up to date if you receive any follow-up correspondence from your MSPs, whether they are agreeing to support the proposal, or if they are explaining why they are not inclined to support it. 

Apparently, Charles Saatchi is just a "bore": The DM’s response to Saatchi’s Violence

The Daily Mail is back with yet another piece of vile victim blaming. This time they are outright saying that Nigella Lawson was not a victim of intimate partner violence at the hand of her husband Charles Saatchi. According to the DM, Saatchi is not an abuser. Just a bore. Because strangling your partner is completely normal behaviour during an argument.

The entire article is a pile of misogynistic victim-blaming. Every line minimises Saatchi’s history of violence and ignores the clear evidence that he assaulted his wife. The article is so full of myths about intimate partner violence that I’m not entirely sure where to start with criticisms.

First up, we have this gem of information:

Charles Saatchi is being portrayed worldwide as a wife-beating monster on the basis of scant, if any, evidence. 

Now, it’s possible the “journalist” didn’t actually look at any of the images of the assault but I’m fairly sure putting your arms around someone’s throat, without their permission, to choke them constitutes violence.  It doesn’t matter if it only happens once. It is still intimate partner violence and Saatchi is guilty of assault.

Then, we get this:

Nigella Lawson, famously her own woman and a goddess to boot, is being characterised as a pathetic victim of domestic violence — which, try as I might, I just don’t buy. 

I guess this means that if you are a successful woman, you can’t be a victim of violence. I would link to every study on intimate partner violence but, frankly, we all know the DM doesn’t actually like “evidence”. For those of you who are interested, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has this handy little factoid

Next up, we get this:

Saatchi is indeed a volatile and physical man. Always has been. Back in the days when he began to make his millions in advertising, there were tales of him hurling items of furniture around the office like so many missiles, the better to ease any fleeting frustration. 

So, we have a man with a well-publicised history of violence but his physical assault on his wife doesn’t count because she’s married to him? Any man who thinks it’s acceptable to toss furniture around the room when having a tantrum is a violent man. It really is that simple. Frustration is not, and has never been, a valid excuse for violence. The fact that Saatchi is white, wealthy and male should not minimise his personal responsibility for the violence he has committed.

The DM, in a moment of generosity, does suggest that Saatchi is “… pretty darned physical with his wife, too …”. I would have thought getting “physical” with one’s wife without consent would be intimate partner violence but it not in Daily Mail World. It’s just evidence of Saatchi being a bit cranky: 

Nevertheless, to put such unpleasantness into the catch-all basket called ‘domestic violence’ is to do grave disservice not just to this couple but also to the real victims of real horrors that happen daily behind closed doors.

I’m not entirely sure what the DM requires as evidence of “domestic violence”. Clearly, attempting to strangle your wife in public isn’t sufficient evidence. I’m so glad they thought to tell us that. I had no idea that attempting to strangle one’s wife is normal behaviour for a man. I mean, I know that the trauma of intimate partner violence manifests itself in numerous ways and that it usually takes a minimum of 30 incidents before women report their partners to the police but I was unaware that being married to a rich, white man made the trauma less of a problem. I shall, of course, take note of that.

And, I do love the theory that Saatchi taking a police caution was a “joint decision”. That, clearly, is not an example of victim-blaming at all. Saatchi chose to physically assault his wife but they both decided he should take a punishment for it. If he hadn’t, would that have been Lawson’s fault too? I’ve got myself all mixed up as what is and is not her fault, that I’m just not sure anymore.

It is also, apparently, both “patronising … (and) insulting” to label Lawson a victim. This is the worst that could have possibly happened: labelling Lawson a victim of intimate partner violence; not being assaulted by her husband. That’s just an irrelevancy that the rest of us keep whinging on about. Nope, the worst thing about Saatchi throttling his wife in public is labelling her a victim:

It is both a marvel and a sadness that what, barely a generation ago, was a vibrant movement of women jumping up and down to yell about their strengths has dissipated into a perpetual whimper about poor little us, victims all. 

Victims of harassment, victims of discrimination, victims of husbands, victims of men.
Everybody is in on it: the police, the courts, the law-makers and, as we’ve seen here, even the politicians rush to join in.

