Feb 10 2009

More hugs

You thought I’d forgotten all about the new “Hugs, Twisty” feature, but you’re wrong-o! Todays topics are: what to do about rapists, the state-owned uterus, and grammar. Let’s get started!

[Trigger alert]

Hi Twisty,

Long-time listener, first-time caller. For serious though, I want your help, and the help of the rest of the blamers, if you think the question’s worth the time and energy.

I feel I’m a pretty advanced user, feminism-wise, and I still can’t quite figure out when or whether it’s my responsibility to out a rapist.

Perhaps you would be willing to read my tale of woe and tell me what you think? It’s here.


Dear ffp,

I’d better emphasize that, as a spinster aunt, I know almost everything, but I am not a rape counselor.

That said, I can’t read your site (it appears to be password protected) but if somebody raped you, you need to call a rape crisis center pronto, and go get checked out for STDs and possible injury. You should also report it.

If somebody raped a friend of yours, urge her to consider the above advice.

If you go to the police, you have to have evidence, and even then there is a likelihood that you will not be believed. Unfortunately, due to the bogus set-up where women are considered a priori to have given consent to male abuse — which is consistent with global accords governing fair use of women — rape is very difficult to prosecute. A majority of rape prosecutions end in dismissal or acquittal. A quarter of convicted rapists never see a minute of jail time.

If, by “outing” him, you mean telling everyone you know that a mutual acquaintance is a rapist: in general this gambit is advisable only if your safety or the safety of others is not at risk. It is possible (even probable) that you will not be believed, because nobody wants to admit the possibility that someone in their social circle is a rapist. You may be thought to have invented the whole thing out of nefarious, lying-bitch motives. He and his friends may seek retribution.

This is the crux of patriarchy. Control of women through fear of violence.

Shakesville has an interesting piece up on the subject of who is and who isn’t a rapist.


P.S. When you wrote to me your shift-key was broken, but take heart! I have addressed the resulting capitalization errors for you, free of charge. Maybe you ought to get that keyboard fixed!

* * * * *


Approximately twelve seconds after reading the first installment of “Hugs, Twisty”, I sauntered over to Pharyngula, where I saw this.

I think PZ hits it on the head when he writes, “It’s nice to know that the Catholic Church’s criteria for the value of a woman’s life focus on the functionality of her ovaries rather than the existence of her mind.” I just heard a popping sound and caught a whiff of ozone, which can only mean I’ve blown out my obstreperal lobe. I am, at this very moment, searching in vain on Amazon for a replacement.


Dear Alex,

I have not bloviated on the subject of the “Italian Terri Schiavo” because I suffered a similarly blown lobe. And besides, by the time I’d heard about it, all the relevant points had been made and all the good jokes taken. Quoth PZ: “Here’s a good rule: never consult the priesthood of a death cult before making a life-and-death decision.” Sound advice.

However, Berlusconi’s notion that Eluana Englaro, brain-dead for 17 years, is “in the condition to have babies” is consistent with global accords governing the fair use of women. He’s so refreshingly honest! Here in the States women imagine that we own our own uteruses, and don’t realize that we are kept in line with the perpetual threat that Roe will be overturned at any second.


* * * * *

Hi Twisty,

Your new HT feature is really great! You continue to deliver the goods.

However, in view of the below, I must ask you that question all-too-frequently asked of us feminists: are you sure you aren’t part of the problem rather than the solution?

Boston, MA (who occasionally commented under Dawn O’Day – and who is very glad yer vegan)

[Hillary includes in its entirety an article from MSNBC on grammar and spelling snobs who are “pushed over the edge” by the recession, making them more pedantic than ever before! I include the link and a few relevant quotations in advance of my response — Twisty]

[W]hile blunders and bloopers have ever exasperated the spelling snobs and grammar grunions of the world, our recent woes — housing foreclosures, massive layoffs, rising debt and war — may be ratcheting up the pressure some feel to seize control of something (anything!), even if it’s just a properly placed comma.

“Hanging on to some kind of rule might be comforting to people,” says Bethany Keeley, a grad student from Athens, Ga., who runs The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. “People are looking for something they can control and ‘What should we do about our foreign policy?’ is a lot more complicated a question than ‘Should the period go inside or outside the quotation mark?’ “


“In general, I think people are getting a little bit meaner about correcting others or sharing what they call their ‘observations,’ ” [someone] says. “They’re uptight and stressed out about losing their jobs. And if it makes them feel better to tell me I have a string hanging off my skirt or I used the word ‘your’ when I really meant to use the word ‘you’re,’ then fine.”


