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what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


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Rape in A Man’s World

We live in a patriarchal, male dominated society. This is a fact. Children typically receive the last names of their fathers, not mothers, and it is clear to anyone with eyes and a sense of reality that men are at a more advantageous position in this society (as far as I know, relatively few people lobby for the erasure of men’s reproductive rights). However, this is America, and we live better off as a whole than many, many places in the world. Indeed, from what we can gather about the state of discourse about rape and the lived reality of threats and perpetration of rape in India, there are far, far worse places for women to live.

Today I opened up Gawker.com, scrolled around, and arrived at this article, “Thousands-Large Mob Seized Prisoner Accused of Rape, Beat Him to Death”. Slightly sleepy, I thought, “Holy jesus, what the fuck is going on in India?”. There was also a piece on the New York Times about government action preventing broadcast of a documentary about gang rape, and an article on Vice.com about the denial of a visa from the Indian government for a white American woman named Sabrina Buckwalter looking to write about the reality of rape in India. “Good lord,” I thought, “I must write about this immediately”. As a Buddhist, it saddens me that the land from which the founder of my religion hails, a man named Siddhartha Gautama, is having such a disturbing problem dealing with the dark and horrific reality of rape. Two of the world’s greatest religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, come from India. I speculate this is because of the incredibly harsh nature of Indian society that has existed as long as the civilization; the incredible discrepancy between poor and rich, the decrepit nature of the slums, the generational poverty, the danger of wildlife, all of which has essentially great insight that has come from the harsh conditions humans have endured in this part of the world.

As a Buddhist, I view rape as a deplorable crime by which a person’s safety, physical integrity, relaxation of mind, and personal control is obliterated. A perpetrator of rape is a traitor of all humanity. As a woman, I live in fear of rape because I can be a victim at any age, under any circumstances, and at any time.

As an American, I am ashamed of how our country has dealt with the reality of rape. In the military, rape appears to be viewed as a perk for the men of the military and a thing to be endured by the women. In college, “date rape” is normalized, and forced unwanted sexual contact is a somewhat regular occurrence. However, there is no difference between “college rape”, “date rape”, and rape that happens in the military. For some reason, here in America, we want to differentiate degrees of rape and explain the circumstances. It is taking away a woman’s humanity and giving power to the perpetrators. The way we talk about rape here in America contributes to global rape culture.

However, it isn’t just women who are at risk for experiencing sexual assault. I was watching “Sons of Anarchy” this weekend, or the most ultimate male soap opera in the history of ass-kicking television, and the opening scene of the start of season six is a male-on male rape scene. I was not expecting this and was jolted. I found it more brutal than the scenes of rape that we are somewhat accustomed seeing on television and in movies where the victim is female. I believe that that reaction is two-fold. First, the idea of being rectally raped is absolutely horrifying for any person, male or female. I would not say that I would prefer to be raped vaginally, however, I absolutely certainly do not ever want to experience a rectal rape. Secondly, when watching a male being raped, the viewer is also watching a man’s masculinity being taken away within the context of what our society has deemed masculinity to be. In our society’s sexual narrative, men are not penetrated, they do the penetrating. This folds into the homophobic narrative of men who enjoy receiving anal sex to be feminine, not really men, or “bitches”. This view is an out and out product of rape culture, as is the idea that a raped man has lost part of his masculinity. A raped man is no less masculine than a man who has never experienced that sort of assault, however, we look at him differently afterword.

If a man looses part of his masculinity after rape, what does a woman loose? In India, a more traditionalist society than America, it can be losing a reputation of femininity and propriety, becoming reduced instead to the assault perpetrated against you. She may no longer be a woman, but instead a different being, a raped woman. In parts of the Middle East, it can mean the woman’s life. In America, it means the safety of soundness of mind because now there is a “before”, and an “after” in life.

If rape in India is so prevalent, why was this man captured from a police station, dragged into the street, and murdered? If there is so much rape in India, doesn’t that mean that rape is accepted there? No. This is another thing that I gathered from watching so much “Sons of Anarchy”. Within the world of “Sons”, there are a lot of women who choose sex work and thus are at risk for experiencing rape. The members of the Sons of Anarchy take to protecting these women and beating up the men who rape or assault them. This is because the women raped are their mothers, lovers, cousins, friends, sisters of friends, etc. They are people the men in Sons of Anarchy care about. People who systematically rape or endorse rape as a legitimate thing to do are bad people, quite simply put. Unfortunately, there can be a high concentration of very bad people in one place if the conditions are conducive to creating unstable environments leading to unstable human behavior.

Just because there are a lot of bad people in one area does not mean all the people in that area are bad.

Many people are effected when a bad thing happens to a person that is loved. When the prevalence of rape occurs, many men are effected even if they are not the ones to experience the rape. Entire families experience the pain of rape. In India, this rage caused a man to loose his life. Rape culture breeds violence because it is one of the most violent things to do to a human being.

I feel it is time for the United States to intervene in some sort of humanitarian orientated manner with regards to the problem of widespread and systematic rape in India. In terms of policy, I am unsure of what this would look like. However, in order for this to be properly achieved, the United States must get rid of it’s own rape culture thinking. The women in the military must be treated with equal respect for their service to America as the men receive, and must stop having to endure sexual assault in their workplace. College women must be viewed as sexually independent individual’s whose assaults must be taken as crimes instead of campus incidents between two or more students. People must realize that when a man is raped, he is not less masculine because of his experience.

