27
May
14

We are not a rape society

I have noticed something very strange lately – a general claim that society is blaming women for rape and insisting that they should be constantly on guard instead of blaming men. Now, I don’t know where that comes from. I grew up with the understanding that rape was wrong and I was not to do it. Not only was I not to do it, I would be an evil person if I did it. I have no friends who claim that women should be blamed for rape, and while I have heard the claim that women should be more modest to prevent rape (an inherently stupid claim) it has never come from anyone who could be regarded as having the least credibility in society, except for one Toronto police officer, who is a dinosaur. The response to that police office was widespread and international (the slutwalk). Now, we currently live in a time (and if you are in the west) a place where rape is incredibly rare, rarer than ever before in history or anywhere in the world.

So, is this a rape society? If you lived in a time where theft was almost universally reviled, where the big question with theft was not if it was wrong, but whether or not borrowing something and then not returning (but with the persons permission to borrow it) constituted theft, where theft was the rarest it had ever been in the history of human kind, where thieves were often killed in prison by other prisoners who found them disgusting and loathsome, would you say that you were in a theft society? All of these things are true of rape today (nobody thinks rape is okay, the statement that rape is worse than murder is actually somewhat common. There are questions around consent, and what qualifies as consent, but nobody believes that sex without consent is okay, and to tell the truth many of those questions are somewhat challenging. There is less rape here and now than ever before or anywhere else. Rapists are often killed in prison, and men who rape underage people are usually kept out of general population as that is essentially a death sentence for them, usually in incredibly horrific ways). So, how do we justify calling this a rape society? Right now women have more agency than ever before, and it could even be argued that the average woman has more agency than the average man (not saying it is the case, but strong arguments could be made).

So, let’s look at where the claim might come from: how some people could believe we are a rape society.

We will start with an easy one, the 1 in 4 stat.  This is the statistic that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in college. It comes from a study funded by Ms. Magazine and performed by Mary Koss. The problem is that it’s a really broad study, and includes questions like “Did you ever have sex after drinking alcohol?”.  The study is often taken out of context, and instead of sexual assault the claim is usually “1 in 4 women are raped in college”. However, the vast majority of respondents who fell into the assaulted group did not consider themselves to have been sexually assaulted.

Okay, this one is a bit weirder, and not nearly as fact based… because it’s not about facts. A lot of women talk about how they are in fear when they go out alone, how that’s something men don’t have to deal with. First, the claim that we live in a “rape culture” is one of the key components of that fear. They believe (even though it’s obviously untrue) that they are at a large risk of assault if walking alone at night. Since most sexual assaults happen in the home by someone who knows the victim this is not a reasonable fear. By contrast, they believe that men are not worried about walking alone at night… the reality is that men are at a much higher risk of assault, robbery, murder, etc. than women are. Many of us know this, and most of my friends carry knives. They keys between the knuckles thing is actually common (and not a great idea, you can easily destroy your hands that way).

Part of it is that rape tends to get more media attention, and stranger rape far more than any other kind. Another part is that violence against women is pictured as meaningful in movies. Violence against men is simply part of the film.

Now, there is a great deal more to this, and I will happily talk about it with anyone who submits a non spam comment (as usual), however I’m in the middle of marking a class, so have to go for now.

22
Oct
11

More changes of direction and protest photography

First: I recently started a job as CTO of a health informatics startup and ended my relationship (nine years… it’s still sinking in).

It’s a different direction, working for someone else instead of for myself, and it has changed things for me a lot. For starters, at the end of the day I have enough money to pay my bills and put a couple of dollars in the bank. This is good, as I have some major debt right now (karmic and otherwise).

Not going to talk about the breakup. It’s private.

Protest photography seems to be what I end up doing a lot of. I guess because it’s easy and you can get some drama out of it. I also have a project I am working on called Images of Eve. When it’s done it will be female nudes printed on scrap metal using cyanotype. Trying to get models lined up and get shoots booked and the like right now.