“He carried five pens in his pocket at all times and would edit his morning paper at the breakfast table,” Kenton says. “My worst embarrassment was when he corrected someone’s bumper sticker in a public parking lot with passers-by staring.”

* * * * *

Dear Hillary,

Who, me?


P.S. In a subsequent communiqué, Hillary says she looked up “grunion” and found the only definition was a sort of fish. My own independent research confirms it! A grunion is a Californian smelt the chief humancentric attribute of which is that it can be caught by hand on dry land when it scuttles up on the beach to spawn. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with it after you catch it. Grunion taco? The grunion’s relationship to English grammar remains unclear.


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  1. Kate

    I’m laughing. I’m crying. Please keep Hugs Twisty; it’s how the megapublishingocracy will title your eventual book anyway.

  2. blondie

    A bit OT, except as relating to rape …

    I was too young to see Saturday Night Fever when it was released, and I had seen only pretty sanitized TV versions of it.

    Last night, it was on a movie channel, and I saw, for the first time, that the female “buddy” gets raped by two of Tony’s guy friends in the back of the car, while they are driving around.


    And the “hero’s” response is something about whether she’s glad that she got what she wanted? (she clearly didn’t “want” to be raped; she’s crying and saying, no no no, etc.; as Louise said, “When a girl’s cryin’ like that, she isn’t having any fun.”)


    And all this happens just after Tony attacks his love interest in the back of another car.


    Watching frivolous fluff, like marshmallows for a tired-out brain, I was completely unprepared for the “rape is appropriate punishment for girls who get above themselves and try to be one of the boys” message. Is there anything not wrecked by the patriarchy?

    I gotta go stomp around awhile.

  3. estraven

    The Italian Terri Schiavo died suddenly while the Italian Parliament was struggling to pass a law to enforce her continued life support.
    It’s the first time in my life I’m glad we have a disfunctional Parliament that cannot pass a law fast even if it’s a one-liner with 70% support (all the government, half the opposition).

  4. Cycles

    Oh, you’re damn right we’re part of the problem. If we would all just shut up and be docile, and stop acting so shrill and insistent and unfeminine, and if we would just play by the rules set out by patriarchy for a quiet dainty sexy revolution, surely it would be granted to us by those in power. Isn’t that how revolution works? By fiat?

  5. Tupe

    “In general this gambit is advisable only if your safety or the safety of others is not at risk.”

    Quick note, reflecting advice from an experienced rape counselor:

    Twisty, everything you said about whether or not to out a rapist also applies to the decision of whether or not to report an assault to the police. Survivors of sexual assault will answer the question of whether it’s useful or worth it or possible to report their assault on an individual basis, and allies and counselors must support that. There is no one answer for every situation. It is possible for the trauma of telling your story to a hostile, victim-blaming, violent authority figure such as a cop to be just as damaging in its own way as the assault itself, to say nothing of the trauma of a drawn-out rape trial.

    It is more than likely that the police, lawyers, judge and jury will try to harm you, not help you. It is possible that reporting an assault will out you to your family, friends and community and endanger your safety. It is possible that you will be laughed out of the building. It is possible that, if you are able to bring a rapist to trial, this will not, in fact, bring justice or safety to you or your community.

    Simply put, it does not serve the liberation of oppressed people who may or may not be in the midst of full-blown PTSD to demand that they expose themselves to the predatory nature of a racist, sexist, classist, violent and broken criminal justice system. You have to fix the system first, and then ask us if we’d like to volunteer.

  6. yttik

    Good post, Tupe. I know the system well and reporting has to be an individual choice.

    “Oh, you’re damn right we’re part of the problem.”

    LOL, good point. I’ve been working very hard to be part of the problem myself.

  7. Harriet Jacobs

    Spot on response to ffp. I’d like to add a little something, though, from my personal experience. I didn’t have any trouble getting friends to “believe” me — at least, in getting them to say so, and give me some obligated pats on the back and “that must have been so hard for you” sympathy faces. The problem became getting them to equate belief with action. I was so super afraid of getting some kind of “you lying whore” reaction (which I did get once) that I was completely unprepared for the “I totally believe you were raped and I’m really sorry and I’m here for you but I am still gonna go to your rapist’s party and friend him on Facebook because of some reason I cannot even basically articulate but I will get extremely self-righteous if you keep asking.”

    I also had friends who struggled with the “who do I tell who don’t I tell” dilemma. Ultimately, though, that turned out not to be the real problem. The problem was figuring out who they expected to get a “lying whore” response from, and how to avoid ever having the subject breached with those people. At which point the conversation became, “Why are you friends with somebody you are fairly certain will call me a lying whore?” Repeat non-articulation self-righteousness until friendship ends due to lack of quality control.

