Blog Administrative Stuff

2010 December 23
Comments Off
by Harriet Jay

So, one of the reasons I bummed out on blogging for a while was the comments. They fucking get on my nerves, man. I mean, there’s trolls, which are obviously a sanity-sapper. But there are also idiots, and there are people who feel entitled to your space, or shout vague accusations of “censorship!” when you don’t publish their perfectly reasonable rebuttal. And, admittedly, some rebuttals are reasonable (most are not — if you put “rape” in quotations as a given, you really want to question why you’re trying so hard to get into my club, because obviously nobody here likes you or ever will, and yet you want to be here so badly), but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to engage with them if I don’t feel like it, anymore than I’m obligated to engage in conversation with strangers on the street, no matter how intelligent or interesting they may be. I created this space for me to talk, because the internet is awesome in that it allows free, easily acquired resources that allow one to talk. Anybody can obtain their own goddamn blog, and so the whining entitled encroachment upon my space, and demands that I allow somebody else to talk in my free space — when there is free space for everybody that isn’t mine — strike me as nothing but an immeasurably lazy, stupid, sloppy attempt at a power struggle. It is a power struggle that is easy to win, because only I have access to the delete button, and so it’s a power struggle that’s fought purely on psychological terms, by making infantile attempts to provoke me or undermine my fairly unassailable confidence that I am not obligated to anybody for anything, most especially not to justify my beliefs unless and until I have appeased and convinced every smarmy asshole on the planet. I have all the power here, and I work on my own terms. Attempts to make me think I have to work on somebody else’s terms to gain the right to speak out loud in my space are wearisome assaults on logic as a principle of reasoning, but they don’t provoke me into a response (anymore — this did take work). I am welcome to say what I think, and others are welcome to say what they think, but nobody has the right to force me into a discussion with them, in my space, and attempts to convince me otherwise reveal nothing more than the other person’s complete lack of power, and their perception that I have too much and it is frightening to them if I stay that way.

There are also nice comments! Really nice comments! Or interesting ones, where people are just sharing their insights rather than demanding I acknowledge their insights, or broadcast their insights, or agree with their insights, or argue with their insights. Sometimes I get cranky and I can’t tell the difference, but that is my deal, and anybody engaging with me in my space just has to learn to cope with my deals.

But here is a secret:

I hate comments. Like, all of them. Even the nice ones! I don’t hate them, hate them. I don’t sneer every time somebody says, “Oh, Harriet! I have made you a cake!” But I hate having to check my site, and check comments, and make sure nothing has gone insane. It sucks up so much of my daily life. I don’t mind reading through troll comments so much, because they’re mostly sad little sacks of humanity that make me feel bad for what I imagine happens in their heads, but I hate reading through comments of people who think they are not trolls, or think they are entitled to “FREE SPEECHES” on my blog, or think that they are offering a really clever argument that I have NEVER heard before, my god, did you know ladies are emotional and unable to think logically? I bet if you knew that you wouldn’t be writing all this! You know what? PROBABLY TRUE. I would be weeping into my stuffed pig, wiping my face with chocolate donuts, and menstruating on the Bill of Rights, for all I care about CENSORSHIP and RULE OF LAW.

I got off track again.

I am going to be turning comments off on my blog. I don’t know if this will be a forever thing. To be honest, I am not sure if I have decided to “return” to blogging at all. I had actually made up my mind that I was going to stop. And then Sady Doyle seemed to be having a really fucking rough time of it, and I like Sady, and I like her grit, and I like her commitment, and I wanted to show that I supported her. And then I wanted to punch Naomi Wolf in the face, and I decided to show that via expressive flowery language instead.

