Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thank you, brownfemipower

...for posting this:

Did you know that…

* women can be raped by other women?
* women can sexually assault other women?
* violence occurs in 1 out of 4 lesbian relationships?
* lesbian domestic violence often includes lesbian rape?
* lesbian rape is almost always unreported?

Why don’t we hear more about this?
Because many people define rape as penetration by a penis, woman to woman rape is not acknowledged or is not taken seriously. But in fact, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 lesbians have been sexually assaulted by another woman.

Lesbians and bisexual women are targeted for sexual violence. Most of these crimes go unreported. In addition to surviving sexual violence perpetrated by other lesbians, lesbian survivors are also raped by men. In the U.S., homophobia and heterosexism set the stage for many forms of violence, including sexual violence against lesbians. The majority of these crimes go unreported.

Rape is about power and control and not about roles. There is a myth that butches are never raped and femmes never rape. The fact is that regardless of how one identifies s/he can be raped. There is no way to tell by looking at two women who is the rapist and who is the survivor. While some butches rape, so do some femmes...

Barriers to confronting same-sex rape:
Women who survive same-sex rape go through a similar recovery process as people who survive opposite-sex rape. This can include feeling confused, angry, scared, etc. In addition to these feelings, we also experience barriers to recovery as a result of living in a heterosexist and homophobic society. Some of these barriers include:

DISBELIEF. Many people do not want to believe or are unaware that same-sex rape happens. If it is acknowledged, often it is thought to be “not as bad” as male-female rape.

DENIAL. Even lesbians and bisexual women do not want to believe that we could hurt each other. But rape and sexual assault happen in our communities: on dates, in relationships, between acquaintances, coworkers and strangers.

HOMOPHOBIA. Another reason for hesitating to talk about same sex rape is the fear of being accused of betraying the queer community. Because of denial and disbelief on one hand, and the homophobia and heterosexism of the society on the other hand, many lesbians and bisexual women do not want to hear that women can hurt each other. The survivor may be accused of betraying “the community” an be isolated from support.

Also includes some more general basics that we should all know by now, but...

Most of the me who sexually abuse children are heterosexual. Statistics show that unlike the popular opinion, most of the cases of child sexual abuse are committed by heterosexual men...

Most of the rapes in the U.S. are committed by white men. Many people in the U.S. wrongly believe that the majority of rapes are committed by men-of-color against white women. The fact is that 90% of rapes occur between people of the same race. However, men-of-Color are disproportionately incarcerated.

Differently-abled women are at higher risk of being sexually assaulted than other women. Women with disabilities are often targeted for sexual violence. This violence is often made invisible by society’s false assumptions that rape is about sex and that women with disabilities are asexual. Women with developmental disabilities are at 50% higher risk of being sexually assaulted/

Women-of Color are raped at a higher rate than white women. Women-of-Color have survived rapes by men of their own communities, in addition to rapes committed by white men. Myths such as “women of color are unrapable or oversexed” were intentionally created to erase the history of rape and brutalization of Women-of-Color by white men.

Women do not ask to be raped by dressing a certain way or being out late at night. A woman may be raped in any kind of clothing. Rape is a violence choice made solely by the rapist, and has nothing to do with what a woman wears. A woman should be able to choose what she wears, where she goes, who she has sex with, and NOT BE RAPED. Rape is used as a way to control women and their choices.


Renegade Evolution said...

excellent post, thank you for sharing it. Also, if you have never seen went around LJ awhile back...


"I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love."

Homophobia is wrong.

Amber said...

I remember when that was originally going around LJ... but it's good to re-read it. Just as powerful now as it was when I first read it. Just... wow.

Rootietoot said...

Peoplephobia of any stripe...I don't know. Why is it so hard for folk to see other folk as individuals?

transitorrie said...

Thanks for posting this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised some people turn a blind eye to this. I am outraged by the thought that some people can be so narrow-minded.

antiprincess said...

everyone has their blind spots, I guess.

dagger aleph said...

