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Posts tagged ‘Rape’

Canadian sexual assault victims have little confidence in the justice system

In today’s Province there was a report on the results of a survey of victims of sexual assault. The demographically–diverse survey interviewed 207 people. The results are very consistent with what activists have been saying for years.

Among the results:

  • Two thirds of both male and female victims of sexual assault had no confidence in the justice system, ranging from actually filing a complaint on forward.
  • A majority of people did not report either sexual assault or sexual abuse to authorities. Reasons given include fear of victim–blaming and a fear of not being taken seriously.

The results were released late last month. I searched for it on the Department of Justice’s website, but couldn’t find it.

Anyway, the implications of this survey are clear. We need to restore confidence in the justice system.


Book Review: Titanic Survivor


Jessop circa 1916, in her Voluntary Aid Detachment uniform. A larger, uncropped version of this photograph appears in the book. The writing that is cut off at the bottom says “Your loving sister, Violet”.

Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters (Sheridan House 1997) is the memoir of ocean liner stewardess Violet Jessop (pictured), for whom ending up where the action was was a major constant in the first part of her life. The book is edited and annotated by maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham. The book covers the first part of Jessop’s life, from her childhood in Argentina until the 1930s. It includes brief eyewitness accounts of the sinkings of the RMS Titanic and HMHS Britannic. However, despite being aboard when the incident took place, Jessop makes no mention of the RMS Olympic‘s collision withe the HMS Hawke.* The book also includes several rare photographs and appendixes, one of which lists the ships Jessop served on, dates included.

Frankly, if you are a Titanic buff or are looking for detailed book about that ship, then this is probably not the book for you. Jessop does not go into much detail in her accounts, which only occupy three short chapters in the book. Furthermore, she refers to most of her shipmates using pseudonyms. Hence, the only new thing you’re likely to learn is that the ship’s cat was named Jenny.

Likewise, Jessop’s account of her very dramatic escape from the Britannic is also brief.

However, if you are looking for an account of what it is like to be an ocean liner stewardess, then this is the book for you. She talks of the complaints (passengers who want too many flowers to be arranged, one woman who wanted new furniture in her stateroom, the low wages, being away from home a lot). She provides unusual anecdotes and mariners’ yarns.

The annotations by Maxtone-Graham are very helpful, providing the context and background necessary to understand Jessop’s memoirs. For the most part they are not at all intrusive.

Certain episodes related in the book might be triggering for some people: Three times, during the first half Jessop implies that someone raped (without ever using that term) her or attempted to do so (specifically during her childhood in Argentina, while a governess, and while on a ship for the Royal Mail Line). Be aware of this if you read the book.

Additionally, Jessop mentions that she had difficulty first becoming a stewardess because she was “too pretty”. This and the above are examples of why feminism was necessary a century ago. And since they still happen, they are one of the reasons why feminism is still necessary.

So long as the qualifications above are taken into account, I recommend this book.

*The eighteenth chapter of Jessop’s manuscript is missing. Since the memoir is roughly chronological, an account of the collision could have been there, as that is where it would be chronologically.

Picture via the Wikimedia Commons.

“Legitimate Rape”

Update: See also (in the original post) that Akin says he misspoke.

Note: Only what was written by me is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0. Everything else remains with the original author.

unrepentant old hippie

If the Republican Party can survive this kind of vicious idiocy:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview postedSunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

…then I have to admit I’m rapidly losing all hope for our southern neighbours and will begin lobbying Ottawa for a Zombie Wall along the 49th Parallel ASAP.


Then what would be “Illegitimate Rape”?  And what is this magic spermicidal hormone we apparently secrete during “Legitimate Rape”?

