Another day, another example of Rape Culture

Last year, it was revealed that actor/director Nate Parker would be starring in and directing The Birth of a Nation, a biopic about Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, was such a hit that Fox Searchlight picked it up for $17.5 million, a price no one has ever paid for a film in the history of the festival. That’s a testament to the quality of the film, which is something that Parker had a huge effect on. I’ve seen many a commenter remark about how excited they are to see the movie, which debuts in theaters on 10/7/16. For my part, while I recognize that the film is probably an amazing one, there are three reasons I’m not going to see it.

First, to be honest, I’m sick of the narrow range of movies about black people Hollywood sees fit to create: those like The Birth of a Nation involving the enslavement of black bodies, those involving black people being a source of laughs (think any of the comedic movies by Martin Lawrence), and those involving black people being “the help” (think of the movie of the same name). I want to see black actors offered the same type of diverse roles as white actors. Where are the horror movies with black characters in the leading role? Suspense thrillers? Fantasy movies like Lord of the RIngs (yes, I look forward to Idris Elba in Dark Tower)? Science fiction? Where is Inception with a black character as the main protagonist? No, black characters-by and large-get to be slaves, the help, and the entertainment. For all that it might be a great movie, The Birth of a Nation is one more the long line of “black suffering movies” (which ought to be its own subgenre if it isn’t already) that Hollywood executives are enamored with, and that I am *over*.

Secondly, on the off chance that I *do* want to see black people suffering, all I need to do is turn on the news, or fire up my computer. It happens every day. Whether its police brutality or racism from our fellow citizens, we black people experience a great deal of suffering on a regular basis. That’s not really something I want to go out of my way to watch (and have to pay for). It’s certainly not something I find entertaining.

As for the third, well, if someone had asked me today why I wasn’t going to see the movie, I would only have had two reasons. After today, I have a third (though it’s not about the movie). It’s about the director, Nate Parker. From all indications, he’s a rapist:

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Another day, another example of Rape Culture

Monday’s Maddening Meme 1.10.16

Ok, there’s no reason to spend a lot of time on this ridiculous meme, bc as with most of the shit tumbling forth from the “men’s rights activists” at AVfM, this isn’t based in reality. Here’s  quick rundown of just what is wrong with the image:

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Monday’s Maddening Meme 1.10.16

The Holtzclaw trial: it’s intersectional feminism or bust

In the United States, more than 800,000 people serve as local and state law enforcement officials. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. And then there’s one common form of police misconduct that is second only to accusations of excessive force: sex misconduct.

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The Holtzclaw trial: it’s intersectional feminism or bust

Police Behaving Badly 9.24.15


At a recent presidential candidate forum, former Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker was asked about police brutality and racial inequities. Rather than address any of the numerous examples of excessive force used by police against unarmed civilians, or how racial prejudice may play into many such incidents, Walker decided instead to express his unequivocal support for police officers:

“Do we have an issue in this country that we have to deal with when it comes to race? Absolutely,”he said. “But we shouldn’t confuse that into somehow thinking that that means we shouldn’t treat our law enforcement professionals as the great men and women that they are.”

He continued, refusing to admit that any of the officers involved in the recent, high-profile deadly shootings may have made a mistake. Instead, he told the story of Deputy Darren H. Goforth, a police officer who was killed in Texas earlier this year.

“Every leader we have — at the local level, the state level, all the way up to the president of the United States, for that matter anyone in the clergy and business and anywhere else — needs to step up and say that is wrong,” he said. “The men and women who wear the badge are doing the right thing, every day. All the time. they protect us. We need to have their back. As president, I will have their back every single day.”

In the United States Scott Walker apparently lives in, all law enforcement officials are good, morally upstanding individuals with integrity and compassion and an unwavering devotion to upholding the law. To him, police officers are entitled to respect and obeisance on the basis of nothing more than their position, regardless of their actions. Such thinking marks Walker as a multiply-privileged, empathy-deficient, authoritarian out of touch with the lives of many of the U.S. citizens he once sought to preside over. Authoritarian, because blind obedience to law enforcement officials is a textbook example of authoritarianism. Empathy-deficient, because Walker does not live in a vacuum. As a political official, it strains belief to think he hasn’t heard of the multiple high profile cases of police officers shooting unarmed or fleeing suspects. No, he’s heard of them. He simply doesn’t care about the people that have been injured and killed by cops. And multiply-privileged because as a white, heterosexual, cisgender male politician, he is highly unlikely to ever be the victim of police brutality.