Should a woman have any manner of altercation with a man, she is instantly labelled ‘victim’ until and unless his innocence is proved — the opposite of the way our trusty system has traditionally and properly worked.

This is rather a clever “feminism is ruining the world” sub-plot. What is the world coming to when we name the perpetrator of male violence as a perpetrator? After all, the DM thinks we should feel “slightly” sorry for Saatchi for painting his character in a bad light. Poor diddums will have sad face at all the nasty feminists holding him personally accountable for his own actions. I mean, we all know that men can’t ever be responsible for their own actions. That would be sacrilege. Or, something.

So, there we have it: men aren’t responsible for the violence they perpetrate. Nasty feminists are ruining the world and successful women can’t be victims of domestic violence.


God bless the DM for keeping us poor ickle wimmen straight on such complicated issues: putting your hands around your wife’s throat in a argument is no biggie and anyone who suggests otherwise is a nasty whiner. 



I’ve reproduced the entire DM article below. It includes images of the violence committed by Saatchi.

Calm down! Saatchi’s no monster and Nigella’s no battered wife 

PUBLISHED: 22:40, 25 June 2013 UPDATED: 22:46, 25 June 2013
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Volatile: Charles Saatchi grips Nigella's neck
Volatile: Charles Saatchi grips Nigella’s neck
The time has come for all this to stop. The nation has thoroughly, if rather disgracefully, enjoyed itself by gossiping about Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson for quite long enough. We have pored over every ugly picture — and ugly they certainly were — and we have gaped and gasped to our national heart’s content.
But what began as graphic titillation has started to smell altogether too much like a witch-hunt: a frenzy of speculation that is becoming as unseemly as it is unfair.
Charles Saatchi is being portrayed worldwide as a wife-beating monster on the basis of scant, if any, evidence.
Nigella Lawson, famously her own woman and a goddess to boot, is being characterised as a pathetic victim of domestic violence — which, try as I might, I just don’t buy.
Saatchi is indeed a volatile and physical man. Always has been. Back in the days when he began to make his millions in advertising, there were tales of him hurling items of furniture around the office like so many missiles, the better to ease any fleeting frustration.
We know, now, that he is pretty darned physical with his wife, too — far more so than you or I might find acceptable if we had married him. Heaven knows, I wouldn’t want my throat grasped Saatchi-style, or my nose ‘tweaked’.
Nevertheless, to put such unpleasantness into the catch-all basket called ‘domestic violence’ is to do grave disservice not just to this couple but also to the real victims of real horrors that happen daily behind closed doors.
The nation has thoroughly, if rather disgracefully, enjoyed itself by gossiping about Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson for quite long enough
The nation has thoroughly, if rather disgracefully, enjoyed itself by gossiping about Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson for quite long enough
Of course I condemn physical violence by men against women and, for that matter, by women against men. But there is no reason to believe  that Charles Saatchi, though he may have a volcanic temperament, has ever hurt his wife. 
Indeed, it is telling that his previous wife, Kay — though no fan of his, this woman scorned — has gone out of her way in recent days to defend him on that score. Ill-tempered, yes. Controlling, yes. 
Violent, never.
It is telling that his previous wife, Kay (Pictured) - though no fan of his, this woman scorned - has gone out of her way in recent days to defend him
It is telling that his previous wife, Kay (pictured) – though no fan of his, this woman scorned – has gone out of her way in recent days to defend him
Nor is there reason to believe that Nigella Lawson fits the mould of the battered wife. I do not pretend to know her well, but we worked on the same newspaper many years ago and I found her perfectly affable, quietly ambitious and wholly able to stand on her own two feet.
Her first husband, John Diamond, I knew much better, and of this I am sure: he was not a man likely to have been charmed by a dormouse.
In short, there is nothing about Nigella that puts her in the class of subjugated woman. She has no need of Saatchi’s money, being worth many millions herself. 
She is not without a place to run to should she choose to leave — her family is loaded, loving and influential — and the idea that Saatchi has somehow managed to strip her of self-esteem and independent thought is frankly laughable.
The truth about their very public quarrel is that only two people know exactly what happened, that they are never going to tell us, and that claims of an ‘assault’ lasting a full 27 minutes are, after all, only the claims of a paparazzo with pictures to sell.
All that the rest of us know, from seeing his pictures, is that at any point Nigella could have reached for her bag and left — yet chose not to do so. 
