Oct 31 2007

Its another Blamer Brain Trust Alert

A fellow blamer’s rapist remains at large

Here’s a little reminder to brighten your day: all humans are conditioned to despise women. A woman can be criticized, sentimentalized, brutalized, infantilized, minimized, empowerfulized, pedestalized, pornalized, and penalized, but she can never be humanized. The American legal system, as a matter of fact, effectively outlaws humanity for women. It does this in many ways, all of which define women in terms of male sexuality. One of the most insidious is its assertion that women are in a perpetual state of ‘consent’ unless they specify in front of 147 witnesses that they have withdrawn it (more on my radical notions about consent and women’s humanity here, and even more blamer contributions here). It is by this cunning method of ascribing to women the quality of unceasing availability that the future of rape as a cornerstone of human social order is secured.

Rape is the dominant culture’s most cherished method of controlling the female underclass, of moulding us into a self-replicating supply of fearful, impaired, coercible receptacles. Why else would rape trials be so notoriously torturous and humiliating for the victims? Why else would convictions be so notoriously difficult to obtain? It is by popular demand that, decades after American women were first deemed “liberated,” the countryside remains infested with unjailed rapists. These freely roaming terrorists are patriarchy’s enforcers. They’re the product of a culture of violence that luxuriates in the juridical presumption that all raped women are guilty unless proven otherwise.

I bring this up because I recently received a long, melancholy email from “spinster niece” X who, five years after her rapist went free, is still being punished for it. After moving to a new state, X has discovered that her rapist has relocated there as well. He hasn’t contacted her, so she doesn’t know if he is aware of her whereabouts or not. But she is gripped with fear and loathing all the same. Her email, a sort of stream-of-consciousness blurt excerpted unedited from her personal notes, reveals that she has spent no small amount of time thinking about the rapist and the untenable situation he has put her in. In this email, X profiles her rapist exhaustively. She wonders whether his relocation is a coincidence. She describes the physical attributes of his other victims. She ponders whether he currently possesses sufficient “type-dependent psychological motivation” to seek her out. She muses about sending a friend to spy on him, about involving the FBI, about setting up a sting, about a concealed-carry permit. Reasonably and understandably, she wants to do something that will prevent his raping her or somebody else again, but she doesn’t know what, short of buying a gun, this might entail. “I can’t,” she says, “let this go.” So she appealed to me for “logistical/tactical/strategic advising.”

Naturally I failed her. I’m just a cheap blowhard blogger, I told her, not to be confused with someone who actually knows stuff. I can do bromides, but practical advice? The business of day-to-day living with the long-term repercussions of rape without shooting somebody is way out of my league. So I’m doing what I always do when I don’t know what I’m doing: I’m passing the question on to the Blametariat. Help a sister out, girls. What do you do when your rapist goes free?


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  1. lagusta

    I think about this a lot. Four years ago my best friend was murdered by her boyfriend, who subsequently received sixteen years in prison.(read the whole story here: http://www.lagusta.com/rants/susan2003.html) All I can think about is how in 12 years he will be living in my same world, and what can I do about it? What will I do about it? What is there to do, besides the everyday work of patriarchy-blaming and dismantling? I guess I can try not to let the thoughts themselves dismantle myself.

  2. buggle

    My grandfather/abuser has never had anything happen to him because of the abuse he inflicted. It makes me crazy. I don’t know how to live with him just being out there, completely free, with no one knowing he is evil. I worry that he’s still molesting kids, I feel like I should do something about it. But I have no idea what that would be. I’ve thought about posting fliers all over his town, and other various things, but they all seem stupid. He should be in jail for the rest of his life. Or preferably, dead.

    Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about him coming after me. But he may have other victims. And I still don’t know how to live and exist knowing that he has completely gotten away with his crimes.

    So yeah, I’m not help. I’m really interested in what others have to say.

  3. stekatz

    Gun. Proper size caliber for her hand. Along with plent of time at the shooting range and a proper gunlock if she has kids around.

    Twisty don’t sell yourself short. You’ve helped. Those first two paragraphs are a help to us all. I want to put them in a nice frame and hang them up somewhere.

  4. Seraphine

    Everyone lives in fear of something.
    Take reasonable precautions for
    personal safety, but until a threat
    becomes overt, perceived fear only
    paralyzes one from living fully.
    Also, enjoy the company of friends.

    Likely the rapist is on a registered
    sexual predator list. Make sure all
    schools, churches, neighbors and
    law enforcement knows his whereabouts.

  5. Ginger Mayerson

    Gun (handgun and shotgun and shooting lessons [but never say why, just say home defense]), martial arts/self-defense class, and if there’s a rape counseling/survivor group that doesn’t have its head up its ass and she feels comfortable joining it. Or any feminist womans group. The less isolated she is, the safer she is.

    How close is this guy to her physically? Same town? Same county? As fucked up as this is, the best thing might just be to move again. It’s a big country (and a bigger world), lots of places where he isn’t.

    For reasons I’m not going into, there is one man in my past whose continued existence makes me very very nervous. Unless he’s in hell, where he belongs, I’m not sure what I’d do if I ran into him somewhere. I think, or hope or something, that the chances of that happening are very slim. I’m not nineteen anymore, it was a long time ago, but the weird feelings never really go away.

  6. TinaH

    My rapist has never been imprisoned, so I don’t know what to do when he goes free. Like BlamerNiece X, I moved to another state. If he also moved to TinaState, I would entertain long and loving fantasies of taking him apart with a baseball bat, but I’m not sure I’d do much beyond that.

    I will have occasional deep flashes of guilt because I never prosecuted.

  7. MzNicky

    Move to another state? Join a support group? What the fuck is up with that shit? Do yourself and society at large a favor: Find someone to take care of the problem. Uh-huh, that’s right. Happens all the time. I’m not saying have the jerkwad killed (necessarily); just hire someone to fuck him up real good. Let HIM move to another state or join a support group, preferably after having been relieved of his genitals to ensure that his rapin’ days are over.

    What’s that you say? Such a plan is immoral? Not a peaceable solution? You hate violence, don’t want to harm another living being, couldn’t live with the guilt, et cetera? Yeah, well. Look at it this way: You’d be rescuing the sack o’ shit from bringing onto himself even more bad karma than he already has.

    Just my two cents. And I’m only half-joking here.

  8. EGirl

    Rape is the most dehumanizing act one can perpetrate. My Great Aunt Bridy always told me that there is no justice for a woman who doesn’t own a big dog or a bigger gun.

    Some people need dyin’ and other people ought do their best to help them along. So, my suggestions for aiding the fellow’s yet unknown journey to the hereafter would be as follows: a pack of starved dogs and a big stretch of woods, a good dose of poison resulting in the most painful but expedient death, or, if there truly is justice in the world, the sorry bastard would be locked in a room with a group of angry Blamers…

  9. lucizoe

    I like the way MzNicky thinks.

  10. rootlesscosmo

    I think if the goal is that X should be, and feel, safe, or anyway safer than she feels now, counseling revenge is a mistake. I think taking revenge, lethal or sub-lethal, in person or by proxy, would probably put her in greater danger–from the rapist and from the law–than she’s in now. An organized, collective response (public denunciation, pasting his picture all over) might be less risky but would mean she’d be reliving the whole experience continually; talk about triggers, that would be a whole arsenal of ’em. I sympathize with the frustration commenters express in these revenge ideas, but as I understand Twisty’s analysis of gender politics, which I share, the whole point is that this is a systematic, structural injustice; as my radical feminist family lawyer often tells her clients, “this is what patriarchy looks like when it’s happening to you.” No closure, no getting even, no happy ending.

  11. S. D'Attournee-Lawson

    That’s terrible. I’m very, truly sorry to the email-sender, buggle, TinaH, Ginger Mayerson, and lagusta. To every woman who hurts.

  12. CafeSiren

    Eyes open, SpinsterNiece. Not paranoid, but make sure you’re aware if his proximity to you increases. I’d suggest a restraining order, but that would mean “outing” yourself as living in the same state if he doesn’t already know (entirely possible). Plus, if he “went free” after a court proceeding, then in the eyes of the law, he’s not a rapist, even if he is. Which sucks.

    So, one thing you can do is make sure that everyone around you who cares about you knows that Rapist has moved nearby. That way, if you need to escalate, you won’t have to fuck around for weeks establishing a context. And your friends can help watch your back.

    And self-defense, not just for the techniques, but also for the confidence, which will help you get through the day-to-day.

    Bottom line: do whatever it takes to protect your person and your sanity.

  13. srastro

    I like the idea of public shaming, as rootlesscosmo suggests, but I’m afraid that would put this woman in even more danger. The chances of the rapist moving to the same town as his victim by pure chance are almost nil. He must be aware that she’s there, and any public attention drawn to him will make him want to take revenge on her.

    I would go for the gun, frequent target practice, martial arts classes, and a home security system. Of course, all of those require money–the P’s tax on women who try to stay safe.

    The other things that might help X feel safer are having roommates and commuting to work with a group. She could also have a standing arrangement with a close friend or relative–someone trustworthy–to call every night by 11 pm and say, “I’m safe.” If the call didn’t come, the trustworthy friend would check into X’s whereabouts and call the police if necessary.

  14. Marytracy9

    I whish I had something useful to say. But the only idea that comes to my mind is doing something crazy that will shock society, like claiming asylum in some European Country. Not only will she be far from the rapist, she would draw a lot of attention to HER case and “the” case. How many people from AMERICA claim asylum somewhere else?

    Just adding my two “half” pence. For what is worth, I whish her all the best. She’s being really strong, it’s admirable.

  15. Ginger Mayerson

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that hiring someone to assault someone, assault anyone, for any reason will land you in prison for quite a while on accessory after the fact and/or conspiracy to commit a felony charges. Anyone remember Tonya Harding? Anyone see “Fargo”? Nobody ever gets away with it; the thugs always get caught, they turn state’s evidence, the person who hired them goes to jail with them. It’s a nice fantasy, but it’s just not worth the risk. There are problems in a woman’s life and then there is womens prison, which is a whole other level of problems in a woman’s life, like really horrible health, economic and social problems, not to mention being so truly at the mercy of the Patriarchy as to be buried alive. I’d much rather join a therapy group, learn kung fu or move to another state than go to prison over some fucked-up man, and I’m not kidding at all.

    Of course IBTP.

  16. Puffin

    I am torn on the survivor-buys-gun-and-gets-her-life-back scenario. On the one hand, it would be so satisfying to shoot the asshole if he comes at you again, but then you have to live with that trauma as well. Is it so much to ask that women be able to live their lives in peace without participating in the kind of violence that victimizes them in the first place?

  17. rootlesscosmo

    Correction: “my radical feminist family lawyer friend.” (I’m not represented by counsel.)

  18. Jodie

    If she’s in my city and state (or reasonably close), I’d be happy to follow him around and make sure he’s not checking up on her. A free-lance, cost-free private eye.

    Maybe if we all get angry enough, our blamer mind rays will make him burst into flames if he has the least little thought of harming her in any way, shape, or form.

  19. bushfire

    I don’t know if I have any good ideas, but I would try to look for some other feminists and talk to them for emotional support and maybe do some activism work. If the legal system fails to help her, she might at least feel better if she helps someone else.

    If you’re feeling radical, find his car and spray-paint the word “rapist” on it.


  20. tara

    I don’t know if this would help or hurt, but she could use a social networking site like friendster or myspace to keep up on his activities and location(s). Just set up a dummy identity on these sites (definitely not her own!) and use it to search for him.

    Considering I’ve had those sites used by an ex to stalk/harass me, let us women use it to reverse-stalk, yes?

  21. thebewilderness

    That was my thought too, Jodie.
    If she can afford it some professional stalking is in order. Usually the reason rapists relocate is because the want a fresh start for their activities, rather than a fresh start leaving their activities behind. The thing the men seem to fear, just slightly less than being raped themselves, is that everyone will know what they did. When the men talk about charging a perp with rape they are ever so concerned that it will damage his reputation and his ability to find future victims.
    I recommend counseling, martial arts training, and flyers posted everywhere. That is as close to justice as women are allowed to get in the patriarchy.

  22. Bird

    I’m sad and sorry and wishing I somehow had an answer. I want a world where this doesn’t happen, where women are safe, or at least one where rapists go to jail and never hurt women again.

    In the absence of that, I think self-defense training is important. But more than that, having good friends around looking out for you is probably vital. And taking all the precautions possible to be aware of your surroundings and not put yourself in a situation where it’s easy for him to get you.

    But then that sounds like victim blaming somehow, like if she does all that and he attacks her, then she’s failed.

    I wish somehow there was an answer that made it all okay. And I really wish there was a way to take away all that pain.

  23. MzNicky

    I’m pretty sure that hiring someone to assault someone, assault anyone, for any reason will land you in prison for quite a while on accessory after the fact and/or conspiracy to commit a felony charges… Anyone see “Fargo”? Nobody ever gets away with it; the thugs always get caught, they turn state’s evidence, the person who hired them goes to jail with them.

    Not necessarily, and certainly not always. Ever seen “The Sopranos”?

    Is it so much to ask that women be able to live their lives in peace without participating in the kind of violence that victimizes them in the first place?

    So it would seem.

  24. Jenny M

    I don’t know what it’s like to live after rape; however I do know something about living in the same state as the man who tried to murder me. Lucky for both of us the gun jammed and it’s harder than you think to strangle someone. He plead guilty and served time for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and armed robbery, a paltry 4 years.

    I can tell you, that feeling of looking over your shoulder never goes away and the best thing I ever did was get a cell phone. I go everywhere with my cell phone either in my pocket or in my hand. Even while in the bath tub the cell sits next to the shampoo. It has GPS, so if I dial 911 the cops can locate me even if I dial and drop it back into my purse. This is my security blanket and it helps put my mind at ease. That’s all I’ve got, I refuse to get a gun, I have a three year old.

  25. Kyso K

    Hiring goons is not something that should be done if she’s not willing to go to jail over it, that much is true. If she was going to go berserk on him, the time to have done that would have been instantly after finding out he was in the state, so that the jury could sympathize with the poor woman driven mad by being forcibly reminded of a tragic event. Any revenge less than insanity driven bloodlust might seem a bit shrill, strident, even, when it comes time for sentencing, which is unfortunate but SpinsterX has to work in the patriarchy she’s in, not the patriarchy she wants.

    If Spinster X should choose to move, she should probably contact the police or FBI first, when it no longer matters that she’s outing her address. That way she’ll have an official paper trail should he coincidentally end up in her next state, and proof that she was aware of him first and believed that she had reason to be concerned.

    I’m generally anti-gun, but since she apparently has leisure to train with it properly, it might not be the worst idea. A roommate and or a large, barky dog would be good ideas as well.

  26. Cxxxxxxxx

    with me, it’s been 4 1/2 years. something that helps me now, is that i know that he was on a bad road anyway. he was my and my ex-friends drug dealer, after all, and a liar, an addict, a manipulator, all that stuff that often goes along with it. i have panic attacks from time to time, but i think about how it must feel to live like that. i mean, i have lied, manipulated, and used drugs, and all that feels REALLY crappy. I felt like a piece of shit, even before he raped me. this guy has taken all of those qualities to the extreme, and he must feel WAY crappier than i do. and it doesn’t make me feel happy, but it makes me feel a little more at peace, knowing that he is creating his own hell for himself, and he’s the only one responsible. I thought I was going through hell for about 3 years after the two rapes, but I’m sure that he is feeling a lot worse than me right now, and it’s his own doing.

    He has ruined his own life, and is probably continuing to ruin it. I got my shit together, quit abusing drugs and got in control of my life, and that is all I can do. We are only in control of ourselves, and we alone can create our own sadness and happiness. This makes me feel proud of myself. And it helps me through the times when I wish I had called the police, wonder if he ever got caught for all his shit, and get pissed off at news stories about they way women are abused in the courtroom and most other places.

    Something that I think would help others (as opposed to just myself) is talking about this stuff when we get a chance. The stigma makes it so much worse, but we do have some control over how ashamed we feel. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your support groups, tell your congresswoman.

  27. Cxxxxxxxx

    Oh yeah, hopefully she can get a protective order. In my work experience, the law does not crack down on rapists, but they can on people who violate protective orders because it’s easier to prove.

  28. dairon

    How about combining a few of these fabulous ideas? Like, say, a skillfully placed round of buckshot to his scrotum from a concealed position?

  29. carmie

    Losing his genitals won’t prevent him from wanting to attack her again. Rape isn’t about genitals or sex, it’s about power and abuse.

    Get a gun. Learn how to use it. Make a few friends you trust enough that you could show up at any hour of the clock and ask to stay over, no questions asked. Get a large, loud dog.

  30. lightly

    What’s the opposite of reacting? Acting.

    Go on the attack. Don’t know how, when or where, but focus on getting him without getting caught. Hurt him until he is either dead or so frightened he runs away. Frame him, get him ostracized, get him fired. Plant drugs in his house and get him busted.

    Also, for herself, get a dog, a big one. And get that gun and learn to shoot it. Those efforts alone will cheer her up. While she’s at the shooting range getting in target practice, make some friends. Once the guys at the shooting range get to know and like her, they are just the kind of guys who would be happy to go to the rapist’s house and beat him senseless for her. My sister and I both know guys who would and have done that for us when other men threatened us.

    As a related aside, I really liked this movie. J Lopez plays a woman backed into a corner by a wealthy abusive husband and honey, she fights back and kicks some butt. http://www.amazon.com/Enough-Jennifer-Lopez/dp/B00006HAWN/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/002-7313244-9587212?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1193881713&sr=1-3

  31. Theriomorph

    The thing about the goons and hits and whatever else? This isn’t TV or the movies. Some of us have actually had to live through that very scenario after some asshole raped us, and the thuggery – for which we would have been at least indirectly responsible – was as much a product of the patriarchy as the rape.

    Not helpful, in my experience. Without even needing to get into any of the deep philosophizing about karma or whatever other co-opted crap is added to the weight survivors of rape are already asked to carry and examine and work through, Spinster X, I would guess, needs more angst of this kind about as much as she needs her rapist in her state.

    I don’t know, I shouldn’t presume. Maybe that would give her relief. All I can say is that it didn’t help me to be put in the position of having life and death power over my rapist thanks to the mob ex-boyfriend blah blah (and, of course, having to implicitly ‘prove’ that it had been non-consentual by authorizing his action, which I refused to do). It simply upped the level of responsibility I was already carrying for what someone else did to me, against my will, and upped the amount of things I had to figure out and work through and live through when all I really had it in me to do was sit in my locked house and stare at the wall while my friends checked in from time to time to put a stupid movie in the VCR or put a plate of food in front of me.

    Yes, five years on from the rape, Spinster X may be in a psychic condition to be more proactive than I was in the immediate aftermath when the thuggery option was imposed.

    Also, yes, martial arts is good.

    What was best? The cop who knew I would lose the case (because I showered, because I waited a week before going to the cops, etc. etc. details details) deported the rapist’s ass anyway. Illegally. By ‘suggestion.’ By making it clear, completely under the legal table, that he needed to get away from me, and stay that way.

    Several years later, my studies brought me to the rapist’s country and city, and I walked around in fear the whole damn time.

    Had he remained in my town, or followed me to another town, it would have been much worse.

    Now, it’s 17 years later, and a bunch of martial arts training later, and I can say I don’t have fear.

    I hope Spinster X finds a better solution than time and taking the practical steps toward moving through the world with a legitimate sense of ability to defend oneself from harm if necessary. I didn’t.

    I do not think it could hurt to see if there is a collaboration between the local rape crisis center/violence prevention program(s) and the police department. If the cops have been trained decently, she may be able to go to them, say “I was raped by this man in X year and he is here now, I was not able to press charges successfully as is true for most women, and I would like to know if there is anything you can do, or if I should make a record of my concerns, or if you have other suggestions.” If they’ve had any good training at all, this could be helpful.

    If they haven’t, this will suck. But she could go with some support, and maybe someone like me (in my public health professional hat) will have trained the cops she goes to see, and they may be able to help her, whether formally or informally, in a way that actually makes her safer and does not add to her burden of risk and responsibility.

    Same goes with the gun. What, he stalks her, she shoots him, she goes to jail? Great. That helps her a lot. Improves her quality of life immeasurably.


    Don’t mean to get all sarcastic here, it just inflames me to no end that the options given even here all lead to more trauma and the potential of massive legal problems for Spinster X. To hell with that. This is the rapist’s problem, and the problem of the failed legal system. Keep it their problem.

    Will they handle it well? It is extremely unlikely, but perhaps. Will they handle it at all? Maybe, maybe not. But there will be a record, which strengthens her legal position if he does stalk her in the new city.


    Sending Spinster X, via Twisty or if she reads this, all empathy and best wishes for finding a supported way to live wherever the hell she wants to live, free of fear and harm.

    Wish I had something more useful to say.

  32. durga

    here’s what i can think of, spinster niece x:

    1. establish the ol’ social network & get everyone in on it. let people know where you’ll be, generally, at what times. get a routine where people see you regularly, so if something happens and you don’t call, they’ll notice your absence. tell your boss and mom and friends and trainer and babysitter and ANYONE who you see regularly who he is, what he looks like and not to say anything about you if he comes around trying to find you.

    2. get roommate(s), deadbolt(s), dog(s), alarm, etc. at home, where you should always feel safe (if you can). can’t afford a security system? rig up some cheap cameras instead.

    3. get into some kind of self defense program, punching is good but packing is better (i think). anyways, owning and knowing how to use a weapon can be an empowering feeling, if it’s done right. remember gun safety & a good lock though too.