And then I started getting stupid-ass comments a la “but have you considered that rape has made you unable to think straight? I think the rape virus has reached your brain!” or “well I was raped and I still manage to capitulate to rape culture, so can you!” or “I was raped and I’m going to hide behind that while I fling out some hateful rape apologism, because you totally can’t talk harshly to a rape victim!” (hint: rapists don’t just seek out intelligent, well-rounded people. Complete fucking idiots can be rape survivors, too, and complete fucking assholes without a shred of empathy for others. I’m so capable of separating your rape apologism from your rape, and you will get a callout, a shutdown, or a banning, no matter where you come from or who you are — the bullshit that comes out of your mouth at a high-speed velocity is all that concerns me). And I also started getting really fascinating wonderful comments that made me want to respond for HOURS and there went my fucking day wasn’t there a reason I didn’t want to do this anymore?


I am shutting down comments while I continue to think about whether blogging fits into my life anymore. Maybe this’ll be the thing that makes it work and lets me return for good — frankly, the thing I hate the most about blogging is getting any kind of attention at all. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true; I never wanted attention, I just wanted to write. I like to write, which means I like sitting in a room by myself for hours as I think quite a lot about words and their meanings; that exists, for me, on the furthest side of the continuum of social interaction. I like to talk to myself. I like to hear myself talk. This doesn’t generalize to anybody else.

The discussion board is still available as an option for talking. I don’t control anything over there. The moderators are separate, and do not answer to me, and have made their own system of moderation. I check in every now and again to make sure the whole thing hasn’t turned into a douchebag factory, but I don’t participate, I don’t comment, and I sure as fuck don’t moderate. So, head on over there if you want to comment on stuff, or have conversations.

Know also that I rarely respond to emails. You can email me, but if I don’t email you back, it’s not because I found your email personally offensive, but because I didn’t have the time, energy, or inclination to sit down and interact, with you or anybody. I do read my emails, and I appreciate quite a lot of them. But it’s not a surefire way to get a response from me. Actually, there isn’t a surefire way; I’m pretty goddamn fickle.

I’ve never shut down comments before, so there might be some comment space open for a day or two while I figure out the technical end of this. And maybe I’ll open it back up again in the future, after a rest. I have no idea. No promises. But, for now, they’re shut down.

Discussion board is here.


2010 December 22
by Harriet Jay

Yesterday was my Super Serious Post. Today, not so much.

Last night my bear sat own to read what I’d written. He was impressed, thought it was the best thing I’d written (very kind). He said, “Jesus christ! I’m sorry I kept interrupting you while you were writing to tell you about orcs!”

Also, not so serious summary of my last post:

Dear Second and Third Wave Feminists With Publicly Recognizable Names

2010 December 22

Dear Second and Third Wave Feminists With Publicly Recognizable Names,

Some of you, maybe only feminists know who you are, or those who care to crack a book or two. Lots of you have names that have penetrated the mainstream to such a degree that, when mentioned, most people are liable to know that you’ve got something to do with ladies, possibly even the f-word.

You don’t all agree on everything. Who does? Feminism has never been a monolith. We understand this, though the general public is still catching up. But, because your names are known, your words carry a lot of weight, become the assumed standpoint of all feminists. Almost all of you know that already. It’s why you do what you do — to speak for those who can’t speak, or won’t be heard if they do; to shake up the homogeneous, monochrome chamber of voices to which we’ve all become accustomed; to let others know that there are people out there fighting for them, that they, too, can fight.

You’re also human. You have flaws, and stubborn privileges, and blind spots. You have bad days. You may not have asked to become a mouthpiece for a movement, and cannot always bear up under the immense pressure to speak for more people than yourself — indeed, more people than you have likely ever seen with your own eyes. You may only allow yourself to be a mouthpiece because you know you are good at it while others aren’t, and from each according to their own ability, and all that. No one person is obligated to stand up for all the causes, take the right stance every time, and discuss only that which others have deemed important. Even those who are willing to try to do this sometimes cannot do it all the time.

I am asking you to do it this once.

I do not stand with Naomi Wolf.

I’d like to know if you do.

You are feminists who have fought a long, hard fight. We who are here today — young, in a changed world (though not changed enough), navigating the same old issues and ones you could never have imagined — came here on your shoulders, on your uplifted hands. We know you did the good work to awaken many of us. We know you continue in this. “Young” feminists and “old” feminists may not see eye to eye on many issues, but do believe there is never a moment that young feminists do not know that we are here because of you.

