Aug 09 2008

Knobbery in Seattle

In a spectacular display of rape-blindness, these Seattle news-blobs call it “prostitution” when two criminals kidnap a 14-year-old girl and force her to “have sex with” five men by threatening to kill her family.

Sure, you know that prostitution is rape, but one suspects that Seattle TV viewers might not possess so sophisticated a grasp of the facts. Seattle, in fact, seems to fester with a particularly virulent tolerance for rape culture; the city is, you’ll recall, the land of pornulated coffee shops.

Now, don’t you Seattlers get all huffy. Your town may be Ground Zero for bodacious barristas, but this rape=sex shit happens everywhere. In the popular consciousness there persists a clot of pernicious misogynist notions: that women are receptacles, that women secretly yearn to be raped, that prostituted women freely choose their “profession” and are fairly compensated, and that even a 14-year-old child might willingly consent to being used accordingly by a gang of thugs.

Thus, when the Seattle cops told the news-blobs that this girl was “forced into prostitution,” it was merely code for “she was used, perhaps a bit more violently than usual, according to her mutually-agreed-upon purpose.”

Fucking knobs.

[Thanks, mo’c]


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  1. Lexia

    Seattle is home to the most infuriating brand of librul boyz. Try any issue of the Stranger, with its bigotry double standard: white boys shoving the gag of racism down the throats of the only women whose equality threatens their privilege.

    Of -course- any sex any man wants is by mutual consent. And those big-hearted boyz will even excuse stranger rape, because it’s against, you know, those silly women. Seattle media are excellent purveyors of the boyz attitude, viz. the story you cited.

  2. slythwolf

    I have a sneaking suspicion they call this shit “prostitution” so they can prosecute the victims. There can never exist a female human being who has already been punished enough.

  3. tinfoil hattie

    any sex any man wants is by mutual consent.

    I don’t know, Lexia. I think any sex any man wants is his to take, and the only “consent” required is his. If he wanted it, there was consent. “She” doesn’t even exist — whoever she is.

  4. cafesiren

    I watched the news clip. Here’s what I want to know: why didn’t they interview any of the women in the community where this happened? Not the victim, mind you; but other women?

    I fear I know the answer, and it rhymes with “schmatriarchy.”

  5. Hattie

    Look at those underfed boys of color who are the perps here. Notice the little blonde girl playing soccer on the banner underneath. This is where it all starts. This is all crap, all the time, to keep everyone off base so they don’t notice how this country has been stolen from us.
    Community? Hahhaha. Seattle is not a community. It’s the Empire of Bill.

  6. Windstorm

    I’ve never seen such blatant double-speak as the “news blobs” in the video. I mean, I’ve seen a lot. People call things the opposite of what they are. But with a straight face, through the entire video, all the “blobs” saying “prostitution” instead of “rape.” WTF??? (Plus all the stuff all the other commenters said, too.)

  7. wiggles

    I wrote the KING5 TV in Seattle and let them know that there’s no such thing as forcing someone to “have sex,” and that that’s what’s called rape.

    Yay me.

    I’ve been making a point of writing in a pointing this out whenever I see news stories that describe rape cases as incidents in which someone is “forced to have sex.” Maybe eventually it will start to sink in.

    Why should the press be so convoluted with the verbiage anyway? “Rape” is much more economical than “forced to have sex” – not to mention accurate.

  8. thebewilderness

    I sent them an email, for all the good it’ll do.
    I told them what I thought of media talkers who think kidnap and rape victims are prostitutes, and if they expect her to be charged with the crime.
    I haven’t watched the teevee for six months now, but I hate the media just as much as ever I did when I watched.

  9. Chiroptera

    Ugh! Did you notice that somebody commented below the video that the father should be given a bat and 15 minutes with the criminals? Ah, yes, because they damaged his property-his daughter.

  10. slythwolf

    If anybody has the right to take a bat to those assholes, it’s the victim herself.

  11. Lara

    Another popular euphemism for “rape” or “sexual assault” is “sex crime.”
    Have librulz gotten more and more stupid and misogynist over the past several years? Or is it just me?

  12. phoenix


    Coincidentally (?), this same vocabulary problem was pissing me off just yesterday.