For those of us who do not live in Scott Walker’s USAmerica, the experience is quite a bit different. We are aware of the existence of law-abiding, ethical, law enforcement officials who live up to the responsibilities of their job and do not abuse their power. Unlike Scott Walker, however, we also know that law enforcement agencies across the country are infested with morally bankrupt, unethical, corrupt, tyrannical thugs. How do we know these things? Because we have gifts Walker does not. We have the superhuman ability [and desire] to pay attention to stories of police brutality and abuse of power. Stories like the following five:

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Police Behaving Badly 9.24.15

There is no "perfect rape victim"


Ah, victim blaming. One of the most ubiquitous manifestations of Rape Culture. Whether its blaming rape victims for their sexual assault due to their clothing, level of sobriety, flirtatiousness, or the company they keep, victim blaming can take on many forms. It is horrible because rape occurs regardless of how much or how little clothing a victim wears, their level of sobriety, how much they flirt, or who they choose to associate with. This is because the only person who can decide whether or not a rape will happen is a rapist. Victims have no control over the actions of a rapist. On its own, blaming a rape victim for their assault is horrible enough because it shifts the blame for the sexual assault from the rapist to the victim. Some rape victims have to endure victim blaming on top of another level of social humiliation: slut-shaming.

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There is no "perfect rape victim"

There is no “perfect rape victim”


Ah, victim blaming. One of the most ubiquitous manifestations of Rape Culture. Whether its blaming rape victims for their sexual assault due to their clothing, level of sobriety, flirtatiousness, or the company they keep, victim blaming can take on many forms. It is horrible because rape occurs regardless of how much or how little clothing a victim wears, their level of sobriety, how much they flirt, or who they choose to associate with. This is because the only person who can decide whether or not a rape will happen is a rapist. Victims have no control over the actions of a rapist. On its own, blaming a rape victim for their assault is horrible enough because it shifts the blame for the sexual assault from the rapist to the victim. Some rape victims have to endure victim blaming on top of another level of social humiliation: slut-shaming.

Continue reading “There is no “perfect rape victim””

There is no “perfect rape victim”

When someone is raped, who is responsible?

Content Note: discussion of rape and sexual assault

If you’re a feminist or a socially progressive individual who has spent any time reading comment threads following articles on rape or sexual assault, you can predict with a high degree of certainty that any such article will have someone (several of them, in fact) who will comment about how a rape victim (usually-though not always-a girl or woman) should have dressed differently or drank less alcohol or not been in a bad part of town. Many times a commenter will try to soften such a remark with a disclaimer like “I’m not trying to blame the victim here, but…”. Other times, a true asshole will come along and skip the disclaimer and put all the responsibility of the rape on the woman, leaving the perpetrator (usually-though not always-a man) free of most, if not all, the blame…as if the woman somehow made the perpetrator have non-consensual sex with her. No, it doesn’t make sense, but then rape apologetics only seem to make sense to those who either deliberately or unintentionally misunderstand what constitutes rape. If you’re someone who doesn’t get it, let me help you-RAPE IS NON-CONSENSUAL SEX. That should clear up any difficulties in the future (and if you think consent is difficult, consider what you need from someone to make use of something that does not belong to you-permission).  For those who still don’t understand, well I don’t have much patience left for such fools, so here’s a chart that should be easy to understand for such individuals:

Continue reading “When someone is raped, who is responsible?”

When someone is raped, who is responsible?

Yes, feminism is still necessary

Are you having a good day?

Are you smiling, happy, or content?

Are you fed-up with feeling this good and need a good old-fashioned headache?

You can eliminate your good feelz by taking the plunge into the Women Against Feminism Tumblr. There, you’ll find stories of women who don’t need feminism because they think feminists are man-hating ideologues, god created men and women separately, the gender wage gap doesn’t exist, and much, much more utter tripe. It’s sad and frustrating to read the entries, bc it’s clear these women have a fundamental misunderstanding of feminism. They haven’t taken the time to learn about feminism, and rely upon a distorted caricature of what feminists fight for. Feminism isn’t about disparaging men, playing the victim, or rationalizing the choice of women to be sexual beings. If they took the time to research feminism (or talk to actual feminists), they’d quickly learn they’ve been criticizing a strawman:

Feminism is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.