I am speaking as one of the young ones. I grew up calling myself a feminist, but I didn’t understand what that actually meant for a long time. I was lucky enough to go to college, and there, I was lucky enough to learn about the paths that had been beaten down before me. I learned the history of women’s rights, and of the women and men who demanded them, unequivocally. And, too, I learned that we are not monolith. I learned about the “waves”, splits across generations only recognized after-the-fact, created by an evolution in technology, terminology, and tactics. Much of this seemed only natural, and necessary; the world changes rapidly, and there is no movement that can hold doggedly steady as it spins. Some of this seemed shameful; the world changes rapidly, and there is no movement without members who are aggressively terrified of what they do not know and do not control. It was all educational. I could understand the path woven from then to now, why splits had occurred, why “waves” happened, and what they looked like from a distance, as a young person who considers these matters “history.”

That is a form of privilege itself — to view what has come before me as settled history, instead of an active struggle. It’s not a privilege I can shed solely through education, or listening; to end this privilege, I must be willing to wait for age and perspective. That’s not easy. I’m sure you remember.

I believe I have gained some age, and some perspective. I believe I have enough to say that the division between “old” feminists and “young” feminists, between the “third wave” and the fourth, or fifth, is not going to come about solely because of technology, or solely because of intersectionality, or solely because of any given divisive issue. I believe it is going to come because of a refusal to view our work — the work of those of my age and my perspective — as real work. A refusal to view our protests as real protests. A refusal to view our theory as real theory. All young feminists can acknowledge the work undertaken to bring us here today, despite our youth, despite our inexperience; it would hearten me to know that the old guard can acknowledge that we have taken up the torch, and continued forging ahead. It would hearten me to know that the age and perspective I will hopefully gain will include the ability to listen to the young, and take them seriously.

“No means no” took us a long way. To put it simply, but not inaccurately, it took us from a world where no meant yes. That is an incredible gain. But “no means no” has taken us as far as it can. Namely, it has taken us to “yes means yes.” It has taken us to a place where we can recognize, create theory, create terminology, and openly discuss the idea that sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen without a “no” as well as with one. We believe that requiring a “no” is not good enough, not a high enough standard. We require a “yes.”

“No means no” gave a voice to the abused, the raped, the victimized. It created a phrase to describe a phenomenon that men and women knew existed, but were unable to describe in a way that society as a whole took seriously. But it did not end the war on our bodies. It did not end the terrorism that makes us second-guess our clothing, map out our return home, walk with chaperones. It did not end the lifelong aftershocks of guilt and shame, wondering why we let them in, why we trusted them, why we kissed them. It did not lower the statistics that mock our hope that we have justice, or equality. The enemy adapted. The enemy always has. If no means no, why, then, ways will be found to keep us from speaking. Ways will be found to make it seem as if we have said “yes,” or not said “no” enough, or in the right tone of voice, or with the proper inflection, or at the right time. No means no, but only if you are not afraid to say it. No means no, but only if you keep saying it, for a lifetime, hoping it will work before the situation escalates. No means no, but only if you never give up saying it because you are tired, you are hungry, you are frightened, you are alone, you are intimidated, you are convinced that this will happen anyway, and will only get worse for you the longer you go on saying “no.”

We need more than “no means no.”

We have already begun creating the framework for this. There is a great conversation happening across the place the new guard has gathered to share, to organize, to strategize: the internet. We are creating theory. We are creating terminology. We are creating tactics. We are attempting to penetrate social consciousness, as you once did, until we can live in a world where we do not exist in a perpetual state of sexual availability, where we are not solely responsible as the gatekeepers of sex and rape. We are trying to create a world where all people are responsible for ensuring that sex is wanted, sex is safe, sex is sane. We are trying to create a world where the responsibility for stopping rape does not lie with the person who is being raped. And, too, we are trying to create a world where the responsibility for defining rape does not lie with the person being raped.