Yeah, what everyone else said. Thanks.

Zan said...

The only abusive 'relationship' I ever had was with a woman. We were friends and she wanted it to be more. At that point, I just wasn't interested. I was dating someone I was simply mad for and she knew it, but she wanted more anyway. I let her down as easily as I could -- she was my friend, after all. Well. After that, she started stalking me. Seriously. She would come into my dorm room when I wasn't there and my roommates just let her in, because it had never been a problem before. Once, I went to sleep and woke up the next morning to find her curled up on the floor beside my bed. She'd come in in the night and my roommates -- well, she was my friend and she'd stayed overnight before, so what was different? It was really bad. She started following me to classes, harassing my friends, calling all the time. Finally, I had to make a complete break from her. And then -- that's when I came home from class one day to find a note left on my pillow that said "I love you so much I want to kill you."

Yeah, because only men are capable of abusive behavior. Gah.

CrackerLilo said...

This needed to be shared.

It's a hard thing for our community to talk about, because so many people think our relationships themselves are wrong, and are so happy to use the information that violence happens against us.

I wrote this to a mostly homophobic list a couple years back:

I hoped this thread would die, but I didn't get that. I hoped so
because, even though I think the LGBT community desperately needs to
talk about same-sex violence--and that's what poor brave Claire
Renzetti was trying for, not to produce a text that anti-gay
conservatives would use to badmouth our community--the thread was not
begun in a spirit of love and caring and a desire to understand. The
objective was simply to say, "See, I told you so! Now "straighten
up" and do what I say God tells you!" But as I am probably the one
person on this board in a two-woman relationship, I think I may have
a duty to say something.

First of all, I believe that even though violence exists in two-woman
relationships, it is in no way epidemic. That said, I am going to
work it around to my agenda, the way conservative Christians like to
work it around to theirs. I do not believe that "straightening up"
would help. A woman who enters in or stays in an abusive
relationship is at risk of entering one *again*, no matter what
gender her partner is or whether they're married or not. She needs a
lot of real and practical help, not just straight-girl lessons and an
invitation to your church. Speaking of your church, I bet some of
the good married straight ladies there are abused, too. Perhaps it's
your duty to minister to your sister in Christ who wears long sleeves
in summer and always seems to be getting into accidents and won't
look a man in the face when he speaks to her, instead of trying to
convince happy queer women that they'll inevitably get hurt.

But we in the LGBT community need to help our own, too. It's
amazing. We'll have screaming matches over each other's politics and
clothes and music, but we hardly ever confront each other over our
relationships or acknowledge what can go wrong. I think a major
factor in that is that frankly, outsiders are perfectly willing to
run our relationships down without our queer siblings' help. The
problem is, anti-gay outsiders tar all same-sex relationships with
the same brush. We end up defending each others' relationships in
response. The problem, of course, is when, inevitably, some same-sex
relationships occur in which there really is something wrong, and
it's got nothing to do with the gender makeup. We definitely need to
be much more realistic about that. We tend not to have older role
models or role models in our community growing up to show us what
good and bad same-sex relationships look like. (This may not be such
a problem for the kids coming up, however.) So it's a bit more
difficult for us to make judgement calls even when we want to. At
the same time, if we look at a relationship or a friend and feel that
something's wrong--maybe if we even look at ourselves and think "That
ain't right"--maybe there is, and we should check into it.

