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Mar 26 2013

A Voice for Me: No, You Cannot Steal A Voice

As you may recall, I was “bloody pissed off” about the Steubenville Rape story but didn’t weigh in. I didn’t know enough about American Jock culture apart from cursory immersion within it due to contact with Americans and through the media. However the post by Judgy Bitch kind of forced me to speak due to the absolute horror of watching her denigrate the suffering of others by showing greater suffering.

I call it the Suffering Olympics. For instance? I am sorry, you not getting a proper balanced meal on food stamps is insufficient suffering as I am going to play the “Starving Children in Africa ™” card. You Lose. Good Day Sir.

Yes. Sometimes when people complain I am prone to groan and go “You know there are people who would kill to have your problems”, but then I remember the vast majority of people don’t know about the problems other people face.

And yet here someone had such a twisted view of reality that they were willing to shame a child who had gotten so drunk that they couldn’t remember anything and then subjected to sexual abuse by people who knew it was wrong. Judgy up there was willing to blame the young girl who was raped by specifically claiming it wasn’t rape.

From Xo Jane

These are the tweets from the night. You decide.

Instead of sympathy we were treated to a cornucopia of MRA lines from “Bitches want Alphas” to “She had no Friends” to “Fair Game” to “It’s not rape! Just Bitches Getting What For!”. But we aren’t hear to discuss that.

We know she is terrible. What we don’t realise is how terrible she was for what she did.

  • We know that a young woman died at a Singapore hospital due to a savage rape including usage of a foreign object. She specifically used this to denigrate a 16 year old girl’s harrowing experience. But what she means to India is a martyr, she is the cause of change. Of anger against idiots who denigrate women. Including Judgy Bitch who completely stamped on everything and I mean EVERYTHING the women of India are fighting for by using her case to denigrate someone else who got raped.
  • Indian Women Have It Bad. What they do not need is a bunch of MRAs taking their struggle and either denigrating it or actively using it to bludgeon other women

Let’s be clear on this. Indian women have it bad.

  1. Female Foetuses are aborted
  2. Female Infants are regularly killed.
  3. This is seen in the gender ratio where in some parts of India, 1 in 3 women have “vanished”.
  4. India is regarded as the worst G20 Country to be a woman.
  5. While there are a fair few politicians who are women, they often believe in incredibly anti-female ideas.
  6. Crimes against women are rising and report rates are the same. Rapes have gone up. Assault has gone up. Sexual abuse has gone up.
  7. Kidnapping of women has gone up by nearly 20% over 2011
  8. Dowry deaths have gone up as has torture of women over dowries.
  9. It is estimated that the total population of women being trafficked over a single year doubled.
  10. Amartya Sen estimates that globally there are 100 Million women missing and India contributes 50 Million to that burden. Had these women received similar healthcare, care and nutrition as men receive.
  11. Anderson and Ray estimate that 2 Million women go missing in India per year. 12% at birth, 25% at childhood, 18% at reproductible age and 45% at elderly age.
  12.  More women die from “Accidents” than from birth. Roughly 100,000 women die from fire related accidents in a home environment. A large number of these are potential Dowry Deaths. While Indian MRAs think the Dowry Laws are draconian they conveniently whitewash over a sizeable amount of women who die in suspicious circumstances. It’s very hard to prove a death by fire as intentional.
  13. The life long neglect of women is a fact of life in India as is gender selective abortion. Women face threats at nearly every stage of life

An Indian woman’s lot outside the major cities is fraught with inadequate health, violence, education, gross inequality, neglect, starvation, poor hygiene and chronic illness.

This requires a deep change in social attitudes. My readers have read western MRAs takes on India. But they also have seen “Indian” MRA. They aren’t rarities. A lot of Indian men think like they do. The patriarchy is strong and obvious. The man is the head of the family and many women aren’t even allowed to talk to the patriarch.

And change is slow and uphill. How can political parties run with 27 candidates who were charged with rape? How can state legislators exist who are charged with rape?

And to take these women to denigrate the sufferings of others? The voice of these women wants to stop all rape and the abuse of women and to be treated as equals. Not to have MRAs take their voice to beat those who have suffered less into silence.