For many of us, that is what saying “no” during a frightening sexual encounter means; if our partner does not care if we want sex, if our partner does not care how we want sex, if our partner does not care if we are in pain or pleasure, if our partner does not care if we feel safe, if our partner does not care that we are moving away from them, if our partner does not care that we are trying to get to the door, then our partner will not care if we say “no,” and we will be raped. This is not difficult math for us to calculate. The only further calculation is how bad our rape is going to be, how long it will last, and how badly we will be injured. So as long as we keep our mouths shut, it will not be rape, and we will not be victims, and this will be over much sooner. If we say no, it will become rape, because “no” is what creates rape, “no” is what defines consent, not the lack of a “yes”. We are responsible for taking what could just be “bad sex,” over quickly and without too much pain, and turning it into “rape,” because we are responsible for saying “no” and our partners are not responsible for seeking an enthusiastic, mutual “yes.”

The people intent upon raping us know that “no means no” as much as we do. The people intent upon raping us do not want to think of this as a rape, do not want to think of themselves as rapists, do not want to allow the possibility of facing consequences for raping us. They will do everything within their power to make that “no” unbelievable or invisible. Perhaps they will try to make us eventually say “yes,” though we have said “no” twenty times. Perhaps they will threaten consequences that do not amount to force, but amount to our partner threatening consequences, and the implication that they are willing to threaten, to punish, to hurt us to acquire our defeat is not lost upon us. Perhaps they will yell, and cry, and scream. Perhaps they will pretend they did not hear us. Perhaps they will pretend they thought we only meant “no” to this and not that. Perhaps they will ask us to coffee later, or text us sweetly in the morning, or tuck us in afterward, and if we do not scream and cry and flee to the police in a shamble, this will be proof that our “no” could not have been such a “no,” because victims do not have coffee with their rapists, and rapists do not kiss their victims kindly. Or, perhaps, they will hurt us, escalate the rape into something that is now (thanks to your work) more commonly conceived as a rape. We do not wish to go through that. We do not wish to be beaten, threatened, choked, or made to bleed internally as the price for knowing it is not our fault. We will say “yes” rather than go through that. We will say “yes” when we know it is coming to that, and we will do that whether or not we have gained that knowledge through acts or words that are defined as rape in a court of law. We will do that because that is how human beings survive attacks. They do not wait for them to get worse. They do not wait until the legal threshold of allowable violence has been passed. We do this because we must adapt to survive, because we are smart and we are strong and we know that living through this with fewer scars is worth more than the bare glimmer of justice years of harassment from now; we do not do this because we are moral children who do not know better.

We are not trivializing rape by saying this is an attack upon us, anymore than it made rape trivial to believe, during your battle for this, that a “no” was all that was needed to create rape rather than a vicious, deadly beating by a stranger, or a loaded gun to the head. We believe there is no way that rape can be trivialized. We do not believe there is ever a time or a place or a situation in which rape is trivial. We want to live in a world where the wrongness of rape can never be called into question, never be made less, no matter what fool thing is said or done by others. We want to live in a world where “trivializing rape” is no longer a phrase bandied about so easily, because it will be an oxymoron. We want to live in a world where this phrase is recognized for what it is: a silencing tactic when victims become inconvenient.

Here is my fear.

I fear that, a generation from now, there will be a new history for the new generation. It will say that the fourth, fifth, sixth wave of feminism broke away because the second and third wave did not believe that a “yes” was necessary for sex. It will say that we broke away because one wave believed rape could be trivialized, and another did not.

I will be ashamed to be a part of the history of feminism, if that is to be our origin. I will have to question strongly if “feminism” is worthwhile as an organizing principle, if “feminism” can also mean that a “yes” after twenty “no”s is good enough, and that if zie didn’t want it, zie should have kept saying “no” until zhe accepted it (whenever that would be) or raped hir with an escalated degree of force (as that is the price zhe must pay if zhe wishes to be blameless).