    3a. counseling, support group, feminist extracurricular hangouts–yes these are all great ideas! the more people you can discuss it frankly with, the stronger you are.

    4. get a contact at the police station — in other words find out exactly who you’d need to go to and how’d you go about it, if you needed to enlist the police to help. have all this information ready so that if something happens you can be focused and not waste any time.

    5. if he’s in the sex offender registry, totally exploit that to your biggest advantage. call up the schools and churches he lives near. inform them. say you’re a concerned citizen. tell businesses (and perhaps residences) by leaving flyers. maybe you can make him feel so unwelcome he’ll just move right out of the state again.

    6. make yourself as unstalkable as possible. get off of online networking sites (if you use profiles that are supposed to be *you*), get your address out of the public record, out of the voting registry, out of the phone book, out of any current or previous school/work directories. also get your information out of the hands of folks you don’t really know or former acquaintances that are closer to him than to you. if they know where you live, send a note informing them you moved to mislead them. if you don’t want to stay in touch it can’t hurt, right? for other anti stalking help, go here: http://www.antistalking.com/victim.htm (it’s a great resource.)

    7. if you have children or a new boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse or whatever, make sure they take some or all of the same precautions you do, because they also might be targets.

  33. TP

    I asked my friend Misogynist Mike what she should do, and he basically said (in different language) that since women are the property of men, she should find some guy who would like to own her and who will do anything to protect his property from other guys just like him.

    I asked another friend of mine who has been raped how he got over it, and he told me that since he didn’t know his attacker it had never been an issue for him. But he seemed to understand the basic idea that this woman was crazy, obsessive, damaged-goods style afraid and that this feeling was not going away easily.

    All I can think of is money. Hiring a private eye to find out what he’s up to could cost the minimum of whatever they charge, since it could be found out discreetly by anyone. Hiring an attorney to bring him to civil justice for stalking her could end up with his wages garnished in that state, which could convince him to move elsewhere if he’s not violently inclined.

    There’s a horrid truth behind any scenario anyone can think of that reveals the truth behind what feminists believe and the world in general tries so hard to deny: Women are victims without redress in this society. TV movies of the week and the 24-hour parade of movies on Lifetime speak to it as well.

    The only difference between feminists and normal people who think about this problem is that feminist rightly blame the men and the culture that trained them to be inhuman beasts and normal people have no idea who to blame except maybe the woman for not finding a man to claim her as his property and then defend that property.

  34. Winters Wrath

    Aside from rape, does she know if this guy has done anything illegal? And I mean really minor infractions, like giving a little pot to a friend or floating a check. If so, she could make him the target of a drug or white collar criminal investigation. Those things are an absolute nightmare — and you can rest assured that if he does anything even mildly questionable*, he’ll be given an astronomical sentence.

    *Aside from rape. We all know how much the authorities care about that.

  35. Arachne02

    Love it, Theriomorph & TP.

    Can we help her on her terms? In my read:

    1.) Tactical.

    – What kinds of common items can be carried for easy self-defense? (Such as a pointy nail file, pen, even an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer that would burn the eyes.) More?

    – How can she approach these friends you speak of? What are examples of phrases you might use to pull in your support structure people when you need them, but you don’t want to say exactly why (because you can’t, or because we live in a patriarchal society, or because yelling Fire! gets the response yelling Help! doesn’t)? For example, I might say, “I need you to help me be more aware of my surroundings. Don’t let me get hit by any cars today, Sam.” More?

    – What can she say/do if she runs into him, likely not by choice or by chance? “Excuse me,” open cell phone, dial 911, and talk about the weather at the street address she’s at? What else?

    2.) Strategic.

    – In America, as we all know, conviction rates for sexual and domestic violence are exceedingly low; but for grand theft auto, conviction rates are much more satisfying. So, for example, if you know the offender likes to steal cars, can you get him busted for that to eliminate the immediate threat? This gets back to hiring a PI perhaps, but probably at a cheaper cost since his/her goal would be more focused. (Naturally, you’d need to tailor to the individual’s vices…)

    – Share files (if she’s got ’em — lots of victims don’t) with local entities like women’s groups or police? It certainly seems difficult to even theoretically negotiate this kind of strategy without significantly compromising the privacy that underpins the security that is undermined by interpersonal violence!

    – If there are no local women’s groups known to her, and no local PD with sexual/domestic violence-specific training, who else can she approach in an official/quasi-official vein to create this paper trail others have mentioned?

    – More?

  36. schrodingerneko

    I can only come with experience of harassment and rape threats from when I was a teenager, so whether my advice is useful I don’t know. What was important in changing my situation back then was showing that the majority were on my side, and that every time something bad happened to me, something bad happened to the harassers, to the point where the negative feedback was enough to discourage them. At the teenager level, this was hard enough already, even with authority figures and friends on my side. That being said, it’s the closest to an ‘active’ stance I can think of, short of violence.

    The first step was to get as much information as possible about my harassers. As spinsterniece’s letter seems to suggest, she doesn’t know very much about what he’s doing there. Use the internet, get someone with good social engineering skills or a PI to find out what they can about him. You can then target your response more appropriately.
    Secondly, build good social networks, not just for the purposes of support. Look for people who are connected to people he encounters, businesses he uses etc, who can persuade these people that he’s not worth interacting with. People are going to listen to the opinions of their friends far more than anonymous letters, flyers or phone calls (though those can help), and it adds an extra degree of separation. In the best scenario, his boss is a sympathetic type willing to transfer him to another city. That’s very unlikely. What you’re doing is running a bad PR campaign against him, or hopefully, your sympathetic friends are running it for you.

    Depending on how you feel about his possible reaction, you could make a website about his rapes, get feminist blogs to help googlebomb it to the top of the results page for his name. Of course, this only works if his name is uncommon enough.

    Make sure you have a phone with a camera, in case you see him in the street. It was only when I got a picture of my harassers that people started taking me seriously.

  37. Dykonoclast

    The individual who beat and raped me for 2.5 years never faced a law enforcement official over it– not even when he moved in to the building next to mine after I ran away from him, an intentional move on his part.

    This idea that rapists belong in prison makes my head hurt. Damn near every dude on the planet is a rapist! As remarkable as the U.S. prison industrial complex may be, it is entirely unequipped to deal with the jailing of half this nation’s denizens. I refuse to believe that prison is the solution, though it can be a band-aid for those out-of-control serial-stalker-rapist situations.

    The solution to rape is not one that will ever be brought about under capitalism, as it involves the recognition of women as agentive, sentient humans. I don’t expect that to happen during my lifetime, so I just wear my KILL YOUR RAPIST shirt and never go anywhere without a big knife in my pocket.

  38. Amberbug

    How about looking for information through commercial sites for affordable and helpful stuff. I’m thinking look for his new address, employment, historical and current. Toss the psychological type profiling, it’s hopeless-I thought so anyway, not feminist friendly. Go real time. Definitley get the dog if affordable, big’s better but loud and trainable is great too. Go to a women’s shelter(s) rape crisis for advice, not merely a therapy or couselling group. (or do both), because they can point you in the direction of cheap or free legal advice, get you up to speed on your state’s current laws, MUCH more usable to reduce the lack of control she has (not “feels”, has) without this information.
    If there’s a around college normal enough to have a women’s studies department, it couldn’t hurt to see if they offer sound current information verbal and written. Ohh and the wonderful combo of women’s studies AND law! Squeeze some counselling/advice out of them, even if you have to enroll.
    Don’t lock yourself up just researching- actually calling people or meeting with them gets you better advice and a lot of encouragement.
    Physically surround yourself with the ALL the local women who know some of the in’s and out’s. Take it in steps, and it takes less time than learning gun ownership or martial arts (both of these are on my X-mas list).
    I’m trying (hopefully tomorrow) to leave a nasty abusive relationship (Happy Halloween! Scary day.). I’ve e-mailed every slightly supportive woman I know, just to say “head’s up”. I was shocked to find human resources had a “private” women’s shelter-apartments for “aftercare”. Nice to know! She lives there. She should get know the state and the networks like the back of her hand, and everytime she moves.
    And for the future, after this guy is less to no threat because he’s a fuckwad who won’t be bothered to know ANYTHING about her resources and he’ll step on his dick, and she’ll be there to laugh. He thinks he’s protected by his father’s patriarchy, thinks fear can freeze you or make you waste away thinking of violent things you will not do, ever.
    Basic safety first, before any networking-get (even stick-on) alarms on the doors and windows, get good lighting, motion sensor, find out his declared location (1 hour away, 4 hours, it’s important and reduces my fear). I don’t know what kind of rapist he is (basic, not profiling), but there’s workplace violence policies sometimes that let you alert them, and they put some kind of plan in place if even documentation and letting security know (if they have security). I don’t know how much documentation women’s shelters provide, but get your name on any list they have. FBI and domestic violence unit (if there is one) at the local PD. File an order of protection if you can. And every week keep putting a little money into checking out his background and current info. Keep all your friends updated. Strenthen those relationships.
    I just gotta say again, dogs are great for chasing away the fear. Even better, if you can’t afford both, than a firearm.

  39. Crystal

    This is such a horrible situation. My thoughts:
    Myspace stalking may give a sense of security but it’s kind of inadequate. You need to be able to get some real info on him, his whereabouts and activities. I no longer subscribe to the idea of just letting things go, but you absolutely need to not draw attention to yourself.
    If the police in your town are fairly alright dudes, I would try causally talking to an officer about it. If you’re friendly with the police it really helps your situation, especially if they know the background. I’m sure there would be a few who would be happy to try to spend some extra time in your vicinity or spread the word to other police officers to keep an eye out for a certain guy. They might also be able to run some info checks for you or alert the police in the area he’s currently living in. This should be standard practice, but the police really can bump surveillance up a notch if they have a personal connection to you.
    A gun is probably a good idea, sadly enough, at least an unloaded or training one. Martial arts can definitely build confidence, but they really aren’t as effective for real life self defense situations as one would like to think, especially with an armed assailant or multiple assailants. It actually annoys me that they give women a false sense of security in a lot of self defense classes. If you do go for a martial art, I would recommend Krav Maga, which is designed for real combat rather than aesthetics or strength or fitness.
    As for the myspace/facebook thing, if he’s stalking you via the internet, it can be really helpful to give some hints on there that you have big dudes around. I know this is so buying into the patriarchy, but I make it known in subtle ways that I have a close male friend who carries a gun and is skilled in how to use it and is very attached to me. Yes, this is highly blameworthy, but I don’t care. I’m not at the point where I carry one myself, but if I saw any signs of my ex reentering my vicinity I would probably make a few fake blog posts about taking up shooting with my friend and the new piece I had bought or something.

  40. Alex

    The only thing I can think of to add is that the women’s shelter or rape crisis line would likely be able to give her the name of a good person to speak to at the police department (either in her town or the one where the rapist lives). I’m not totally sure that the police are going to be able to do much, but anyone who knows anything about rape will understand why she’s concerned–so the trick is to make sure that the person she speaks to *does* know something about rape and related issues. In a police department of any size, chances are there’s at least one officer who’s reasonably well informed, so if she knows who to ask for, she can be sure that she speaks to that one instead of taking her chances. If she can’t get a name from a shelter or hotline, she could also start with the victim/witness advocate, if the police department is big enough to have one.

  41. the little one

    I apologize if this sentiment has already been expressed. This is a difficult topic for me so I was unable to read all the comments. Here were my immediate thoughts when you asked what she should do.

    Just live. Most of our rapists were never prosecuted. Many were never even confronted. You can only win if you keep on living and really there is nothing else to do. Just live.

  42. Amananta

    Do we want honesty or feel-good lines? I’m afraid I, being chronically short on dishonest fake-happy feel-good lines, am usually labeled a defeatist, pessimistic loser who “wallows in victimhood.” Alas, I can only tell the unhappy truth as I know it.

    My rapist has gone free – I never even bothered to call the law – blame it on the shortsightedness of a 13 year old. What did I do? Lived in fear, mostly. Since, like most rape victims, I am related to my rapist, I was expected to continue to maintain pleasant family relations with him. Since I refused, I was blamed for being sullen and ungrateful. My requests not to give my personal contact information to my rapist was ignored by the rest of the family since clearly I was just lying for attention/to cause trouble. Therefore in order to avoid the terror-filled prospect of him calling or showing up on my doorstep any old time he felt he was entitled to beg me to stop “spreading lies” about him and to just “put the past behind us” (although he claims he isn’t even sure what has me so “angry”), I have been required to cut ties completely with my entire family. There is not one single family member who will not betray me to my rapist, should they find out any detail about where I live or what I’m doing, in the interest of doing “what is best for the family”, by which they mean forcing a “reconciliation” that would consist of my abject apologies for having told the truth and the “normalization” of my relationship with my rapist – hugging him, smiling at him, visiting with him and the rest of the family on holidays, etc.

    I suppose I could have, at some point, pointlessly sought legal action. Since all physical evidence was long gone by the time I was an adult, it was a matter of my word against his and the entire family’s, all of whom were willing to vouch in court that he was the most amazing man ever and I was just an unstable, vengeful liar. Plus then the judge would have asked why I waited so long to press charges. Now the Statute of limitations is past.

    I’m a little short on advice myself. But I have a whole lot of bitter.

  43. Megann

    While some or all of these solutions may help this victim and/or punish this perpetrator, it does nothing to solve the rape epidemic that the entire world is suffering from. In western nations, too, rape victims often suffer in silence, because of shame, fear or lack of responds from legal systems.

    I like Twisty’s thought on this: “One of the most insidious is its assertion that women are in a perpetual state of ‘consent’ unless they specify in front of 147 witnesses that they have withdrawn it.”

    People don’t often think about rape until it is happening to them or someone they know. Wouldn’t a large scale protest help, with banners saying: “SILENCE IS NOT CONSENT!” This would at least make people aware. This would force them to face the facts. Perhaps it will also influence laws to make the suffering less for victims and help prevent rape. Feminism is becoming a quiet movement. It’s time that we are heard again.

    Ofcourse some goals need to be set and plans need to be made, before any of this is possible.

  44. bushfire

    I always enjoy gazing at this picture:


    It’s only vaguely related, but it’s fun.

  45. TinaH

    I have had the thought that women should all take some sort of self-defense training. Those model mugging ones look pretty good because you get to practice kicking the crap out of an attacker while your friends cheer. I’m afraid of guns because those are so easily taken away.

  46. kate

    Aside from lasting physical trauma, or even death, the highest crime of a rape is the lack of control one feels when unable to protect gainst an assault.

    Spinster Neice X: You need to find ways to gain control of your life that allow you to engage in life without constant fear. Vigilance yes, vigilantism, no.

    As woman we all have to deal with the truth that we never know when an attack may come or from whom. Every man is a potential threat to our safety and should be treated as such. This is a truth that one cannot escape and one should accept as a fact that presently we do not have the power to change and may never change, but to identify one’s enemy is the beginning of proper strategy to protect oneself and deter any potential harm in the future.

    One thing for sure, most predators go for easy targets. They look for a trusting attitude, one with faith in people’s goodness from the start, someone who isn’t considering the possibility of being a target.

    Whether the particular attacker you know is one mile or one hundred miles away is almost a moot point. Truth is that other unknown attackers or assaulters are everywhere, they are someone else’s secret, not divulged to you; possibly a predator who has not yet stepped over the line or been caught. Therefore, to obsess on this one individual is to lose the whole game in a sense, you need to be aware that a woman must be aware and take measures with attitude and action, to first deter a potential attack or violation, secondly, to act swiftly and with confidence at the first instance that she is aware a violation may occur. This takes attitude, practice and resolution, but I believe all women can do this.

    I was a victim more than once, in different situations. It took me years to undo the damage done to me by growing up in a household that taught me that blind obedience and good natured trust would keep me safe. The irony was that such instruction kept me ripe for further abuse and violation and also kept me thinking that I was the responsible party for the violation or abuse having occurred. Of course, that’s no accident!

    The only thing we’re responsible for is protecting ourselves the best we can, which can be many different ways and strategies at any given time. Trusting yourself, not trusting others and making sure your boundaries are clear is the first start.

    I agree with MzNicky, however well meaning, support groups do not foster direct action, oftentimes only enabling the continuation of a sense of powerlessness and victimhood.

    We were victims once when the violation happened, it is important to not allow the violation to victimize us forever. My theory is that we have the ability to control how long we will be victimized in our mind. Obsessing about the attack and the abuser in my mind, only fosters further the sense of powerlessness that was felt at the time of the attack.

    Conversely, dealing with the factors at play and accepting that we did what we could to stay alive and then turning that sense of powerlessness once felt into taking control and power for the present and the future is the best way to heal.

    Having the resolve that one will be diligent and vigilant to the best of one’s ability without hampering one’s ability to enjoy life is important. If we can’t do that, then the abusers and violators have won by proxy.

    I know for myself, I am resolved that any threat or action taken against me or those I care about will result in serious harm to them, if not death, period. There are some men, who have been surprised to learn this, you wouldn’t believe their surprise! I haven’t killed anyone, but I sure as hell would if I had to, believe me. Sometimes I nurture that resolve, other times I have to temper it from consuming me, but it is important that it is there.

    I hope I make some sense.

    Also, might I add that legally, you may put yourself at some risk for a lawsuit if you go about ‘informing’ neighbors or others within the public of the perp’s whereabouts. Different states have different manner of following Megan’s Law, its good to know what your locality has for policy and also possibly a good idea to discuss with them the predator’s presence, if they don’t already know, they may appreciate knowing.

    I know that not informing directly in the community is counter to common sense, but then, this system doesn’t protect women, it protects predators and abusers. In addition, vigilantism, as attractive as it is (I can’t say I don’t harbor such fantasies) should remain as a fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with fantasizing yourself as a combatant, running through scenarios of taking attack, but unless you are damn certain you can show it as a defensive action, I’d not move beyond the realm of fantasy. It ain’t worth ten or twenty years and a felony conviction, much less the embarrassment of being portrayed as an insane woman on revenge. Again, we live in a system that favors men abusers over women victims.

    If an abuser directly threatens you with direct bodily harm, attempts to enter your house you have the right to take action.

    If you have a gun, intend to use it when you must — fire often until the target is either down or gone. Fire first as soon as the intruder is at least halfway in your house, DO NOT hesitate or allow the attacker/intruder enough time or proximity to get the gun from you. If you are wary of shooting and killing someone with a gun, don’t have one as it will only serve as a tool for them to use on you.

    Keep your kitchen knives off the counter and in a drawer, not out in the open where an intruder can grab one.

    Get a dog and go through obedience training, including guard dog training, make that dog your right arm.

    Get a roommate if possible, get a male roommate if you can find one you can trust, although not the best option unless carefully considered (as far as who holds the power in the live-in relationship), attackers will often avoid a cock fight.

    Get an alarm system if you can– Radio Shack even offers cheap sensors that will sound off if a door or window is opened.

    Be aware of your surroundings at all times and let people you trust know that you have a potential stalker. Be a bitch and mean it, look like you would kill any bastard who threatened you, that alone will often deter a lot of them.

    DON’t put out a restraining order or other indicators of 1) your fear 2) your location, until you are sure that a predator is stalking/tracking you. And don’t depend on restraining orders to do much for you, psychopaths have no respect or fear of the law.

    Do what some have said by taking self defense lessons and such. Its not a cure-all, but at the very least it will boost your self confidence and also teach you some offensive/defensive strategies and techniques.

    I hope some of these suggestions help. I wish I could do more, but frankly, I think you have all the tools you need within yourself to do what you must.

  47. Dr. Steph

    This may all sound a bit naive, and it’s purely an armchair suggestion, but I think that the key is to do things that make X feel safer and more in control that do not have to do with the rapist.

    This is partly and unfortunately because this rapist isn’t the only rapist out there and because all the revenge strategies give power to the rapist because he becomes the focus of her attention more than he already is.

    Sure it feels good to think of great ways to fuck with him. But our society tends to look upon vengeful women pretty poorly and in the end it probably won’t be more than fantasies.

    Besides all the great ideas for physical security from kate I would also suggest making allies with women’s organizations and support people like therapists to make X stronger and less focussed on rapist instead of more so.

    Of course that’s not always easy or the total answer, but it’s probably the best there is.


  48. kate

    I see someone suggested having an unloaded gun on hand. I totally disagree. If you point a gun at someone, you had better be ready to use it and often as soon as you point it as a gun in someone’s face accelerates the nature of the situation — in the attacker’s mind and your safety. Have a gun, be prepared to use immediately when you know the threat exists and without hesitation and until the job is done.

  49. Shannon

    Like Amananta, I must continue to play nice with my abusers. I would like to move, but don’t have the resources to do so. I spend much of my time angry that I am the touble maker for not keeping my mouth shut. To spinster x, I would recommend talking to the group who run the local womens shelter. They not only will give counseling, but offer moral as well as legal support. I also recommend Krav Maga. It’s on my Christmas list too.

    the basics of krav Maga are (stolen from wikipedia)

    Neutralize the threat
    Avoid injury
    Go from defending to attacking as quickly as possible
    Use the body’s natural reflexes
    Strike at any vulnerable point
    Use any tool or object nearby

    According to a description written for the self-publication media site Associated Content, the basic premises of Krav Maga are: [1]

    You’re not going to care how much damage you’re going to cause.
    Cause as much damage as possible and run.
    Do not try and prolong a fight. Do what needs to be done and escape.

    go here http://www.krav-maga.com/, or here http://www.kravmaga.com/krav01.html for more info

  50. kcb

    Argh, what a horrid situation for SpinsterNiece. I’ll second the dog and private-eye recommendations, as well as networking with the police and local women’s shelter.