When .

11 comments

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  1. 1
    dianne

    Maybe you could add a number 14: Women are so little thought of* that even a man who is reasonably thoughtful about the rights of women thinks it a worse thing that female fetuses be aborted than that women not have the right to control their bodies, including aborting fetuses for whatever reasons of their own they choose.

    You mention sex-selective abortion twice. You don’t mention restrictions on abortion that force women to complete pregnancies that they do not want or that may be dangerous to them at all.

    *Not just in India.

  2. 2
    Camomile Lox

    Is what Judgy Bitch did in her trailer park thing? That was supposed to be a parody of what would happen if it was a guy that was gang raped by two cheerleaders… I have to say, with the reactions I’ve seen to men being harassed or raped (or blatantly leaving them out when talking about rape) I can see how she is spot on with many people… disgusting sexism is what it is. There should be the same reaction to both. Either you are giving a bigger reaction to the woman (because women=weak frail things so it would be 100x more?) or you are not giving enough reaction to the man (because men need to take care of themselves?). It’s something. One of those.

    As for the Steubenville… no one is listening to the victim’s voice. She wanted people to stop talking about this. Having been in some sort of situation like this where I was a victim and I wanted people not to talk about it… I totally understand how she feels in how her wish isn’t being respected. But I’m not sure if this article counts as something she would mind unless its very widespread.

    So if you have a widespread blog, respect her wish because I’m sure she feels hurt and terrible at the news/paparazzi assholes who just kept tooting about her story, (Imagine if you wanted people to stop talkin gabout YOU and your business and they refused? I can empathize with her) whether it was for their own publicity or their thirst to condemn the perpetrators overrid their concern for the victim.

    What I really want to do is talk to her about how I get it… but I don’t want to make it worse for her and doing that might make it worse.

  3. 3
    Camomile Lox

    Oh… I see. the part about her comparing it to the savage rape that another person went through. This sounds like denigrading rape victims, not *women*. I’m sorry but it’s really disrespectful to talk as if women are the only rape victims! It erases male rape victims! Stop it!

  4. 4
    Camomile Lox

    And on top of that its simply sexist to both sexes. Either “women are angels who don’t rape” is going on or “men are okay (raped by men or women I guess)”

  5. 5
    Camomile Lox

    Just think about it for a second… imagine being a male rape victim reading all of these recent things about rape…

    that deliberately erase you out. Instead of simply saying people, they say “men who rape,” instead of saying rape victims, they go out of their way to ERASE YOU, say “WOMEN” and make you feel more like you made the right choice by keeping the abuse bottled up, because no one gives a crap about male rape victims.

    Why can’t we just say people? Why can’t we just say rape victims? This is a deliberate choice of words targeting one specific sex and it’s not really excusable.

  6. 6
    Camomile Lox

    I’ll be damned if I’m WRONG to say that – you can use Appeal to Worse Problems and say “but this girl was gang raped and all you’ve got to say is that male rape victims are being ignored (using Appeal to Worse Problems that way would be sexist though)”

    It’s because I’ve already said my 10,002 cents on this particular rape victim. Now what I’m noticing is that, in using her as an example, against her wishes, they keep pushing this idea that men aren’t rape victims or that women do not rape.

  7. 7
    Avicenna

    @1 http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2013/03/26/a-voice-for-me-no-you-cannot-steal-a-voice/comment-page-1/#comment-79728

    Diane – “Maybe you could add a number 14: Women are so little thought of* that even a man who is reasonably thoughtful about the rights of women thinks it a worse thing that female fetuses be aborted than that women not have the right to control their bodies, including aborting fetuses for whatever reasons of their own they choose.”

    Yes it’s a worse thing.

    I get to see what happens when you abort girls. You make it harder to improve the rights of the ones who do get born.

    The places with the best treatment of women are the places in India where the gender selection abortion law is strongly enforced. In Kerala the idea of gender selection is so rare that it actually has a normal gender ratio and the best treatment of women. Again. Tamil Nadu has the same demographics.

    You need women to represent stuff to make changes. You can’t make them “rare” and hope market pressure will get people to treat them well.