I know there are those who do not call themselves “feminists,” not because they don’t understand feminism, but because they understand it too well. I know there are those who distrust me when I say I am a feminist, because to them, that means I may dismiss their experiences with race, with class, with disability, with gender ambiguity, with trans-ness, with a host of other issues that feminism has failed routinely. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may do more than actively dismiss, but shout them down, exclude them, call them the enemy, require they give up what they need to be safe, to be sane, to have dignity and basic human rights, so that they can fight my battle. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may shrug when a people who are not part of a feminist “cause” are being trampled and oppressed, because they are not convenient, or feminist enough, for my concerns, because their freedom gains me nothing. They distrust me because “feminism” means I may quit as soon as my own interests are met, as soon as my own comfort level is reached, as soon as I have toppled my own oppressor and taken their place. I struggle every day to hold on to my own label of feminism, because I do not think the people who distrust feminism are wrong. I think they are keeping me honest, if I am willing to let them.

I do not want, a generation from now, to find that the new wave has dropped the label “feminist” because it became synonymous with defiant rape apologism, because it damaged more people than it served. If I ever stop calling myself a feminist, I want it to be because I found something better, not because feminism got worse.

So here is what I am asking of you.

I ask that you denounce Naomi Wolf’s comments on Assange’s rape charges.

I ask that you denounce that “no means no” is all there is to rape.

I ask that you acknowledge that “yes means yes” is now a part of the feminist lexicon, wherever it might go, however it might evolve from here.

I ask that you acknowledge that “enthusiastic consent” is a theory highly worth pursuing.

I ask you to do this because you have names that people recognize as part of feminism. So does Naomi Wolf. And now we are all experiencing, en masse, the old phenomenon: “I know somebody who is a feminist, and they think this is fine.” A big-name feminist has said, publicly, that initiating sex with a partner who is asleep is not rape. That ripping a woman’s clothes off is not a force, is not a threat, is not violence, has no bearing upon the context of safety. That political targets are incapable of raping, because there can be no reason for them to be accused that is not politically motivated. This has given permission to all those who believe the same to tell us that we are wrong. The new guard, we know each other’s names, but the general public doesn’t know us very well yet. We do not have the weight of years of revolution behind us. When Naomi Wolf says that sleeping women can be raped legally, this becomes public knowledge. When we say, “yes means yes,” the general public does not hear, and the general public does not care. They can now point to Naomi Wolf and say, “You are wrong. You are not feminism. She is. And she says I can do this to you, and you can’t do anything about it.”

You have names. You have voices. Please give us somebody else to point to when we are told that we can be raped in the ways Naomi Wolf has decreed are acceptable. Please let us know that we are not on our own, that we have not already broken away, and did not hear the crack until Naomi Wolf “agreed to disagree” about our bodily autonomy, our safety. Please let us know that, with one arrogant statement, feminists cannot really erase the rapes that have been experienced by countless survivors. Please let us know that you hear us, that you believe we are feminism, too. Please do not let Naomi Wolf become the voice of what is rape, because rapists were listening when she spoke, and judges, and juries, and future victims who will spend their lives believing it was their fault, and they are always saying “yes” if they are not shouting “no.”

Ella Baker said, “You must believe in young people, because they have the courage where we fail.” I believed her when I first read that, at 21. I believed in those words, and I believed that it was worth delving deeper into feminism, believed it was worth dropping the naive belief that all our battles had been fought and solved, that the slogans then were all we needed now. I still believe that. I would like to think you believe it, believe that we have something of worth to add, that we are onto new paths and new battles, that we can be trusted to keep going when you cannot.