    Not that I am in any way glad for my rape or glad for the goddamn fucked-up sexist state of the world, but silver lining here: being forced to figure out who could/would actually support me after my rape — which included not hanging out with people who thought I was a lying whore — made me lose a lot of misogyny-apologists awful quick. My rapist sucked them up into his social circle like a magnet. Super creepy to watch it happen, but in the end, yay for them being the hell away from me. I took my rape as an opportunity to clean house in a way I’d been ignoring and neglecting, and the friends I have left are the ones who did the same. Which makes life less gross on a day to day basis.

  8. thebewilderness

    Grunion is for grunt. That rude person is calling grammar aficionados grunting fish.

    In light of the fact that we just had a discussion of the meaning of the word empathy, words obviously matter. It matters that we can understand each other. Humpty Dumpty language rules, as practiced by the megatheocorporatocracy, prevent us from understanding each other.

    That article sounded eerily familiar. I wonder how much of it was lifted from Lynne Truss.

  9. CLD

    However, Berlusconi’s notion that Eluana Englaro, brain-dead for 17 years, is “in the condition to have babies” is consistent with global accords governing the fair use of women.

    And exactly *how* is a brain-dead woman, who is supposedly “in the condition to have babies”, supposed to become pregnant? R.A.P.E. It’s not like she can actually consent.

  10. Amananta

    I love how on the Shakesville link the very second comment invokes the rule of “But wut about teh menz!” Yes, because you can’t ever talk about the 95 % of rape victims who are women without repeatedly reminding people about the “real” rape victims, who are men and therefore deserve “equal attention”, which is to say, more.

  11. Christina

    Seen on a truck at the mall a few weeks ago:

    Pitt bull puppy’s for sale [local phone number]

    I would have gotten out and corrected it vehemently and with force but my husband wouldn’t stop the car.

  12. Hattie

    See Almodovar’s “Talk to Her,” on the subject of the ideal woman. The ideal woman is comatose and fertile.

  13. Itxaro

    Oh, goodness, YES Harriet Jacobs.

    I was in a relationship with a dudely dude about a year ago, who, after it ended, both threatened me with physical violence (as in, he HELD A KNIFE TO MY THROAT) and decided it would be hella fun to see how many mood episodes he could trigger (bipolar, yo) in a semester.

    I went to my college’s authorities, very furious and afraid, and they promised and promised they’d do something about it… and never did. Forcing me to change dorms, lock my door at all times, and never, ever spend time with friends when he might be around.

    Not to mention that everyone who was a witness to that set of horrific events decided they didn’t want to make a fuss and they’d keep on inviting him to their parties and hanging out with him and, you know, asking me not to make a big fuss about it.

    He graduates at the end of next term, and I’m terrified he’s going to come after me to ‘settle things’ before he leaves.
    But, you know, now nobody listens to/believes me because “oh, he’s only joking, he’s got a crazy sense of humor.”

  14. Veganrampage

    I’m sorry for women who’s alleged friends still want to play nice with their attacker. How completely disgusting. I have been in similar situations and I gotta tell you these people aren’t worth shit. Even though you realize you are better off without these faux friends, it can still be painful as hell. When you are a loyal person it is hard to fathom their shallow selfishness but fuck it, they lost a friend, you, and you lost them, someone who plays patty-cake with a known rapist. Fuck’em all.
    On to another horror: I was listening to WBAI, my favorite radical left wing radio station and they were playing a long piece about Nelson Mandela. Mandela was a trial lawyer and defending an accused rapist. The rapist was black and the victim was white. When he got the white woman on the stand he asked her if there was penetration. He explains on the tape that a white woman in South Africa would not want to admit this in front of a judge, the jury, the prosecutor, the spectators, (all male by the way) etc., that she was penetrated, raped by a black man, so she said no. Mandela asked her again and again she said no. He proudly states that this made the prosecutor’s case invalid, and the accused rapist was freed.
    WBAI played this tape, or DVD, for a fund raising drive they are having. I was no fan of the insanity of apartheid. I was no fan of South Africa at all. I couldn’t believe Ray Charles played Sun City, but his story made me sick this afternoon. This is supposed to educate me about Mandela and increase my admiration for him? I have a very serious problem here. If you don’t know who WBAI is, you can hear them on the internet. They are the closest thing to having any radical feminist programming I have heard in my life.
    What great lesson was I supposed to take from that? The white bitch deserved to be raped because she lived under apartheid? If that man was guilty, wasn’t he going to go on raping, including black women?
    I just cannot wrap my mind around what the fuck kind of admirable take away I am supposed to take away from this heinous story.
    Blamers, any thoughts, because I am thinking of breaking up with WBAI. Pretty soon there won’t be a person I can allow myself to talk to, a radio station I can listen to, a blog I can visit(except here) or a thing I can eat if I want to maintain any kind of standard.