And from another picture taken on another day, we know that the pair returned to the same table at the same restaurant a week later, which hardly suggests lingering trauma.
Saatchi accepted a police caution — but that, likely as not, was a joint decision taken in the vain hope of damage limitation. She left the family home — but that, too, was probably a joint decision taken to protect their children’s privacy.
How they live is surely their choice. It is their marriage, after all. Yet still the court of public opinion will not let the matter rest.
It has even reached the stage where a marital tiff has become fodder for party political point-scoring. Nick Clegg says that if he’d been there he would not have intervened; Ed Miliband and Lord Kinnock both say they would — so nul points for the Libs and hurrah for the Labs, even if Nigella would no doubt have been first to tell the chivalrous creeps where to shove their ‘intervention’.
Nigella Lawson, famously her own woman and a goddess to boot, is being characterised as a pathetic victim of domestic violence
Nigella Lawson, famously her own woman and a goddess to boot, is being characterised as a pathetic victim of domestic violence
I do wonder, though, whether Messrs Miliband and Kinnock would be as quick to reach for the shining armour had the ‘assault’ happened the other way around. Had Nigella shoved her fingers up the Saatchi beak — do you think, then, they would have thought it any of their business?
No, me neither.
And it does happen the other way around. My guess is that if Nigella had been photographed slapping Saatchi’s face it would have been a two-day wonder in which she would have emerged as the heroine.
Indeed, mea culpa, I once entertained a packed and costly restaurant when I flung a large glass of vino over a companion’s head, and all I got as I stalked out were admiring winks from fellow diners.
A critical difference, of course, is that the cultural mindset is these days so feminised that the automatic presumption in my case was that the man must have done something to deserve it (in my case he had, but never mind) while in the Saatchi debacle the equally automatic presumption has been that Nigella is a ‘victim’.
Nick Clegg
Ed Miliband
Nick Clegg says that if he’d been there he would not have intervened, Ed Miliband says he would have
Why? Because she’s a woman. It is both a marvel and a sadness that what, barely a generation ago, was a vibrant movement of women jumping up and down to yell about their strengths has dissipated into a perpetual whimper about poor little us, victims all.
Victims of harassment, victims of discrimination, victims of husbands, victims of men.
Everybody is in on it: the police, the courts, the law-makers and, as we’ve seen here, even the politicians rush to join in. 
Should a woman have any manner of altercation with a man, she is instantly labelled ‘victim’ until and unless his innocence is proved — the opposite of the way our trusty system has traditionally and properly worked.
Some women, of course, need our help and protection, and it is to our credit that increasing awareness and resources are poured in where necessary.
There is nothing about Nigella that puts her in the class of subjugated woman, and to call her a victim is insulting
There is nothing about Nigella that puts her in the class of subjugated woman, and to call her a victim is insulting
Nonetheless, to confer the title of ‘victim’ where it is not warranted — and it is hard to think of a better example than that of Nigella Lawson — is worse than patronising; it is actually insulting.
I might feel slightly sorry for Charles Saatchi, insofar as the response to his behaviour, beastly and boorish as it undoubtedly was, has painted him far blacker than is probably appropriate.
But I feel a great deal more sorry for Nigella. Not because of what he did — she’ll take or leave that and make decisions about her marriage as she sees fit — but because she has become the subject of such prurience.
From the day those pictures reached the Sunday newsstands, all the hard-won, well-deserved admiration she has enjoyed for years for being a strong, independent woman faded to nothing in a tidal wave of public pity. And that, I’ll bet, hurts a lot more than her nose.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2348439/Charles-Saatchis-monster-Nigella-Lawsons-battered-wife-Carol-Sarler.html#ixzz2XJUZbDUM
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Jeremy Forrest, Agency and Rape Culture

This week has seen the convictions of both Stuart Hall and Jeremy Forrest for sexual crimes against minors. Hall received a 15 month sentence after admitting to 14 charges of indecent assault. Forrest was convicted of abducting his teenage student and subsequently admitted to offences involving sexual activity with a child. Like John Peel, Roman Polanski and countless “celebrities” before them, both men are sexual predators. Forrest may only have been a teacher within a school, but as Joan Smith pointed out, schools are microcosms where one individual can cultivate a status of celebrity. Jeremy Forrest used his position as a teacher to groom a female student for sexual abuse.