I can’t…

View original post 51 more words

A lack of relevant difference

In the Joyce Quiverfull book, there is a section concerning some Christian fundamentalists (The Pearls) who, besides advocating that people should use a ridiculous amount of corporal punishment on their kids to “train” them and that women should be submissive doormats, also believe in an excessive form of female modesty, as illustrated by the following passage on pp. 79–80 (my emphasis):

“[They] require wives to dress and behave modestly among men to whom they do not belong, lest the sight of their bodies tempt men into ‘sight’ or ‘thought’ adultery… The lack of men’s responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male ‘urges’ as irresistible forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterparts: seeing women’s bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting….”

I’m sure this asshole would agree.

Actually, that person I linked to? He’s a Muslim. But he’s expressing the exact same sentiment as the Pearls: pervasive victim–blaming that blames “immodest” women (those who don’t cover up almost everything) for the actions of others, in one case “Adultery” and in the other rape and sexual assault.

There really, really is no relevant difference in mindset between fundamentalists/extremists of different religions. They’re all misogynist, just with different junk in their heads.

I’m tempted to agree with deBeauxOs as for what to do about him (emphasis in original):

“Well, I want a law making it legal and mandatory for men who believe they will sexually assault women because of the way they’re dressed, or for those who have violated women for those very reasons, to be given skewers to poke their eyes out.”

If you truly believe that a woman’s attire drives someone rape her (as opposed to simply taking responsibility and not being a rapist), do you even know what you’re saying about yourself? That you’re some kind of monster or something. Or even better, if you see something you don’t like, why don’t you just turn the fuck away or close your goddamn eyes? I’m pretty sure yours and almost everyone else’s necks and/or eyelids work just fine.

Either way, problem solved.

The rot within

Lurking at a comment thread at Dispatches, comments there eventually led to me finding the following information (unless otherwise noted, my emphasis in all cases):

[TW:Sexual abuse, rape, child abuse]

From theologian Kathryn Riss:

“Traditional” Sex Role Hierarchy Is Associated with Domestic Violence and Incest

Studies of highly religious homes in which abuse and incest take place show that father perpetuators [sic] rigidly uphold “old fashioned” values, emphasize the subordination of women, and isolate the family unit. They often blame their sexual sin on their daughter/victims. The mothers, fearing conflict with the husband and censure by the religious community, often ignore the incest. Dependent on the fathers economically and emotionally, such wives avoid confronting their abusive husbands, thus allowing the incest to continue. Thus, the imbalance and inequality of “traditional” marriages can be dangerous.

To quote some experts: “Helfer and Kempe (1968) in their book ‘The Battered Child’ report that the assault rate on children of parents who subscribe to the belief of male dominance is 136 percent higher than for couples not committed to male dominance.”

From American Atheist Magazine:

Fundamentalism also increases the likelihood of sexual abuse according to many studies. According to a 1988 study appearing in Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy there are three family characteristics that pose high risk for sexual abuse. These are commonly seen in fundamentalist families. First, there’s the patriarchal family structure; second, a view that all sex is sinful, which actually confuses the distinction people generally make between healthy and unacceptable sexual behavior. And third, sexual activity becomes a family secret.


What’s noteworthy, explains Jackie J. Hudson, the author of Characteristics of the Incestuous Family, is that while sexual abuse is generally higher among stepfathers in the general population, the rate of incest is so high in fundamentalist homes that sexual abuse by biological fathers is more common than that by stepfathers.


The devil of the complementarian movement is the feminist, and by complementarian standards, any woman who does not accept a subordinate position to males is a feminist.


Complementarians are everywhere, not just in church. Throughout society, they influence and affect the lives of those around them. In politics, complementarian officials cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of women. In the workplace, both male and female employees feel the brunt of complementarian, anti-woman, sentiment.


Domestic abuse and violence is a much more frequent occurrence among professing Christians than is commonly believed. It has become a popular conference and discussion topic within the evangelical community. Some family counselors, such as, Barrington H. Brennen, assert that complementarian teaching is directly responsible for accelerating abusive and violent behavior in husbands.

To put it bluntly, complementarianism is really hierarchicalism.