  15. Eibhear

    Another quick note on the topic of rape: here in the U.K., where rape is effectively legal, if one tells one’s friends, “Stay away from so-and-so; he raped me”, the rapist often threatens one with a slander suit. They rarely follow through, as it’s very expensive, but the threat alone is usually enough to frighten their victim into silence.
    P.S. Ffp, I couldn’t read your link either. Any hope of unblocking it?

  16. Eibhear

    Another quick note on the topic of rape: here in the U.K., where rape is effectively legal, if one tells one’s friends, “Stay away from so-and-so; he raped me”, the rapist often threatens one with a slander suit. They rarely follow through, as it’s very expensive, but the threat alone is usually enough to frighten their victim into silence.
    P.S. Ffp, I couldn’t read your link either. Any hope of unblocking it?

  17. Anna Belle

    Tupe, I wrote a poem a long, long time ago called Miranda Rights For Rape Victims. I didn’t change much.

    Wow, Harriet. Thanks for sharing that.

    Totally spot on Amananta.

    Hattie, I believe William Blake captured that archetype in this picture: http://www.networkweaving.com/blog/uploaded_images/william_blake-741751.jpg (I forgot the title)

    Me love HT. Is good cookie.

  18. DJM

    I was pretty disgusted by Berlusconi’s remarks, too. What was he suggesting? In his opinion it would be OK to let her die if she was menopausal? That someone should impregnate her (Blech) because she is a wasted uterus lying there? IBTP.

  19. Daisy P

    “In general, I think people are getting a little bit meaner about correcting others or sharing what they call their ‘observations,’

    Those poeple are just loosers. I mean, dont they hav anyfink better 2 do?

  20. Daisy P

    Here’s the thing….when I was raped (the most obvious time), there was no question tha I had been attacked. He woke me from my sleep, and smashed my face in when I wouldn’t stop screaming, and completely broke my nose. He left bruises on my neck where he tried to choke me into being quiet. He did all this in the dark, and I never saw him.

    The irony is, everyone believed me because I was such a mess. But to this day, I don’t know who he was. It was brutal, pre-meditated, stranger-rape. Well, I’m sure he was a stranger, as I said, I could not see him, and he escaped when he heard someone respond to my screams. So I never got a look at him.

    The irony is, if I had not had my face re-arranged, and had evidence of intended murder, would I have been believed? I’m not sure.

    The irony is, I would have had a clear-cut case against a rapist-murderer, and I could not press charges, because I did not see him.

    This experience opened my eyes…and just because a strange man does not leap out at you in a dark alley and rape you, with no other physical evidence, just because a guy does not chase you down the street like a mad man, just because it’s not clear-cut, does not mean that a man is not raping you. Rape comes in all shapes and forms, and guises. Coercive rape, is rape, and, coercive rape is what is going on on a mass scale in culture now.

  21. Daisy P

    As for the story above regarding Mandela: There were blind-spots about Martin Luther King’s misogyny…racism counts, misogyny is squashed.

    People/women are led to believe that a misogynistic wrongdoing by a male/black male does not count, however, a racist wrongdoing by a feminist is grounds for hanging.

    Women are never heroes.

  22. lawbitch

    Women are never heroes *to men.*

  23. yttik

    So many of our great civil rights leaders were terrible misogynists. I grew up in the 60’s, there was all this lovely talk of equality, peace, revolution, a new utopia. But the women were supposed to practice free love, which meant making the coffee and being unconditionally available for sex. That’s kind of how the women’s movement came to be, a lot of women realized their roles in this new utopia weren’t going to be any different then they’d ever been. Rhetoric, kind of like economics, never trickles down to women.

  24. Sarah


    Gloria Steinem wrote a piece a long time ago about how the 1960s sexual revolution was not ‘our’ revolution. I think it was called something like “Girls who said yes to the Boys who said No” or something like that. I wish I could find it…

  25. Lovepug

    Sigh. The more I hear of instances of non-justice when it comes to rape (the DeAnza baseball team rapists’ travesty of justice comes to mind), the more I love guns.