Ella Baker also said, “There is also the danger in our culture that because a person is called upon to give public statements and is acclaimed by the establishment, such a person gets to the point of believing that he is the movement.” Surely the public seems to believe this. Do not let Naomi Wolf be the face of our movement. Do not let her define what rape is, and what it isn’t, based on her belief in one man’s guilt or innocence. Do not let her statements on rape and consent go by without comment; I believe you know, through your own battles and sometimes demoralizing work, that silence signals agreement, that silence isolates, permeates, and eventually prevails, if uncontested by those with the power and the will. If you do not speak up now, I will have trouble believing you do not agree; certainly, so will those who are far less interested, far less dedicated, and far less informed about feminism than I am.

I would like to feel that I am part of an evolving movement of which I can be proud. It does not have to be perfect. But it has to be growing. It cannot be stagnant. I do not wish to grow older and point to a time at which I broke with feminism, because it was not interested in preserving my body from attack. Because it was not different enough from that which it opposed.

Please. Say something. We are talking as much as we can. We are pushing as hard as we can. We are doing our part. We would like to feel your hands holding us up, your shoulders beneath us once more.

Germaine Greer, please say something.

Gloria Steinem, please say something.

Susan Brownmiller, please say something.

Readers, please add to this list.

Discuss this post on the Fugitivus Discussion Board.

Dear Naomi Wolf

2010 December 20

With friends like you, who needs rape culture?

the survivors whose necks you’re standing on

This letter has been approved by the Society of RTFA, For Chrissake, it’s not hard

Discuss this post on the Fugitivus discussion board.

Love for Sady, love for survivors

2010 December 19

I suspect most of you have already heard about this, but for those who haven’t, you guys, Sady Doyle made Keith Olbermann cry, and he fucking well deserved it.

She also exposed Michael Moore for being a big doofus asshole. Okay, he was already widely exposed for that, but now he’s a big doofus asshole who lies when it is morally convenient for his personal belief system, and he is a big doofus asshole who thinks rape victims are worthless. Not true, Michael Moore? Then open your fucking mouth and say so! I know you have experience with opening your mouth, for lots of other causes, for lots of other abused and unfairly treated people, so keeping your mouth firmly glued shut when giving money to an accused rapist speaks volumes. Not to mention, opening your mouth long enough to tell everybody to disbelieve rape victims when they accuse celebrities of raping and then firmly closing it immediately thereafter, well, I guess I know whose side you would be on if a famous man had raped me. And, you know, I am not a bigshot film hero to the little guy, so maybe I don’t have the brainpower or moral authority to parse this one appropriately, but I am pretty sure one’s feelings on the transparency of government and one’s feelings on a guy accused of raping women and having his lawyer openly smear and lie about the accusers in public are quite separate concepts that do not necessarily intersect and can be held in one’s mind at the same time, with practice, much like you once learned to chew gum and walk. But what do I know. I am just a rape victim who did not prosecute because I have this crazy idea that rape victims who prosecute sometimes get harassed and threatened and bullied in such a way that being legally rapeable seems like a reasonable way to live out the rest of my permanently rapeable life.

I would rather be raped than prosecute a rape, Michael Moore. And there is nothing about you that makes me think you do not agree that this is the way it ought to be.

IF YOU NEED A LIST OF THINGS TO REMEMBER, MICHAEL MOORE, I MADE ONE FOR YOU. Perhaps you could keep this in your pocket for the next time you are on TV ignoring Sady Doyle:

Wikileaks is not the same thing as Julian Assange
Government transparency and accountability is not the same thing as Wikileaks
Rape victims are not the same thing as Interpol

Rape victims do not control the government
Rape victims do not control secret classified documents
Rape victims do not control Interpol
Rape victims do not control prosecutors
Rape victims do not control the internet
Rape victims do not control your Twitter account

Rape victims are not as hysterical as governments. When the government says people will die because you released a memo that reveals a diplomat thought a world leader had stinky breath, this is pretty much propaganda. When a rape victim fears for her life because her address has been released to a virulent public, this is pretty much a fear based in reality. Transparency: it’s for governments, not people in fear for their lives.