And from an study available online:

Gender role attitudes have been extensively studied in the empirical literature (Bryant, 2003; McGovern & Meyers, 2002). Positive relationships have been found between traditional sex role attitudes and negative attitudes toward women and the acceptance of rape myths. For example, in a landmark study, Burt (1980) reported that individuals who had more stereotypical gender role attitudes were more likely than those with egalitarian attitudes to endorse rape myths. This finding was replicated by Mayerson and Taylor (1987), who reported that individuals with stereotypical gender role attitudes were more accepting of rape myths and the use of physical and sexual violence than those with egalitarian attitudes. Similarly, Finn (1986) reported that for the 300 college students in his study, those who endorsed the most traditional gender role attitudes were more likely to endorse the use of force in marriage. Willis, Hallinan, and Melby (1996) found that individuals who espoused stereotypical gender role attitudes were more likely to blame the victim and less likely to see the seriousness in domestic violence scenarios. More recently, traditional gender role attitudes in a sample of adolescents were also associated with less perceived seriousness of scenarios depicting interpersonal aggression (Hilton, Harris, & Rice, 2003).


[Compared to previous studies], other [studies] have found that Judeo-Christian beliefs are consistent with male dominance. For example, Jeffords (1984) argued that these beliefs contribute to a patriarchal system that assigns women a subordinate role to men. He investigated relationships among gender role attitudes, religious orthodoxy, and beliefs about forced marital intercourse and found that those who held traditional gender role attitudes and those who reported religious orthodoxy were more likely to endorse the use of forced marital intercourse than those with egalitarian gender role attitudes or those who did not report religious orthodoxy. He also reported that traditional gender role attitudes were positively associated with the religious variables in his study.

And this is on top of the meta–study I posted about months ago.

To put it very explicitly, (conservative) religion harms women and children. And isn’t it obvious that in order to advance women’s rights, conservative religion and social conservatism must die and the sooner the better.

Return of the random stuff

In no particular order:

  • Just like in Russia, several bishops of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church have been exposed as being agents for the communist regime.
  • The Women’s ice hockey tournament at the Youth Olympic Games is over. Considering that only two of the five competing teams were even in the top division, it was obvious from the beginning that it would be a Swedish coronation.
  • You can’t make this up. Frothy mixture’s fundraising site is called “Conservatives Unite Moneybomb“. Here’s a hint: check out what the first letters of those words spell.
    • And as was mentioned in a comment at Political Irony, if you look at the white words, they spell something else too.
  • SOPA and PIPA are pretty much dead (for the time being and hopefully forever). Good riddance to them.
  • And yet more evidence of what a despicable, horrible person Rick Santorum is.
  • The Obama administration has maintained its mandate that health insurance cover contraception.
  • How the religious right wrong causes abortions. Of course, this is not really that much of a surprise.
  • More on the GOP’s increasingly anti–science stand.
  • Missing fossils collected by Charles Darwin have been rediscovered in London.

This is a post about premarital sex

Last week there was a sudden spree of posts about premarital sex. They have inspired me to write my own post concerning the same topic.

First of all, premarital sex is extremely common and it has been for an extremely long time. “Extremely long time” does not mean since the mythical 1950s, but rather since before then. Indeed, premarital sex has been the normative behaviour for much of the past eighty years. In the 1930s, 70% of men and women had premarital sex (cite). Similarly, today 95% of Americans have had premarital sex (cite). And the 1950s are of a mythical view. In her book The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz refutes the idea that the 1950s were some sort of pure “family values” period. Back then a majority of people still had premarital sex. Indeed, she sums it up succinctly: “The 1960s generation did not invent premarital and out–of–wedlock sex.”

Clearly then, the religious right’s wrong’s promotion of abstinence ignorance–only sex (mis)education is not only an attack on women and an attack on public health, but is also an attack on reality.

A few of the posts in the recent spree mentioned supposed “negative consequences” of premarital sex. As I will show, those supposed “negative consequences” ought to be considered irrelevant and furthermore, the things tied to opposition to premarital sex have sinister and bad effects.

More discussion is after the jump.


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