    I just finished reading “The Gift of Fear,” which has a lot of useful information on dealing with threatening and potentially threatening people. It would be worth checking out just for the list of pre-incident indicators and ideas on how to profile exactly how much of a threat someone poses. That might allow SN to get a better read on her rapist in particular and on everyone else, too. (FWIW, I have a special place in my heart for the author b/c in his book on child and teen safety, “Protecting the Gift,” he talks about how women and kids are trained to serve the patriarchy at the expense of their personal safety, and how to overcome that.)

    Like kate, I would recommend against keeping an unloaded gun “for show.” Once an attacker knows it’s not loaded — and he will if you don’t shoot him — it’s easy for him to take it away from you and use it as a cudgel.

  51. Cass

    “The Gift of Fear” is a great book, and otherwise I guess I’d agree with what Dr. Steph had to say. Vigilantism makes for a nice fantasy, but having to go to prison over someone like this would just compound the overwhelming injustice of it all.

  52. kaylagrrl

    Although I understand where the folks who’ve suggested a gun as an answer are coming from, I have to say this is a bad idea for several reasons: 1) as someone already mentioned, a gun can be easily taken away and used against you, 2) as most rapists are known to the victim, I think most victims would be hesitant to shoot their “friend” or an aquaintance, let alone a supposed partner or lover, 3) AND we all know how much the justice system gives women who’re “using the rape defense” a break–it’s incredibly likely she would be prosecuted if she knew the perpetrator, and 4) even in the unlikely event of a breaking in and entering your home serial rapist (we have one of these in my hometown right now), your gun won’t do you any good unless it’s on your person at all times, especially if you’re ambushed or attacked while sleeping. And in many of the serial rapist type scenarios, he’s already armed, so best case scenario is she out-draws him and kills him instantly, otherwise it seems more likely he will escalate his violence against her because afterall, her self-defense is impinging upon his privilege.

  53. VK

    In terms of stopping him reoffending (easily at any rate), why not paper his local area (bars, billboards etc.) outing him as a rapist, with details of the type he goes for and how he sets it up.

    Similarly set up facebook groups, myspace groups etc. outing him. Not his address say, as that could lead to physical attacks on him, but his description and a warning to women around him to watch out and not be alone with him, and to run if he approaches them in public.

  54. Rei

    According to the salty old Chicago cops I know, anyone who tries to hire a thug without benefit of a. immense wealth or b. pre-existing criminal connections, ends up soliciting an undercover officer. So, if you don’t know how to put out a hit already, you shouldn’t try.

    Beyond that caution, I have no first or second hand experience of what works. Still, I feel that SN should try to create a protective information imbalance- find out everything she can about X while staying off his radar. Fliering his street or torching his car is only just, but it will start the kind of dogfight a woman can’t win. Right now, there’s still a chance that he doesn’t know she’s there.

    I’ve never hired one, but I’m sort of into the idea of a private eye. A skilled, sympathetic pro can tail X for a time, and either satisfy SN that he’s not after her, or collect sufficient information for an informed action, or even (and this gets into fantasy territory,) collect evidence of use for future prosecutions. A detective, or a lawyer, could also give good advice about how/to what extent to involve local law inforcement. Combine this with all of the quiet defensive options mentioned in the above thread, and I think SN would have a good start.

    This would be expensive, but delegating it to a friend might be dangerous for the friend, and too easily traced back to you. Perhaps your friend network can contribute financially? I know I would. It also depends on finding a skilled, sympathetic professional- and I just have no idea. Anyone have the number of a radical feminist detective?

  55. Amberbug

    I had not thought of the fact that an order of protection would alert him to you. Another idea- If he is the type to break the law (the kinds people care about, like theft, forgery, etc.), do an occasional warrant search on him. If you find one, let the cops know anonymously where they can pick him up. Crossing state lines can mean avoidance of a warrant.
    The gun issue is a hot one. Men as a group are the gun owners- hell, they collect them and show them off and play with them at shooting ranges. Why is it so dangerous and “revengeful” for a woman to have one, a person who HAS been attacked before, not just all the man hunters, military members, farmers, and bad ass “causal collectors?”. I am so pissed that I am told (no offense to advice above) that if I get a gun, “you damn well be ready to use it little lady”, that some odd percentage of gun injury and death happen because of a gun being used against the owner (read female). COME THE FUCK ON. Aside from the fact that we are bombarded with movies that show a woman screaming and dropping a gun, shaking violently, their peaceful loving consciences making them “hesitiate”.. media stories and movies. Check out what context those “warning” gun death stats are coming from. There are women who hunt, compete, and own guns for every reason. Self protection is taboo.
    It’s a GUN. It’s legal. It’s a thing that’s simpler to learn than boiling a 3 minute egg, mechanically. If you have cheap alarms and lights and a dog, and a nice strip of property surrounding your residence, he is not getting close enough to disarm you, or even talk you down. Call cops, then shoot. I don’t care where you shoot if he’s outside, it’s going to make him shit himself, because he watches the same movies and will not expect you to “go that far”. Go so far as to own something that American men are only supposed to have.
    Lots of the alledged “tragic” incidents that happen with a gun in the house are because the woman lives with a bastard who owns a gun, and she’s never used it.
    Do what they do. Get it, learn it, learn local laws of when and where it can be used for self defence, and store it at a shooting club. Clean it often, practice often. For the rest of your life your knee’s will knock much less loudly. If one is ever pointed at you, you won’t flip out, you will think, damn, that’s a nice Glock he has. You’ll know whether his safety is on, how touchy the gun type/brand is, whether the ammo it takes can fuck you up to what extent and at what range, whether its the type that locks up every other time you attempt to fire.
    Most of these fuckers running around with guns don’t know much about them, many men have never touched one. They will be scared if they see one, and if they think “oh its a woman, just like in the movies, so I’ll simply take it away”, they are thinking in “cable tv” reality. Great state of mind to have him in, because any moron like that is going to be a fuck-up in his moves to disarm you, who are grounded in reality.
    Just make it a hobby. Don’t think about him, fear or power. It takes time to get comfortable and good at it, but it’s fun. You’ll feel better all around, because one more citizen has claimed her American right to own one. At least go to a shooting range once. It is fantastic experience, with or without fear fantasies. Don’t let them chase us out of the sandbox with the good toys AGAIN, especially the toys that they intimidate and kill us with. It’s as important as claiming the right to work construction, join the golf association, etc. Why should women owning guns be considered by them or us as an act of war or revolution. They don’t see themselves that way. You’ll have people assuming you could only want to own a gun for self defense because you are female and scared. Sure that’s one reason, but not the only one, and it’ll soon turn into pride, skill and an attitude they can smell a mile away.

  56. Dawn Coyote


    I found his website online, and sent him a hard copy of the letter with a link to the blog in it. I’m not afraid of him tracking me down, though.

    I like Jodie’s idea. If pedophiles can organize on the internet to facilitate their own and each others proclivities, why can’t victims and victim’s allies look out for each other in a similar manner?

  57. mnm

    I realize that many of the Americans here would rather their bullet-filled phallic symbol of the patriarchy’s violence be pried from their cold, dead hands than part with it for a millisecond, but considering the egregious rate of gun violence in your country, and the fact that the blamer will undoubtedly be imprisoned if she ever uses said firearm, perhaps this is not the best approach. In any event, somehow I suspect “grab yer piece and blast him to the sky” was not the type of constructive advice requested. In any event, it’s been said, and your extremely cogent points have been taken, so perhaps we can all stick to patriarchy blaming instead of gun/phallus idolizing from here on in.

  58. Kali

    Carry a knife or gun. I used to carry a box-cutter when I was traveling alone in Delhi. Are stun-guns or pepper-sprays legal where SN lives? Also, someone should start a website where women can anonymously name their rapists, organized by country/state/city, accompanied with identifying details and pictures if possible. If the site becomes popular enough, it would do a lot to warn other women/girls.

  59. betsyl

    a fictionalization of this same issue is in nicola griffith’s always.

    i do not recommend, for anyone, the action that one of the characters in the book chooses to take at the end. (you’ll know it when you get there, trust me.) but the book was very helpful to me to read to know what’s reasonable, what’s not, what can i do to protect myself.

  60. Puffin

    I wish the solution presented in the movie Hard Candy were more practical. You get them to kill themselves.

  61. Langsuyar

    There are doubtless many good responses I haven’t read yet. The impact of this blog was too visceral for me to go through them all before I shared my thoughts. I didn’t want them diluted.

    My rapist was never imprisoned. I never prosecuted, because I was still living at that time under the cultural delusion that unless I withdrew consent “in front of 147 witnesses” I had, in fact, been a willing participant. For years I have entertained fantasies of what ought to be done to him, mostly involving the use of superglue as “lube” for a giant fucking black dildo.

    He contacted me not that long ago. Through myspace, of all obvious things. We are never safe. We are property. He felt entitled to remind me that he has pictures of me from the time of the rape, because he felt entitled to taste my fear.

    Own yourself. I abhor guns. Get a gun. I carry a knife (or more) and I know how to use it. I moved across country (I can honestly say that wasn’t the only reason, thankfully). I don’t hesitate, in any setting where the issue comes up, to state frankly that I have been raped. I long ago ceased caring what people (men) think about me. I believe shame is an oppressive force that can actually, easily, be dismantled. I remind people of the 1-in-3-women that have been raped.

    I would not hesitate to slice and dice. If you get a gun, do not hesitate to shoot. A good defense lawyer is not as expensive as what may happen otherwise.

  62. OHjoy

    Gun. knife. learn how to use them. I was raped 8 years ago and recently moved too a major city. I was almost attacked last week 2 blocks from my house, where I live with two male roomates. Take care of yourself by any means necessary.

  63. RP

    Amberbug said regarding guns: If one is ever pointed at you, you won’t flip out, you will think, damn, that’s a nice Glock he has. You’ll know whether his safety is on, how touchy the gun type/brand is, whether the ammo it takes can fuck you up to what extent and at what range, whether its the type that locks up every other time you attempt to fire.

    I would add that taking Model Mugging/IMPACT/Prepare self-defense (which is both explictly feminist and recommended in “The Gift of Fear”) gives you that same clear-eyed view regarding being attacked. I never realized how much indoctrination I had absorbed about how easily I could be overpowered until I took an IMPACT course. Now I see that attackers rely on our fear much more than their own strength. It’s damn hard for someone to protect all their vulnerable areas and still attack you…unless all the stories you have heard and seen tell you that you are helpless and defenseless.

  64. older now

    TinaH, I hope you’re still around this conversation. You said, “I will have occasional deep flashes of guilt because I never prosecuted.” I just wanted to add my story.

    In my case, it is one of those things where I know my guilt is silly, but I can’t make it stop. I say silly because I was 8 or 9 years old. I ran home and told my mom, she called the police. To their credit, an officer was dispatched immediately. He needed a description of the car. I couldn’t remember anything. A sedan? I think? Brown, maybe? To this day, when I see a thing on the news about an abduction or pedophile, I’m sure that it was the same person. And if only I’d been smarter and gotten that license plate! I feel like I want to write letters to every victim I see on the news, confessing to them that my idiocy is the reason they too had to suffer.

    I know it’s flat out crazy to think like this, and I’m letting him continue to victimize me, [insert additional platitudes here]. But trying to get the rational half of me to get through to the other half is like trying to mix oil and water.

    TinaH, on the off chance that I can get through to your “other” half better than my own, let me tell you, let it go! It’s soooo reasonable on your part not to have wanted to put yourself through a prosecution!

  65. Crystal

    This is slightly o/t, but reading through the comments at the earlier rape post, someone mentioned that a lot of people think of this as a parody site.
    This explains a lot for me, not about this site, but about other things that I see in the media and people’s humor all the time.
    You see, reading this blog, I find what Twisty says both funny and true, though a bit of an exaggeration of my personal views some of the time, and certainly much less restrained than the way I would phrase things to anyone. That’s what makes it so delightfully funny (though this post isn’t).
    Up until now, I’ve seen all of these things on TV and jokes that people make and I’ve been kind of confused, like “well, yeah, what they’re parodying is legitimately stupid but it’s still really not that funny.” It’s only funny if you really do feel that way.
    The example that pops into my mind right now is the commentary on MXC, if anyone knows what I’m talking about. Dudes find it funny because that’s basically the way they really think, they just water it down for public consumption!
    I feel much the same way about the whole “ironic” movement, which seems to be over, thank gawd. People enjoy things ironically because they really enjoy them are just trying to cover it with some lame excuse.

  66. Katie-Kat

    Get a gun. Or a knife. Or some kind of weapon, and take classes on how to use it.

    Carry pepper spray. Don’t leave the house without it.

    I’m going to the same college as someone nearly identical to my rapist. It terrifies me every time I see him, and he’s not only in the College of Science, he’s a physics student, friends with a friend of mine, and lives on the floor below me. But carrying pepper spray and a knife at all times and keeping my door and window shut and locked at all times if I’m alone helps, and I’m sure the women’s self-defense class I’m taking this year will help more.

    Do not let panic or anxiety make you freeze. Ever.

    See a counselor. A good one is a lot of help.

    Good luck, spinster niece.

  67. slythwolf

    My rapist has gone free – I never even bothered to call the law – blame it on the shortsightedness of a 13 year old.

    I’d much rather blame it on the patriarchy, thanks just the same.

  68. kate

    Amp: I certainly did not mean to demean when speaking of ‘when you have a gun be ready to use it’. Its what I know from talking with many many people who have been trained in the use of guns in combat situations. Their training involves just that: learning that their fear can waste seconds and thus possibly cause them to be killed.

    A gun is final when pointed at someone. I carried a gun for awhile and also had a couple of shotguns in my home at one time. I don’t anymore out of choice. Twice I used my shotguns to defend myself, once against an intruder in my home and once pointed through the blinds of my kitchen door window to disperse a couple of midnight callers. Both times I was very lucky; the threat of the barrel served to deter further action and get them packing. Neither gun was loaded nor did I have ammunition. If they had called my bluff, things might have come out much worse as my ruse might have elevated things instead of diffusing them.

    The only actual loaded, working gun I had (a .22 pistol) I pointed at myself one evening, determined to end it all, I called Samaritans and put it down after an hour. That was enough, I got rid of my guns. I’ve raised three teenagers and had some very tough situations with them, I’m not so cocky as to think that a loaded gun in the house wouldn’t have elevated a given hot situation with one of them at time when they were very impulsive teenagers.

    All that aside, I’m not going sit here and say that no one should have a gun or that no one here could handle a gun, I just have my own ambivalence to that and am willing to risk going without.

  69. yankee transplant

    IBTP for all of it.

    Definitely a large dog, well-trained to protect, is a great idea. And good company to boot.

  70. AK-LA

    I was raped a year and a half ago. I moved to another country, and he stayed put. It took me a year to tell some mutual friends what happened, and I am giving the responsibility to them to deal with him.

    Moving to another country hasn’t helped by itself. There are still plenty of horrible and unknown people here, so I don’t feel safer. I’m glad the rapist is thousands of miles away. He thought he was a progressive feminist, so his dim realization that he may have somehow offended a woman prevents him from chasing after me. This jerkwad was so convinced he was fighting the patriarchy he thought he was immune from committing heinous crimes.

    I took extensive women’s self-defense before I was raped. It focused on what to do if a stranger attacks you on the street. They didn’t focus on what to do for an acquaintance rape – how to get your brain to accept what is happening so you can mess this guy up.

    Telling some close, trustworthy people and a carefully-selected therapist has helped the most. It doesn’t matter where the rapist is – it’s his type who terrifies me, not just him alone. I had to recover from this incident and also learn how to protect myself emotionally and physically from abuse in general to really feel safer.

  71. Thoughts

    For myself, if followed to my state, I would probably just live in fear.

    But if I did not then I think that I would look into getting involved with, volunteering, or whatever, with a local shelter or rape crisis center or something.

    Part of this is psychological stuff like “it would directly target the fear to be helping people in the circumstance I’m afraid of.”

    But the other part is that it seems like it’s the closest thing to a social role where a woman loses the presumed property status; it feels to me like there is an extent to which a woman who works at a rape crisis center is *not* presumed to consent.

    Obviously a person can be in a work and life situation that doesn’t give time for that.

  72. TinaH

    My in-laws were at my house for Halloween and my brother-in-law was pissing and moaning about our state governor’s plan to raise taxes – BIL called it rape.

    I let him have it verbally. Both barrels.

    He wouldn’t speak to me for the rest of the evening. It was such a blessing.

    Damn patriarch.

  73. MzNicky

    perhaps we can all stick to patriarchy blaming instead of gun/phallus idolizing from here on in.

    Yes, because sitting around blaming the patriarchy will SO help out a rape victim who continues to be fearful of her rapist.

    Sometimes a gun is just a gun, mnm.

    and the fact that the blamer will undoubtedly be imprisoned if she ever uses said firearm, perhaps this is not the best approach.

    As you have indicated you aren’t a U.S. citizen, I question your authority on the matter. If citizens were “undoubtedly imprisoned if they ever use a firearm,” there’d be even more overflowing prisons in this country than there already are. It’d also make sense to outlaw shooting ranges, wouldn’t it?

    I’m not a pro-gun person; far from it. Just want a little clarity here.

  74. buggle

    I think this quote, from rootlesscosmo, really says it all:

    “I sympathize with the frustration commenters express in these revenge ideas, but as I understand Twisty’s analysis of gender politics, which I share, the whole point is that this is a systematic, structural injustice; as my radical feminist family lawyer often tells her clients, “this is what patriarchy looks like when it’s happening to you.” No closure, no getting even, no happy ending.”

    It’s true, there IS nothing to do. I mean, protect yourself as best you can, etc. But when living in a patriarchy, this is how it is. Weirdly that makes me feel better. It takes the responsibility off of me to do something. I feel like there should be something I could do, but really, there isn’t. Not without putting myself at risk. Depressing, but true. There is no happy ending for victims.

  75. TinaH

    Older Now:


    Most of the time I’m ok, but sometimes it just freaking comes out of nowhere. And I was all grown up at the time (16!) and so figured I had things under control.


    Peace for both of us. May our rapists fall down the next flight of stairs they see, break both their legs and get gangrene in their testes.

  76. Unree

    Are there any resources for women trying to anticipate and guard against acquaintance rape? The de Becker book is great, but I’d love to know more.

  77. r

    Definitely the whole dog(s) thing. Dogs are wonderful people. Also definitely what Amberbug said – use a gun as the tool that it is. Look at what a deadly piece of machinery a car is. But we all drive – without any scary stories about how if you buy a car somebody could steal it & run you over.
    If your fear is that you would hesitate to kill someone – get a stun gun.

  78. Citizen Insane

    “It is by this cunning method of ascribing to women the quality of unceasing availability that the future of rape as a cornerstone of human social order is secured.”

  79. Citizen Insane

    Whoops, I meant to post that quote and say….Damn, Twisty is a genius. Sorry I don’t have anything more productive to add but everything I would have said has been said.

  80. mnm

    MzNicky, do endeavour to refrain from engaging in reductio ad absurdum in your future posts. Rest assured you will be much more convincing, and perhaps even merit a full response.

  81. Marcy

    but considering the egregious rate of gun violence in your country, and the fact that the blamer will undoubtedly be imprisoned if she ever uses said firearm, perhaps this is not the best approach.

    That’s what we’re taught. Everyone knows the ol’ saw about how the criminals get away scott free, and if the victim tries to defend herself, she’ll go to jail. I think it’s rubbish.

    I just remembered something my therapist told me when I was being stalked. After he told me to get a gun and learn how to use it, he asked me if I lived in an apartment surrounded by people who would hear what was going on. Then he told me, “If the guy comes into your place, the first shot goes into him. Then you yell, ‘That’s your warning!’ Then you put the second shot into the wall.”

    so perhaps we can all stick to patriarchy blaming instead of gun/phallus idolizing from here on in.

    Where does blaming the patriarchy get us? With all due respect to Twisty, her blog is great, and I’ve learned a lot. It’s important to know where to place the blame, instead of blaming other women or whatever. But sometimes action is needed, and talking women out of taking steps to improve their lives and instead telling them to sit around blaming the patriarchy and continuing to be victims seems rather cruel.

    I think a two-pronged or multi-pronged approach is better. We need the education about sexism, but we also need to do something about it instead of sitting in our homes scared out of our wits and depressed that we can’t do anything about it. We can.

  82. MzNicky

    No problemo, mnm. Your response was more than full enough already. You might want to see someone about the removal of whatever it is you’ve got stuck up your ass, though.

  83. jezebella

    Ah, Marcy, nice straw(wo)man there. No one said sit around blaming and do nothing. Your arrogant presumption that blamers lie on the divan eating bonbons and whining is downright offensive. Further, I recommend a search of the IBTP archives re: victimhood before you sneer at victims some more. I assure you, victims of rape would prefer not to be. Alas, that option was taken away from them. You cannot unring that bell.

  84. thebewilderness

    We’re getting cranky now.
    There are many possibilities to consider. I hope Spinster Niece can apply some of them to her situation.

  85. Kali

    “I think a two-pronged or multi-pronged approach is better. We need the education about sexism, but we also need to do something about it instead of sitting in our homes scared out of our wits and depressed that we can’t do anything about it. We can.”