    I’m conflicted because I think of violence and weaponry as complete tools of the patriarchy, yet, geez Louise firearms make me feel safer. It’s where my values cross over into this bizarre moral Venn diagram with conservative godbags.

    Again, sigh. It’s tough out there for a blamer.

  26. Laurel

    Have any of you read Alice Sebold’s book, Lucky? This is a book I think every human needs to read. Sebold tells a first person account of her own violent stranger-rape, and what that did to her, her family, her friends, her relationships. I think her book illuminated pretty well that rape, while horrific, is in some ways secondary to the fall-out that comes from whom you tell, how they handle it, and the fact that you can count on no one, not even the police who took the photos of your battered body to believe your account and/or not assume you share some of the responsibility. Sebold’s rape was the very image of what gets classified as “real” rape: He was a stranger, had a weapon, and beat her violently. Her attorney (when they found the guy) was cautiously optimistic about getting him convicted and made no bones about the fact that if Sebold had not been a virgin before, so badly beaten, reported it immediately, and, frankly, not so able to keep her cool under aggressive and insulting cross-examination, they wouldn’t have stood a change in hell. The book is incredibly depressing, illuminating, and hard to read.

    I intend to give a copy to any person I ever hear make a rape-apologist comment for the rest of my life.

  27. Daisy P

    Yes, Laurel, the fallout of my own rape was horrific…it split my family apart, was the reason I moved as physically far far away from the area it occurred as possible, away from the family who rejected me, and now, coincidentally, after recently resurrecting a long-abandoned relationship with a sibling, and in discussions which have, intially were tip-toeing around the issue, have probably made us both realize that we are worlds apart in how we have dealt with the legacy all these years.

    She does not relate at all to my anger, and I am afraid of upsetting a balance she seems to have worked so hard over the years to achieve.

    She is in totaly denial about men’s rape-mentality. And it will be myself, who will probably stop the communications, as I cannot accept the denial, but don’t want to upset her safe world, her equilibrium she worked so hard to achieve. It’s horrible. I lost my family, and it was an “obvious” rape. Even if he had not raped me, he broke into my home, woke me from sleep, crouched at the end of my bed, beat me to a pulp, and it was me who lost everything.

    I’m sorry if this is upsetting anyone, but it’s my story.

  28. Tupe

    Anna Belle –

    Holy shit. I took me a minute to register what you meant, and now I get it. For real.

    To the people who lose friends after telling their stories and/or naming their rapists: My what a stake we all have in denying the existence of a threat until it is absolutely impossible not to. How many people survive their assaults and abuses without even naming them as such, so crucial is the divide between Those People Who Get X/Y/Z Done To Them and Those People Who Are Called Me.

    And when I say stake I’m not just talking internalized silence, I’m talking institutionalized silence. Consider what would happen if every rapist and abuser were outed publicly and brought to an actual fair trial? What if they were all behind bars or left to starve in the streets, starting tomorrow? The culture and society and infrastructure and economy and all else that is America would come to a grinding halt.

  29. LCforevah


    Wasn’t there a group of women in the 80’s or 90’s who tried to maintain a women’s support group that would go out and encircle an alleged rapist, calling him such in public?

    I’m sure there were legal issues that probably stopped them. There was maybe one mainstream press story on them. I don’t even know what I could stick into Google to get to their story.

    Institutionalized silence is constructed and maintained in many ways, not the least of which is the legal system itself.

  30. Orange

    Daisy P, no need to apologize here. I am sorry your family didn’t support you–that’s unconscionable, and you didn’t deserve it. I hope you have treasured friends who are there for you in lieu of your flawed family.

  31. Veganrampage

    Sarah, I found this:

    From New York Magazine Setember 28th 2008

    “GS: But I wasn’t young in the seventies. The problem with the sixties was that because it was pre–women’s liberation its goal seemed to be to make more women sexually available to men. It wasn’t about autonomy for women’s desires, it was about, as in the war slogan, “Women say yes to men who say no.” In the first issue of Ms., we had the article “The Sexual Revolution Wasn’t Our War,” because it was not a revolution for women, it was a revolution for men.”

    I am cognizant of the dismal attitude of many civil rights leaders when it comes to women. I just didn’t expect Mandela to fucking brag about it openly and WBAI, which actually has a significant amount of radical feminist and lesbian programming to play the fucking thing as an inducement in a pledge drive.

    Daisy P. please don’t apologize, just like Orange says, I want to second that. I think most sane people would agree that whatever second hand discomfort one might feel in hearing your story is totally negated in your need to tell it, and our need to witness it.
    Denial is so hard to overcome. I swear I could light myself on fire in front of my family and they would tell me I wasn’t burning. Just remember it isn’t you it really is them. They are the ones living in total delusion. Wish I could make it better for you.