Contrary to the bleatings of anti-feminist women and MRAs, women across the world still need feminism. Whether its pay inequality, domestic violence, sexual harassment, or rape, women and girls continue to experience staggering amounts of discrimination, oppression, and bigotry based on their gender. Here are five examples demonstrating why feminism is still necessary (Trigger Warning: sexual assault, rape):

Continue reading “Yes, feminism is still necessary”

Yes, feminism is still necessary

Police Behaving Badly 5.13.15

From the use of excessive force to stealing drugs from suspects…from racial profiling to abusing the power of their badges…from sexually assaulting suspects to planting evidence…there is a never-ending stream of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the nation:

From out of South Carolina come two stories of police brutality, both resulting in the firing of the officers involved (h/t to If You Only News). The first story involves the brutal beating sustained by Brian ‘BJ’ Hatcher at the hands of ex-police officers Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell. The two officers pulled over Hatcher during a routine traffic stop in November 2014. While the situation began calmly, it quickly descended into the latest example of police brutality (warning: following the end of the material quoted, there will be a graphic image of Hatcher’s injuries):

Two Honea Path police officers have been fired after a traffic stop turned violent late last year, sending one man to the hospital.

Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell were terminated on Friday, according to town officials.

Investigators say the traffic stop happened on November 14 when the officers pulled over Brian “BJ” Hatcher, 34, on US-76.

Officials say Hatcher, age 34, led them on a chase and when he stopped, he came at them with an object that appeared to be a knife. A fight then broke out, according to authorities.

State investigators said the officers claimed Hatcher was “originally compliant,” but then came at them with a knife and they did what they felt needed to be done to restrain the man.

Hatcher was charged with failure to stop for a blue light, driving under suspension and resisting arrest. Several items, including a knife, were put into evidence.

Hatcher’s family said he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery for injuries he suffered during the arrest and said officers went too far.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was called to investigate after the allegations of excessive force and the officers were placed on administrative leave.

Here is how badly ‘BJ’ Hatcher was injured (again, some may find the image disturbing)-

* * * *

The second story out of South Carolina involves a former police officer who has been charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct:

Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said a police officer with the city was fired Monday after an alleged assault.

According to Stewart, a woman said Lawyer Scott assaulted her while he was on duty at the Anderson Recreation Center on March 16.

Stewart contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the complaint, and Scott was placed on administrative leave without pay.

SLED officials said Scott was charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct in officer. They said the assault charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. The misconduct charge, a common-law charge, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

SLED officials confirmed they are investigating at the request of the Anderson Police Department.

Police said Scott’s employment was terminated with the city of Anderson on Monday.

Scott was arrested and booked into the detention center on Thursday.

* * * *

Florida woman testifies she passed out in car and cop raped her when friend stopped him for help  (Trigger Warning)

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the 26-year-old victim was in tears as she told the court that her boyfriend had flagged down the deputy because she appeared to be unresponsive after a night of partying on New Year’s Eve.

In a complaint filed earlier this year, the woman said that she woke up to find Donnelly standing beside her SUV, and her boyfriend had been placed in the deputy’s cruiser.

On Tuesday, the woman testified that Donnelly groped her through the window, and used his hand to rape her.

She said the deputy promised not to take her boyfriend to jail if she did not report the rape.

A probable cause affidavit indicated that Donnelly told the woman that she was “f*cking sexy” and that he had a wife. The woman said that she felt scared and that her only choice was to cooperate.

A sexual assault examination later revealed that the woman had suffered a cervical injury.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed the woman’s story when it found three places in Donnelly’s patrol car with her DNA: the steering wheel, the gear-shifter knob and the officer’s flashlight.

Thankfully the department is in the process of firing this guy and hopefully justice will be served.