    I watched a 1960s film on DVD in which there is a rape scene. Though the nudity is not explicit, the lack of consent is: the woman says “no”, “I don’t want to do this”, and struggles against the attacker. The scene is sort of tangential to the plot, and made me speculate on the (male) director’s psychological issues, but that’s not what got my goat.

    One of the extras on this DVD is a relatively recently produced video essay by critic James Quandt, in which he calls the rape scene a “sex scene” that is “*almost* a rape scene”. I almost spit my beverage out. Spent some time today trying to find a way to contact him to give him a little education on what the whole “no”/struggling thing actually meant.

    The DVD is the Criterion Collection release of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s PITFALL. I have seen the other two Teshigahara films in this new set, and appreciated Quandt’s commentaries on the films, so I wasn’t really prepared for the sheer dumbassedness of that little offhand remark in the video essay.

    So since I can’t find contact info for Quandt yet, and don’t feel that contacting the Criterion Collection is going to get me any satisfaction, I am grateful to you, Twisty, for letting me vent here.

    Again, ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH. Somehow it’s more annoying when it comes from well educated men who aren’t actually trying to be moronic thugs.

  13. obscura

    Wow… just wow… I wonder what those obnoxious news anchors and ‘very concerned prosecutors’ would have thought if it had happened to them, or their 14 year old daughter. Not that any one of them appeared to have enough intelligence or empathy to ask themselves that question.

  14. L

    Hey phoenix, did you find anything about how to contact that asshat Quandt? I looked around and found that he was the editor of a couple of essay collections — Cinematheque Ontario published these collections, and their contact info is here. Maybe you can ask them for his professional mail address or his agent’s address or something. It might be worth a shot.

    On topic, I have no idea why it’s so difficult for so many people to understand that without consent, there’s no “sex.” It is rape. Full stop, no questions. And as the age of consent is 16 in Washington state, it seems like it would be really stupid to call what happened to that girl anything other than rape — she’s 14! She can’t legally consent! There just aren’t many other ways to look at it. But I guess no one ever called the patriarchy logical.

  15. No Blood for Hubris

    May I add my “ugh” to those who have ugh-ed before me.

  16. figleaf

    Interesting proposition, Twisty, but I think the problem is that, unlike Texas, people in Seattle (including, by the way, the two unspeakably bland news-readers you indict) know perfectly well that “prostitution” is what happens to, um, “prostituted” people. And, perhaps unlike in Texas, the local Seattle newspapers have recently been covering stories (rising largely out of neoconservative evangelical churches but never mind) that no woman (certainly no *white* woman) would ever willingly consent to prostitute herself.

    Consequently, in Seattle but evidently unlike Texas… including, evidently, your allegedly librul Austin… pretty much everybody in the average bland news-reader’s audience knows that “prostitution” is always and unambiguously rape.

    But you’re right, it would actually be nice if

    a) The news blobs had unambiguously spoken in terms of kidnapping, trafficking, and sexual assault of a child

    b) Seattle prosecutors had flipping prosecuted the five individuals who paid to rape this child with, well, aggravated rape and sexual assault of a child (penalties for which earn one significant prison time plus — and perhaps worse — lifelong membership on sexual offender registries) instead of “frequenting a prostitute” (for which the penalty is usually only $500 though sometimes it’s almost $1000.

    Because, you know, even those of us who think it might not be a great idea to portray every woman who’s ever been in sex work as an idealized patriarchette (i.e. mindless, will-less saps) think children should neither be trafficked nor prostituted.


  17. phoenix

    (L – thanks for the link. I have not yet found any more direct ways of contacting Mr. Quandt.)

  18. delishka

    I was astonished to see them air interviews with friends of the accused. “They were probably just playing around too see how far they could push her and she just got scared,” because grabbing a kid by the hair and stuffing her in your car, sticking a gun in her face and telling her you’re going to kill her family, that’s all in good fun. It’s really not the guys’ fault that she believed them and complied with their demands. I’m sure at any moment, they were going to start laughing and let her know she’d been punk’d! It’s all in good fun, but since the victim is a little white girl, it’s being blown all out of proportion. I’m sure if they did the same thing to MY little sister, she’d get the joke!