She was 15.

Jeremy Forrest was 30 years old.

Despite the fact that this is clearly a case of child sexual abuse, I have seen countless discussions on Facebook and Twitter demanding that people respect the “agency” of the child in her abuse. People are genuinely discussing the “agency” of a teenage girl in her grooming, kidnapping, and rape.

A 15 year-old-girl was groomed, kidnapped and raped by her teacher; a man she was supposed to be able to trust. Instead of discussing the horrific abuse of power by Jeremy Forrest, people are talking about the “agency” of a child in her own abuse. Instead of using the term sexual predator or rapist to describe Forrest, we are discussing the “agency” of his victim.

A 30-year-old man chose to target a young girl and groomed her. A 30-year-old man chose to have sex with a 15-year-old-girl. Forrest made a choice to sexually abuse his student.

So, where are the discussions about Forrest’s “agency”? Why are we discussing the “agency” of a teenage girl and not the “agency” of the man who chose to kidnap and rape her? Why aren’t we focussing on the choices made by an adult? Why are we trying to cast a teenage girl as responsible for her own rape?

Why do we only use the word “agency” to reference the victims of a crime? Do perpetrators not have “agency”? Are perpetrators not “empowered” to make choices and be held accountable for those choices? Did John Peel and Roman Polanski not make a choice to abuse children because they could? Did Jimmy Savile not make a choice every time he abused a child? Did Savile not have “agency” over his own life?

We need to stop using the term agency when talking about sexual abuse. Agency implies that the victims were in some way responsible for their own abuse. 13-year-old girls may have stood outside John Peel’s studio but he made the choice to sexually abuse them. The only people who have “agency” in these situations are the adults. Adult men need to be held responsible for their crimes of violence. We need to name the perpetrators. We need to stop blaming victims of sexual violence for being victims.

We have a problem with male violence in our culture. We will not stop male violence by erasing the culpability of men by insisting on discussing the “agency” of children in their own abuse. We will not prevent other children from being abused by men if we insist on victim blaming.

Jeremy Forrest groomed a child. He chose to groom a child. He chose to rape a child.

This is male violence.

This is rape culture.

Liz Jones Attack on Rihanna is Pure Woman-Hating

Liz Jones’ article in the Daily Mail yesterday, genuinely entitled Pop’s Poisonous Princess: Glorying in Drugs, Guns and Sleaze, is Jones explaining why Rihanna is a “toxic role model” for young girls. Ignoring the fact that Jones herself is a toxic role model for women in general and that she’s clearly a troll, the article is just a large pile of misogynistic hypocrisy and racism. Jones blames Rihanna for being assaulted by Chris Brown and by trying to survive in an industry which genuinely hates women.

Rihanna is not a role model for young girls because she doesn’t want to be. Blaming Rihanna for something she has never tried to be is just ridiculous. And, even if Rihanna herself used the term “role model”, it’s hardly fair or supportive to lambast and denigrate her for failing to meet the ideals of femininity as defined by the Daily Mail. 

This is what Jones actually writes about Rihanna: 

All these qualities pale to nothing when we know she went back to her abusive boyfriend, Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting her in 2009; that she promotes drug-taking, drinking and the sort of fashion sense on stage that surely invites rape at worst, disrespect at least. 

This is victim-blaming misogyny. The only person responsible for the violent assault on Rihanna is Chris Brown. Blaming Rihanna for continuing to have a relationship with Brown after the assault ignores all the research into trauma bonding and domestic violence. The only person responsible for rape is rapists. Rape has nothing to do with clothing. And, frankly, in terms of promoting drug-taking and drinking culture, there are a whole lot of male celebrities who are far more culpable in encouraging drug culture; anyone who has read Anthony Kiedis’ biography Scar Tissue will know that.