* * * *

The death of Michael Brown, Jr at the hands of the racist, murderous ex-cop Darren Wilson served as a lightning rod for the Black Lives Matter Movement (which actually began in the wake of the acquittal of the racist-as-fuck George Zimmerman). Since that day in August of 2014, protesters around the country have called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, greater transparency from law enforcement agencies, accountability for police officers who kill civilians, and an end to police brutality (among other things). That last point has been a focus for many protesters (to the point that many people falsely believe the Black Lives Matter Movement is only in response to police brutality) and you’d think that the greater scrutiny being placed upon cops would cause them to reflect upon how best to serve and protect the citizenry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for many cops, like some in the Denver PD:

As cities nationwide rose up to protest in solidarity with Baltimore, we saw video after video of basic rights being violated. On of the most disturbing was incidents was recorded in Denver on Wednesday, as pepper spray was used liberally on peaceful demonstrators including a 12-year-old child.  The incident was captured on video by two different witnesses.

Here is one of those videos.

I can’t embed the other video as it is posted on Vimeo, but click the link above and you can see for yourself. The Freethought Project also has a third video from the event, which was peaceful until law enforcement officials decided that no protest is complete without state-sanctioned violence.

If you’ve the stomach for it, the link I provided above quotes a response from an individual who supports the police response to this protest.

Oh, and this example of police brutality on the part of the Denver PD is but the latest in their very long history of violence:

Denver police have a very long history of violence. Most recently they have gained attention for the killing of Naeschylus Carter, also known as Naeschylus Vinzant, an unarmed man murdered by the same unit that arrested James Holmes, the Aurora shooter who killed 12 people and injured over 80 more. Holmes was in possession of automatic weapons and explosives, yet he was taken in alive. Carter’s family has not yet been notified of the killer cop’s name, and the community speculates it is because he is due to testify in the high-profile Holmes case.

A search for “Denver” on The Free Thought Project brings up nearly 23 pages of stories which can give you a glimpse as to why this community is outraged.

* * * *

The last story in this PBB entry enrages me beyond belief. Police officers are entrusted with power by the state to serve and protect the community. When they betray that trust…when they commit criminal acts, they should be arrested, charged, and should face the judgement of the courts. They should not, I repeat NOT be given their motherfucking jobs back after being charged with rape or possession of child porn (and no, I don’t give a flying fucking rat’s ass that they’ve been reassigned). But that’s exactly what has happened in New Orleans:

In the last 12 months, more than a half-dozen officers with the New Orleans Police Department have been booked and charged with various crimes.

In many of those cases, the officers are placed on what the NOPD refers to as “emergency suspension without pay.”

But the WDSU I-Team has learned that type of suspension only lasts so long and some officers charged with serious crimes are back on the job working — much to the surprise of some.

In a quiet Mandeville neighborhood, many people living in one subdivision near the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway know the NOPD sergeant who lives nearby. Several residents were shocked when the 16-year veteran of the force, Bradley Wax, 54, was arrested and charged with 38 counts of possessing child pornography.

When Wax was arrested, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said investigators found pornographic images of children on computers and other electronic devices.

Because of the nature of the crime — and the number of counts filed — Wax faces a worst-case scenario of more than 500 years behind bars if he’s convicted. The NOPD wasted no time in announcing that Wax had been placed on emergency suspension without pay back in April of 2014.

Twelve months later, the I-Team found Wax on the job working in fleet management at NOPD headquarters in Mid-City.

Dr. John Penny, criminologist at Southern University at New Orleans, has followed NOPD issues for the bulk of his career.

“It’s incredibly hard to imagine anyone in that capacity would be back working and being paid for it at taxpayer expense,” Penny said.

But Wax is, and he’s not alone.

In February 2014, longtime NOPD Officer Michael Thomassie was arrested and charged with aggravated rape, the state’s most serious sexual assault charge.

In Thomassie’s case, prosecutors said the alleged victim was a child in his care and was younger than 10 years old when the crimes occurred. As with Wax, the police department placed Thomassie on emergency suspension without pay.

But the I-Team found him working in Algiers behind a desk at the NOPD’s Fourth District.

The I-Team asked the NOPD why Wax and Thomassie, who are facing felony charges, were back on the job. The department declined a request for an on-camera interview, but issued this statement:

“An emergency suspension is generally used as a tool for emergency situations when an officer has been arrested and is physically unable to come to work and perform their duties. Once the officer is able to return to work, they are reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. Based on civil service rules, officers are disciplined after an investigation is completed and a formal disciplinary hearing has been held.”