    That is very true. I have noticed a strange correlation. The people who claim that radical feminists are vested in the passive victimhood of women, and that feminists do nothing but sit around complaining, generally also tend to be people who tell women not to do anything to prevent themselves from being further victimized because it will make things worse/ will backfire/ will not work/ will harm others, etc.

    Not saying that this is true of anyone here, but I have noticed this pattern in general.

  86. kate

    Yes Kali, seems to arise from a general feeling of helplessness and frustration that people feel 1) that even the people they hoped the most aren’t making big changes 2) and if the scary, risk-taking people can’t do anything, well neither can we, so let’s just hunker down and wait to be saved.

    Grates on me, but I kind of understand where it comes from.

    As for weapnry, oh boy is my mind running now! Other suggestions:

    1) get a shotgun as you don’t have to have good aim cause the shot will span a wide range and more than likely hit your target. A large caliber shotgun even more damage. Double barrel, even better. Also the barrel is more impressive staring at the target and also the sound of the firing is far more impressive — like a small cannon.

    2) small caliber handguns (say, .22) are rather worthless as they usually don’t stop anyone but will cause minor harm and a lot of alarm. You want to stop the prick, not piss him off more.

    3) To kill effectively with a knife one should pierce hard and quickly and push in deep. The best target is the chest right under the sternum — push in and upward to cut into the heart.

    4) A slice to the groin will do some serious damage as well, especially if you hit the main artery that travels along the inside of the thigh.

    5) Fingers in the eyes — push hard and hard and hard to get them into the brain.

    There, I feel so much better. Now I’m going to have a cigarette on the porch.

    BTW, the old fuck step grandfather that raped me at 14 and then tried again (but I stopped him) when I was 15 died in prison — his brain rotted from the inside out due to an AIDS induced infection. When I was told this, I replied, “Oh, do tell me more, I’m enjoying this.” much to my clueless relative’s dismay. Fuck ’em.

  87. Marcy

    Ah, Marcy, nice straw(wo)man there. No one said sit around blaming and do nothing. Your arrogant presumption that blamers lie on the divan eating bonbons and whining is downright offensive.

    First of all, I don’t arrogantly presume anything. You inferred that. Secondly, I went back and reread the previous comments. At second glance, I realize that there were far more posts about action that could be taken than I first realized. You know, sometimes I think my brain just spasms. I don’t know why I thought there were a large number of nothing-can-be-done comments. I apologize for my poor reading comprehension.

    Further, I recommend a search of the IBTP archives re: victimhood before you sneer at victims some more.

    I certainly never intended to sneer at any victims. I intend to sneer at people who claim that nothing can be done except for accepting the inevitable victimhood that women find themselves in. That’s all.

    And I had another comment before the one you responded to, and it appeared on my screen as if it had been posted, but when I refreshed it, it was gone.

  88. MzNicky

    Self-defense training: Definitely.

    Large dog: Absolutely. I recommend a pit-bull or pit-bull mix. Check out outofthepits.com or your local shelter. They no doubt have many that have been screened and approved for adoption. A much-maligned and abused breed, pit-bulls are among the most loyal, intelligent, and affectionate dogs around. I had a part-pit, part-boxer for 15 years; best damn dog I ever had, and I’ve had many. Just having her by my side when I answered the door or went for a walk was a deterrent. (Little did any would-be bad guy know she’d lick him to death before she’d actually attack him.)

    Also: I like the way Kate thinks.

  89. MzNicky

    Sorry; I posted wrong. The web site for pit bull adoption is


  90. Cass

    Everyone who’s been victimize by rape or abuse needs, I think, both a safe place to express their anguish, and some assurance they’ll be in a better position to protect themselves in the future. For both reasons I hope Spinster Niece looks into a local agency for the support and education she needs. Professionals will tell you that the most common difference between people who are able to emotionally survive an experience like this and those who aren’t is the amount of support they find for themselves; and that support, fortunately, is much easier to find now than it was just a few decades ago.

    Also, something else I just thought of, the website (www.antistalking.com) has lots of good information about the different types of stalkers, safety planning, and legal options, plus links to other useful information on the net.

    I can hardly imagine the pain and fear she’s been going through. Whatever decisions she arrives at, I know we all wish her the very best in everything.

  91. Cass

    Oh, and you can find your local crisis center through the “Find a Local Crisis Center” section of http://www.rainn.org.

  92. rafalah

    A victim feels a lot of things—isolation is one of them. No matter how often we read about rape being used as a tool in genocide and just even regular ole’ war world wide (millions and millions of women raped, systematically and methodically by soldiers), no matter how many times we read the statistics and then try them on… “1 out of 3? So if I count all the women I know/am related to? 1 of 3?”

    It just never sinks in until it happens to you. Then you feel like you are the only one. IBTP who designed it that way. It is designed to sound like sex and it is designed to be about YOU—your dress, your manner, your location, your consent, your lack of non-consent, etc.

    But of course it isn’t about anything except power. It is no more about sex and you personally than for example the lynching that went on in the South for decades. Of course, it became personal to the man who found himself surrounded by a mob looking for ‘a good time’—but that mob didn’t see him as a ‘person’ anymore than the rapist sees any of us as a ‘person’.

    As a survivor myself, I am not at all enthused about guns and physical revenge talk. I think this elevates the perp and an act of violence to something that can only be addressed by more violence, personally…and, it gives away a lot of control. It also feels like it makes it all about one woman and one man, instead of a tool in the system of dehumanizing women. And it only makes us as horrible as they are.

    What if we, a collective group of survivors and mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends, decided to confront these men? I mean, what if there was some sort of organized local, regional, state wide and national march in front of their homes and place of employment? Like civil rights marches? Posters, bullhorns, rows and rows of women calling out each of the rapists by name? Letting them know we know who they are, we are watching them, we support our sister and we won’t tolerate it. Period.

    Maybe some economic boycott of where they work—THAT will get a lot of people’s attention. You employ a rapist, you just lost our business. Even men can’t ignore that, if it means THEIR store, their company, their economic bottom line.

    In the case of this woman, for example, she could provide the name of her attacker. We could contact the local police for a couple of different reasons: to alert them to the fact we were planning a peaceful march, and to alert them to the fact that we (a collective WE) are not comfortable knowing a rapist lives among us and what are they doing about it? We then contact his place of employment and offer that we (a collective WE) will not purchase any service or product they make, as long as they willingly employ a “terrorist”.

    We then, as many as live close by, plan a march in front of his place of employment.

    Sorry this is so long—but my point is that we go after them the same way we go after bigots and war mongers and other haters—as a group. Not as an individual. This is not an individual crime. There is not just an individual victim.

  93. Ann Bartow

    I don’t have time to read all the comments above and apologize if I am repeating something already said, but one possibility is a “Stay Away” Order. Many communities offer attorney (or at least paralegal) assistance with the process via grants like this: http://www.usdoj.gov/ovw/lav_grant_desc.htm
    I don’t know enough about the situation to discern whether this is likely to be helpful, but sometimes it is.

  94. thebewilderness

    rafalah, I would definitely sign on for that.

  95. Spinster Niece X

    Thanks much for all suggestions, bearing of personal circumstances and souls, and sharing of information, frames of reference, and advice. Every time I read this comments page, I see something invaluable that I had missed before. What an incredible resource this group is. You are my concealed handgun in the dark alley of my fear and its context.

  96. Amberbug

    “It also feels like it makes it all about one woman and one man, instead of a tool in the system of dehumanizing women. And it only makes us as horrible as they are.”
    I agree with the first, but the second brings up an old tape I’ve struggle with. How does retaliation for their sadistic violence make us just as bad as them? I just can’t use the “don’t sink to their level”, because the levels are man-made. All violence isn’t equal,even within patriarchical ethics. This desperately needs to be broken down. Retaliation, revenge, violence, all bugbears for feminism, because they say we’re violent, militant, revengeful. It’s a taboo for all women. Women are special monsters when we’re violent, somehow. It feels so “male mystiqued”. Aside, for a minute, from it backfiring (a mere practical consideration), why is morally wrong for a woman who has been raped to retaliate? How could revenge be ethically equal to assult? I’m thinking aloud here, but the violence of women is thrown in our faces enough to pick it apart with a feminist eye when it presents itself.

  97. kate

    I agree with Amperbug and also I am very troubled by the fact that so many women here seem to confuse retaliation with defensive proactive, protection.

    The only connection I can make is that so many women are conditioned to think of violent behavior as a male trait that they cannot, even for the sake of their own survival, see themselves getting angry or violent.

    Come on! Protests? Marches? Of course that’s all valid, but will it protect even one woman accosted in a parking lot or faced with an ex-boyfriend in her kitchen at 2 am? I think not.

    We need to come to terms with the fact that the patriarchy has designed to disempower women by not allowing them the freedom to get aggressive or angry without someone’s damn permission or without a ‘safe’ parameter like a protest march or some other sanctified polite activity.

    No, getting angry or aggressive or violent when necessary does not make us “like them” because they do not have exclusive right to the ability to be angered or outraged or ready to defend and protect.

    This hand wringing over talk of aggressive physical defense is really bothering and annoying me. I’m not sure what you people would do if under attack, or if someone steps over your boundaries in anyway, but I certainly wish you’d refrain from telling other women its not OK to be pissed, aggressive and ready to defend.

    Such an attitude is killing other women and making them victims over and over again.

  98. TwissB

    About Twisty’s opening statement above, it perfectly parallels observations by Catharine MacKinnon (whose latest book but one is “Are Women Human?”) as well as my own and, I have no doubt, other feminists who look at sexism as what John Adams called it: “Our Masculine Systems.” But Twisty’s economy of expression of this basic analysis makes it especially satisfying.

    I found it very timely after spending the day on Capitol Hill with some terrific feminists who work every day assisting battered and trafficked women and girls having to listen to Rep. Conyers’s man Lou DeBaca patronizingly ‘splaining to us that they would not remove the “force, fraud, or coercion” language that sets an impossibly high standard of proof for prosecutors to meet to successfully apply the so-called Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act in order to convict sex traffickers (foreign or domestic i.e. pimps). If that sounds obscure, think about the traditional practice of putting the rape victim instead of the rapist on trial.

    And if any blamers from Minnesota are under the illusion that Rep.Paul Wellstone was some sort of saint on behalf of women, let me tell you that he put that language into the law, knowing that it would make it ineffectual, as well as dividing trafficking into “severe” and plain trafficking to assure that very few cases would be judged to be “severe” enough to even bother trying to prosecute.

    Although we made it clear that we weren’t buying Conyers’s line, this highlights the real need to get women bombarding his office with demands to cut out the “force, fraud, or coercion” proof standard for prosecuting sex traffickers. (Proving FFC is much easier in the case of people trafficked for labor in fields or factories) Because of what Twisty and CAM said about women being regarded as being in a constant state of consent to ANY form of sexual exploitation and abuse, juries will believe that a photograph of a prostituted woman dancing with a john “proves” that she was willing, despite all evidence that she had been raped and battered into compliance, had her passport taken away, her parents threatened, etc. Reality of it all is well set forth in Melissa Farley’s new book on prostitution and trafficking in Nevada. See http://www.prostitutionresearch.com.

    I would not normally think of using this blog to urge people to communicate with their representatives or mmembers of the House Committee on the Judiciary, but if we are taking rape and rapists seriously here, this is one real way to fight back at the rape-mongers in our own Congress. I ended the conversation with staffer deBaca by asking “Just what is being protected here?” and I think that you all know what that is – men’s right to use the cruelest means to dominate and subordinate women.

    One more point. Obviously the international marketing of women is driven by user demand but, unlike Sweden’s enlightened law criminalizing the buying of sexual services and providing services for the prostituted individual as the victim of the crime, there is no current provision in US law that goes after the real perp so the TVPA, feebly supplemented by the Mann Act, is the only weapon women have against ruthless commodification of their bodies.

    Reps.to encourage are Bobby Scott (VA), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Maxine Waters, Zoe Lofgren, and Linda Sanchez (CA), Steve Cohen (TN, Tammy Baldwin (WI).

    Again, my apologies if this outburst of relevant lobbying for action for women is out of line here, but we were looking for ways to hit back at rapists and I think of my friend Evelina who described the prostitution she experienced as “rape bought and paid for.”

  99. annie

    Don’t know if this helps, really, but there was a movie made in India about this issue. Called Zakhmi Aurat (Wounded Woman). Saw it as a teenaged child and in some dim sense, found it empowering. Though I didn’t understand what rape was, this was the first movie I saw in which the victim fights back. She doesn’t commit suicide and she doesn’t die fighting and she doesn’t even kill the rapist.

    In the film, the heroine begins to talk about the crime with a bunch of other women who have either been raped themselves or had close relatives raped. They form a vigilante gang where they go out in twos (never alone) and ensnare one rapist (not their own). They drug him, take him to a makeshift operating room, and castrate him. (They have a lady doctor helping, I think) There are many things in the film that bring grief to a feminist heart, but I’ve never forgotten the film or its message. In the end, the gang gets busted and the heroine is taken to court, but she is acquitted finally, and reunited with her boyfriend. Still revolutionary, in that context, because we still don’t have films in which a rape victim fights back and goes on to live happily, with love.

  100. Joan Kelly

    I don’t blame women for fantasizing about/talking about/advocating-half-jokingly-or-even-seriously, retaliatory violence. I am glad it is not an urge I succumbed to, but it is an urge I lived with for some time. And, as I see rape as an actual terrorist tactic (as opposed to things like having brown skin, reading the Koran, traveling with hair gel, etc.), I am not ethically disturbed by the idea of murder-as-only-effective-self-defense. It seems to be what actual terrorism evokes in humans, not to be confused with the pre-existing urge to dominate and kill that blames itself on the imagined terrorism of people who live near oil fields.

    That said, a couple of words on non-lethal self defense: My experience with martial arts is that it takes a while of studying/practicing to get sufficiently skilled to successfully defend oneself. My understanding of this type of self-defense:


    ….is that it is immediately and specifically helpful to survivors of assault. The woman who recommended it to me graduated from the program some time after being attacked, and says she has not felt fearful being out in the world ever since. I have not taken the classes yet but am determined to do so.

    And please forgive if someone else already wrote about this in another comment – I haven’t read the whole thread yet.

  101. kate

    Thanks Nik about the kudos. I have had Great Danes, their extra large size serves to keep the weirdos sufficiently away. Unfortunately, they also can become cause for idiots to harass if, like my last one, it gets out and gallops around the neighborhood despite my best efforts to rein her back. Fun loving, she was totally unaware of the actual threat her happy hellos create on the street.

    That’s why I firmly believe in obedience training with guard dog training, start with a pup. The larger the breed and the more you want the dog to work for you the more important is obedience. My Magi girl had obedience, but she was spoiled by her former owners and breaking her was never quite complete, but nevertheless, she was a great dog.

    Once she trapped the gas meter man in the basement, he had to climb out of the bulkhead door to escape her threatening growls at the top of the stairs leading to the outside hallway. I wasn’t home and thought I had the door to my apartment shut, not quite so.

    Another time I called a man to tow a vehicle to a repair shop, he requested a glass of water and started to get strangely close to me once in my abode. My girl must have sensed my trepidation because she quickly inserted her body between me and him and playfully but persistently barked at him until he moved back.

  102. Shannon

    We need to come to terms with the fact that the patriarchy has designed to disempower women by not allowing them the freedom to get aggressive or angry without someone’s damn permission or without a ‘safe’ parameter like a protest march or some other sanctified polite activity.

    I think I love you, Kate.

    No, wait. I know I do.

  103. rafalah

    I really appreciate this discussion. My comments above were not meant to be THE ANSWER. I only cut it off because I could go on and on and on and ON with a 20 point plan and flow charts.

    I would like to say that IN ADDITION to making yourself secure (dogs, guns if you must, police) I feel it is invaluable that we attack this tactic (dominance by force and violence) on a tactical level, and as a group. A huge, collective group of 50 % of the population. This is about a group of people attacking another group, systematically one by one. Not one person attacking one other person.

    Leglislation is only part of the landscape and only one tool. Personally, I consider it to be one of the weakest links and only reflective of social attitudes–not really a way to keep women secure from an attacker.

    Economics—hey, it rules the world. Oil anyone? I am suggesting here that we use that tool (economics), as a group, to support each and every survivor. Take away the attackers economic voice/power. Take away their ‘secret’.

    And I still stand by my conviction to not use a male model of violence and torture as my way of seeking retribution. I could kill him 1,000 times, 1,000 different ways and I would still have to live with the memory of what he did to me–then I’d have to live with what I became after I did the same to him. This discussion would have to get a bit into karma and religion talk, so I will leave it alone.

    But, finally, as for my advocating only “safe” and “polite” fighting back–that was way off the mark. First of all just look a quick look at Civil Rights history films of marches or more recent WTO marches would put that to rest. But besides that, if we were able to talk face to face here, you’d quickly realize I am not polite at all. Or afraid of not being polite.

    Ending this violence will take more than one tactic, more than one individual.

  104. Ms Kate

    FreeRapist is the asshole devil you know about. For every FreeAsshole rapist, there are many others you don’t know in your same state or community who are ready to do the same. They may not have specific revenge motives, but they are out there.

    I would second the suggestions for self-defense training – not just because FreeRapist is round, but because his ilk are rife. They also don’t target women who are likely to rip their fucking heads off and typically avoid confident females altogether. Taking self defense trainng might just give niece enough confidence to repel assholes, and confer the ability to rip FreeRapist’s head clean off should he ever show his evil asshole face.

  105. kate

    By virtue of my close proximity to the computer today and my hatred of book-keeping and preparing to face a nutbag in court next week, I am swimming here at IBTP. I hate to hog the comments but, well, ah jus’ can’t hep it.

    rafalah: You take me out of context when you say, “And I still stand by my conviction to not use a male model of violence and torture as my way of seeking retribution. I could kill him 1,000 times, 1,000 different ways and I would still have to live with the memory of what he did to me–then I’d have to live with what I became after I did the same to him.

    I stated long upward that retribution is not a tactic to assume. Retribution, outside of that awarded by a court of law within the construct of a fair trial (yes, bear with me here) serves no one. It does in fact turn the victim into victimizer thus changing the face of the entire original incident, possibly overshadowing the injustice for which retribution is assumed to be served.

    The original question at hand was what defensive or offensive action an individual must take to protect themselves from possible future violence or violation. Individual made inquiry as to individual action, presumably pro-action against future victimization.

    Change opf the larger systemic problem through legislation, although a worthy pursuit, cannot and will not change systemic, sociological construction which disfavors women over men in most matters of justice. This by the mere fact alone that men make up the majority of seats in any legislative body throughout the world. As long as we rely on coaxing, conniving or otherwise convincing men to change their worldview, little at all will change; there is too much at stake for them to the change the system to benefit us.

    Protest marches and political action gain only to bolster the aforementioned activities taken to influence members of the political parties, that once again are mostly men. I think that the Civil Rights Movement, the ERA and many other actions serve to prove this point; change will come only to a point and most often, the original stakeholders will step in later to turn the dial back again as much as they can. Granted, not all the way, but pretty far back.

    I think that most pressing at this time is that women work on changing the consciousness of other women so that they can more effectively mount resistance in small individual ways that jolt accepted attitudes and behaviors. One of the greatest changes to take place in the last twenty years in this country has been that right wing policies of regressive wealth distribution has forced women, however many unwillingly, into a more leveragable position economically. By virtue of economic need, one of the greatest foundations of the patriarchy; that of the caretaker woman, is collapsing among the middle class.

    That is why I believe that legislative change that effects economic development and independence of women must be the first and foremost priority. It is also the most difficult struggle. By demonizing women who chose to live alone, rear children alone or otherwise refuse to cooperate with standard behavior set out for women, men have effectively stifled effective change. If one remembers the infamous Moynihan report, the researchers claimed that a racial underclass of matriarchs existed in the black family. What they only glossily looked at was that economically, the power structure of the typical poor family often did not follow the white patriarchical construct. The public outcry that followed I think had more to do with how this alternative family construct threatened the patriarchy more than any other issues, which were painted with racism, classism and blatent sexism.

    The status quo finds women who thrive outside of the constucted norm to be quite threatening, threatening enough to work for twenty some-odd years to destroy a minute safety net designs to overcome economic oppression that lo! mostly fell upon women.

    The Welfare Reform debacle of the last decade was one of the final serious reactionary actions against women’s progress. That middle class women refuse to see themselves as a part of a greater scheme of economic disempowerment is part of the scheme; as long as women are divided by economics and tinges of racism, then all women will continue to live with the knowledge that their independence, especially once they have children, hangs on a very tenuous thread.

    For example, the AFL-CIO has for years intentionally ignored huge numbers of service workers, which make up mostly women and effectively left most of them out in the cold for bargaining for better wages and work conditions. Large numbers of women depend on service jobs as their only means of economic succor, but these service jobs fail to pay a living wage or to give benefits that allow for a proper standard of living.

    Thus, many women find the road to economic independence difficult, if not impossible and thus opt for the cooperative support of a man, which then causes them to have to swallow a lot of patriarchy pretty hard.

    Until the woman’s movement overcomes its class division and until the union movement is either forced to accept more women (by women demanding such) or is willing to unionize amongst themselves, very little will change in the dynamics of women’s real day to day lives.