01
Jan
11

My knee

Last time I updated this i had an MRI scheduled and I was going to find out if I needed surgery on my knee. Turns out I do, I tore my ACL, my MCL and my meniscus. I am still waiting for a chance to meet with my surgeon (and the waiting is a bit frustrating) but it also left me realizing a few things about health care. Several people have asked if I wouldn’t rather be in a country where there was privatized health care so I could get surgery faster. Problem is I run my own business and I’m pretty broke. Means I would simply have no option for getting surgery if I had to pay out of pocket, and I really can’t afford private health care. So, basically I will get surgery eventually because of socialized medicine, as opposed to never without it.

Weird how economic status changes your opinion of something like public medicine isn’t it?

16
Nov
10

In a darkish mood.

My aunt died the other day. It put me in a pretty dark mood when I found out this morning, and as always, this is my therapy (how the fuck else do you explain some of the shit I post on here). Having said that, I’m not going to bore you with crap about my personal feelings. Instead I’m going to talk about some juicy end of the world stuff.

I hurt myself two and a half months ago. I was sparring with someone and I blew out my knee. Hurt like hell. Of course they did an x-ray (one of those cool bits of technology that I want to keep in the world). It didn’t show anything. Then they decided to do an MRI, another one of those cool bits of tech. It took a bit to get an appointment because I don’t have a lot of money, and our public medical system has a limited number of MRI machines. I will find out soon if I get to have surgery to restore my knee (odds are strongly in favour). This represents so many different ways I am relying on the modern world to keep my basic mobility about me. This modern world is in threat. The IEA has finally not only acknowledged that peak oil is real, but that it hit a few years ago, and we are now on the downslope of Hibbert’s peak. That means shit is going to get much worse than most people think it is, and way faster than anyone seems to realize. The IEA claims we have nothing to worry about, that alternate methods of oil extraction will keep the production numbers stable for the next few decades, and by then we will have figured out something else to do for our energy needs. Somehow this doesn’t make me feel comforted.

Way of the Preserver is coming along. One of our members is allowing us to use some land that belongs to his family. It will give us an area to learn valuable skills. Initially this will be through clearing the land and building Monastery 1. Monastery 1 is going to be a general purpose workshop that should grow to include a forge and a laboratory in addition to the more prosaic workshop elements. We are planning to build the initial building from adobe bricks that we form ourselves. By the end of the process we should, as a community, be able to build a simple structure easily. This is my answer to the need to do something about the way I see the world slipping away from us as a species, a way for us to fight at the encroaching darkness.

If you would like to contribute to the Way of the Preserver, and the continuation of knowledge, please let me know. I would love to have as many ideas as possible, as well as increasing the number of hands. Way of the Preserver is an experiment right now, but one that seems to show initial signs of working. Help it to grow.

06
Sep
10

My latest project

This is kind of a peak oil/global warming/economic collapse sort of thing. I am a firm believer in the value of knowledge, and in the culture of ideas that makes the use of that knowledge possible. As a result, I have created an organization known as the Way of the Preserver, designed both to keep knowledge alive after a major societal collapse and to preserver the culture of ideas as well. A lot more info on the wiki, and a huge a amount to come.

27
Jul
10

A caution case

I am behind on child support right now. I haven’t really had an income per se for about the last year as I have been trying to get a small business off the ground. Now, I understand the child support regulation fairly well (I was part of the test group when they released the guide book to the current regulations – which are punitive by the way) so I know that there is really no point in fighting it. I could have had my maintenance order changed when I stopped having an income, but it would have meant hiring a lawyer and taking time out from starting a business to go to court. That isn’t even the theme of this post (although I will get into exactly how fucked up punitive child support is some other time). What I want to talk about is the fact that when my ex gets letters about our child support situation it always includes a letter stating that this is a caution case.