Wax and Thomassie are set to go to trial this summer.

The Police Association of New Orleans admits the situation is “difficult” given the charges, but says the officers are innocent until proven guilty. Eric Hessler is an attorney for the association and claims that even though they wear the shield and wield the authority of any other officer, “It’s very rare they’ll be interacting with the public in any fashion.”

Wax is assigned to the fleet division and Thomassie is on desk duty. Those are different roles than they held before their arrests, but Penny is still concerned.

“It sends a very dangerous message to the citizens of this community,” Penny said.

NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said that, according to policy, “An employee can only be suspended up to 120 days.”

And that puts the city of New Orleans in a quandary.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Taxpayers are providing the salary for cops who have been charged with rape and possession of child porn. I cannot express how outraged this story makes me.  The USAmerican criminal justice system is so fucked up I just can’t even…

Fuck me, I need a drink.

Btw, it shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways:

I do not believe that all cops are bad or corrupt. The purpose of this ongoing series is to highlight those officers who are not worthy to wield the powers they’ve been invested with by the state.

Police Behaving Badly 5.13.15

Bill the rapist Cosby: now it's 43

Since late last year I’ve been following the ever-growing number of women who have publicly accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault. I first became aware of the allegations when Cosby was called out as a rapist during a stand-up act by comedian Hannibal Burress. Following that accusation, two women stepped up to accuse Cosby of sexual assault. Soon after, I learned that the number of victims jumped to 15. Then 19. Then 22. Then 23.  Then 26. At this point I suspected the number would rise to 30 in little time (which it did) and began to wonder how high it was going to go. How many women did Bill Cosby sexually assault over the years? Last week, the number of victims rose to 41. Today, it has risen to 43:

Former “Cosby Show” actress Lili Bernard and writer Sammie Mayes on Friday came forward with sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby in a press conference in New York City. The women stood next to attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing many of Cosby’s alleged victims.

Allred says Cosby raped Bernard in New Jersey, a state that does not have a statute of limitations on rape. Cosby could conceivably be charged for the crime if a prosecutor finds sufficient evidence. This has not been possible in the cases of other women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault in recent years.

I find it fucking outlandish that different states get to decide whether or not to have a statute of limitations on rape, and I’m glad to hear New Jersey is one of those states without one. I hope there is enough evidence to charge Cosby, so that there can be some measure of justice for the many, many women he has assaulted over the last several decades.

In her statement, Mayes said she met Cosby when she attended a New Orleans TV conference in the mid-’80s. She says she was just starting her writing career, so she eagerly accepted Cosby’s offer to do an interview with him.

Mayes says she asked a passerby to snap a photo of herself and Cosby (see above) as they headed to his hotel room together. Once there, she says, he mixed her a drink. When she woke up covered in drool, she initially thought she had fainted.

But she says she soon noticed her shirt was unbuttoned, and her bra pushed to the side. Her chain belt (which can be seen in the photo) had been loosely re-hooked.

“I realized I had just survived an encounter with a scheming madman who hid his demons behind an alluring persona,” she says. Out of fear for her safety, she says, she apologized to Cosby profusely and left the room quickly.

Bernard claims Cosby assaulted her in the early ’90s when she guest-starred as the zany and pregnant Mrs. Minifield on the final season of “The Cosby Show.” She says Cosby became a mentor and a father figure to her.

A faux mentor/father figure who wanted to gain her trust, affection, and respect as part of his predatory tactics. Once he did that, his plan was to rape her, which is exactly what happened:

“After he had won my complete trust and adoration he drugged me and raped me,” she said during the press conference.

Bernard says Cosby threatened and intimidated her after the assault, telling her, “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead,” which she interpreted as a death threat.

A few months later, Bernard was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts following the trauma. She said she still suffers nightmares and panic attacks.

I wonder if that hospital would still have those records and if they could be beneficial in building a case against Cosby. I really hope so because I want to see that lying shitstain rapist face the consequences of his actions.

Bill the rapist Cosby: now it's 43