Another easy-to-grasp equation, via Eve Ensler: No women, no future, duh.

When I was in high school, my godmother took me to see the Vagina Monologues, written and performed by Eve Ensler. I loved it. So much that I tried to work for Eve Ensler, and was given a job in the gift shop instead, which I worked at the weekends until I got vagina fatigue (they pipe the show into the gift shop and there's only so much repetition of the word "vagina" I could stand.) Ensler, whose V-Day organization has raised millions of dollars to fight violence against women around the world, has a bit of rape fatigue these days. She expounds on her rape fatigue this week in the Huffington Post.

I am over rape.

I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.

I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.

I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.

I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don't have a sense of humor, and women don't have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don't think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.

I was feeling the same way back in May of this year when, between the two NYPD rape cases, the DSK allegations, and the reports of mass rape in Libya, seemed to invite an official recognition of May as Rape Month.

It's November now, and I'm with Eve. I'm over rape.

Assclown of the Day: victim-blaming Libyan Gov't Spokesman Musa Ibrahim

In response to the plight of Eman al-Obaidy, a Libyan woman who rushed into a hotel full of journalists to tell of the brutal rape and mistreatment she had suffered at the hands of Gaddafi soldiers, the Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim denied her story with the following:

After the episode, Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said she appeared to be drunk and mentally ill. He said that the authorities were investigating the case, including the possibility that her reports of abuse were “fantasies.”

Drunk?  Right, in Libya, sometimes mistaken for Ireland or Russia, with its heavy drinking culture.  Good call.

Mentally ill?  Possibly -- it's called "post-traumatic stress disorder."  It sometimes happens after, say, things like this:

She said she had been raped by 15 men. “I was tied up, and they defecated and urinated on me,” she said. “They violated my honor.”

Fantasies?  Now that, sir, is bold.  Try this:

She displayed a broad bruise on her face, a large scar on her upper thigh, several narrow and deep scratch marks lower on her leg, and marks from binding around her hands and feet.

While her allegations of sexual assault have not yet been proven, those bruises and scratch marks sound a lot like reality.  Not, I'm sorry to say, "fantasies," Mister Ibrahim.  It is a reality that I sincerely, sincerely hope you, your scummy boss-man Gaddafi and the people who hurt Ms. al-Obaidy are held accountable for.

What else?  Was she wearing a short skirt?  Makeup?  Did she bat her eyelashes seductively at the guards while they handcuffed her?  Please do not disrespect or injure her further in the "investigation" that you have promised.


Libyan woman tells story of her rape. How unimaginably brave.

Reading the news that Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman who claims to have been raped by 15 of Gaddafi's men while in their custody, made me cry. As I'm sure it did others, it also got me wondering -- how many other women and men is this happening to?  How many more times will it happen to her?

Once you're done reading the story and watching the video -- the video was really what made me cry -- please join me in getting angry that, no matter what country or what amount of warfare is currently raging, victim-blaming in rape cases never goes out of style.

After the episode, Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said she appeared to be drunk and mentally ill. He said that the authorities were investigating the case, including the possibility that her reports of abuse were “fantasies.”

And....I think we've just hit on our Assclown for the day.

Assclown of the Day: Israel's president should not have to serve time?

Today marks the beginning of a new series called "Assclown of the Day," in which I discuss the actions or ideas of someone who proves themselves to be the biggest assclown I come across in a roughly 24-hour cycle.  NB: This contest does not include Muammar Gaddafi, who will get the blue ribbon #1 Top Assclown award automatically every single day, renewed each morning at 12:01 am, until he steps his sorry ass down.

Reading Allison Kaplan Sommer's insightful post on the Forward exploring sentiment in Israel around the imminent sentencing of Moshe Katsav, its disgraced convicted rapist of a former president, I was shocked to see that someone writing that a lengthy prison sentence is unnecessary because, during the course of the trial:

His coercive and ugly relationship with the women involved in the trial was fully exposed. Rare justice was done here. The former president was tried and the full extent of his wrongdoing was revealed. Even if he is jailed for just a few years, deterrence had been fully achieved.

I'm choking on my disbelief as I reread this.  "Deterrence has been fully achieved"????   Since when has a trial - or anything, really - been sufficient to deter rape from happening?  What about repeat rapists?  I agree that a spell in a miserable, violent environment like a prison may not be healing, but prison reform is another topic for another day.  Forgive me for being dense, but I just don't see how not punishing him according to the law of the land is more deterrent than, say, punishing him according to the law of the land.

It is always possible that there has been a deterrent effect, because according to RAINN, sexual assault has dropped by over 60% from 1993 to 2007.  But if there's still one sexual assault every two minutes, can we really say "deterrence has been fully achieved"?  A couple more stats about rape in the US:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey -- the country's largest and most reliable crime study -- there were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007 (the most recent data available).
  • There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 248,300 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 127 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.

I guess that rapists are being deterred from raping every minute, say, or every 30 seconds?  And consider that your average rapist is not even a top-ranking government official, who may bear some kind of prosecutorial immunity - what's deterring that person? In the Israeli case, as in Malaysia and St. Vincent's (and not counting the numerous ministers/officials/executives who have been accused of similar conduct -excuse me, I have to sneeze - aaaaahCHOOjulianassange!),  the intoxicating effect of power overrides the obvious obligation to be better behaved, since a public life will be open to heightened scrutiny.

I also wonder how the victims, who  feel about him deciding that "justice was done."  The question of whether justice was done really is best left decided to the survivors of the crime.  I'm not calling for an exceptionally harsh punishment or the death penalty, merely noting that:

1- The law is the law, and him being an elected official should not translate to automatic leniency.

2- Until rape statistics go way, way the heck down, is no possible way this statement could be true.

3- This columnist surely wins the "Assclown of the Day" award for today.

The saddest part is that this post was not just written by "someone," actually. The author is renowned peace activist, journalist and columnist Yigal Sarna, who co-founded Peace Now and was awarded an IBM Tolerance Prize.  He has gone a little overboard with the tolerance, in this case.  Rape is not tolerable.

Sidenote - Does anyone else find it sort of convoluted that IBM, whose computers were historically used in the Holocaust, is doling out Tolerance prizes to Israeli peace activists? Or find it weird that a bunch of rabbis support the convicted rapist ex-president?