Rihanna is a young woman living in a culture that hates women. I may not agree with some of her actions but blaming Rihanna for surviving is anti-feminist. Jones goes so far as to say that Rihanna is more responsible for our woman-hating culture than the men who control her career because she has a vagina. Apparently, being female means Rihanna should have some sort of mystical ability to live out with the Patriarchy,

Rihanna is a woman, just like every other woman. She’s trying to survive the Capitalist-Patriarchy the best way she can. Blaming Rihanna for living the way she does is simple woman-hating. It is misogyny. 



I have included the full Daily Mail article with images below. Please be aware that some of the images show include the pictures of Rihanna’s assault by Chris Brown.


Pop’s poisonous princess: Glorying in drugs, guns and sleaze, Rihanna’s  toxic role model for her army of young fans, says LIZ JONES



The first time I met Rihanna, the pop princess she was seated next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour wearing a demure dress, with her hair in ringlets, for all the world as though she was Shirley Temple. 
She sipped at her flute of champagne throughout dinner and clearly had one thing in mind: appearing on the cover of American Vogue (she got it, too, in November last year) and possibly a high-end fashion advertising campaign of the kind Ms Wintour can facilitate.

The second encounter I had with her was during London Fashion Week last February. 
Rihanna in Amsterdam this week with two giant spliff. Her albums should have a government health warning
Rihanna in Amsterdam this week with two giant spliff. Her albums should have a government health warning
Rihanna came down the catwalk at the end of the presentation of her first collection for teen label River Island, for which she was reportedly paid £800,000.
    She looked pretty. She wasn’t exposing any under-boob. She certainly wasn’t pretending to ram a jewelled microphone into her nether regions, as she has been doing on stage of late. 
    Her teenage female fans queued around the block that night to catch a glimpse of their idol, who has sold more than 100 million records around the world. 
    Rihanna and Chris Brown
    rihanna and chris brown
    After the beating from boyfriend Chris Brown (left) in February 2009 she had an opportunity to be a poster girl for young women escaping abusive relationships. But here she is again (right) with Brown last Christmas, all seemingly forgiven
    Another social network posting, after a live show in November 2012 with the caption 'It's a wrap'. Lying topless, smoking, she looks wanton
    Another social network posting, after a live show in November 2012 with the caption ‘It’s a wrap’. Lying topless, smoking, she looks wanton
    On a video shoot on a farm in northern Ireland in September 2011, before being ejected by the baffled farmer for being too raunchy
    On a video shoot on a farm in northern Ireland in September 2011, before being ejected by the baffled farmer for being too raunchy
    Her collection — while undoubtedly racy enough to raise a few parental eyebrows, with hot pants and crop tops — just about erred on the side of decency.
    Yet those same parents will have been horrified by the pictures which emerged this week of the 25-year-old Barbadian-born star. Photographed with two giant, phallic spliffs in her red-lipsticked mouth, Rihanna posted the picture on Twitter for her 30 million followers to enjoy. 
    Most of these ‘followers’, of course, are young girls. Those same girls, some as young as eight or nine, have been packing out her concerts at Twickenham this month, as part of her sell-out UK tour.
    They writhe and pout along to her suggestive lyrics in a disturbing mimicry of adult sexuality. 
    Walking on money in another 'selfie' in April this year: Actually, this is the most honest of all her poses, it's all about the cash
    Walking on money in another ‘selfie’ in April this year: Actually, this is the most honest of all her poses, it’s all about the cash
    Why the fascination with guns? Here she shows the gun cover on her iPhone last July
    Why the fascination with guns? Here she shows the gun cover on her iPhone last July
    Promoting her single, Diamonds, in December 2012 she posts a 'selfie', rolling diamond rocks in a cigarette paper. She clearly has money to burn
    Promoting her single, Diamonds, in December 2012 she posts a ‘selfie’, rolling diamond rocks in a cigarette paper. She clearly has money to burn
    (Pictures of Rihanna’s dance moves were too explicit to print in a family newspaper.)
    Of course, these little girls don’t realise there is anything wrong with what they are doing — they just want to copy the chart-topping star — who this year became the first singer ever to have had ten No.1 singles in the U.S. Billboard Chart. But if only she could be a better role model for young women.