  19. Amananta

    Didn’t you know? Any properly virtuous girl would gladly part part with her life, or just trust in God to save her or her family, rather than “willingly” submit to sexual advances. They worked a yes out, that counts as consent, right?
    Oh and don’t forget, if they are past puberty they aren’t really children anymore! Our lord and master evolutionary psychology professors can tell us – men are just “naturally” attracted to younger women who can breed! Fourteen is old enough! Why would we want to restrict her budding sexuality!

  20. SoJo

    I have been subjected to the sounds of my neighbours disgusting hetero prodding at 4am for the last few days and I stand by Twisty, no matter your age or circumstance, no one consents to that shit.

  21. Twisty

    Figleaf:”[E]ven those of us who think it might not be a great idea to portray every woman who’s ever been in sex work as an idealized patriarchette (i.e. mindless, will-less saps) […]”

    Oh come on. I have never portrayed a prostituted woman as a “mindless, will-less sap” in my life. My argument is this, and this alone: no woman has full human agency or personal bodily sovereignty in this world. Happy hookers don’t get a special immunity-from-patriarchy pass any more than mothers or teachers or presidential candidates do.

  22. Kali

    Oh come on. I have never portrayed a prostituted woman as a “mindless, will-less sap” in my life.

    The trick to let the perpetrator off the hook is to turn “victim” into a bad word. In this trick being victimized means being a “mindless, will-less sap”. Having shamed the victims into denying their victimization, the perpetrators are magically disappeared.

  23. Justme

    A persistently depressing rule of how child rape and law works; if one rapist can get another rapist to pay him for the right to rape a girl, she’s suddenly ‘engaged in prostitution’.

    You know, the same way cattle are engaged in the meatpacking industry.

  24. figleaf

    “…Happy hookers don’t get a special immunity-from-patriarchy pass.” We might disagree about some things but not that. Just because I think prostitution ought to be legal doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea. Maybe under some other dominant paradigm but not this one.

    Also, sorry if I painted you as a “people who,” Twisty. I’ve been reading up on the original “white slavery” laws lately and it’s had me out of sorts. The common perception of prostitutes-as-thralls was used as a *defense* by early 20th-Century traffickers and pimps. The trick being to get the prostituted victim on the stand and demonstrate that if she wasn’t completely mindless then prostitution had to have been her idea. (The trick worked well enough that judges sometimes scolded juries for acquitting pimps.) And so whether they’re for it (pimps, customers) or against it (evangelicals, scandal-sheet journalists, slasher-movie writers) I’m just a little impatient with folks who keep pushing that “fallen-and-she-can’t-get-up” view of prostitution. They make what’s too often a bad situation worse.


  25. figleaf

    “If one rapist can get another rapist to pay him for the right to rape a girl, she’s suddenly ‘engaged in prostitution’. You know, the same way cattle are engaged in the meatpacking industry.”

    Nicely put, Justme, except I’d add “…she’s suddenly ‘engaged in prostitution’ and therefore the ‘customers’ magically stop being pedophiles having sex with minors.”

    Which I’d have thought would be the *real* story, especially given the findings in Debra Boyer’s recently released “Who Pays the Price? Assessment of Youth Involvement in Prostitution in Seattle.”


  26. Anarcha-Feminist Superstar

    The article on King5’s website was written by a woman named Deborah Feldman and makes basically the same mistakes.It can be found here:


    King5 makes themselves very difficult to reach. The contact link is on this page. Choose whether you want to yell at them for the story or for the article:


    Finally, the proper phone number is (206) 448-5555. I’m sure they’d love y’alls opinions.

  27. K.A.

    Twisty, this may be the wrong place, but I don’t know where else to put this, and I am really pissed off. From a NY Times article about British doltery while vacationing internationally:

    They are also hurting themselves in the process. A recent report published by the British Foreign Office, “British Behavior Abroad,” noted that in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007, 602 Britons were hospitalized and 28 raped in Greece, and that 1,591 died in Spain and 2,032 were arrested there.

    Those stupid lecherous British women are always hurting themselves by getting raped and shit. When will all those stupid women come around and stop raping themselves already?

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