Women in mixed-sex relationships often have support that we aren't
getting. For example, our parents and other relatives may feel that
there is something intrinsically wrong with the relationship just
because of its gender makeup, whereas they're usually more open to
trying to accept an opposite-sex relationship. If our mothers are
always spouting homophobic crap, we may not want to talk to them, nor
can we easily distinguish "I don't like how Mary treats you" from "I
don't like that you live with Mary." Conversely, a straight woman's
mother will notice when her daughter's boyfriend or husband seems to
be cutting her off from the family or isolating her. If our siblings
look like they've eaten bad eggs when we hold hands or dance
together, why would we tell them there's a problem? And if our co-
workers get all cringey when we tell them we saw a movie with our
girlfriend last weekend, how the hell do we explain that black eye to

I think that's another aspect of support. If you genuinely care
about a lesbian or bisexual woman--not just want to see her become
straight--then you are helping her by learning how to distinguish her
individual relationship from your moral misgivings about
homosexuality in general. It's not a lesbian thing if her partner
belittles her in front of you or seems to be isolating her, any more
than it is a straight thing.

One more thing--a lot of people, of all sexual orientations, will
dismiss same-sex relationship violence because the partners are
usually about evenly physically matched. That is a mistake which may
be fatal for one of the partners. Usually physical violence is
preceded by a pattern of intimidation in which one of the partners is
made to feel worthless, like s/he deserves anything the other partner
dishes out. If you really care about the victims of lesbian domestic
violence...stop trying to make them feel worthless and treat them as
individuals. Bottom fucking line.

belledame222 said...

word to all of that, and thanks.

and you know: goddamit, i don't -really- want to get back into the Eternal Subject, but since i already have been hither and yon these last couple of days, I have to note:

I see a lot of parallels here wrt, well, various aspects of the Eternal Subject wars in feminist-land. "pornstitution," transgendered folk, BDSM (especially the first and last, i'd say; although, you'd THINK anti-trans sentiment would've died a blessed death by now in supposedly "radical" communities, much less lesbian ones, but...)

but, yeah. I mean: and this is why "sex-positive" (or however you want to definie it--well, hell, the name itself) gets tagged as the happy happy! cheerleader, everything yay! folks. because people feel like they HAVE to go to that extreme (even as much as they actually do, which doesn't happen nearly as much as some people would make it out, but anyway) just to stand still against the tidal wave of negative, hateful crap. nope! nothing wrong here!

and then in that case, of course, you get the usual suspects turning it back around AGAIN and now we're vapid, selfish, "sexbots," unconcerned about abuse, blahblah bliddy blah...

which in turn provokes even MORE entrenchment, which in turn...


JackGoff said...

This post has blown my mind. I consider myself an idiot and an ignorant dumbfuck in reference to all of this. I always assumed rape was a male problem and that it's an issue that needs to be sorted out by men. Damn was I right about my own asshattery. Also, this whole Sex-Positive = "I'm okay with everything" crap? REALLY starting to get on my nerves. As are the entirety of the sex wars bullshit.

belledame222 said...

just to clarify: you mean the interpretation of "sex-pos" as etc., right?

oh, right, i was just saying over at Veronica's how that pissed me off, too, never mind. yah. it's a straw-sex-pos from my POV, albeit one not entirely divorced from reality in some cases; but then again, as i say: there are reasons for that as well.

and yup: sick of the Eternal Subject. can't seem to struggle free. why is that? why, God, why?

belledame222 said...

oh, no, wait, I actually just said it -here-, didn't i. never mind. my brain is leaking out my ears.

belledame222 said...

the thing about rape, is, as -supposedly- all good feminists know, it's not about The Penis; it's not even about sex per se; it's about power, or rather the abuse of it.

the fact that people who swear up down and sideways that 1) they KNOW all that and 2) no they are NOT essentialists either are STILL -talking- as though, my god! it really IS all about S-E-X-X! and the dreaded penisesseseses! this position! that outfit! examine! agonize! blame! scapegoat!

