My new blog is up and running at Going Radical. Some of my posts that I still like are disappearing from here and reappearing over there; other posts are being deleted. I’m already commenting as Ella Hawthorne on other blogs. Thanks for reading Blamer Bushfire!
The Toronto woman known as N.S. may not testify in court against her abusers while wearing a niqab. According to Justice Norris Weisman of the Ontario Court of Justice, if a woman wears a niqab in court while testifying against the family members who abused her as a child, it will be impossible to “assess the witness’s demeanour and tailor the thrust and direction of their questions accordingly” during the cross examination, which will lead to “wrongful convictions” and “loss of public confidence in the justice system.” He has an odd idea of what will lead to “loss of public confidence in the justice system.” Since the judge’s decision on whether or not to convict child abusers seems to depend largely on the “demeanor” of witnesses while in court, specifically her facial expressions, rather than on the facts of the case, I’d say we don’t have much of a justice system. The reason, of course, is that the goal of the court is not to convict child molesters, but to prove women are lying, and they will accept any method of proving that she is lying, including such subjective and unreliable criteria as facial expressions.
Some people are saying it’s the niqab that’s oppressive, not the law that demands it be removed. Obviously, the niqab is a form of women’s oppression, but the fact is, some women are used to wearing it and believe it to be important. When the court demands you remove clothing that you normally wear or else you cannot testify against an abuser, that is more sexual abuse. It sends the message to other women who wear veils that they should not seek justice from Western law enforcement because they will be assaulted again by the laws of the court.
Women must decide on their own terms when to stop wearing religious veils. When the court tries to ban clothing off of women, the result is that child abusers walk free.
The second Slutwalk march is being held in Toronto on Saturday July 12. It never occurred to me that I would go to Slutwalk again, even though I did attend the first one and noted some positive aspects, but some of my Facebook friends start posting information about it that caught my interest. This little ad that says “Who are you calling a …..” seems like an improvement over the horrendous “Sluts Say Yes” banners. It removes the word entirely and instead challenges the person using it.
Then I saw several tweets, tumblr posts and more little ads talking about some great stuff.
I very much support the idea that all bodies should be respected, no matter the gender, no matter the clothing, no matter what. And finding out from friends that women were reporting being assaulted at Word Pride made me decide to go to Slutwalk. The crowds were very thick at Pride and apparently men were grabbing women’s breasts and one woman even reported that a man lifted her skirt and pushed his erection against her. Then they would just disappear into the crowd and even if a police officer was nearby it was impossible to find the attacker. I thought, I can handle some sex-poz bullshit if it means I’m also supporting a demonstration against sexual assault and victim-blaming, right? So I decided to attend Slutwalk.
Then I saw this article from the sex work lobby and it said exactly what I expected it to say about sex-work-is-work, but a certain sentence really struck me:
“These three laws were struck down; however the federal government has since tabled new legislation that in many ways simply reproduces the old laws while also criminalizing prostitution in news ways, including the purchase of sexual services, the advertisement of sexual services, and criminalizing youth sex workers that work together.”
This author wrote the words “youth sex workers.” YOUTH SEX WORKERS. Do they even listen to themselves when they talk? Teenagers being raped are now called “workers?” They want to legalize this?? I try really hard not to talk about prostitution on Facebook because I never know when one of my longtime friends is going to turn out to be one of these people and then I’m going to have to decide whether we can still be friends or not. But I had to say something about this, so I responded. I was condescended to by women supporters of Slutwalk who explained to me that “sex work is work” and that they “enjoy” it. (And even when women say this it sounds like mansplaining.) Absolutely no one answered my question, which I still think is pretty important, “How many teenagers do you think enjoy being sexually abused by adult men?”
Then the speakers were announced for the Slutwalk rally. (I’ve removed the link to the list of speakers because a ping back was showing up on the Slut walk blog, but you can find it easily on their site.) There are nine speakers announced and they each have an introductory paragraph saying who they are. Exactly one of them identified as “feminist” in her introductory paragraph. And the word “feminist” really needs quotation marks here because she says she is a “queer writer, comedian and unrepentant feminist, intent on smashing the patriarchy apart, one pussy joke at a time.” Good luck smashing the patriarchy with pussy jokes! Two of the speakers identify as sex workers and one of them describes herself as “very sexy, hot, and delicious.” One of them works for Maggie’s, an organization that fights for women’s right to “choose sex work” and believes that “sex work is socially legitimate, important and valuable work.” In her introductory paragraph it says she “rallies for the rights of all sex-workers, marginalized women, and trans* people.” I have a hard time believing that she rallies for the rights of all sex workers when a large number of exited women say that the sex trade is violence against women and it must be abolished. How is she supporting these women?
This list of speakers doesn’t look at all like a list of people who seek an end to sexual violence. It looks like a rally for the sex trade lobby. And when you consider what the sex trade lobby is fighting for, you have to wonder why any women are supporting this at all. You have to wonder how otherwise intelligent people can attempt to fight against sexual assault while actually promoting an industry that IS sexual assault.
At Feminist Current right now they’re talking about the johns, which is so refreshing, because all this Grrl Power™ that funfeminists keep shouting about is really drowning out an important part of this issue—the men who are renting women’s bodies and how they feel about women. A tumblr account that reposts messages from johns taken from Canadian escort review sites sheds light on what johns think of the women they’re paying for “sex.” Here are some examples:
“You can make her your sex toy for whatever you want if you know how to crack her.”
“After 20 to 25 minutes, “don’t do this, don’t do that” started to be a turnoff.”
“I took my dick and shoved it in her mouth until she gagged.”
“During all the time of the session it showed that she hates what she is doing.”
“I think they are poor enough to do week long dates. Being 3rd world poor is key.”
“I know, the fact that I’m hurting a girl a little may even make her like me better.”
“It was like having sex with a blow-up doll. Dead. Lifeless. The only thing that made me realize she was alive was when I looked down and saw my condom-covered dick looking like I had been stabbed.”
These men are rapists. There’s no two ways around it. They are aware that the women they’re raping are disassociating and unhappy, and they rape them anyway, and if the woman they’re raping bleeds they complain about “bad service.” The research project on johns done by Chris Atchison showed that men who buy “sex” buy it on average over 100 times in their lifetime. These men are serial rapists.
I will not be attending Slutwalk. It’s psychotic to promote an industry that presents rape as “work.” This promotion of legalization of prostitution is a part of the backlash against feminism. We need to legalize women’s humanity, not women’s oppression!