    Although certainly there are a large number of women, many who read this blog, who have worked hard through school and made themselves independent and successful, that model is less accepting of the unique variabilities of women’s lives. Present culture assumes that women will follow a model that fits men’s life experiences and social arrangements. News reports love to focus on what women ‘cannot do’ when competing with men in high level corporate jobs, or how women ‘struggle to balance’ family and career. What news reports and popular analysis refuse to admit is this struggle comes from attempting to fit a round peg into a square hole. Women don’t have wives at home to have dinner ready at 6pm, to comfort them with a clean house at the end of a long work day and to guarantee the prodigy is safe and well developed over the haul, all without request for renumeration or excessive compromise.

    I know this has devolved into a longer rant than probably wanted, but the fact of the matter is that until the core constructs of this society are addressed, we as women will continue to sit in our position on the fringes, hoping that we can pull the right lever and get a gumdrop to suck on every now and then.

  106. Sara

    I’ve never been raped, just abused to the point of being forced to obtain a [largely useless] restraining order [which has probably expired by now] against someone [who probably never spent a night in jail over any of it]. So I can’t imagine Spinster Niece’s exact pain, but from my limited experience I would second Cafe Siren’s advice, and all similar advice listed here.

    Make sure everyone around you knows what this guy looks like and what he did, insofar as you are able to talk about it.

    And yes, it is totally unfair that having been damaged lastingly once you now also have to spend the rest of your life (or his) doing extra work to protect yourself against repeats and repercussions of what should never have happened at all. I’m so, so sorry.

  107. kiki

    There is nothing you can do. No matter where you go, there it is, there you are. You see his face in other men’s faces. You take precautions. You don’t sleep well because even after all this time you remain hyper-vigilant. Security is an illusion and in your gut you know that there is little you can truly do. So you compress your rage into a walnut sized ball in your chest and you keep it contained to function in the world. But, you tell yourself that if threatened with violence again you will allow it to crack open and you will become a spitting, screaming 10 armed durga and you will fight with everything you have to the fucking death. You tell yourself that you will become a red-eyed destroyer of worlds. You promise yourself and get through another day.

  108. Blue Muse

    Men have to kill somebody before the courts will do anything with them a lot of the time. Very few domestic violence or rape victims ever truly see justice–they are instead punished by society, in one way or another, for sticking up for themselves. If she gets a restraining order, she will reveal information about her location to him–if she does nothing, then she is basically in the same position she was in the first time she was attacked.

  109. Claudia

    I agree that the Impact self-defense courses are good. They are a lot more focused on the kinds of dangers people really confront (including date rape, including confrontations with abusive relatives) as well as the movie scenarios of strangers in dark alleys. Taking a karate class or something like that is valuable as a sport more than as a serious self-defense thing.

    I think there’s a lot of value in having a big dog, and trustworthy housemates close enough to call. I want a room of my own, but an isolated house is scary. For the kind of assault that scares me, I don’t need someone strong or armed … but if someone could rush in with a camera, calling the police, when I yell “Get your hands off me!” that would help a lot.

  110. Crystal

    Kate – your last comment – what can I say except

    Trying to fight for equal treatment of women in the current social/economic/political is almost totally futile, because the system is set up in such a way that someone is always going to have to play that woman role. Even if some women get liberated it’ll just be some other group, probably the poor (to an even greater degree than now) picking up the slack. Women being allowed to act like men act now isn’t going to solve anything; it’s just going to make for even more debris of entitlement floating around and making life hellish for everyone else.
    I actually am kind of convinced that the only reason women are now able to even have jobs and not breed and have sex outside of marriage (while remaining respectable, that is) is not because of some great ideological shift, but just because of technology. If we didn’t have electric stoves, vacuums, and birth control, women would still be completely trapped as housewives and nuns.
    What we need is a fundamental change in the whole way that our society operates so that certain groups of people don’t get stuck with everyone else’s shit. Technology is definitely nice too though, when used responsibly.
    And yes, it blows my mind that people are not able to grasp the idea that other people might be in situations that are not so great and not any more capable than anyone else of feats of superhuman virtue to get themselves out of them and/or tolerate them with pleasure.

  111. AnnaArcturus

    The Patriarchy isn’t ending tomorrow, if we want to be somewhat safe from rape we have to make impossible choices. I choose the standard relationship with a male for defense. It’s a livable arrangement. I was fortunate enough to find one that treats me like a human being.

    Whather male or female, there is safety in numbers. I would recommend cohousing to anyone. It’s easy on the personal economy as well. Practically, large dogs are preferable to guns and large men are preferable in terms of defense to dogs. Unless she has experience killing up close and personal, it’s unlikely she’ll do anything with the gun in case of an emergency but deliver her murder weapon to her killer. If she’s willing to learn to kill, that’s a whole other story, all I can recommend is getting her hands dirty.

    She might also consider a chastity belt if she finds she’s thinking about it so much she can’t rest. There’s nothing ideal about it, but it might afford her a few hours of feeling safe enough to relax. She’ll burn out if she can’t relax now and then.

    There’s nothing fair in the Patriarchy, it’s just a matter of doing what needs doing to live. My attackers not only wander free but I’m forced to chose between my family and socializing with them. I’ve declined to lose my family over this as well.

  112. blondie

    I hate guns. So as much as I can appreciate the empowerment or equalization buying a gun would lend to many women, I don’t personally think a gun is the answer.

    I think the route to dealing with injuries like this may be as varied as the persons who sustain these injuries. I don’t know what would be best for the spinster niece. All I can say is what has helped me.

    Time — my events happened a long time ago. Time has helped heal my wounds.

    Distance — I am far from my perpetrator, both in terms of geographic distance and my own personal development.

    I recognize these are things not available to the spinster niece and offer cold comfort. I mention them just to show hope for the future.

    In the short term, — a course in self-defense. As I wrote, I don’t like guns, but I think we would all be more powerful if we were trained to protect ourselves with our own bodies and the weapons in our reach, whether they be mace, flashlight, keys, combs, or eye/nose-gouging fingers. Train yourself over your socialized desire to not hurt anybody and learn how to fight back against a thug.

    Also — a good counselor, someone who will listen and then repeat until you realize and internalize the truth: You are not to blame. It was not your fault.

    Also — a big, barky dog. S/he doesn’t have to be dangerous; just so long as s/he’s loud and sounds tough. People are usually wary of big, barking dogs, even a gentle dog will often want to protect her/his person, and dogs are the best people to talk to in the whole world. Plus, you may need the comfort of touch, but be too afraid. Petting and hugging your own dog is completely safe, at a time when safety may be one of the most important touchstones you have.

  113. Broce

    I’d like to offer a different proposition.

    I was raped many, many years ago and the rapist got away with it. Years later, I arrived at a party to find he was a guest (and the host of the party *KNEW* he’d raped me..what she was thinking I’ll never know – he had married a friend of hers). It was one of the most disturbing experiences I’ve ever had…but I learned something. I’d survived one of the worst things which can happen to anyone. And it made me stronger. It made me a feminist. And NO ONE could use the threat of rape again to destroy me. I learned you *can* survive, and can even thrive in the wake of a rape.

    After that evening…my fear went away. I can’t see that he’s punished, I can’t even prevent his raping someone else…but by the gods my ancestors swore by, I am damned sure that being raped can never destroy me. There’s a freedom in that.

  114. darms

    Damn, bad situation and precious little your fellow blamer can do about it. I don’t have much to add, only:
    1) should she decide to go the firearm route, shooting lessons, a gun with adequate stopping power and by all means, bullets, are absolutely essential. My wife ran off her sister’s abusive “mate” with an unloaded 38, I shudder to think what would have happened had he not run away seeing as she & her sister were living in the sticks at the time.
    2) at one time the land-line telcos allowed you to publish whatever name you wanted in the directory, one that did not have to be the same as the name you signed up for land-line service with. It’s better than being unlisted as a)all numbers are listed somewhere b)it keeps you out of the criss-cross & reverse number search inquiries c)it can be quite funny when a solicitor calls as invariably they have the directory name, not your own. Personally I’ve had the same alias since 1982 or so.
    3) the GPS-aware cell phone, always charged & always on, seems like a good idea.

    FWIW I am a male, 51, and for all my life, “NO” has meant just that, “NO’. Dammit. Blame the patriarchy all you like (and yes, I blame the bastards as well) but don’t count me as a part of it, one day maybe I’ll be ready to tell my own tales… Good luck & good thoughts to your correspondent.

  115. Errihu

    Kali asks about the legality of pepper spray and other non-lethal self defense tools. I find the fact that this stuff is illegal to be highly ironic, and indicative of just how much the patriarchy wishes to discourage women from being able to protect themselves. Because we’ve been trained to think of ourselves as weak and trained to avoid doing lethal damage (IE owning a gun or other lethal weapon and developing the mindset that would allow us to use it in a self-defense situation), we have been channeled towards non-lethal forms of resistance. Yet even these are barred from us in many places. The message seems to be that resistance itself is illegal for women. Disgusting.

    I should say, the moment anyone approaches anyone else with the intention to harm that person, the aggressor automatically waives all rights to life and freedom from bodily harm. It should be not only legal but laudable to destroy someone attempting to harm you, in any way possible. I agree that self defense is something we should be encouraging all women to learn – or at least the mindset that it is OK to hurt someone who is attempting to hurt you. We should NOT feel obligated to preserve the life and health of someone who hurts us.

  116. TallTxChick

    While I can appreciate the need for a gun as much as the next blamer (I had my first one at the ripe age of 8 — grew up in hunting country), it seems she needs peace, not revenge.

    I have no idea how one gets there. All I can think of is the school shooting at the Amish school a while back. What did the community fathers do after their daughter were lined up against the wall and gunned down by a mad man before he killed himself? They went to offer their condolences and forgiveness to his widow.

    I’m sure the Amish can be as much a patriarchy as any other culture, but how much peace do you have inside you to do that?! It amazed me at the time. I still can’t fully comprehend it. Maybe the path to peace is not lined with steel.

  117. Lexia

    I should say, the moment anyone approaches anyone else with the intention to harm that person, the aggressor automatically waives all rights to life and freedom from bodily harm.


    That is the case for men. No more proof than a reasonable belief of danger is required for men to be able to defend themselves, to the death if they reasonably believe it necessary. Women *sre* specifically prohibited from defending themselves: look at any courts records in this country for the sentences women are given for what is clearly self-defense. Read the trials of the very few women who do fight back with lethal force. Read any paper for sincere, visceral outrage when women or girls use violence in any way at all.

    That’s why self-defense training is only a very partial solution – even if women are not further punished under U.S. law for defending themselves, they will still have to suffer far more disruption of their lives and hostility from the judiciary, the public and the media before they can simply go on living. As opposed to a man hurting the women he supposedly loves so badly it would have been a felony had she been a man or could prove she was a stranger who didn’t invite it. In all states until recently wife-beating was a misdemeanor and still is in some, carrying all the punishment and shame of a speeding ticket. We all know what the punishment for rape is and how often even that is enforced.

    If men knew that women were allowed to fight back effectively and with lethal force if necessary, they would cease equating the word “female” with “victim”. If men knew the law would punish them for attacking a woman as it would for attacking a man, they would cease equating the word “female” with “victim”

    But any man knows the law will protect him and not her and will protect him against her when she tries to protect herself. That’s why the weaselly little cowards can beat, rape and kill women in numbers so great the Association of U.S. judges opposed the enforcement part of the Violence Against Women act from the beginning and the Supreme Court destroyed it in US v. Morrison: not on legal grounds but because to enforce it would hopelessly clog the courts.

    Lenahan v. Castle Rock is now in international court because the Supreme Court recently ruled in Gonzales v. Castle Rock that a woman, unlike any man victimized because of his race, religion or country of origin, does not even have the right to police protection under written law requiring it. That shot down the vague heigh-ho, women must have –something- else to protect them, don’t they? solution offered in Morrison.

    I’m afraid this doesn’t sound very hopeful for Twisty’s niece, but to pretend women have rights and remedies they don’t only perpetrates the current situation. It will not change until a majority of American women stop considering their own rights and freedom “lesser issues”.

  118. Lexia

    Oh, bother – that should be “women *are*” specifically prohibited”.

  119. kate

    “It will not change until a majority of American women stop considering their own rights and freedom “lesser issues”.”

    Hear! Hear! But, I’ll still kill without hesitation any prick who thinks he’s got any easy target with me — once he crosses my threshold that is.

    I should say, the moment anyone approaches anyone else with the intention to harm that person, the aggressor automatically waives all rights to life and freedom from bodily harm.

    Egg zactally!

    Lexia: I thought had thought the courts were loosening up on their rigid interpretation of women defense against attack. Oh, wait a minute, we’re talking about the old white male dominated courts.

    It would be much worse if there hasn’t been so much action by feminists regarding the courts, for their work over the last twenty years, despite where we still are, I am grateful and in their debt.

  120. Kim

    What Ginger said: “Gun (handgun and shotgun and shooting lessons [but never say why, just say home defense] and a martial arts/self-defense class.” Plus, know thy enemy. Where he works and lives. You could hire a detective to get this info so you can avoid those sides of town. Updated photos so you know how he looks now.

    Then there are two ways to go about this after that:

    Either move. Or stay. Now that you know more about him now and are more ‘trained’ to deal with a chance meeting or possible stalking at least you have some physical defense.

    You’re going to always be thinking about him anyway, so you may as well be forearmed.

    Get the concealed permit too. Even basic Kung-Fu teaching you body balance. Tai-Chi is just the ‘killing’ moves slowed down for good balance. All those classes can lead into better body knowledge. And who knows, maybe down the road, a black belt. You never know. Good luck.

    Plus kicking the body bags that another human holds during Kung Fu training gives you a great outlet for anger. And, you’ll really know how hard you can kick and punch something. It’s knowledge most women don’t get.

  121. darms

    RapeX, The World’s 1st And Only Anti-Rape Condom

  122. Lexia

    I should say, the moment anyone approaches anyone else with the intention to harm that person, the aggressor automatically waives all rights to life and freedom from bodily harm.

    Just wanted to make clear this was Errihu’s comment, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Please bear with me, I’m still getting the hang of these tag things.

    And I also second Kate’s comment about the debt owed feminists for the gains we do have. Women’s legal position in the US, though, is still worse than the I think most women realize and much worse than that reflected in the media.

  123. Lauren

    I hesitated to post on this piece for awhile, but I re-read it all tonight and had to write.

    My first sexual experience was rape. I’ve been through years of therapy to alleviate the PTSD. It worked — I love my therapist like a sister. If I can find a progressive, feminist therapist in the Hoosier heartland, you can too.

    I’m currently being stalked by my ex-boyfriend/babydaddy in the workplace — he got hired at my employer by neglecting to mention that he knew I worked there. Long story. So far the babydaddy hasn’t broken any laws or company rules, but everyone knows what is going on, everyone is in agreement that he isn’t to be near me whatsoever. This has been honored by my employer. ** If you work, let your employer know you have an unwanted party who might try to intrude on your workplace. **

    I carry a knife. I have a golf club propped next to the front door. I live with another person who takes me concerns as seriously as I do. I have a cell phone and I carry it unlocked so I can call any number at a moment’s notice. And thankfully, I’m not afraid anymore, I’m fucking pissed off. Channel your fear. Get angry. Strike if necessary. Don’t let the fucking asshole worm get to you, if you can. And if he gets to you, don’t let it shut you down. Anger can be righteous fuel.

    And if you can, get a dog. I married into a family of cops and they recommended a dog over an alarm system. Seriously.

    But like others have said above, it sounds like the fellow blamer needs some peace, to which I say she is not alone. Seek out trusted blamers, find solace healing yourself however you can, be more feminist, have a martini, find yourself an awesome therapist, read a mind-blowing book. Put your feet up — you’ve survived one of the nastiest, dirtiest, most violating things a person can to to another, so fuck the world. You’re a goddamned fighter.

    Or in other words, if you’re like me, you find peace in the fight.

  124. Arachne02

    Typologies: Malcolm Gladwell has a November New Yorker essay debunking mainstream American forensic science as it pertains to profiling criminals. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/11/12/071112fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all

    It would be nice if victims could reclaim control by understanding and even predicting criminal subjectivities. But that’s the whole homefield advantage of terrorism, be it localized, individual domestic/sexual violence or mass and international: you can’t predict what evil others may commit. They know what they are doing before you do.

  125. MzHapp

    Pack a gun sister. You should not be the one moving – that m-fer should be moving, after you (and your friends) f him up.

  126. kate

    It would be nice if victims could reclaim control by understanding and even predicting criminal subjectivities

    A woman who assumes that she will probably suffer at least one successful attack on her person by a male and numerous attempts throughout her lifetime is in fact predicting the male subjectivity to act out violently against women.

    The next criminal subjectivity that women would do well to understand and assume as a near-constant is that she will have a high chance of receiving little justice from the ‘system’ to compensate for any injuries suffered due to a male assault.

    The problem at this time with criminal investigation and prosecution is that it goes only that far. Psychoanalysts, psychologists and others who study the human mind are valued only when they assist in hunting the hunted, which, once caught are dispensed with post haste.

    No effort is made to understand to any depth or to delve into causes and thus possible changes in male violent behavior toward women. Of course women should be outraged, but we’ve been socialized to accept this as the norm.

    The man hunts his prey, such behavior being acceptable or passable as long as 1) No property gets devalued 2) The hunt is conducted by those who profess to protect property against those who have devalued it.

    Once such has been conducted, there’s nothing else to learn and of course, no actual deviation from the norm exists.

  127. saltyC

    So where can i go to join revelers in cheering Norman Mailer’s couldn’t-happen-too-soon croaking?

  128. kate

    So where can i go to join revelers in cheering Norman Mailer’s couldn’t-happen-too-soon croaking?

    Talk of Norman Mailer goes over my head. Please explain as I want to know, even if its a dig at me. Hit me.

  129. eldgie

    Kate, Norman Mailer was a pretty disgusting misogynist. In an obit I read on huffington post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-krassner/remembering-norman-mailer_b_72034.html), they mentioned that he considered masturbation to be as harmful to the “victim” (yourself, I guess) as rape. One quote: “It’s better to commit rape than masturbate.”

    Fun guy!

  130. rootlesscosmo

    Stabbed (not fatally) one of the six women he was married to, wrote gleefully about killing women, raping women, hitting women (what do you know, they loved it)–a real sweetiepie. Why are assholes like Mailer and Roth et al. taken seriously as Major Writers? I dunno about anybody else but IBTP.

  131. saltyC

    Yeah, he stabbed his second wife, and apparently it was a miracle she didn’t die, as the stab wound went right up to her heart. According to accounts, the fact that she layed on her back and didn’t move until help arrived is what saved her. he received a suspended sentence.

    It was after a party he threw that went badly, and after everybody left, she said to him “you look like shit”, so he stabbed her in the chest and left. The neighbors called for help. That’s my fuzzy recollection from reading an oral history of Norman years ago.

  132. Caukee

    I should be madly typing my NaNoWriMo entry, but had to take a sec and say, a dog is not a thing, like an alarm system. I live in a city where the black population is about 60% of the total. I guess this is why, as soon as a white person moves into my neighborhood, a dog soon follows despite the fact that this is an extremely low-crime area. These dogs are left alone, either tied up or inside a fence, to bark and howl all day long. The misery is obvious in their voices. I am disabled, home most of the time, and have to run fans, A/Cs, white-noise machines and often a TV too. It’s like living in a wind tunnel. I can’t enjoy the rain, or birdsong. But if I don’t, I hear those dogs and my blood pressure skyrockets, and my health suffers. The chances that someone could break down my front door without my even hearing it are near 100%. My ENT thinks it’s contributing to hearing loss. Like women under threat everywhere, I may want to move, but this problem is everywhere. Check out barking dogs.com
    The owners and the city don’t give a damn – recently one affluent person sued another over this, and I was very interested to see if something happened. The judge wouldn’t touch it – told them to “work it out”. If you are not someone who wants a dog to live with you, and who is going to take loving care of it, don’t get a dog.

    Please stop telling people to get dogs instead of an alarm system.

  133. orlando

    I found this quote from Norman Mailer on the Doonesbury daily dose page:
    “God, like Us, suffers the ambition to make a destiny more extraordinary than was conceived for Him. Yes, God is like Me, only more so.”
    Truly, man created god in his own image. And that is exactly what got us all into this mess. Honestly, have you ever come accross a conviction more outrageously entitled, or more common, than “God is like me, only more so”?

  134. Cass

    I’ve always thought that nothing makes a writer more interesting than some two-fisted tales of spousal abuse. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  135. kate

    Thanks you guys. You know, I read his bio this weekend I think it was, guess the guy died, I was struck at once by the observation that he was married like six times and charged with murder.

    I was struck by how casual the references were.

    Also, I just recently watched Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” and he made the comment in the movie about Norman Mailer “He..uh..donated his ego…” to something.

    Your explanations bring that all into clearer context.

    I also am reminded that I have one of his books in my library, “The Naked and the Dead” which I’ve heard was supposed to be such a great masterwork. The first chapter starts with describing a man having sex with his friend’s wife, in graphic terms that completely dehumanized the woman. I stopped reading it and put it back on my shelf thinking that I’d just about had enough of male centered books right then.

    Maybe I should throw the book in the recycling pile and just forget it.

  136. ivieee

    Need I bring up another beloved misogynist writer? Charles Bukowski? I forced myself through Post Office recently. The first mention of a woman refers to her as a “shack job.” Then there is the “consensual rape” scene. Also it’s fucking boring as hell, and a stupid ending.

    My Nigel says that we have to read these things in the context of the time and culture they were written.

    What say y’all?