  32. niki

    In regards to grunions, there was a billboard in London in the mid-nineties that featured a jolly red-cheeked farmer type and a caption along the lines of ‘Well, smite my grunions with a spreckle rake, that’s hot!’ re: a mustard brand.

    I’m not a huge fan of smiting animals and I don’t know exactly what a spreckle rake is for, but it’s a household quote now nonetheless.

    Also, I make a damned good living off of being a grammar nazi. Word!

  33. Daisy P

    Orange and Vegan

    Apologies in advance for any typos- I do try to check, but invariably miss some.

    Thank you for your kind words. It’s just coincidental that last night was the night I was talking to the long-lost sister (email exchanges) about the attack, more precisely, had been telling her recently about the post-attack, which neither one of us had ever talked about to each other. This sister was the one I was living with at the time of the attack, she saw the whole mess in the apartment while I was at the hospital, which must have been traumatising for her, (I didn’t see it). It was the first time I had “outed” myself to her about my anger and feminist beliefs.

    I sent her a link which had triggered me, expecting a somewhat reciprocally-angry response, but was shocked at what I did hear.

    It was coincidental that I have recently picked up blog-commenting from a couple of years ago, when I had to stop for awhile due to health and other issues. I was having to take a break and “re-group”.

    I had sent her a link yesterday about something really misogynistic, that I had found staring me in the face,without me even going looking for it,which had triggered me. She had exactly the opposite reaction to it…. “Actually, I have no problem with that at all”……I feel a bit shaken and depressed this morning after our “conversation” yesterday.

    I feel guilty, but betrayed. I felt she had just patronised me and I heard all the denial cliche’s …”I’m not ready to write off a whole gender just yet”, (meaning that I am- and yes, I wrote back, I am writing them off actually) “women do bad things too”, “men are doing what nature intended” (referring to keeping their hands to themselves), and all I could hear was her, trying to deal with her own, deeply buried anger, and trying to protect years of therapy from going down the drain for her. (That’s what therapy mostly does for women, I’ve found, it teaches them to bury their anger so deeply, and rationalise it in different ways, not actually tackle the real issue. It’s too big a problem for them to acknowledge, and to do so, would open the flood-gates of hell which they would be unable to face themselves.) In another breath, she is saying she is anti-p0rn. I felt exhausted and freaked-out.

    It’s like I have visualized this big pile of shit that represents patriarchy, that’s spread all over the place, they’re tip-toeing delicately around it, and I feel guilty for wanting to shove their faces in this pile of shit and say”Look at it…why can’t you see it? Why can’t you help me clean in up”?

    Over the years, (hindsight and all that), I have lost friends, due to ultimately losing my job a few years ago from a chronic health condition caused by long-term stress (that’s the simple explanation).

    I see now that my family did not want to deal with my rape, and the violence that had gone with it, because, then, as it still is today, it would mean having to face the bigger picture, and that’s just too big and scary to face head-on. I was like a neon sign with an arrow above my head saying “Misogyny issues here”. My family expected me to get over the physical injuries, and just get out as soon as.

    I am saying all this in case there are others out there who have been treated the same. I can’t imagine what it must be like now with all of the “routine rape”going on, and I do believe that many women, as they always have, are raped and don’t even know they have been. They are just expected to put up and shut up. They don’t have other evidence to show they’ve been harmed, nor should they need it. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. The pat has it all sewn up nicely.

    So, I have been put in the position of having to choose between re-claiming a member of my family, and my beliefs, not just my beliefs, who I actually AM, and the fact that I will have no choice but to choose, it will have to be me, if we did carry on with the relationship, who would always be having to bite my tongue, not her, so it’s not going to be a real relationship. It will be perceived by her and other members of the family, as myself, rejecting her. I will once again become that “pissed-off, weird, miserable, crazy sister who just can’t let effing go of the past and move on”.

    I do not have the energy to falsify myself and keep up a facade for the sake of someone else’s sanity, and yes,facing patriarchy does make people a bit crazy, but not facing it also does that.

    Sorry, I seem to be using this thread as a Dear Fellow Feminist facility, but someone asked me about friends, you people are friends, although I don’t know you, I know you;re out there and you understand. Many thanks to all of you!

  34. Sarah


    That’s where I saw the reference too! But I’d really like to read the original piece. I suppose I’d have to search the archives at Ms. for it.


    Good luck to you.