    If anything that attitude really screwed over the North of India where the major horror rapes occur. What happens is with women becoming rarer they become MORE of a commodity to trade.

    “You mention sex-selective abortion twice. You don’t mention restrictions on abortion that force women to complete pregnancies that they do not want or that may be dangerous to them at all.”

    Yes. India has more abortion freedom than many parts of the USA and even many first world nations.

    The time period for an abortion in the USA is 24 weeks and UNDER and with stupid shennanigans.
    In India it’s 28 weeks with 3 Obs/Gynae (from the same hospital) agreeing simultaneously. You can be 24 weeks pregnant, walk into a hospital and ask for an abortion and get one by the evening if there is no queue.

    No TV Ultrasounds, no cards, no nothing.

    And I must repeat. Market Pressure fixing India’s Birth issues has resulted in places like Harayana where women are fined for wearing jeans or mobile phones or driving their scooters in a “Sexually Enticing Way”.

    Why? Because there are insufficient women to make changes. Women’s rights plummet when they are rare because there are none to take advantage of the systems and the systems simply are a waste of money in a third world nation if there are insufficient people to use them.

    Put it this way. If it costs Rs 1000 to cover a village with 30 women and the same Rs. 1000 to cover a village with 60 women…. and I had to choose? India makes the choices all the time.

    So anti-gender selection is really important.

  8. 8
    Francisco Bacopa

    Avacenna, I love how you cover all this. I’d say you were the best, but my old friend Amanda Marcotte has written the best article about the Steubenville case that has ever been written or will ever be written, and is a pretty damn good indictment of rape apologists everywhere:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/25/if-only-we-could-talk-about-abusing-women-like-we-do-abusing-cats/

    Here’s a TinyURL link if that’s to big to share on your smartphone:

    http://tinyurl.com/bho9lhk

    Y’all fuckin’ read this. This is Amanda at her best.

  9. 9
    Dana Hunter

    Avi. I am so fucking glad you blog here.

  10. 10
    dianne

    I get to see what happens when you abort girls. You make it harder to improve the rights of the ones who do get born.

    First, let me say that I’m glad you’re thinking about gender and I agree with the overall point of your post. Indeed, that’s why it’s so frustrating to me that you don’t seem to be able to get this point. If you were just a dudebro I’d dismiss you as too stupid to worry about. You’re not. You’re a smart and thoughtful person.

    But I don’t think you’ve thought this one through. When you advocate for restrictions on abortion you’re advocating for slavery. No matter how good your intentions are, that’s just wrong. People have the right to bodily autonomy. Taking away a woman’s rights, no matter how good your motives, is not ever going to lead to improved conditions for women.

    Yes, I agree that when the gender imbalance becomes more severe for any reason you get problems. Regardless of how that imbalance occurs or how otherwise “enlightened” the community is. Consider the recent issues with the PyCon conference (20% women) or in the atheist/skeptical community. But you’re addressing it from the wrong end. Improve conditions for women, make it possible for more women to obtain education and have careers, make the laws against harassment, rape, forced marriage, etc stricter, and you’ll get fewer families desiring abortion of a female fetus. Demand that female fetuses be born regardless of the danger to the mother or the family circumstances and you’ll just get more girls dying of starvation and neglect. For that matter, why not work on ending neglect of young girls as a first step? It would improve the gender ratio without even violating anyone’s rights.

  11. 11
    Avicenna

    The restriction is not on abortion. The restriction is on telling women the gender of the foetus. The person punished is the DOCTOR. The performers of sex selective abortions are punished or if they are not complicit then the person responsible for telling the gender of the foetus is responsible for it.

    The places with the highest such bodily autonomy have the absolute worst treatment of women. Women are safer in the South of India in places like Kerala and Tamil Nadu because their gender equality programs started off very early and have high penetration. They also have enforced their gender selective abortion laws a lot more strictly.

    Kerala has reaped the benefits of this. High rates of female education, empowerment, healthcare and life expectancy. They have the lowest Infant Mortality Rates, the highest rural satisfaction rate and the best demographic stats (they have achieved population stability). Tamil Nadu is better than average and is still progressing to reach the gold standard of Kerala.