...well, yeah. Irks. To put it mildly. WHO CARES about your goddam blowjobs (much less the ones you AREN'T having, thank you very much), all RIGHT already! jesus fuck! listen: did you ever stop and consider that if some guy is being an asshole wrt BJ's then maybe the problem is actually not so much the Bj but that -he's an asshole?-

And yes, sure, absotively, socialized into his assholery by the Patriarchy (tm), no doubt; but you see,


she shrieked, seeing/hearing echoes reverberate across the horizon and red/purple spots floating across her vision.

oog. i feel woozy.

yeah. abuse. kind of a -tad- more complicated than tab A goes (forcefully) into slot B. just like (gasp) sex, for that matter.

did i mention my deja vu problem that i've been having?


-stomps off-

belledame222 said...

anyway, Jack, you're certainly no more an asshat than the rest of us, and very probably less than many. welcome to my little cave. pull up a rock, have some bones. i'll be more lucid shortly.

Renegade Evolution said...


"Also, this whole Sex-Positive = "I'm okay with everything" crap? REALLY starting to get on my nerves."

you and me both.

belledame222 said...

and, you know, one hears complaints that one is taking this or that other shall we say ideology? philosophy? viewpoint? and twisting it into a caricature, and one tries to be more mindful of such things, and in some instances, sure, there is a reward for this (i.e. actual, serious engagement).

but so yeah it's a -bit- discouraging to go through all that and still, from some of the same people, even, i mean, after repeated and lengthy conversations, get this, well, scarecrow figure of one's own position. if even that.

I mean, I love that I am "pro-porn," as though the -only- possible positions are LARRY FLYNT WOOOO!!! and "kill it! kill it all DEAD!!"

shrug. what are you gonna do. some people, you know?

JackGoff said...

Exactly, belledame. It is never the act that's the true problem, but the asshole who engages in it. Sorry to be so glib, but I'm not a writer, nor am I good at expressing things explicitly, like my blog betters are. 8^D.

belledame222 said...

eh, you do just fine. no betters here.

Alon Levy said...

The most ironic thing about this is that the final chapter of Against Our Will includes a lot of suggestions for how to deal with rape on the social/legal level. Some, like porn-blame, are moonbatty; others, like making rape laws explicitly about the power and not about the sex, as Canada would do in 1983, now fly in the face of how the average radical treats rape.

Oh well.

Renegade Evolution, thanks for posting that. I saw it a while ago, but it's still just as effective and evocative as it was the first time.

Bitch | Lab said...

i should know better, but i'm saddened to learn that this is still news to anyone. i _know_ what it was like when this issue was totally in the, uh, closet. i know we worked pretty hard in the late 80s and early 90s to get the message out and a lot of rape crisis information, and GLBTQ information centers and the like are fully cognizant of the issue.

so it's still fucking news more than ten years later?

really bugs me because no one should have to go through what those of went through when even feminists didn't believe us -- coz women were warm and cuddly and not violent or abusive (i exagerrate.... but you know what i mean.)

JackGoff said...

As I said. I'm an asshat on a few things, Bitch|Lab. I'm trying, though.

belledame222 said...

I expect BL was referring more to the general atmosphere which leads plenty of basically conscious and involved people to reach that same conclusion; iow, we haven't come a long way, baby.

JackGoff said...

And how.

Bitch | Lab said...

yeah Jackgoff (nice to see you here, bTW!) belledame's right. i wouldn't expect most folks to think about, especially not men. but i mean among more activist folks, people who take women's studies courses, or participate in study groups and the like. especially, even among GTBTQ community it can still be news to folks. I remember bringing up the issue back in 1999 on the Bad Subjects discussion list -- pretty leftwing. A lot of people jumped on my case, saying I was using rightwing propaganda.

Uh. No. I'd actually been abused. This was data from recent research. Yadda.

But it really hurt my feelings that even very smart, very involved lesbians who challenged conventional leftist and feminist thinking on a lot of issues didn't want to hear it. It silences people who are then even more afraid to report it or even tell anyone so they can get the hell out.

lilcollegegirl said...

Ditto to what Jack said. And I'm a bi girl. (Although I've had next to no relationships with women, simply because small town=too many asshats, and now I'm happy in my relationship with pagan boy.)