  35. MLH

    You know, Daisy P., I was watching the L Word the other day. I don’t know if you are familiar with it. Anyway, one of the roles, “Jenny” just learned that she was spied and unknowingly taped by the male neighbor. When she confronts him, she asks him something like, “how would you feel if this happened to your sister?” or something like that. And then she says: “there is not a woman in this world that hasn’t been intruded upon by a man at one point of her life” or something similar. And I thought of that when I was reading your posting. I sure have, violently, and less violently. And I think all women that I know have too, by a man, at one point of their lives. Whether is an unwelcome comment about one’s appearance, (a cat call) or something brutal as what happened to you. Many years ago, I lived in this small town in the south of Spain, where it was customary for men to grab women’s butts, as they walked down the street. The thing is, so many women did not like it, but brushed it off as just something that “men do.” So there you have it, the patriarchy is so ingrained in everything, so many women who have been intruded upon just don’t even realize it. Even your situation, the sheer brutality of it staring at their faces and the people you describe would rather comply with the patriarchy regime rules than acknowledge your suffering. You have all the right to be angry and hurt. Regarding your family, denying what happened to you won’t make it go away. I am thinking that perhaps your sister does not realize that it could have happened to her too. Or perhaps she’d rather not think about it because it horrifies her too much and she figures she can’t do anything about it. I do hope you have friends and other loved ones you can rely on.

  36. Veganrampage

    Daisy P,

    I think we might be psychic twin sisters.
    In the movie ” The Darjeeling Limited” Angelica Houston plays the part of a mother with three grown sons. They travel to India to see her. They start to speak to her and she turns around to look behind her. Before she even turned back to deliver her line I knew exactly how her character felt and what she was going to say. The line was (paraphrasing )” I don’t know who you think you are talking to but it isn’t me.”

    Your family doesn’t know who the hell you are and they never will. The birth family is over rated and over mythologized in this insane culture.

    I am going to ask Twisty, out of the kindness of her radical feminist heart, to pretty please forward you my email addy so we can commiserate about denial and insane family members somewhere other than her blog. Twisty, would you please do this in between spiders, centipedes and fighting the good fight? I would love to share my wealth of knowledge about denial with Daisy P. My therapist doesn’t try to talk me out of my legitimate anger at all. I think the first words out of her mouth were “we live in a patriarchy” Great Goddess bless her.

  37. Laurel

    Daisy P–

    I think the Blamers have said it well. I do understand what you are saying, to a much lesser degree, and not just thanks to Sebold.

    You are sane. You, like all of us, just live in a disaster.

    We’re here. We like you just fine. And I’d pick you over a rapist any day of the week.

    Family can be hard. It can be a lot of ugly things beyond “hard” as well. I hate that you are living what you are with your own family.

    I agree with what others have said, though: you can build your own family.

  38. illegallyblondeez

    In answer to what one does with a grunion once caught, the only thing I’ve seen anyone do is “milk” them for reproductive material and then hatch the mixture in a saltwater tide-simulating aquarium in an attempt to convince school-age children that science is fun. The general effect is usually more along the lines of “Ew, gross. Fish sex.”

    As to the rest, I think that TF and the blamer brain trust have it covered.

  39. Citizen Jane

    This installment is interesting to me, because I was just saying to my Nigel that the world is in dire need of a feminist advice column. There are approximately 986 billion “Ask Amy” type advice columns in magazines, on radio shows, on The Interwebs and so on. Why can’t I find any that work from a feminist perspective?

    I know this is probably not going to be ongoing, but it’s nice to have it once or twice at least.

  40. PhysioProf

    Grunions blame the motherfucking patriarchy!

    Comrade PhysioProf

  41. keshmeshi

    And the “hero’s” response is something about whether she’s glad that she got what she wanted?

    Just to clarify, the rape scene starts with the woman having consensual sex with one of the buddies in the back of the car. Then, the other friend decides to take his turn, with no consideration for what she wants. So, it’s even worse. The message is: if you have sex once, you’re a slut and now men can do whatever they want to you.

    And Tony’s reaction confirms it. He calls her a “bad girl” or something like that, following up on a conversation between him and the woman earlier in the movie where he advises her to remain a “good girl”.

  42. mearl

    Can we pretty pleeeease change the section heading to “Hugz, Twisty” and mentally (or actually) yell out the word “Hugz” the way John Lovitz yells out “Acting!” in the Master Thespian skits?

  43. Daisy P

    Vegan Rampage said:

    “Your family doesn’t know who the hell you are and they never will. The birth family is over rated and over mythologized in this insane culture.”

    Thanks to all who responded. I typed that last one out in my usual “just-woke-up-after-bad-night” fog, and after I did it, was a bit horrified with myself.