  137. orlando

    Oh well, if we’re going to get started on the beat poets you just can’t go past the late lamented prince Kerouac himself. It’s not just gobsmacking moments like: “Dean got up nervously, paced around thinking, and decided the thing to do was have MaryLou make breakfast and sweep the floor”. It’s more the completely unselfconscious, unabashed treatement of women as furniture ornamenting the lives of the actual people (men):
    “In the empty Houston streets of four o’clock in the morning a motorcycle kid suddenly roared through, all bespangled and bedecked with glittering buttons, visor, slick back jacket, a Texas poet of the night, girl gripped on his back like a papoose, hair flying, onward going, singing…”
    What happened was two people on a motorbike went past him, but what Kerouac saw was one person, plus accessories.

  138. rootlesscosmo

    we have to read these things in the context of the time and culture they were written.

    The question is why we have to read them–that is, why they’ve entered “the canon”–at all, and for that, IBTP.

  139. saltyC

    What “time and culture”???

    Ours is a visciously anti-woman time and culture, in which political and cultural power are male, and women the world over are second-class citizens.

    Take one example to illustrate: the ignorance of what violence against women is and how it plays out.

    How else could this passage be printed in a eulogy to norman by chris hitchens: But all this bravado and bullshit and delinquency, including the near-fatal stabbing of one of his wives, only seemed to increase the number of people—including the stabbed wife herself—who found fresh ways of forgiving him.

    Oh, so it’s okay…. he FORGAVE him. police units in backwards places like New Orleans don’t buy that crap anymore and make DV arrests regardless of whether the victim FORGIVES but the liberal press hasn’t gotten it yet, because they don’t have to. It’s our TIME AND CULTURE, you have to read it that way.

  140. saltyC

    Why can’t i make the quote thing work? this part was hitchen’s quote:
    But all this bravado and bullshit and delinquency, including the near-fatal stabbing of one of his wives, only seemed to increase the number of people—including the stabbed wife herself—who found fresh ways of forgiving him.
    The rest is me.

  141. saltyC

    Just to back up my assertion that women are second-class citizens in our time and culture, consider the World Economic Forum’s 2007 report on the gender gap:


    the most striking difference btw those with penises and those with vulvas is in political representation.The way they score it is 0 is totally unequal (which Saudi Arabia scored) and 1 is equal, about twice what Sweden scored, with a score of 0.52. That means in the most politically sex-equal state, women have 52% of the power men have.
    Political power for women drops off quickly after #11 on the list: the Netherlands with a score of 0.33. Most countries scored below 0.1, including the US.

    Is it any wonder how discussions such as reproductive rights get framed politically? The discourse is male.

  142. Gayle

    I agree with SaltyC.

    No fan ever “forgave” Norman Mailer. Mailer’s fame was largely due to his misogynistic statements and writings.

    He probably would have ended up on the scrap heap of momentarily trendy, but largely forgotten “period” writers without them.

  143. Eurosabra

    Sigh. _The Naked and the Dead_ IS one of the greatest war novels in English, precisely *because* it is a document of horror and cruelty, a record of men (some more self-aware, self-critical, and introspective than others) and their relationships with women (some better than others, most awful, all patriarchal.) The fact that Mailer’s female characters are ciphers is a tragedy, given that the men’s incomprehension (“The fact is, Robert, my wife is a bitch.”) is worse than a tragic flaw, it is their failure to be human. How Cummings arrives at “my wife is a bitch” from “for a time, their lovemaking is ferocious, Margaret glows, is exalted…but then realizes he fights out battles with himself upon her body” is a sign of his own stifled humanity. If Robert Hearn had any self-reflection, he would have had a response to “You’re nothing but a goddamn shell, Hearn” from one “short-haired, mannish” (thank you, Mailer!) woman other than the reflection “when a big man’s body went, it went quickly. He would have to start paying for it soon.” A very interesting novel would contain the narrative of Margaret Cummings’s and Janey Croft’s experience as wives of their plainly abusive soldier-husbands. The fact is, according to Mailer, knowledge does not liberate: Wakara, the Japanese-American soldier, describes his co-worker as “Blonde, a Deke, and a perfect @$$hole”, the Japanese as “dopes”, “and he was alone, a wise man without a skin.”

    The later work has some simply awful misogyny and I hold no particular brief for it.

  144. Minna

    we have to read these things in the context of the time and culture they were written.

    Nothing has ever stood in the way of anyone acknowledging that women are human. The patriarchy does not make anyone truly blind, it just provides excuse and encouragement not to see. There are small misogynies I can excuse as being an ingrained part of our culture, or the culture of the time, because I don’t necessarily expect everyone to be hugely enlightened, especially not in say, the 1930’s.

    If Lysistrata, for all its faults, acknowledged women as feeling, thinking beings with humanity, then why excuse anything in the last couple of hundred years for doing less? :/

  145. Mar Iguana

    Bukowski admitted, in his dotage, to lying through his teeth about his vile treatment of women. Not that he wasn’t crappy to the women in his life, just not to the wildly exaggerated extent he wrote about. But, the boys, how they ate it up.

  146. kate

    So I guess I won’t throw “The Naked and the Dead” on the trash heap just yet, but read it with my eyes open and knowing the author.

    So very few books exist that have a female protaganist, particularly in cherished classic literature, which indeed is symptomatic of the the position of women in the world, then and now.

    The gradual deconstruction of patriarchy as we know it, if such were to occur will only occur as women’s voices are heard more and more in all venues of discourse, written, oral and in visual/sound media.

    By the way, I read today Judith Regan’s complaint against Murdoch’s Newcorp. Its good reading in the sense that it details the typical way in which a high powered woman can be discredited and abused so easily and perfunctorily in our society.

    It is distressing that a woman cannot set a foot outside the realms of compliant behavior without a chorus behind her, waiting to devour her every move. I know this as even a small contractor, I’ve had no less than three woman in the past few years attempt to discredit me by using the ‘she’s such a power hungry bitch’ meme in an often successful effort to obscufate their own responsibility. Presently I am up against a woman who refuses to pay me for work completed and has offered no other defense than the aforementioned and even at one point made the outrageous claim, “She power hungry! She just wants control!” when in fact, controlling the job is my fucking job!

    Sadly, this bullshit gets airing from those all too eager to hear it and then I get discredited when I ask for it to stop or if it upsets me. I think I’m going to have to get a male attorney to fight my battles when up against a woman as judges and others seem to immediately belittle and discredit my claims, regardless of their merit, as they see two women in conflict as a ‘cat fight’ with frivolous roots.

    Sorry to vent, I’m just really pissed right now.

  147. ivieee

    Holy freak, blamers!
    The girl Zeni who is missing in Austin is my friend, and my friend Bob’s daughter! She was snatched outside her house in Austin! She was able to call out, she is locked in a room and does not know the guy who abducted her. PRAY, repost on MySpace, etc. I Blame the Patriarchy and I am so scared!

  148. ivieee

    Zeni is found, safe and coming home, hopefully well in every way.

  149. ivieee

    What a nightmare, i can’t believe how poorly, how wrongly, how patri–you know how evilly awfully even my friends have responded to this rape and kidnapping of a minor. Even people I know and love posited the possibility that she went willingly with her kidnappers, and don’t respond affirmingly when I ask that they send her flowers

  150. Mar Iguana

    Dr. Patricia Rozée’s counts seven categories of rape:


    But, the UN boys apparently can’t afford to count to two:


    My thoughts are with you, iveee, as you experience the shock of the ugly denial of people you thought you knew prefer to kick the dog (female human) rather than the master because it’s safer. Glimpses into the depth and breadth of the hatred of Woman can be breathtaking and terrifying. Breathe. And blame!

    I’d never advise a woman against arming herself in any way she is comfortable with. Myself, I gave up my .357 loaded with hollow-tips years ago when I escaped the LA area for good. I am armed. I just don’t feel the need for the heavy artillery where I now live.

    On the other hand, the way this world and this country are regressing when it comes to my human rights as a woman (The Handmaid’s Tale haunts me), I’m thinking of gunning-up again. I’d rather go down in a hale of bullets than spend my old age working at the nuclear waste dumps at Yucca Mountain after the neocon coup is realized.

    These thoughts, however, are messing with my little ol’ head in a big way as they are absolutely at odds with the spiritual path I’ve tried to keep to for a couple decades now, essentially, trust the Loving Universe but lock up your wheels at night. IBTP. IBTP. IBTP so hard!

  151. Mar Iguana

    Ooops. Sorry, ivieee, for misspelling your name. You may not see it as my comment is awaiting moderation. Probably for days.

  152. saltyC

    Check it out:


    lemme guess,
    two single (therefore hideous) women live self-sufficiently without any men, therefore (of course) lust after the first penis they come across, and try to trap him or rape him or whatever else women are always doing to poor men, and finally reveal how sick and twisted women get when they’re deprived of penis.

    I never knew the Wallace and Grommit guys hated women so much.

  153. ivieee

    I take it back about my friends. What I interpreted as lack of speedy compassion was actually paralysis caused by shock, disbelief, panic, and horror. I was just about 72 hours ahead of most of them, in terms of emotional ability to respond. Perhaps my training in Twisty-level patriarchy blaming helped.

  154. Zora

    I didn’t know what to do or say to this:


    So I’m posting it here in the hopes that y’all will lambast him for me.

    I can’t believe I go to this fricking school.

  155. Zora


    I just now read your comments re: Zeni. I know Bob too and saw the posts on Myspace and freaked out about it, but could think of nothing to do to help find her (except repost).

    The next I heard she’d been returned home by the police, but nobody seemed to know anything else about it. No requests for flowers or compassion, just a big sigh of relief. Thanks for the info.

    BTW, the most horrible part of this as I heard it was that the cops decided it was probably a runaway case and weren’t even doing anything about it.

    Not that I believe in sky fairies, but I’m pray for Zeni’s quick recovery. How horrible!

  156. Zora

    Oh iviee, I just followed the right link to discover who you are. I know you, and you little Nigel too.
    Hi! –Zora/Natasha

  157. Jen

    Am I the only woman who finds statements like this problematic?

    “Rape isn’t about genitals or sex, it’s about power and abuse.”

  158. Arachne02

    “Serial sex offender taught in Austin schools”


    This refers to the same guy. I’d like to get in touch with more of his victims. Since I was a minor when he assaulted me and he went on to teach, it seems like a fair avenue to explore.

    Please pass on to anyone who might have relevant information. I’m looking into taking a Special Notice out in the Statesman; feel free to beat me to it. Contact howmanymore08@yahoo.com (new anonymous account that should be verified/activated, up and running, in a day or two) with information.

    If I write a form letter for you all to modify to your tastes, might there be interest in mass-mailing a note to his current school in a different state, as well as to the former educational institution of his that has files indicating a history of sexual harassment and misconduct? I couldn’t get the former school to send the files to the PD back in the day (as far as I know), and I’m worried about the hands not talking yet again. It’s scary how extensive I know his pattern to be, and how little paper trail appears to be in existence, and how what is in existence is so partial and fragmented, and how charismatic and threatening in turn he obviously comes off to have had these things effectively disappear.

  159. thebewilderness

    This day is the twentythird day since the spinster aunt has spoken to the huddled masses of young onions, and a few rotten old ones.

    by Thomas Hood
    No sun – no moon!
    No morn – no noon –
    No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
    No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
    No comfortable feel in any member –
    No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
    No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –

    No Twisty!
    Howling to commence shortly.

  160. Kate Dino

    Uh, where’s Twisty?

  161. Rock::Water

    I’ve been reading IBTP but haven’t commented before.

    I was raped 37 years ago. I went through many stages in how I dealt with it and I expect I will continue to change my coping methods for the rest of my life. Life keeps changing me, so I need to keep changing in response.

    I only have a few thoughts to offer about how SpinsterNiece can feel safer.

    One: there have been a lot of ideas offered. Go over the list with SN and let her decide what feels right to her to do right now. If it’s self defense, go for it. If it’s a private investigator, go for it. If it is moving to a different state and blurring her backtrail, go for it.

    Two: since life changes everyone, it is a good idea to periodically review coping strategies and decide if it is time to change one or all of them.

    Three: I got a dog, not for protection but because I had always wanted one. I discovered that having that dog made me safer because while I don’t fight all that well for myself, I’d *kill* for my dog. Yeah, I’ve absorbed all that enculturated stuff about not being able to fight, about what women should do, etc. But I’ve apparently also absorbed the bit about how a mother will go to heroic lengths to protect her “baby.” I don’t have children but I do have dogs.

    Four: I’ve always loved things that make big noises and have destructive power. I used to love skeet shooting and I had a gun for many years. Life has changed me and I no longer have a gun. I do contemplate getting one just so I can make a T-shirt that says “I am perimenopausal, I am legally blind and I have a shotgun. Any questions?”

    Five: legally blind and very crippled, there is still no doubt in my mind that I would *kill* anyone who so much as harmed a single hair on any of my dogs. So long as I have a dog, I have easy access to my inner psychokiller.

  162. Lesley

    I recall RD Laing – in the 1970s – describing a patient whose father had repeatedly molested and assaulted her. He directed her to become versed in the martial art of her choosing, train sufficiently to be able to fight and defend herself and then pay a visit her father.

    Now that’s therapy.

    I think a woman has to empower herself. Even if she has someone who can confront the attacker for her, there’s nothing like facing off yourself against an attacker.

    When I was sixteen I was assaulted in broad daylight on a relatively busy street. The man grabbed my breast as we walked past each other. I happened to be carrying an umbrella that day. I turned and smashed my umbrella between his legs. Got him right in the balls. He fell to the ground in agony. People walked by gasping. They could not believe what I had done.

    I stood over him and told him he’d better not ever do that again to any woman. Cuz you never know, bub, who is not going to put up with that shit. Then I walked away, and I’m telling you that if I hadn’t done that I would never have gotten over it. I’d have been seething for days. Instead I skipped away on a cloud, feeling like a God.

  163. mustelid

    Lesley, you rock!

  164. Arachne02

    I’m finally reading Gavin de Becker’s *The Gift of Fear* and Shulamith Firestone’s *Dialectic of Sex* per blamers’ excellent recommendations here and in lo so many past comment sections. Aside from being wonderful writers and works — thank you! — I’m finding GdeB imminently applicable to these questions of criminology, typing violent subjectivities, and predicting terrorism (in its specific violence against women forms) that we’ve been talk about here.

    I have a love-hate relationship with GdeB’s premise that we can predict violent behavior. It seems to me this makes violence that reaches the point of no return at least in part the victim’s fault — and moreover, I like that. I’d like to be responsible for reality, to be an active agent rather than a passive victim with no blame nor power to predict. But do these things — blame and agency — necessarily go hand in hand when we’re talking about violence against women?

  165. Amananta

    Lesley – that’s just so classic. People stopped and gasped AT YOU. Not at the guy sexually assaulting you in broad daylight. After all, you’re supposed to behave with ladylike restraint when men misbehave themselves, after all he didn’t really hurt you, etc.
    It just reminds me of all the times I was punished for hitting back.

  166. thebewilderness

    “I’d like to be responsible for reality, to be an active agent rather than a passive victim with no blame nor power to predict. But do these things — blame and agency — necessarily go hand in hand when we’re talking about violence against women?”

    The blame is always on the perp. After all, that’s what makes them a perp.

    I think that deB is saying that there are things we can learn to pay attention to that will improve our judgement. The more we put our well honed judgement ahead of the conditioning of a lifetime, the more agency we exercise.

  167. jess

    I’ve been checking every day for updates! But a “blessing” in disguise: I too have had to turn elsewhere, specifically to Shulamith Firestone, for my patriarchy-blaming fix, and I have been thoroughly soothed. But Twisty, my god, I miss you.

  168. compartments

    “Rapists as patriarchy’s enforcers.” That’s good.

    As a sex-worker who thinks a lot about the various levels of prostitution, I’ve come to believe that there is a disturbingly high demand for rape among prostitution consumers. These are the kinds of guys who don’t have time to stalk and coerce. They just pay somebody else to capture the women for them: http://www.emiliedice.com/compartments/?page_id=17

  169. JimmyDean'sFuckedUpCousinClyde

    Very difficult to find peace when fear is overriding.
    I think the first thing to do would be to do some serious energy balancing like acupuncture and yoga to strengthen the core and free up the entrapped fear.
    The second thing might be to rejoin life in a completely different direction— emphasis on exercise and diet, new acquaintenances, activities…
    Terrorists have only succeeded when they have intimidated and weakened their victims. Taking back one’s life after trauma means re-gaining the power they took from you.
    I know this sounds platitudinous, but it is important to recognise that any abuse will leave wounds that continue to fester until properly treated. Nature WILL heal as long as the conditions for healing are properly put in place.
    I wish her well.

  170. ummmmmmm

    The problem for leslie is probably that msot of the bystanders probably didn’t see the breast grab, but did see her beat the crap out of him.They assumed she did it unprovoked.

  171. kate

    Bravo Lesley!

    I think that it is important for women or anyone in a potentially victimizing situation at any time to be vigilant. Many like to characterize this as paranoid, but I disagree. Paranoia rests on delusions of persecution and an over-reaching sense of victimhood.

    Vigilance lies in facing the reality that we all have the potential to face a potentially disabling or disempowering situation. Thus, recognizing that, one can then realistically take account of the tools one has for fighting back, escape or survival. So often I’ve talked to people, especially woman, who don’t see this.

    The patriarchy certainly relies on the precept that a woman has no agency at all. It disappoints me that so many woman still don’t see the depth of self reflection and individuation that agency really requires; there is no compromise. Once an individual begins to act as an individual, with each small act, the individual is affirmed and thus further empowered.

    No small surprise that every action a woman takes that causes gain for herself exclusive of dependence upon or benefit to, another party. When that action may cause a loss for another party, then lo! attempts to disarm her begin in earnest from all directions, the level of attack on H. Clinton provides a beautifully public example of this.

  172. kate

    “No small surprise that every action a woman takes that causes gain for herself exclusive of dependence upon or benefit to, another party.

    Sorry I meant to add to that rambler, “is decried and questioned in the most vicious terms possible in order to dissuade such action.”

  173. Nora F.

    I have to respond to the comment by “JimmyDean’sFuckedUpCousinClyde.” I am certainly in a position to agree with you about the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating trauma-induced PTSD; I became an acupuncturist because my answer to the very same question posed by “spinster niece X” was that, failing to become a person in power to change the way perpetrators act, I could become a person with power to offer some help to their victims. Ten years after my rape, I practice yoga daily, I’ve run five marathons, I’ve volunteered at crisis centers, and been in counseling for years on end to try to put my life back together. I’ve also spent a good deal of time fantasizing about torturing and killing rapists. I think it’s called “guided imagery” when you pay someone to tell you what to imagine… but I digress. While all these approaches work on some level, absolutely nothing is going to work absolutely; this is due to the obvious but culturally buried fact that the problem lies not with the victim. In addition to dealing with the original trauma of rape, there is the ongoing trauma of living daily in a rape culture, so any effective treatment has to address past, present, and future onslaughts of patriarchy. I finally changed career paths after realizing that of the treatments I sought, acupuncture was the most significant physically, and that my way of healing myself mentally was to one day be able to offer free or sliding sliding-scale treatments for PTSD. My response to recommending alternative therapies is not that these aren’t great suggestions. But the problem is not that women are scared and angry. The problem is that we have very good reason to be.
    In Chinese medical theory, there are two ways emotions can effect physical damage: by being simply too strong for the body to handle, or by being suppressed. Because the emotional impact of rape is universally too strong to control, the best that we can do to avoid further physical damage is to try get to a place from which we can face up to it. Unfortunately, an education in alternative medicine also taught me that for every true healer there is some sac of shit (woven from fair-trade recycled hemp though it may be), who is going to pronounce to women that their own fear and anger are their worst enemy. If only we could just let go and give ourselves to the universe!
    I believe that strategies such as acupuncture, self-defense, energy work, and physical training are robbed of their healing value, and may possibly even cause further emotional damage, in the absence of a truly pervasive awareness that keeping herself from being brutalized is not a woman’s responsibility. Once that understanding is reached- and that is far less simple than it sounds- therapy is a matter of finding what works best for each individual.

  174. Midgetqueen

    I’m at a loss. I have no idea. I do know that all the talk of violence and shooting and whatnot here bugs me (albeit, it doesn’t cause nearly as much harm to my soul as knowing about scads of rapists and abusers going free to keep raping and abusing). A lot. Violence just begets more violence. Hate begets more hate. There’s *got* to be a better way. It’s gonna take one hell of a revolution but it’s gotta be out there. Living without some shred of hope for something like this, someday… it would be too crushingly… well, hopeless.

    For the case at hand… I second the protective-order suggestion. And warn others, everyone she can, as often as possible. It ain’t a ‘smear campaign’ if it’s true.

    …though I must admit… even as anti-violence as I am, Lesley, your anecdote made me smile pretty hard. And we don’t live in any semblance of a utopia. Self-defense is a whole different, and entirely necessary, animal.

  175. kate

    “I do know that all the talk of violence and shooting and whatnot here bugs me (albeit, it doesn’t cause nearly as much harm to my soul as knowing about scads of rapists and abusers going free to keep raping and abusing). A lot. Violence just begets more violence.”

    I’m sorry all this talk harms your soul, despite the scads of abusers and rapists running around pell mell, causing the rest of us distress. I agree, violence indeed begets more violence, just as I was observing tonight on my front porch, that whither I like it or not, every sunset begets a sunrise; chickens beget eggs and eggs beget chickens. Patriarchy begets oppression and oppression begets patriarchy, no matter how much I wish to stick my foot out and trip the turn of the roulette wheel, I have to surrender to the fact that it exists far beyond my reach.