    And both owe their achievements to not letting women abort female babies so that they have women to provide benefits and to change society. Now keralites know that women are as valuable as men and that gender selection is stupid.

    However Haryana? Bihar? Punjab? They don’t. With falling women goes falling treatment. There are places there where women are banned from riding scooters/mopeds lest they inflame the passions with their lewd posture. They are banned from speaking on phones and wearing jeans. Why?

    If there are no women to fight the fight then women will always be treated like this. The fact of the matter is taking away a little bodily autonomy has resulted in massive massive gains for women because the people who demanded the temporary loss of bodily autonomy were WOMEN who wanted to break a patriarchal cycle of hating female babies.

    I don’t think you seem to understand this.

    The fewer girls born to a group of people the worse women are treated. Women becoming “rare” hasn’t helped the Punjab or Haryana. It has increased the rates of infanticide, foeticide and trafficking. All the laws made have had absolutely no effect as there are simply insufficient women to do “anything”.

    I prefer to call it “Addiction to Benefits”. You birth a girl and are sorely disappointed, but the fancy doctor (and doctors are pretty damn fancy considering what I just treated today) has said something weird. You get “free food for girls and mothers” from this ICDS stuff. Really? So you go along. The mother and the child both get free food and it is here the mother learns about Family Planning. She goes back and tells her husband and he may get mad and often he shows up to see what “nonsense” you are teaching his wife. Then he learns about how much money family planning will save him and how having “fewer” sons will result in more profit for them.

    Now his girl has been receiving education at the ICDS too and gets free schooling. The rural farmer is usually puzzled by this but then is offered government education himself about farming practices and often sees female farmers. The government also offers him a TV where he starts seeing women on TV doing jobs and women in positive roles. And change occurs.

    Houses with TVs show lower rates of spousal abuse, foeticide and better education. Even if they were just “Uneducated Villagers who Got Given TVs”. The effects are fast and within years you see improvements to life because the TV slowly educates.

    Amid all this there are “government” healthcare workers who come and take women away and train them. Now these women are your first line of medical care. They deliver better than the traditional midwives (they can go get the training if they want to be them) and can treat a series of simple diseases. Children with Diarrhoea no longer die for example and diseases like TB and Malaria which once killed are quickly treated. More women survive childbirth through these Anganwadi and rural healthcare workers.

    But one of their main jobs is demonstrating “power”. The anganwadi holds a form of power only second to the “doctors who sometimes come”. They are often the difference between life and death. Their knowledge and education make them powerful.

    Why can’t our daughters do that?

    What you see is a slow addiction to the notion that girls aren’t bad by seeing the benefits provided to women and a slow change in attitudes. You still see things that are bullshit but they get lesser and lesser.

    But in order for that to happen you need women. There are parts of Haryana where we cannot find any women to train as Anganwadis. We cannot get rural midwife schemes set up. That’s the problem.

    What you ask is being done but it is very very very easy to say it rather than do it. India banned forced marriages in the 50s and they still take place. The issue being that it’s very very hard to get any help. The South of India weighs in better on forced marriages or indeed caste breaking marriages (they are for them) because the police are better than the North. You do have more female police and Women’s Police Stations and better coverage from “Government Healthcare Workers”.

    The North does not and the primary issue there is again women aren’t present in the numbers that they need to be a power block.

    All the laissez faire gender correction of Haryana and Punjab has done has made life worse for women. So no. We have tried your method, it failed miserably and was hopeless naive.

    A village needs a toilet. Will you force them pay for one or will you give them one for free?

    If you did the field work you would know that giving them one for free would not work out well. Pretty soon there would be arguments and they would not care for the toilet. Within a year ours broke.

    The second one we built we charged for. It still runs and runs well. The first village toilet was so terrifying that I refused to go in because the smell was so horrid (and bear in mind I once did autopsies). The second was pristine…

    Western Logic may not function in Charity environments. Your idea isn’t wrong but is an idea of principle. And principles don’t work here. You have to be utilitarian when in charity. You have to help the most people with the least amount of money. And for that to occur Doctors aren’t allowed to tell women the gender of their foetus.

    I repeat again… You actually have less restrictions in India with regards to abortion than in the USA.

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