    I don’t care if she has the voice of an angel and is self-made, feisty and confident. 
    All these qualities pale to nothing when we know she went back to her abusive boyfriend, Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting her in 2009; that she promotes drug-taking, drinking and the sort of fashion sense on stage that surely invites rape at worst, disrespect at least. 
    Shopping in Paris in 2008, with her 'Bad' knuckle duster on display. even her jewellery is the opposite of feminine: it is hard, costly and combative
    Shopping in Paris in 2008, with her ‘Bad’ knuckle duster on display. even her jewellery is the opposite of feminine: it is hard, costly and combative
    Showing off her gun tattoo at a fragrance launch at House of Fraser in August 2011. I wonder what the scent smells of? Fear? Loss? Heartache?
    Showing off her gun tattoo at a fragrance launch at House of Fraser in August 2011. I wonder what the scent smells of? Fear? Loss? Heartache?
    At the Billboard Awards in May 2011 kissing Britney Spears, a young woman ravaged by fame. Never mind the faux lesbian overtones, note the 'Barbarella' costumes complete with chains
    At the Billboard Awards in May 2011 kissing Britney Spears, a young woman ravaged by fame. Never mind the faux lesbian overtones, note the ‘Barbarella’ costumes complete with chains
    Is it fair that we berate female stars for being bad, when we don’t admonish men in the same way? Yes, it is fair. Because young women are far more impressionable than young men. 
    They want to be Rihanna, have her lifestyle, her clothes, her men, her habits. 
    I wish she’d stop infecting our High Streets with her gun tattoos, her false nails and fake hair, her bogus bad-ass shenanigans that try to portray her as ‘real’, as ‘street’, as her own person, as strong and single-minded. 
    While Rihanna knows when to tone it down in order to pull in advertising deals and keep her record label sweet — so much so that she has enough dollar bills to use them as a carpet, and so many diamonds she can pretend to smoke them in a spliff, both things she’s been pictured doing — the message she’s sending to her young fans, through her explicit lyrics, vile dance moves and pictures on Twitter, is utterly toxic. 
    This poisonous pop princess should come with a government health warning.
    Even a celebration cake in April this year isn't wholesome. It's in the shape of a marijuana leaf, with an iced, spaced-out smiley face
    Even a celebration cake in April this year isn’t wholesome. It’s in the shape of a marijuana leaf, with an iced, spaced-out smiley face
    Hitting the bottle last summer after her grandmother's funeral. She doesn't even bother with a glass...
    Hitting the bottle last summer after her grandmother’s funeral. She doesn’t even bother with a glass…
    In the south of France, two weeks after the funeral, swigging champagne on board a yacht. I was taught never to eat before swimming but she seems to think it's fine to be off your head in the water
    In the south of France, two weeks after the funeral, swigging champagne on board a yacht. I was taught never to eat before swimming but she seems to think it’s fine to be off your head in the water
    A self-portrait on an IV vitamin drip in May 2012, promoting the sort of beauty fad youngsters will ape to have her lifestyle
    A self-portrait on an IV vitamin drip in May 2012, promoting the sort of beauty fad youngsters will ape to have her lifestyle

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2347680/Rihannas-toxic-role-model-army-young-fans-says-LIZ-JONES.html#ixzz2XE3YoKvp
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    Why Don’t Perpetrators have Agency?


    This week, I’ve been watching discussions on Facebook and Twitter talk about the “agency” of a teenage girl in her grooming, kidnapping, and rape by her teacher Jeremy Forrest.

    A 15 year old girl was groomed, kidnapped and raped by her teacher; a man she was supposed to be able to trust. Instead of discussing the horrific abuse of power by Jeremy Forrest, people are talking about the “agency” of a 15 year old girl in her own abuse. Instead of using the term sexual predator or rapist to describe Forrest, we are discussing the “agency” of his victim.

    Where are the discussions about Forrest’s agency? Why are we discussing the “agency” of a teenage girl and not the agency of the man who chose to kidnap and rape her. Why aren’t we focussing on the choices made by an adult? Why are we trying to cast a teenage girl as responsible for her own rape?

    We need to stop using the term agency when talking about sexual abuse. Agency implies that the victims were in some way responsible for their own abuse. The only person who has “agency” in this situation is Jeremy Forrest.

    Jeremy Forrest groomed a child. He chose to groom a child. He chose to rape a child.

    Jeremy Forrest is a sexual predator. That is the story.