A caution case means that at some point domestic violence was involved or suspected (to the point of police involvement) in the relationship. That happens to be true for us. See, after we broke up I was late going to see my son one day. I was having a bad week that week and I was later by about fifteen minutes. It was also shortly after my ex discovered that I had a new girlfriend (nothing to do with why we broke up, which was more than a year before this). She screamed at me to get out, because I was late. I turned and left. She ran up behind me and punched me in the head, repeatedly. I turned and restrained her, then tried to leave again. She hit me in the back of the head again. We repeated this pattern of restraint and assault a dozen or so more times before I was finally on the stairwell leaving the building. She threw a kick at me on the stairs and screamed that if I left she would call the cops and tell them I beat her up.

When I got home I called the police and told them what had happened. They came and took me down to the station. The interview lasted several hours and I was on my third day of trying to quit smoking. I asked the police officer if he had a cigarette. He didn’t smoke, but he allowed me to go to the store and grab a pack, since I hadn’t been arrested for anything and he obviously believed me. My ex was also at the station. True to her word she had called before I got around to it. She told the police that I had become abusive to her at the building. At one point I overheard the two police officers (the one who picked me up and the one who picked her up) comparing notes. They had noticed a little discrepancy between her story and the physical evidence. We both had bruising, but mine was on the back of my head and hers was on her knuckles. Still, the crown prosecutor decided to charge both of us and let things go to trial. The cop who arrested me punched the wall and yelled motherfucker when he heard that. He was a really nice guy, and I can’t say enough positive about the police in my case.

Flash forward more than a year. It is time for my trial and there turns out to have been an impartial witness who saw the whole thing. A woman on my ex’s floor (the whole thing happened in the halls of the apartment building she lived in) had seen the whole incident from her peep hole. She watched me try to walk away, again and again, and she watched me get attacked, again and again. After her testimony the crown prosecutor stood up and said that “There is no evidence this individual has committed any crime.”. My case was dropped on the spot. When it came time for the trial of my ex I was called on as a witness. My ex’s attorney tried to imply that since I had martial arts experience I should have been able to resolve the situation more gently than I did – an insane defence strategy since it automatically doesn’t justify the attacks in the first place, and because I resolved the situation without ever once resorting to striking back. My ex was found guilty of assault and given probation with a condition of anger management.

Now, every time maintenance enforcement sends her any info on child support they remind her that it is a caution case, not to approach me as that could be dangerous, etc. The woman who was found guilty of assaulting me is cautioned that approaching me could endanger her, while I get nothing – there has never been a note cautioning me to avoid her, or that she might attack me. Not once in all this time. The funny thing is I only found out about this because she told me. See, the stuff between us isn’t raw anymore. We’ve been apart for many, many more years than we were together, and our son is almost an adult (two more months of child support and then it is over for good – unless one counts my back debt) and she is one of the most rabidly anti-child support people I have ever met. She believes that Canadian child support laws constitute a human rights violation, and that no man should ever have to be subject to them. She has no control over maintenance enforcement and actually uses my child support payments to pay off her current husbands child support debt (which arguably he should never have been subjected to), and would waive it if the courts gave her the option. She told me about the caution letters, with more than a hint of bitterness towards the system that values my financial contribution over the fact that my son and I are still extremely close, that I am still in his life, driving to the nearby town where my ex lives to pick him up and drop him off completely without complaint, over the fact that I fought for joint custody and lost despite the fact that she had been convicted of domestic violence. Basically, somehow, it became me, and her, and her current husband’s ex, railing at a system that makes finances a binding glue no matter how wrong. Not one of us wants the money to change hands, not one of us has their lives improved by it (my ex’s current husband’s ex is quite well off and her child is grown and out of the house – the system is making my ex’s current husband pay back child support for the child’s entire life despite the mother never having asked for it).

So, that’s why I’m a caution case to the department of justice, maintenance enforcement division.

17
Jul
10

Rediscovering Celtic music. Flogging Molly is brilliant.




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