If Wikileaks goes down, the internet is infinitely capable of creating another site just like it
If Julian Assange goes down, Wikileaks is infinitely capable of going on
If Julian Assange raped two women (or more!, rapists tend to continue once they realize that documentary makers and news anchormen are giving them the thumbs up), the concepts of government accountability and transparency are still real concepts in the world — they do not crumble and die, as if these concepts were Tinkerbell, and Julian Assange raping women with impunity the handclaps she needs to go on

If Julian Assange has never raped anybody, and you have in the course of his not-raping-anybody:

  • made up ridiculous laws meant to mock or cast spurious judgments upon systems of justice that attempt to deter rape and give victims justice
  • made up ridiculous facts meant to mock or cast spurious judgments upon people who accuse others of having raped them
  • discussed those fake laws and facts in public because you are too lazy or intellectually dishonest to find source material or a point backed up by actual evidence
  • bailed out an accused rapist based on those made-up facts and laws you still refuse to pursue further because you like some other stuff he does
  • told people (on national television or, you know, ANYWHERE) to always suspect rape accusations against people whose politics you enjoy
  • stayed silent when others reveal information about real human beings who could die as a result of such revealed information

you will have said those things in front of rapists, and you will have said those things in front of rape victims. And those rapists know they can rape with your approval, and those rape victims know that they can be raped with your approval. RAPISTS WILL THINK YOU ARE THEIR FRIEND. RAPE VICTIMS WILL THINK YOU WANT TO HURT THEM, OR APPROVE OF THEIR BEING HURT. And neither of them will be, in any way, wrong. Especially if you don’t open your mouth to correct them.

If you have set up a career where your entire job and persona is all about truth and fighting for the little guy, then you better be prepared to take it as hard as you give it. If you’re not prepared, then your entire job and persona is actually about feeling like a big man by exploiting the trauma of the little guy for swirls of attention and adoration. Either you are for justice, or you are for misery tourism.

Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks

Bailing out a guy who does a thing you like — when anybody else can also do that thing, maybe even you! — is saying that this thing this guy does is more important and more worthwhile than any rape victim, anywhere, ever. It makes a very clear image of your priority list, which looks like this:

  1. Stuff I like
  2. Everybody else, ha ha, fuck ‘em

I am taking this personally, and seriously, and angrily, because I have a personal investment. I have been raped. It is not altogether unlikely that I will be raped again in my lifetime. I know what it is like to be asked, nicely and not nicely, to shut the fuck up. I know what it is like to be bullied. I know what it is like to be mocked, and threatened, and harassed. I know what it is like to decide that being legally rapeable is more tolerable than filing a report, or going to court and asking for justice, as is my legal and human right.

I do not know why Keith Olbermann or Michael Moore are taking this personally. Since neither of them will engage in a discussion, I am left with the most obvious assumption. They are personally invested in keeping rape accusers silent, and are personally invested in making sure others do not believe rape accusers when they speak up. I do not know why they are personally invested. I do not know them personally. But I do know that they both believe that Julian Assange must be unassailable and immune from rape charges, because of his work with Wikileaks. They have spoken on that quite clearly. In fact, it is all they have deemed to clear up, except Olbermann, who wishes you to know that he totally has a friend who was raped once and so he’s incapable of ever being wrong about rape. I guess you guys didn’t know this, but it’s true, and just a well-kept secret among the secret society of rape victims. Everybody who knows me gained this super-power when my husband raped me; they are all right about rape all the time now, like fucking magic. If other rape victims disagree with them, they are just crazy! If only they had known me when I was raped, they would be right all the time, too.

(A side note, Keith Olbermann: You are a celebrity. Did you know? You are under some degree of media scrutiny, due to this fact. Your friends, your family members, they get a secondary wave of this scrutiny. So. Outing a rape victim to prove your temper tantrum point? I hope you asked her first; it is her rape, you know, not yours. There is every chance that the internet, divine troll factory that it is, will try to track her down now, and learn all the secret details of her rape, because they are entitled to such knowledge, and that is what the internet loves to do. If you don’t believe me, witness the revealing of the names of Assange’s accusers. Oh, wait, you did. Anyway. Glad to know that when a friend or family member of yours gets raped, the takeaway is that this rape is all about YOU, and the ways it makes you immune to ever learning anything new about rape, especially things like not outing rape victims in vast public arenas without their express consent.)