    Albeit, with such simple beginnings and ends, one would think the mushy middle, that gray portion called life that we all must suffer through between the sunrise and the sunset, would at least give us the same regularity and predictability. Instead we get the incessant clatter of the roulette wheel, the ball bouncing, the numbers revealed to us before hand, the drop of the ball and the spin carefully timed, but on what number it shall land in the end is anybody’s guess and of course, holds our fate irretrievably in its fall.

    So, see, I don’t see violence so much as perpetrated upon myself anymore, as I have decided that, although I cannot control the factor that brings the assailant to my door or the rapist to my bedroom, I can certainly play the hand I have on hand. If violence should ensure, then I can only say that such was the fate the begets the gambler who gambled on my vulnerability and lost, instead of me gambling on my hope of reconciliation or successful surrender, to find I’ve lost.

    I may wonder about the sunset, the end of my days, but I certainly intend to not only control when I’m going there, but also, to what extent I am free to discover and enjoy this squishy middle between the sunrise and sunset.

  176. Holly

    I was raped when I was 12 and my rapist remains free, as far as I know. It took many, many years (about 16, to be exact) but there came a point when I had to consciously decide to no longer be his victim. What he did to me was awful and the fact of the matter is, he probably did it to more than just me, but I reached a point when I had to choose the importance of living my life over the non-importance of living his. He made a victim out of me but I made myself a survivor.

  177. HermitWithAVengeance

    Blametariat Dearest:

    This post, and your comments here, inspired me to write a poem for the UK Guardian November Poetry workshop exercise. The “guest host” poet critiques a few reader responses each month, and this month hostess-poet Eleanor Rees critiqued several and was kind enough to include mine.

    Thank you for inspiring, critiquing, venting, recommending, reassessing, and above all for responding with all your hearts and minds to the crisis of this particular situation, and the widespread socio-cultural phenomena of misogyny and violence as well.


    (Ctrl F [“Range,” by Katelyn Sack] for my poem on this page)

  178. Kate Dino

    Twisty! Come back!

  179. rootlesscosmo

    Former US representative Henry Hyde dies:


    In the words of Jackie “Moms” Mabley: “They say you shouldn’t say anything but good about the dead. [Pause.] He’s dead. [Pause.] Good.”

  180. Kitteh

    Figures after years of posting semi-regularly, as soon as I start reading IBTP Twisty disappears.

    I hope you’re well, Twisty.

  181. kate

    Did my last comment make it past moderation? When I look at the comments, my last erudition is tagged on the bottom with a yellow band and the announcement that it is “awaiting moderation”.

    It has been two days I think now since I wrote that? Was what I said really that inciteful, uninsightful, poorly expressed, irrelevant? I dare say, its hard for me to see this moderation thing in a neutral, much less a positive light.

    Please release my comment from your purgatory Twisty, or at least someone let me know if you can see it. No critique withers like that of silent denial.

  182. Mar Iguana

    kate, no one can see your comment. This happens to me more often than not. I have a comment above from 11/19 that no one will ever read since it’s so far up-thread. I don’t know why I bother. Supposedly it’s, hey, nothing personal, who knows why the moderation machine nabs comments? All I know is that on IBTP, say anything negative about surgically and chemically altered males and you’re sentenced to moderation for life.

  183. Mandy

    I, too, like the way MzNicky thinks. Not ladylike I know, but I never claimed to be a lady.

  184. kate

    “I do know that all the talk of violence and shooting and whatnot here bugs me (albeit, it doesn’t cause nearly as much harm to my soul as knowing about scads of rapists and abusers going free to keep raping and abusing). A lot. Violence just begets more violence.”

    I’m sorry all this talk harms your soul, despite the scads of abusers and rapists running around pell mell, causing the rest of us distress. I agree, violence indeed begets more violence, just as I was observing tonight on my front porch, that whither I like it or not, every sunset begets a sunrise; chickens beget eggs and eggs beget chickens. Patriarchy begets oppression and oppression begets patriarchy, no matter how much I wish to stick my foot out and trip the turn of the roulette wheel, I have to surrender to the fact that it exists far beyond my reach.

    Albeit, with such simple beginnings and ends, one would think the mushy middle, that gray portion called life that we all must suffer through between the sunrise and the sunset, would at least give us the same regularity and predictability. Instead we get the incessant clatter of the roulette wheel, the ball bouncing, the numbers revealed to us before hand, the drop of the ball and the spin carefully timed, but on what number it shall land in the end is anybody’s guess and of course, holds our fate irretrievably in its fall.

    So, see, I don’t see violence so much as perpetrated upon myself anymore, as I have decided that, although I cannot control the factor that brings the assailant to my door or the rapist to my bedroom, I can certainly play the hand I have on hand. If violence should ensure, then I can only say that such was the fate the begets the gambler who gambled on my vulnerability and lost, instead of me gambling on my hope of reconciliation or successful surrender, to find I’ve lost.

    I may wonder about the sunset, the end of my days, but I certainly intend to not only control when I’m going there, but also, to what extent I am free to discover and enjoy this squishy middle between the sunrise and sunset.

  185. kate

    Thanks for the heads up Mar, but this one had no reference at all to males or females of any make-up, pre or post surgery.

    I copied and pasted it and Boom! The ole trope is hung up in pergatory again. Maybe I can make modifications and keep posting until it comes up eh? Sort of a game; outwit the mod-bot or please the moderator, whichever.

  186. SicilySue

    Personally, I am not sure how I will react if my rapist isn’t convicted. The trial is looming on the horizon and while I hope for justice with in the frame work of our legal system. My eyes have been opened recently to the thought that maybe a real sense of justice could only be found outside of the current legal framework (which I find disappointing in the sense of conviction rates, prison time, the way prisons function, and the useless sex offender lists)

    Maybe the part of the “justice” for rape problem… is that we are seeking justice from a system that condones rape through its lack of intervention. Maybe it is time we extract ourselves from the system that is abusive itself… and work within our framework of justice.

    BUT in a recent meeting of the minds with fellow feminists… Someone suggested the concept of social and cultural outing… by way of a large group of people who know what a rapist has done… going to stand in front of him… or in front of his home and let him know… they know what he is… and that he is NOT wanted.. and that everyone in his community will be made aware of what he has done. It is time to place the SHAME where it belongs.. on the rapist.

  187. callingofthedead

    Much of the evil in the world has been justified by “we must hunt down the Bad and eliminate it”. It doesn’t matter whether the Bad is represented by ‘the terrorists’, ‘the rapists’, ‘the drug dealers’, or any other group. It’s the same shit every time, the same noble rhetoric of self-defense, and it has us at each other’s throats.

    In other words: dominating/destroying the Violent Other is a time-worn patriarchal trope, and one that our minds can well do without.

    BTW, has anyone thought about where the money goes when we subsidize the American arms industry? Have a look at conditions outside of our own backyard before proclaiming the gun an instrument of enlightened feminist causes.

  188. The Bittersweet Girl

    Wherefore art thou, Twisty?

  189. ivieee

    Isn’t anybody here a personal friend of Twisty’s? Please tell us she’s alright. I just had a friend who disappeared, and it was not alright, so maybe I’m a little jumpy. If she just doesn’t want to write, that’s fine.

  190. patrick

    Here is an awful, if not unsurprising, story about Presidential candidate Huckabee, rape enabler:


  191. Lara

    Where’s Twisty?…….

  192. SuvivorToo

    Man, this doesn’t feel right at ALL.

  193. kate

    Well, my comment finally made it through, so I think someone’s managing to change the filters on the machine every now and again.

    I’d bet Twisty’s focused pretty heavily on her new build, building a self sufficient, energy efficient house like she spoke of is really quite a project, even if you are just cutting the checks, there’s still a lot to manage on a regular build, much less something complicated as what she is set out to do.

    Mebbe she’s sunning on the beach somewhere. I wish to hell I was.

  194. r

    Somebody please turn this blog into a book I can buy and hand out.
    Before it disappears.

  195. KW

    I feel the same as MidgetQueen, that hate and violence just breeds more. And if the hate and violence spent upon us fills us up and causes us to hate and be violent, then it has grown fat using us as meat.

    My personal fantasy is not some kind of march, but a nationally franchised feminist PI service called Hound the Bastard, or perhap,s Stern Eyes Upon Scum (SEUM, pronounced “see-’em”) that employs legions of volunteers carefully trained to use every legal harassment possible to make the scum feel hounded.

    If men as a class are free to harass and get away with it, we should make it known that we, as a class, are willing create backlash–that if you do exercise your “right” to harass, we’ll be right back in your face. Oh, it won’t be the individual girl you groped trying to stand up to you; it’ll be a dozen networked females keeping tabs on you and announcing to the world what a jerk you are.

  196. S. D'Attournee-Lawson

    Wow. I’m still having withdrawal symptoms.

  197. TP

    I’m having withdrawal symptoms, too. I know Twisty personally, but she’s hasn’t answered any of my phone calls or emails for a long time, much longer than she’s been gone.

    Where’s Stingray, another of her friends? I wish I knew how to get in touch with her, she might know.

    That said, I’m hoping that it’s just El Rancho Deluxe. It’s a beautiful place way out in the hills, and I would be very surprised if she had any form of internet access out there.

  198. kate

    I think Twisty could be on vacation, she could be in her new house enjoying the freedom of no electronic contact. She could be re-analyzing her priorities, getting herself back to where she wants to be. Maybe blogging was coming to a dead end for her.

    Whatever the reason, I know one thing for sure; she’s free to do as she pleases and she doesn’t owe me or anyone else a farewell, an apology or an explanation. Sure, it would be nice to have her blogging again, but Twisty is her own person first, whatever else is just trivial noise that she can choose to filter out or not.

    It sucks, but then, what about life is so fucking dandy anyway?

  199. kate

    I guess if someone knows her they could track her down and say, “Hey! What the hell are you doing relaxing or dealing with your own shit! Patriarchy is still here and feminism is dying without your astute observation! Now get back to that computer and blog something now!”

    I’d really doubt a good outcome for that though.

  200. sam

    Chill out, y’all. She may be in a bad way. She may not. I’m sure she’d be the first to say “Goddammit! There are no Saviors. It’s pathetic to raise up one human being as the One True Leader. Fight the fight on your own terms. Now. If she’s going to absent herself, or be absented against her own will, fuckin’ DO WHAT NEED TO BE DONE!”

  201. stingray

    Worry not, blamers of the patriarchy, for Twisty is well.
    She’s taken up dancing through the Texas countryside with her trusted horse, Stanley.

  202. slade

    Well….finally! Glad to hear Twisty is dancing with a horse. I have found them to be excellent partners…much better than the human kind.

    Dance On!

  203. kate

    See? I knew it, she’s have a good time. Good for her!

  204. Ron Sullivan

    Thanks, Stingray; that’s good to know. Wish I were on horseback right now, but/and it’s good to know Twisty is. A good horse deserves a good dance partner.

  205. Cass

    Thanks for the word, Stingray; that’s reassuring to know.

  206. kinnari

    wow! great post.

    i can tell you what i’ve done re: what do you do when your rapist goes free.

    let’s see:

    i told everyone at my church (after he told them i was lying, the fucking sunday school teacher).

    i told everyone in my fundamentalist family (to no avail: i just got long letters saying how i’d go to hell if i didn’t stay married to him.)

    i read “fathers husbands and other rapists” by diana russell.

    i attended grad school with my three young kids in tow.

    i then left his ass during one of his many threatening shitstorms.

    i worked to pass marital rape laws in texas. (where the legislators would famously say “if you can’t rape your wife, who can you rape?”

    i lived through 5 custody suits and protected my kids from him till the end when i ran out of money.

    i lost my children, my health, and nearly lost my house, and my mind.

    i dated his best friend who was very kind and loving but still a fundie.

    i became a unitarian.

    i started dating feminist men.

    i slept with a woman.

    and i came out as bi.

    and i moved to san francisco.

    now i work for the environment and i blog about how to reclaim your life after a rich white asshole lawyer (who happens to be your husband) rapes you and gets away with it.

    yup that about covers it.

  207. MzNicky

    Yeah, well, I don’t care if she’s tap-dancing on a rope across the Grand Canyon. Nothing since Halloween? Now that’s just plain rude.

    That’s it. No Xmas card for little Mz. Twisty from ME this year. Hmmph.

  208. Lily Underwood

    i don’t know twisty faster personally. and i miss being able to check in on her life and her astringent refreshing philosophizing. but i support her right to be riding off into the beautiful texas hill country on horseback. horses are great companions and wiser than we. if you’re disgruntled about her absence, i suggest reading a past post. she lives in her writing. peace.

  209. tsisageya

    thank you, lily underwood

    i don’t know twisty faster personally. and i miss being able to check in on her life and her astringent refreshing philosophizing. but i support her right to be riding off into the beautiful texas hill country on horseback. horses are great companions and wiser than we. if you’re disgruntled about her absence, i suggest reading a past post. she lives in her writing. peace.

    So true..so true…

  210. r

    dance Twisty dance
    but somebody slurp this blog into Blurb or something
    I desperately want to give my sister a Book of Twisty

  211. tsisageya

    Oh noes! I’ve been doing my self-imposed Twisty homework by reading every blog post and comment, old blog and new. (No really, it’s fun.)

    I just came across this Twisty from May, 2005:

    Please consider the following quotation from yesterday’s Americablog, which makes me laugh and cry at the same time:

    Kudos are due to the Microsoft employees who took a stand to make their company do the right thing…again.

    I. Right away we detect the horrible ellipsis, that plague upon Internet discourse which is second in ghastliness only to the poor, deluded anti-Capitalites who mistake an unwillingness to engage the shift key for an element of style. My advice on the ellipsis is this: unless you’re an expert, shun it like a Baptist shuns a Democrat. Even world-class literati confine their ellipsing to quotations from which words have been omitted. It is too often deployed by lazy butt-munches who don’t feel like finishing their sentences and who appear, as a result, incapable of fully articulating the sense of their ideas. They’re dragging us all down!

    The writer of our example sentence teeters on the precipice of the Dark Side when he uses the ellipsis as an emphatic device. In this instance, the worthy dash (–) would have conveyed his meaning more forcefully than a namby-pamby row of suspension points.

    Ouch. I will no longer be guilty of using the horrible ellipsis.
    In my favor, I am a stickler for proper capitalisation and punctuation. Yay, me.

  212. m Andrea

    Thank you jeeshus!

    I don’t care if she ever writes another thing, as long as she’s okay. She’s already accomplished more in a few short years with those little fingers than most do in a lifetime.

    Ride like the wind, Twisty!

  213. The Reverend B. Dagger Lee

    “Shane! Shane! Come back!”

  214. The Reverend B. Dagger Lee

    “Come back! Shane!”

  215. niki

    Dear Twisty and Co.,

    Rock on with your bad self(ves). You said many good things that changed many a good mind.

    It’s hard to let this endless stream of crazy eat at you daily. It’s a real killer.

  216. Spinning Liz

    This is exactly how it should be: Twisty taught us how to blame for ourselves, gave us the vision, gave us the vocabulary, even gave us a forum to practice in, then turned us out on our own, forcing us to develop our own independent voices and carry the blame-o-rama torch on without her. Sure, I miss her like hell, but there was no point in it at all if she was just going to remain a daily hit of amusing entertainment for us to passively consume.

  217. Chuttles

    As a man, and one who has not been raped, here is how I would respond to the situation (please bear in mind that I am doing my best before you crush me with your patriarchy hatred):

    1). Decide whether to care. If you are feeling afraid, and he is not in the state _for you_ then you are getting raped all over again if there is no legitimate threat.

    His intentions can be discerned by hiring a PI (he should have a genuine life in the state: friends, job, etc. for you not to care); you may also see if you can get his parole officer’s number through the local state police. Go in person to ask for it though, because it’s too easy to refuse on the phone.

    If he has those things; if his parole officer says he’s on the straight and narrow; if it looks like he’s making a real go of it, you have a life to live.

    It is best not to bother with him if he is trying to create a life, because humiliated downtrodden persons are more likely to do evil things like rape. No need to humiliate him if he’s not after you. No restraining order, nothing like that. Rehire the PI every year or so for a status update; then resolve not to care about him.

    [pep talk] He’s just some loser who did an evil thing. He did it to you – but that doesn’t make him worth caring about. Care about your friends and family! You deserve a life without worry. You CAN control your mind. Resolve not to worry, and then don’t. [\pep talk]

    2). However, if you get the sense that he’s after you – basically get ready for war. Get the dog, carry pepper spray – and a knife. Get the restraining order, and pass out pictures of him to your neighbors, and go see the police in person and give them pictures too. Put pictures on telephone poles around your neighborhood with directions to call the police if he’s seen in the area. That should deter him from coming around, and offer protection if he’s seen.

    Get an alarm system for your apartment, bars for your windows. Make sure you have two escape routes planned in the event that he tries to come in. Make sure you have at least one friend near by who you can stay with if you don’t feel safe. Make sure you are not connected to that friend in any public way (de-friend on myspace/facebook etc). Explain your friend’s importance to your friend.

    But FIRST things FIRST: determine why he has moved to your state. Fear may be worthwhile, but then again, it may not be.

    [pep talk] I am Sorry you were raped. But you have too much to give to let it beat you [\pep talk]

  218. tsisageya

    Twisty, HALP!!!

    I’m having elipsis withdrawal!!!

    I need you!

  219. tsisageya

    …oops…I mean…ell

  220. tsisageya

    …damn it all! Ellipsis…my last comment didn’t get assimilated properly……see? SEE???


  221. Secondwaver

    Spinning Liz
    thanks for that.

  222. tsisageya

    And anyway, we all know that Twisty has a way of “doing this”. I, personally, don’t think she’s “doing” anything…except maybe her life. As she has said many times in the past: When I have something to say, I’ll say it. She often alludes to the fact that we will be among the first to know.

    Besides, Twisty is a person of many talents and interests. It’s fortunate that she has been given the opportunity, and desire, to pursue them. I envy her, in a way…by envy, I mean worship, of course.

  223. Shiloruh

    Can someone help me? After many happy blaming hours at the Forum, I was suddenly and mysteriously banned. I need some help and/or advice.
    Oh and I miss Twisty desperately.

  224. kate

    Absolutely Liz!

  225. Lara

    Thank goddess I am glad to hear she is doing well, even though I do not personally know her. I was only worried something bad had happened or something…
    Have fun with the horse Twisty!

  226. tsisageya

    I apologize profusely for my stupidity. The post:

    A fellow blamer’s rapist remains at large

    Here’s a little reminder to brighten your day: all humans are conditioned to despise women. A woman can be criticized, sentimentalized, brutalized, infantilized, minimized, empowerfulized, pedestalized, pornalized, and penalized, but she can never be humanized. The American legal system, as a matter of fact, effectively outlaws humanity for women. It does this in many ways, all of which define women in terms of male sexuality. One of the most insidious is its assertion that women are in a perpetual state of ‘consent’ unless they specify in front of 147 witnesses that they have withdrawn it (more on my radical notions about consent and women’s humanity here, and even more blamer contributions here). It is by this cunning method of ascribing to women the quality of unceasing availability that the future of rape as a cornerstone of human social order is secured.

    Rape is the dominant culture’s most cherished method of controlling the female underclass, of moulding us into a self-replicating supply of fearful, impaired, coercible receptacles. Why else would rape trials be so notoriously torturous and humiliating for the victims? Why else would convictions be so notoriously difficult to obtain? It is by popular demand that, decades after American women were first deemed “liberated,” the countryside remains infested with unjailed rapists. These freely roaming terrorists are patriarchy’s enforcers. They’re the product of a culture of violence that luxuriates in the juridical presumption that all raped women are guilty unless proven otherwise.

    I repent.

  227. Joanna

    Miss Twisty updates, and miss you too, Liz.

  228. Sandi

    Stingray, thanks ever so much for the Twisty activity update. Now instead of a sort of silence, I hear galloping hooves! Peace…

  229. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Dang, I missed the party.

    I can’t believe I read this whole thread. Of course pretty much everything has been said – – except for this one thing: Criminals of the stranger-variety avoid two kinds of people:

    1. People with dogs (big OR yappy), and
    2. Mean looking women with pointy umbrellas.

    Since I’m unlikely to shoot myself or cause a neighborhood incident with a pointy umbrella I have a whole collection of them, and I do carry the pointies instead of the collapsible type. Just think: Relatively cheap, no license or training required.

    So much for the stranger assholes but what about the assholes we know? That said, I’m a big fan of deadly force despite the fact that I can’t even watch it on TV. To those who think violence “belongs” to the realm of men I encourage study of the Norse and Celts of yore; those women were BADASS. Check in with Kali, Indian Goddess of Destruction while you’re at it.

    Oh, and looky here!

    “Women in the Viking Age” – Judith Jesch – Boydell Press – 0 85115 278 3
    “Peace Weavers and Shield Maidens” – Kathleen Herbert – Anglo Saxon Books – 1-898281-11-4
    “Damn Rebel Bitches – Women of the ’45” – Maggie Craig – Mainstream Publishing – 1-85158-962-7
    “Hannah Snell, The Secret Life of a Female Marine” – Matthew Stephens – Ship Street Press – 0-9530565-0-3
    “Women All on Fire” – Alison Plowden – Sutton Publishing – 0-7509-2552-3
    “Female Tars” – Suzanne Stark – Pimlico – 0-7126-660-5
    “Battle Cries and Lullabies” – Linda Grant de Pauw – University of Oklahoma Press – 0-8061-3288-4
    “Maiden Warriors and Other Sons” – Carol J. Clover – Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), 85 (1986):35-49
    “Women in the Medieval Town” – Erika Uitz – Barrie and Jenkins – 0-7126-3437-1
    “On the Trail of Women Warriors” – Lyn Webster Wilde – Constable – 0 09 478080 3

    More here: http://www.lothene.org/others/women.html

    My personal favorite? The Morrigan, the three Phantom Queens of Celtic legend who disguised themselves as crows and flew over battle fields, determining who lived and who died. I have no problem taking on that role as necessary. Bring it on.