I can only hope, as a human being, that this can happen within my lifetime.


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Imma Let You Finish…

For anyone who doesn’t understand the reference this posts title is referring to, please google “Kayne West Taylor Swift VMAs”. For the rest of you, imma let you finish your point, Gawker.com, but I’ve really got to call you on it this time.

Errrrybody in a fuss about the hot mess Donald Sterling made with his racist remarks that were privately made to his girlfriend over the phone. Apparently he is also known as a bigot and this is not his first foray into offensive speech. Does he deserve to be fired? I do not know. Apparently the NBA constitution is secretive and it is not necessarily a fire-able offense to make racist remarks. Perhaps he should be strong armed into resigning or publicly disgraced to such a degree that he cannot reasonably continue a public life where his wealth is garnished from the labors of people who he does not want his girlfriend to be publicly associated with. I’m more comfortable with that route because then maybe he can see the surmountable damage he did to himself instead of throwing the pity party bigots like to throw when their self recognized “politically incorrect” remarks are consequentially reprimanded for their offensive nature. Oh cry for me, white America, I cannot be politically incorrect. I’d like to not see that happen.

Gawker published an interesting commentary from a black male perspective on this matter. The author, Homeboy Sandman, feels that the Clippers players did not go far enough in their protest, thus being “cowards”, while also criticizing Black culture for selling out the integrity of the Civil Rights Movement, a movement based on purposefully bearing the brunt of making ones own life uncomfortable as a result of protesting he status quo, by instead opting for the more comfortable route of “getting paid”. It is a struggle to get through he article because of the angry tone and the lack of insight as to what got us here (as previously noted I am White, but I am using “us” as a more general term for people interested in racial power dynamics). Homeboy Sandman felt that the Clippers should have wholesale refused to play on the basis that profits from their team would be going to their teams owner, and that their protest of refusing to wear their jerseys was instead a light weight cop out. If you are able to stay with the article long enough he eventually admonishes everybody for being a coward since most of us humans will forsake bravery for comfort.

Now, back to why I chose this articles title in making a reference to the Kayne West/Taylor Swift incident. West interrupted Swift to call MTV out for its mass suckage when doling out awards. Everyone with ears knows Beyoncé is the queen (sorry Bay but I can’t bow for anybody but the real Queen Bitch, the Supreme Bitch, Lil Kim). He was right but also drunk and it was a little embarrassing. In this instance, everyone with a political conscious knows that Sterling’s remarks were offensive. But to turn around and call the players for this team cowards is going too far. I’m a White lady with all my white lady privileges going for me in my white lady life. It could be embarrassing for some to watch a White lady call out a Black man on a race issue. But here I go (without Hennessy, fortunately/unfortunately).

I agree with Homeboy Sandman that shit doesn’t get done enough because people opt for comfort over challenging society. But this is where I wander on the stage during his speech. The actions taken by the people of the Civil Rights Movement were brave and remarkable and heroic because they refused to let the unnecessary hardships of institutional racism continue with a blind eye from comfortable White America. The actions were symbolic that Black people have rights equal to White people and all the other shades of people to have a level of comfort that is the quality of life we expect here in America. Homeboy Sandman is right that many burdens are still here, but his accusations that the players are cowards for not violating their contracts so they “can get paid” are offensive. In part, the Civil Rights Movement could be read as a movement so Black people could get paid, something which still hasn’t even been achieved due to educational barriers, unequal opportunity for middle class/upper class jobs as a result of these educational barriers, and discrepancies between White wealth and Black wealth. The players did what they could do to protest their bigot of an owner while not jeopardizing their careers or violating their contracts, something which could have long-term negative consequences for them and their families. In my opinion, do I think those in the Civil Rights Movement would have wanted the players to point blank walk off the court, giving Sterling a bit “Fuck you”? I cannot speak for those people, but I am going to take an educated guess that those brave people would have wanted the players to preserve their standard of living for themselves and their families, something which those brave people were working toward Black people having the ability to do (in that there was not a high enough standard of living to preserve, thus why they opted to make their sacrifice any consistency in their lives for a time in order to achieve a higher level of comfort for Black people down the line). I think that if the players had walked off the court point blank they may have left themselves open to attack from bigots for acting immature (an attitude I do not share, I am just speculating what the bigots would say) and violating their contracts.

Am I oversimplifying the issue? Yes! This is a blog, not an academic book. Is Homeboy Sandman oversimplifying the issue? Yes! But I don’t think he can hear me from his soap box.

From the article, “Let’s step it up. If every NBA player who wanted to stand up against racism vowed not to play until the Clippers’ owner resigned, it would be announced that he resigned before you were finished reading this. If he didn’t want to, someone would make him. If we boycotted every night spot that spins music about how much we love killing each other and taking and selling drugs, every single one of them would have new DJs by next week” as I have already noted, Chief Keef is a rapper Homeboy Sandman would clearly take issue with. My mother gave me some unique insight on Chief Keef and what he is doing after she read my article; he is reporting from the front lines. Rap and hip hop can be read as story telling, accounting what one knows about one’s surroundings and the stories of others in one’s life. Do the kids in Chiraq “love killing each other”? I can’t speak to what they love or do not love. They are killing each other, over the weekend four people died and thirty five people were injured. Is that an action people love to do? Imma let you finish Homeboy Sandman…but I think your statements are inaccurate and grandiose.