Frivolity! NOT.

by Wednesday.

In today’s Straits Times, an article, ‘Magistrate’s complaints on the rise’:

Examples of frivolous complaints [emphasis mine] seen by lawyers included one filed by a parent upset with another after their teenage sons fought, and another by a woman harassed by a former boyfriend’s numerous calls.

Then, there was the case of a man harassed by his girlfriend’s suitor, who sent him obscene messages.

The court spokesman said many simply see the process as a means of settling their grievances.

Can we get this straight?

It is not frivolous to expect legal protection from harassment.

It is not frivolous because, oh, ‘they had a relationship and lovers’ tiffs are lovers’ tiffs’.

It is an egregious ignoring of real and valid societal concerns, such as protecting real, valid, actual human beings (ergo, women) from abusive behaviour.

This must be an act of supreme cognitive dissonance for the author to use the word harassed without thinking that harassment means a disturbing, discomforting, threatening act or series of acts, and instead using the adjective —

what was it?

— right. Frivolous.

Rape is about power. Abuse is about power. Harassment is a form of abuse.

Also, if one’s former partner is harassing one’s current partner, as in the second example cited, then yes, that too is not frivolous. It describes a dangerous individual who claims ownership of his ex-girlfriend, dehumanising her, and behaving violently towards her current partner.

These are Things That Are Not Frivolous, brought to you by the letter F.

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Just like that book by Nabokov

by Wednesday.

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault.

Oh, lovely. I’m so glad to know that victim-blaming is well and alive in our population.

Newsflash: A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity. A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity with an adult. A twelve-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sexual activity with an adult in a position of authority over them.

Cut for triggering content.

In Ur Media, Feedin Ur Sterrotips

Thoughts while watching today’s Channel 5 episode of Point of Entry:

– WTF is with the stereotype of the depraved, criminal Nigerian immigrant preying on local women?
– WTF is with the stereotype of the depraved, criminal gay man selling illegal sex toys?
– WTF is with the stereotype of the rebellious slut who abandons her conservative Malay-Muslim values and elopes with aforementioned Nigerian man and buys from aforementioned gay Chinese man? and her family going ‘I told you so’? Totally no agency at all, they haven’t, those wimminz. Or morals. Oh, wimminz.
– WTF is with the character of the law enforcement officer questioning a witness: ‘Was he Indian? Chinese? Singaporean? Malay?’ Is Singaporean some kind of nebulous ethnic nationality now? Perhaps there are mutant Merlions walking around whom we don’t know about.

So damning.

I can’t believe I was tempted to give this show a chance when it first aired. I admit I was biased by the fact that there was homoerotic subtext between the protagonist and his live-in boyfriend very close friend. Of course, I could but hope, because it is illegal to ‘promote or glamorise’ homosexuality on TV, and that means anything where there is a happy ending for queer folks.

(Also, it is telling that the show inadvertently caused viewers to sympathise with the human traffickers and undocumented economic migrants from the Southeast Asian mainland. Inadvertently. Because these are the villains, but look what the ‘heroes’ are like.)

#MooreandMe: My support

Day 6

I’ve been away, but I’ve been following #Mooreandme as much as I could whenever I grabbed internet access.

I am angry-upset-frightened-angry-bitter at all the trolls who have been making the hashtag a deliberately unsafe space for survivors.

I am proud of all of us who braved it to add our voices to the chorus, and I also love everyone who has engaged in offline activism because Twitter is not a goddamn barometer of how progressive you are tyvm. There are people working for a fairer world IRL every day, too.

I am furious at #allyfail — people who claim to support #Mooreandme but who call Assange’s accusers ‘girls’ rather than ‘women’, and who use ‘crazy’, ‘mad’, ‘insane’ and ‘stupid’ as the ableist slurs that they are.

I am justifiably laughing in sadness for the trolls who see no problem in scorning male allies and feminists and survivors as ‘less than men’ (which means ‘person’ or ‘human’, to these pathetic evil beings) and who decide that the best way to put women down is the call them ‘bitches’ and ‘cunts’.

I revel in my full personhood as a girl, as a survivor, as a mad person, as a feminist.

I protest — vociferously — to those who co-opt their own experiences to shame or silence survivors.

@KeithOlbermann and @MMFlint have failed — failed hard and failed publicly — by naming survivors, by enabling rape apologism, by repeating lies, by not retracting their statements, by not shutting down the misogynists who have delighted in harassing, threatening, and belittling feminists, allies, and survivors.

Assange himself has failed visibly in his repetition of rape apologism and his obvious comfort with his supporters’ actions and words.

@SadyDoyle has succeeded in the spirit, if not the letter, of #Mooreandme. Because we are here, we are speaking out, and we will not go away.

Thank you, everyone.

Love,
Wednesday

This is what rape culture does.

It takes you and tears you apart. It re-victimises you. It victimises everybody, makes them part of a horrific social evil. Everybody who laughs at rape jokes, everybody who makes a ‘Well, she, you know…’ excuse, everybody who didn’t know what they did was rape, everybody who has been raped.

Trigger warning for assault and victim-blaming.

This post will not be easy to write.

This post will be angry, and bitter, and resigned.

This post will say nothing that has not already been said, but I will say it again.

It does not matter if a man is famous. It does not matter if he is part of a movement you believe in. It does not matter if he produces work that you find great or compelling.

A person can do good things, and at the same time do bad things.

You can support WikiLeaks, without condoning rape culture.

Cut for triggering content.