    But thank you to all who have written supportive messages.

    As to the quote above, yeah, I had come to that conclusion about family years ago, and must have forgotten the reasons I had drawn the conclusion, and am now realising that it’s same-old, same-old with the family.

    One point I was trying to convey, is that rape damages not just the victim, the pat and it’s rapists in all their guises, have the power to silence women, and/or make them crazy, whether it craziness from biting your tongue, or craziness from the anger of facing it and fighting, they have the power to destroy women and whole families, but then, you all know that. It’s a basic of feminism.

  44. denelian

    Daisy P;
    i feel you.
    i was, for years, abused, molested and raped by my step-father. the neighbors all knew about it, their kids who went to high school with me enjoyed tell other kids at school how i was “having an affair” with the fucker. they SAW him hit me. one of the teen guys TOOK PICTURES of it one day. i was bruised, he had broken my nose – and it was somehow *my* fault, even though i was THIRTEEN and always tried to stop him, the neighbors all thought, and told me, that i caused it. i think they think i seduced him or something, however stupid that is. He died when i was 16, a month after i had told my mother. who didn’t believe me. who didn’t believe me for OVER A DECADE. she didn’t believe me until the some of the neighbors asked her why she “put up with me seducing her husband?” and mom says she wanted to slap the neighbors face – she hadn’t believed me because she just COULD NOT BELIEVE that she had brought a man into our lives who would hurt me, but she could believe even LESS than a 12 or 13 year old me (i was 12 the first time he touched me) would seduce a man she hated (and i had hated him for years, it was a constant fight about it). the day she called me and said “what the hell did i do?” is the day we started trying to fix it.
    your family isn’t there yet. they may never get there. but that IS NOT your fault (you know this, but its always good to reinforce these things). half of my family still won’t deal with it, and so i won’t deal with that half of the family. it is very simple for me. but it hurts.
    it always hurts. we are taught our entire lives that family is the place to go, the most important people, etc, and when they fail us we feel like it must be because *WE* aren’t good enough to deserve family. but THEY are the ones who fail.

    i hope, as you said above about us being friends, that i have been able to help just a little bit. if you need to talk to someone more, my handle here at yahoo is my email.

    Vegan: i may be taking it wrong, but when i read about that trial (that the radio station was airing for a drive) i am thinking that it was a drive for money to help rape victims get better representation, etc. at least, that is what i HOPE it is for.

  45. Caitlin

    Ditto (sort of), Daisy P.

    The one abuse I tried to report, talk about or do something about got me a reaction that convinced me to handle things in non-official ways since. Ironically enough, I felt safest about reporting it because it was less intense and less easy to blame me for or discredit me on.

    I was stalked for a while, a guy I knew kept calling, often more than 10 times an evening, threatening me. It started with him asking me out, and when I refused, he somehow construed that as to mean that I would like him to be more forceful. He threatened to rape me, to force me to bear his children, to kidnap me and/or kill me. He was very graphic and explicit in his threats. However, I was twelve and he was a classmate.

    The school told me that he “just liked me”. When a direct quote indicated otherwise, that was revised to “boys will be boys” and a disavowal of any involvement as it was happening off of school property.

    I couldn’t bear to tell my parents at first, and just said that this guy wasn’t nice. I was made to take his calls and be civil. Because I wasn’t being very nice.

    When I told my parents, they told me that nothing could be done: there were no witnesses and anything I said was just hearsay (wrong, but I didn’t know that at the time).

    My mother told me to figure out why he was doing this to me because otherwise “things like this” would just keep happening to me. She also told me that being upset by it was giving him power over me and I should just stop it.

    My brother decided that I’m a feminist, steaming mad about sexual violence, and single because that guy “damaged” me.

    My dad called the police on this guy because he got an obscene phone call that my mother witnessed, which he was sure was from my classmate. He was wrong, but he sent the police off with bad information because he didn’t bother to wake me up to speak to the police: I had no stake in the matter somehow.

    The guy is now somewhat successful, and I’m no longer cool with an ex-friend because I refused to go to a small, intimate concert where the guy’s band would be playing. I haven’t seen the guy in almost 15 years, why the hell would I want to start now?

    I haven’t reported anything else. Not the childhood abuse, the later rape, any of it. I have friends who support me and I have given up my family for this and other reasons. I’m not sure whether I’d choose to report if something happened now. I don’t push survivors either way on reporting, because so often it’s not just useless but harmful to them (I do recommend medical attention, however). The current system is not intended to protect or help the survivor. IBTP.

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