So, my conclusion is this:

Olbermann and Moore are personally invested in keeping rape accusers silent, and making sure others do not believe in rape accusations, because they are personally invested in men they know to be potential rapists. They are invested in those men more than they are invested in justice for rape victims. That sounds patently obvious, but I’m saying this because it’s more important than Julian Assange, Keith Olbermann, or Michael Moore; this is a survival tip. Anybody who slanders rape victims based on lies and damned lies is doing so because there is a rapist or potential rapist they are protecting. The rapist or potential rapist may be them. It may be somebody they know whom they suspect of such a thing. It may be that they never knew the rapist, but they knew his victim, and they do not want to believe her because she, I don’t know, worked for the CIA? Is a Republican? A feminist? Loud? Annoying? Needs support and dignity they are not equipped to give? The rapist or potential rapist may be a possibility and not a real person, the possible right to grope women without their consent, the possible right to harass drunk women, the possible right to call women in short skirts cunts who deserve what they get, going out like that. People with a personal investment in maintaining rape culture have a personal investment in maintaining rape culture; there is something in their lives they are trying to protect. Which means, there is something in their lives more important to them than your right not to be raped. If these same people talk about truth, or justice, or personal accountability, know that it only extends so far — that is, it only extends as far as the thing they are trying to protect, and no farther. If you threaten what they wish to protect, it certainly does not extend as far as you.

Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are personally invested in Julian Assange. Keith Olbermann is invested enough to have had a big crying fit on the internet, and Michael Moore is invested enough to have shut his fucking mouth for once, and this is the mouth that he has built his career upon flapping. They are not personally invested in Assange’s work, not invested in his beliefs, which they can share without being invested in a man who potentially rapes. They are invested in Julian Assange, the man himself, enough that they believe he should not be allowed to be accused or tried of rape. Perhaps they would not say they are invested in Julian Assange being allowed to rape, with impunity, but there is slim difference between being invested in protecting somebody from accusations or trials and being invested in insulating a person from the repercussions of their real actions. Perhaps Julian Assange has never raped anybody, and never would. But if he wanted to, he now knows that Moore and Olbermann have his back.

So! Here is a thing you can do. You can have Sady’s back. She has stirred up a shitstorm of unimaginable proportions. I have stirred up tiny shitstorms on my blog. These made me want to burn my computer. It’s not a small thing, to have the swirling eye of the internet hurricane focused upon you. It can suck just about everything good out of your life; it’s meant to, because usually, the reason the eye is sucking upon you is because you are doing something effective. The importance of what Sady is doing is directly proportional to how much everybody is hating her for doing it. So she needs some love and support. Head on over to Tiger Beatdown and read up on what’s been happening. You can join the Twitter war upon Michael Moore’s infantile silence. You can join the donation spree upon anti-rape organizations. She has not asked for this, but I suspect you can donate to Sady’s blog, because this is taking up all the time she could be spending making money to eat and have shelter. And you can leave a nice comment for her on her blog, to cleanse the palate of the thousands of trolls that are intentionally trying to hurt her in whatever ways they possibly can.

And you can have the backs of survivors. You can reaffirm for any of them that you know (including yourself) that their right to move through life without being raped is worthwhile to you. That they are worthwhile to you. That you are not protecting some part of your life that would allow them to be raped. You can re-investigate your life, your beliefs, your friends and your family, and make sure that you are living up to that promise. Rape culture is pernicious. It’s easy to get sucked into it. Even people we respect, people who do great things, people who believe in justice and accountability, can honestly believe at the same time that some people should never be accused of rape. Take the time to sort through your own pile of trash, and make sure you can live with it, and make sure you can answer if somebody ever comes outside your tower with a bullhorn, demanding you account for what you did.

Discuss this post on the Fugitivus discussion board.