    The Morrigu

    She haunts you in your dreams
    When you wake you can’t even scream
    You hear the wind in the midnight sky
    Upon which the Morrigu shall fly
    She is justice and everything right
    Look out for more than dreams tonight…
    Between both worlds the crow awaits
    This perfect twist of fate
    Life or death, living or dead
    You can’t escape the places you’ve tread
    Mark my words, make no mistake

    It’s only everything she will take…

    ~J. Laskey

  230. tsisageya

    Me? As everyone already knows, I’m partial to White Buffalo Calf Woman. The story. I really like it.

  231. Jenny Dreadful

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thread, but it’s pretty melancholy at this point, isn’t it? Looking through the archives, there are several stretches where Twisty has developed bouts of blog-constipation, so I have hopes that she’ll return to the blog after the holidays, at least to let us know what she’s been up to.

    I don’t know Twisty personally, and therefore feel somewhat pathetic expounding upon the various ways in which she’s changed my life, but nonetheless, I love her, and am thoroughly emBETTERed as a result of having found this blog.

    Also, whoever it was that offered up a stupid dig at “chemically altered males” deserves a kick in the shins. Twisty has mentioned that she doesn’t approve of those types of comments on her blog, and while she’s out, possibly sick or hurt, you befoul what might be her final post with your verbal flatulence. There are plenty of forums for anti-trans screeds, why not float on over to one and bloviate, instead of disrespecting Twisty and her readers?

  232. lexia

    I know this thread is too long already but I have to post this. A banner above this story announced earlier that a U.S. citizen wouldn’t be extradited for the rape and murder of a young girl. I guess the contrast was just too much so they removed it.

    In my area, a local man was just released from prison after being convicted of raping and murdering a teenage girl because the DA’s office felt in hindsight the evidence just wasn’t strong enough. The man was convicted by a jury and given the usual sentence for harm to a worthless human being – a few years, but too much for the justice boys, obviously.

    This is what the well-being of boys is worth. There’s no doubt he would’ve gotten the death penalty if he’d murdered a boy.

    Boys’ kidnapper gets 170 more years

    * Story Highlights
    * Michael Devlin sentenced to 170 years for child pornography
    * Sentencing guidelines called for 30 years in prison
    * Devlin already serving multiple life sentences
    * He pleaded guilty to abducting and sexually assaulting two boys
    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) — Michael Devlin received one final sentence Friday — 170 years — for making pornography of a boy he kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

    Michael Devlin is serving multiple life sentences in the abduction and sexual assault of two boys.

    Devlin is already serving multiple life terms for kidnapping and assaulting Shawn Hornbeck and another Missouri boy, Ben Ownby. This time around, a federal judge went well beyond the sentencing guideline of 30 years.

    rest at http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/21/boysfound.devlin.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

  233. thebewilderness

    Happy Solstice to all.

  234. Alarming Female

    I miss Twisty.

  235. tsisageya

    Dear Twisty,

    Would you please delete all my comments or, at least, keep them hung up in the moderation queue?

    This is your blog, of course. Thy will be done but, I guess I would just like to back out of publicizing my comments. I don’t know why.

    I hope and trust you’re doing well.


  236. C. Atrox

    Yeah, she needs to be blaming something soon.

  237. Catherine

    Hi-Happy Solstice. I just stumbled onto this site-like water for the parched. I too, deal daily with my perp; he is the father of my children. I am alone and isolated, have been religated to the “crazy bitch” bin, and can’t even tell my story without someone rolling their eyes because I’m shrill and angry and have bad dreams and no contact with my kids (for years) who are learning thru example. Thank You for all the validation.

  238. Axesbowledaslove

    I would like to wish fellow abandoned, blamers here a Merry Christmas! If you aren’t Christian, don’t worry; you needn’t be to enjoy the feast. A glass of kindness to you all.

  239. justicewalks

    Happy Holidays!

  240. No Blood for Hubris

    Be well.

  241. Mar Iguana

    Peace on Earth. Good will towards Woman.

  242. j

    Solanasmas! We missed Solanasmas!

  243. ivieee

    Hey, j, what’s Solanasmas? Sol-stice kw-an- Xmas?

    I keep coming here, whether I have a reason to blame the patriarchy or not.

    I am so glad Twisty is out in the Hill Country with the land, and with the horse who is her friend.

  244. j


    ivieee, same here. I’ve been checking this blog daily for the past two months, just in case.

  245. tsisageya

    Still, I need you.

  246. tsisageya

    I need you real bad.

  247. Anne

    Blaming shaming. Fuck us for not doing it ourselves.

    Why rely upon a leader when we can lead ourselves?

    Happy Christlessmas, Jill. Thank you.

  248. Ron Sullivan

    Aw hell, we’re not looking for “leadership.” Well I’m not anyway, and I bet I’m not alone. I just miss Twisty’s deathless prose and culinary marvels.

    Six months of rentlessly cheerful news ‘n’ notes about chow, dogs, horses, building, bugs (especially bugs) and street sightings in Austin would be A-OK with me. I’d send chocolate. Twenty words a week. One Holga photo of food foam. For me, that has been the most mindboggling thing here: food foam. The Patriarchy? I’m creeping up on 60 and I damnwell know it’s ubiquitous and poisonous and out to get me. The rest is details.

    What I like about Twisty is her zest about it. I’m so old and mean and cynical that I get impatience with earnestness and dourness and anything else that brings me down. If it makes yer eyebrows do this :# is more like it.

    Hah. Emoticons. Neener neener. (The second one is me with the damned braces on my teeth for the third holiday season goddamnit.) Growr.

  249. tsisageya

    Ron Sullivan, I can’t help but love you.

    I, too, am an old fart.

  250. kate

    Ok folks, I just saw “Knocked Up” with my daughter, a friend of hers rented the DVD. I was offended within the first quarter of the movie. Just a short synopsis in case anyone encounters any moron who says they loved this movie:

    It is a right-wing pro-life propaganda film that romanticizes pregnancy, but you probably figured that already and are already set to dismiss it. But no, I’m not done yet, because its more offensive than that, the offense is in the details and the fine contrasts that seem like they were pulled from a fundamentalist family planning meeting with 12 year olds.

    1) Girl is woman who acts like girl. Has good job with famous production company, just gets important promotion.

    2) Cut to a bunch of male dweebs hanging at their place, joking about tits and getting high. Ok, you don’t get it and are disgusted at them. So am I. Why are we always forced to look at ugly men? My daughter says, wait mom, its supposed to be funny, they are geeks. Oh.

    3) Girl goes out to celebrate with sister, who is a stay-at home mom. Oh and girl lives with said sister in Big Big Mansionesque house, complete with huge swimming pool etc. Anyway, girl and sis go out to nightclub. Why do movie characters always have to fucking rich?

    4) Girl bumps into one of the aforementioned geeks while getting a beer, he, the ever-valient male, gets her her beer for her, buys for sis too. Awww shucks, someone is supposed to be charmed by his lack of charm. Gag me on a fucking chicken wing already. Being an ugly oaf is not cute alright? Will any asshole in Hollywood get that? No, because half of them either are or were ugly oafs and they want to believe we love them. Fuck off.

    5) Geek mentions to other geeks about Hawt Girl. They ensue the ambush. Cute scenes, little lines you know, the drill. Sis gets a call, kids need her at home. She leaves, Girl stays.

    6) Girl gets drunk, takes home geek guy she danced with all night, screws him. Scene where he’s fumbling with condom while she’s in the throes of near orgasm “Get on with it!” she exclaims or something like that, (oh have we all had that moment!) he throws condom and package to floor and ensues. Camera shot to condom outside of package on floor.

    7) Girl kicks out guy next day, she svery repulsed by him. Haven’t we all one of these? Of course we have. Honest to God, the best part in the movie is a close up shot of his dimpled, bare, white stretch marked ass on the bed and her spying from the door. We all know what she’s thinking, “WTF did I do?” She takes him to breakfast afterward before work and finds him even more repulsive and concludes to cut him off right there forever, we hope. But…but there’s more, it gets worse and only requires a very quick summary.

    Girl gets sick at work and frantically does pregnancy tests with Sis. Of course, Sis and girl don’t seem to have any plans at this point and don’t talk about “Shit if this is positive, I’m getting it fixed tomorrow.” or “Holy shit what about my job?” No, because in the Baptist/Assembly of God/Fundie Church of your choice parallel universe teh Girls don’t make no plans; evah.

    Girl finally tells geek she’s pregnant, at a restaurant, he thinks he’s got a chance. She doesn’t set him straight. What’s going on? Cut to his friends pressuring him to have her get an abortion. Cut to her relations pressuring her to get an abortion.

    She’s all wishy-washy about it you know and decides not to tell her work, because you know, they can’t fire her anyway, its illegal and like, I guess its ok in this parallel universe for career women to get knocked up and be ok with it and all.

    She asks geek to go to doc with her to confirm. You what this fucker doc does? He doesn’t just do a piss test, no he fucking gets her on her back and pokes her with a camera so she can see on the ultrasound the fantastic results of her drunken one-night stand with geek-boy and of course, get all mushy about it. She cries and he’s shocked, but oh, they’ll get over that.

    [Just to let you know. I’d kill any fucking doctor if I found they attempted to manipulate any of my daughters with such a trick. It should be illegal. Just sayin’.]

    Girl decides to make nice with geek, geek promises to be there. He’s ugly, he’s gross, he’s a geek, but he’s the baby-daddy and he’ll be there like a prince he’s seemingly becoming in the eyes of this demented writer.

    Girl falls in love with ugly, gross geek, because you know that’s what girls do when they are pregnant. All guys make notes to themselves: Get girl pregnant and she’s yours. This of course is something new, suggested by the movie, which no one has tried ever before, because like guys are so innocent and bumbling and gross and all they would have never had the ability to connive in such a way.

    Geek proposes to girl. Girl had found very early on that geek had no job, no money and was living off a settlement that was quickly running out. But, in the flash of a camera cut geek is dressing in new clothes he apparently just bought, buying Girl all sorts of baby stuff from books to clothes (at baby boutiques no less) because somehow his sperm has caused money to grow in his pocket.

    He’s a changed man. Oh they have their fights and their struggles, all to be resolved in the end by that baby poking out the vagina. (and yeah they show the crowning, just so we’re all touched with how real they are I guess) Oh yes, its all solved, see, in one month’s time, geek not only learned to dress, but he gave up smoking pot and drinking, got a good job and his own place to live. How about that!

    If only the rest of us were little blonde Girl-woman who loved the geeks who poked us, we’d have changed a man too! Isn’t that what we make babies for anyway? To change men’s lives? Yeah, exactly, fuck you.

    The subplot also is about the sis who’s unhappily married and clinging to her man who she is convinced is cheating on her. Lo and behold, she comes to find that he only wants to time out wit’ the boyz, that he just can’t get with his busy-body clingy wife who apparently has no friends but her pregnant sister (but hey, women don’t need friends when they got a family right?).

    Well, Girl’s geek now boyfriend (she confesses that she luvs him about ten times in the movie) bonds with sis’s husband and he tells him that he too, got his wife knocked up and then married her “to make it right”. Oh my, Girl says she doesn’t want to live like that to geek boy, but by the time the baby comes out, she’s going ‘home’ straight from the hospital to his flat that she’s never even seen.

    The movie is 75% about the male characters. The movie puts the responsibility of male maturity onto the women in their lives. Because hey! What’s there to tell about the wimmens? They have the kid and that’s it. All smiles and love at someone else’s expense, hell its the co-dependent’s dream.

    About six times I wanted to get up and leave the room, but my little one wouldn’t let me. I said to her, “You know, that movie was no doubt funded and written by pro-lifers for your benefit.”

    “I know ma.” she says with a smile. Then she frowns, “When are the pro-choice people going to make a movie?”

    When women run the movie industry I guess, I told her.

  251. Lara

    Kate, that summary was on point. I saw that movie a couple of months ago and also felt like getting up in the middle….and did you notice how the woman’s vagina was fucking SHAVED in the birthing scene??? WTF?
    It was just so beyond stupid and misogynist. I was invited to watch it with my dad, his girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s daughter (who suggested the movie). :P IBTP.

  252. Val

    Well I just got back from seeing da next big family-themed “offbeat” hit, “Juno”…
    I cringed through the entire ordeal that the teen mom was going to have that miraculous change-of-heart & decide to keep her baby, but thankfully THAT did not happen!
    What amazed me is how cinema can show every conceivable type of mutilation, blood n’ guts n’ gore aplenty, yet they can’t depict a REALISTIC, pseudo-alien infested pregnant woman’s stomach that MOVES?!? Nor any true pregnancy-related symptoms other than one early episode of nausea… Oh well we all know IBTP

  253. Dilly

    Yeah. Did you notice how they couldn’t even utter the word “abortion” in that movie? They went with the old rhyming trick (sha-shmor-shun or something like that) so as not to offend any of the anti-choicers in the audience.

    So, y’all, who’s getting your vote on primary day?

  254. slade

    Dilly….I’m so glad that Iowa’s primary is tomorrow. I’m truly tired of hearing about it. But I sure hope Edwards wins it. I have been a long time Corporate Hater…it’s time they atone for their Greed.

    I wish Barbara Jordan were around so I could vote for her.

  255. Flores

    Kate, is the ugliness and incompetence of the male characters in [i]Knocked Up[/i] so important? Would the movie have been less sexist if the ugly geek had instead been a hot stud who simply disliked condoms? I haven’t seen the film, but I doubt it.

    Has anyone seen [i]Juno[/i], a movie that deals with roughly the same thing? If so, is it any better?

    As for the original topic, I can only feebly suggest self-defense. Relying on the state for protection obviously doesn’t work. It’s a patriarchal institution, and probably always will be. Even simply being willing to defend oneself can be enough to stop an attack. Many attackers assume they have a monopoly on violence. They’re surprised when the victim fights back.

  256. mearl

    Kate: oh, that made me laugh!! Happy New Year to all the Blamers. May we Blame on.

  257. Mar Iguana

    Slade, YES. My enemy is corporatism so I want an un-bought, corporate pitbull they fear and loath elected.

  258. yankee,transferred

    I wish I had written that movie review. I agree 100% AND, of course, IBTP

  259. lawbitch

    Sending some Twisty love! Hope that Twisty is doing great!

  260. Mar Iguana

    kate, Ellen Goodman wrote this after seeing “Juno”:

    “…we are in the midst of an entire wave of movies about unexpectedly pregnant women – from Knocked Up to Waitress to Bella – all deciding to have their babies and all wrapped up in nice, neat bows.”


    The boys seem to be anxious about women not cranking out the wage-slaves and soldiers or something.

  261. Chuttles

    This might be apocryphal, because it’s wikipedia, but the US Population (if you ctrl-f “United States”) is actually rising!

    All that propaganda is working!


  262. kate

    Thanks for that piece by Ellen Goodman Mar, I couldn’t agree more with her.

    Although she posits that Hollywood is trying to be all things to all people, I think more that Hollywood feels the celebration of all things male sells better. Pandering to the pubescent male psyche is nothing new, so why should stories about girls getting knocked up be? Men benefit when women lose their agency and its old news that getting the chick knocked up is the best way to that end. Abortion spoils all the fun and ends the spoils of male power.

    The pro-lifers have appealed to the Great American Fear: Slut shame. Knocked up and apparently Juno portrays perfects nominees to the slut Hall of Shame who are saved the horror through the purifying experience of pregnancy. If I had a dollar for every female in this country who shunned abortion for fear of the slut shame, I doubt I could trade in my 300,000 miles plus ’93 Saturn for a slightly younger and more nubile vehicle, like a nice Volvo XC.

    Since the Juno writer wrote such tripe, seems apparent to me that although she’s stepped off the stage and is keeping her clothes on, Miss Diablo hasn’t dropped pleasing the boyz as her core career.

  263. kate

    Oh, for the want of the patience to edit before sending! Of course I don’t doubt I’d trade in my Saturn for a Volvo, hell I’d do in it a minute and could no doubt get a nice one with all the options.

  264. ivieee

    I just dropped in here for a breath of fresh air, or reality at least. Out there, you would get the idea that it’s a war of Black v Woman. Not a healthy atmosphere, and one that would tend to get a Blamer up on her high horse (tip of the overly pinched-in-bent-down cowgirl hat to Twisty) to get above the smog.

    Gasp, Wheeze, Sigh…. Blame!

  265. Hattie

    Where do black women fit into this equation?

  266. Lara

    Exactly, Hattie. I hate this assumption that there is a “tension” between women’s rights and the rights of minorities, as if all blacks are men and all women are white. This assumption, I think, is all part of the system to keep black women silent and to cover up the connections between white supremacy and misogyny.

  267. Mar Iguana

    They can add their votes to those for the black man or the white woman who are both bought by mega-corporations. Or, they can vote for the un-bought Edwards, the candidate these corpofacists fear and loath almost as much as they do women.

  268. ate

    i read most of this thread until it got off topic but i still wanted to add a contribution, particularly after reading rafalah’s input.

    after i was raped by my ex boyfriend – and it was recently – my… response and way of dealing with it was very much community based. i told my friends and mutual friends and people in our general social community about what had happened to me and who had done it. of course i avoided telling certain people personally because i knew their reaction wouldn’t be sympathetic or because i didn’t trust they would believe me or show support (all of them men). but i did confront telling my story to people close to me or who i thought would understand. they amounted to about 20 people and i would say that at least 40 know, even only second hand. this had amazing results for me. if he shows up anywhere where i am i know he will be asked to leave. when i’m stressed or distressed in situations or in conversations a large number of people know and although not all of them might be able to help me feel better i know that people understand and will try and steer conversations or situations to places that make me feel safer or less confronted. i have also been lucky enough that all the people i have told have not only believed me but have been willing to listen to me explain how i feel and i have only had two conversations where i felt someone was placing blame or causing guilt in me. at those times i was able to turn to someone else and say what had happened and the persons who had reacted in an unpleasant way were told about how i felt and had it explained to them why their behavior was inappropriate. it has been especially helpful in that… this isn’t a burden a woman should have to share alone. it’s a horrible thing, a hard thing, a traumatic thing and… being alone and feeling you have to hold all that pain and rage and fear and sadness on your own shoulders alone is really really hard. having a community of people around me willing to help me share that burden, support me in my choices and actions and provide me with the things i needed, even ones i didn’t realise i needed, is amazing. i really support the idea of people setting up groups (of women?) that can provide this service. so that if and when a woman feels alone she knows there is a group of people she can turn to, many of whom have experienced what she has. to get help from, advice from, support from and to take action on her behalf – should she want that (the worst and most upsetting thing to me about the above mentioned acts of violent retaliation, particularly the mention of ‘getting someone else to do it’ is that it can feel like a further removal of the control that has already been destroyed. also it is very much violence begetting violence. no revenge is ever going to give you back what was destroyed and it is much more healing to move away from the violent frame they’ve put you in and reject it for what it is – a form of patriachal control. particularly keeping in mind the possibility of legal or personal violence and retaliation again coming back against the woman – further spiralling the cycle of pain and hurt. none the less should any woman choose violence or revenge i would support them 100% in it, i just don’t think it’s going to do anyone any good.)

    in terms of legal matters i chose not to press charges (for many reasons one of which being i didn’t want to go through that process, which may be viewed of something as a weak way of going about things) however i did take a restraining order (in australia they are called intervention orders) against him so that in situations where i knew he could potentially be present (we’re part of the same larger social network) i would have the legal standing/he would be afraid enough of me calling the cops and him suffering the consequences to have him removed and not have to be afraid of specific situations (though i am afraid constantly and everyday).

    this doesn’t all mean that i’m not afraid and it meant i had to move house because i was so scared he might show up there and well, lots of other things required immediate change and i’m still not entriely comfortable being on my own. nonetheless they are all things that helped me and why i wholeheartedly support community groups that support women who have been raped and not in a bureacratic every case is the same way but in a way that reacts to each individual situation and need.

    i don’t know if this will help spinsterniece in that she is in a new community and she may not the support bases i have. but if possible i encourage turning to your community to help support you and share the burden of what you’ve experienced and are currently experiencing. it doesn’t have to be to an extent that you are in even greater fear or that you HAVE to do things to alert people that you are safe (i.e. calling a friend at the same time each night, etc) but so that you at least feel you have options and pathways to take you to safer places, physically or mentally. plus taking some kind of legal proceeding, particularly a restraining order is helpful in that you at least have something to make you feel that tiny bit more secure.

  1. Reverse Paranoia | the cat lady speaks

    […] didn’t protect me from the violence I experienced at the hands of a man either, because as Twisty asserts (and has on many occasions previously with equal eloquence), The American legal system, as a matter of fact, effectively outlaws humanity for women. It does […]

  2. feministdracona.net » I’ve Reverted

    […] of comprehending the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and that we even prosecute or convict men of rape in this country). Then came the professor’s […]

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