Failure to Report

by Wednesday.

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault.

In the latest episode of Crimewatch (available here), the Singapore Police Force emphasised the need for people who have been sexually assaulted to report the crime as soon as possible. If you don’t do so, the narrator cautions, the perpetrator(s) will remain at large, and will likely abuse others.

Well and good, up till the point where the implicit message is that you, if you do not report, are somehow responsible for further assaults.

Hell, no. That’s not true, that’s never true. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist.

So that’s not a good reason to report, is it?

But if the only party responsible is an attacker, and it is not (ever) the survivor’s fault, then why not report?

Some people don’t understand this. (I want to believe that they are genuinely ignorant, but a part of me is willing to yell, ‘Douches!’ loudly.) Failure to report jeopardises your status as a survivor, they suggest. You must have done something provocative, because honest men have nothing to fear from the law!

*helpfully distributes a bingo card*

Not from the spirit of the law, perhaps, but certainly from the spirit of some people involved in the legal enforcement process, and definitely the spirit of many people in society.

We don’t even need to look abroad, where politicians blithely let rapists walk free even after having received their confession, or where rape kits sit on shelves for years, untested. We’ve seen it at home, too. We’re not in paradise. Rape apologists crawl out the woodwork (such as here, or here).

After all (h/t to @awarenews), it’s alright if the victim was of ‘immoral character’. Good girls can’t be raped. And since no one can ever meet all the standards of a good girl, all women are fair game.

With odds stacked against them, who can blame survivors who don’t report?

I didn’t. And I don’t regret it, because I know I wouldn’t have had the spoons to go through the interrogation, knowing that I’d be likely to lose not just the fight to have what was done to me recognised as assault, but also to lose my own right to privacy.

Not reporting doesn’t make you any less of a person. Survivorship, not victimisation, is what must define you. And, thank you, Crimewatch — failure to report is not failure as a survivor.

Compulsory Heterosexuality

by Wednesday.

Suffice it to say that I am so angry right now.

Many people in society hate queer people for being queer. This is not a newsflash. This is a fact.

But this is a fact which has been rubbed in our faces recently, too. And I am not speaking merely of the late Tyler Clementi, God rest his soul. To all those delightfully, wilfully ignorant folks who like to comment on articles by saying, ‘Oh, Singapore is fair and free, we let gay people live in peace here — we’re not Uganda!’ — well, fuck off.

D’you call jailing two men who had sex in a restroom living in peace? Not for having sex in a public place, mind. We have a law for that. No, the public prosecutor chose to use S377A, the law which criminalises homosexual sodomy. (Not heterosexual sodomy, oh, no. We legalised that three years ago in the same penal code revision where we decided we’d keep this clause.)

D’you call filming and distributing a video of two girls having sex living in peace? So much so that they have been turned out of their school?

The latter disturbs me, yes.

Not for the same reason that many people are disturbed. I find it disgusting and nauseating that the people who are going on about ‘Youth these days should know better’ mean that the girls should have known better. Not their schoolmates who filmed them, no. They should have known better than to be queer.

To anyone out there over the age of, say, 25: don’t act so shocked that teenagers have consensual sex, or that they do it in school restrooms. Tell me, where the fuck else is there to go? When you consider (a) how much the Confucian ethic has worked to ensure that teenagers spend most of their time in school; and (b) that sexual agency is denied to youths and especially to girls — it’s not surprising. Trust me. I’m sixteen and a student. I know.

But look at the words being used to describe the incident. ‘Steamy.’ ‘Tryst.’ Even in the midst of the condemnation, I’m so glad to know society can take the time out to continue objectifying female sexuality and reframing it for the male gaze.

I wonder if the students who filmed the video ought to leave the school as well? Of course not. You can shame people for having sex, you can shame people for being queer — and make no mistake that this was an act of deliberate intimidation, threatening all the more because it sends the message that ‘you are transgressive and that legitimises my hate‘ — but as long as you aren’t actually a filthy lesbian slut, you’re safe within the loving arms of a kyriarchy that sweeps your misdeeds over.

Psychologist Daniel Koh, of Insights Mind Centre, felt several aspects made the ACJC case especially disturbing.

First was the fact that the incident happened in a public place and involved two girls, ‘something society may not accept yet’.

Yeah, it’s your job to make society comfortable. Keep your legs closed, you shameless woman. And for God’s sake, you’re not allowed anything other than to be pursued (remember the passive voice) by a man.

At least nine current and former ACJC students The Straits Times spoke to said they knew of the incident, with one having seen the video on his friend’s mobile phone.

‘What I saw disgusted me,’ said the second-year student, who said he could not bring himself to continue watching the rest of the clip.

I am amazed, my dear, that you weren’t turned on. I mean, we all know that queer female sexuality exists solely for the (straight) male gaze. Or were you disgusted by the fact that they were queer? Yea, for ’tis a monstrous, repugnant thing indeed, queer sexuality. Or female sexuality. Or just sex in general. Carry on, Jeeves.

But if that second-year student was disgusted by the fact that society sees fit to hound and harass and police queer and female sexualities, and if he was disgusted by the fact that the system and the media enable this, then I apologise to him. It’s why I’m disgusted, after all. It’s why we should be.

ETA:
You think this incident is unimportant? You think this event means nothing? Damn right it’s not funny, but read this (TW for suicide, self-harm).

ETA2:
Another local commentary (here) is really good — points out my arguments a trifle more coherently, too, FWIW.