Rape Culture,#NakedProtest, #WhenIWas

Note: This is a mad jumble of thoughts. I needed to vent. It might be a bit of mess.

Anywho.

Last week I wrote a rough draft about the #WhenIWas hashtag I found on Twitter.The tweets moved me, shocked me, angered me. I ventured, ever so carefully, into the Twitter waters with my own When I Was account, and within 2 minutes had men questioning me. But that is not what this post is about. It’s bigger than that.

About the same time, I stumbled upon an anonymous letter, written by a survivor of sexual assault (scroll down to read.)

And of course, the Rhodes Protests happened, the #RUReferenceList, the shock and horror and how dare women actually stand up and protest for their right to safety.

(EDIT: And then, as if it wasn’t enough for one week already, Cell C’s CEO dropped his Bitch Switch comment. Read more about that here and here. The Twitter Backlash. An Open Letter to the CEO.)

I was not going to write about any of this, but I’m just tired. I’m so fucking tired.

Tired of seeing all the negativity surrounding the protest, the injustice of the List itself, having to explain why I support the protests (in spirit, if not in flesh.) I’m tired of all the tone policing, and above all, the people who actually try to justify why rapists rape.

You know, that thing we call Rape Culture? It’s not myth. Just because you don’t experience something personally, doesn’t mean that it is not happening to someone else.

Rhodes & Rape Culture:

So, before we dive into the tweets, and the letter and the stuff I actually tried writing about earlier this week, let’s get this out of the way first.

  1. You can read about the Rhodes Protest here and here, also here, here and here. And many more places too. Here is very good account of somebody who joined the protests.
  2. Before we go any further, acknowledge that Rape Culture exists. It’s not a made up phrase to make men look bad or to make it seem like rape is something that happens far more often than it actually does. It’s evident when:
    • women are told “You dressed like that/you are beautiful, what did you expect?”
    • women are told “You are ugly/fat/unfuckable, be glad you got the attention.”
    • women are told “Do you really want to go through with this? You’ll ruin his reputation.”
    • men are told “Real mean can’t be raped.” Or told they’re pussies for allowing it.

It’s rape jokes, those who tell them and those who defend them. It’s victim blaming/shaming (the examples above,) it’s sexual objectification and slut shaming and a whole heap of other stuff I don’t want to get into now. It’s everything listed here.

Newsflash, people! This is not right! It’s not a joke! This is serious! This is not how we are supposed to live! And then people want to know why we are angry. No, it’s not PMS. It’s anger. We are fucking angry, we’ve had enough.

women-deserve-better

How is it, that in 2016, we are still protesting about it? We are still facing discrimination. Why are students arrested when they protest again rape (yes, arrested) while rapists get off scot-free?

#WhenIWas:

Everyday Sexism, a twitter account dedicated to “documenting experiences of sexism, harassment and assault to show how bad the problem is” started the #WhenIWas Hashtag. Go read the tweets, some of them harrowing. Mind the trolls, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Letters That Matter:

This article was written by an anonymous writer and submitted to OLTM

If you’re an artist/poet/writer or you have an inspiring story to share, email openlettersthatmatter@gmail.com or message Open Letters That Matter

When I was six years old, I gave my first blowjob.
“It’s a game”, said He. “Don’t you want to play?”
It was too big, and I threw up on him.
He said I’d do better the next time.

When I was seven years old, I watched a group of fellow second graders cheer as a boy in my class tried to kiss me. He hugged me from behind, giggling all the while.
I threw sand in his eyes, and was sent to the Principal.

When I was eight years old, I had an elderly teacher ask me to stay behind in class. He carried me on his shoulders, and called me pretty.
“Teacher’s Pet!” my friends declared, the envy visible on their faces.
They ignored me at lunch that day.

When I was nine years old, an older girl on the school bus would ask me to lift my skirt up for her. She was pretty and kind, and told me that I could only be her friend if I did what she said.
I wanted to be her friend.

When I was ten years old, a relative demanded that he get a kiss on the cheek every time we met. He was large and loud, and I proceeded to hide under my bed whenever I learnt that he was visiting.
I was known as a rude child.

When I was eleven, my auto-man told me that we would only leave if I gave him a hug every day.
He smelled like cheap soap and cigarettes.

When I was twelve years old, I watched as a man on the street touched my mother’s breast as he passed us. She slapped him amidst the shouts of onlookers telling her to calm down.
She didn’t calm down.

When I was thirteen years old, I exited a restaurant only to see a man visibly m*sturb*ting as he walked towards me. As he passed, he winked lasciviously.
My friends and I shifted our gazes down, aghast.

When I was fourteen, a young man in an expensive car followed me home as I walked back from an evening class. I ignored his offer to give me a ride, and I panicked when he got out, only to buy me a box of chocolate that I refused. He parked at the end of my road, and didn’t go away for an hour.
“It turns me on to see you so scared.”

When I was fifteen, I was groped on a bus. It was with a heart full of shame that I confided in a friend, only to be met with his anger and disappointment that I had not shouted at the molester at the time when it happened. My soft protests of being afraid and alone were drowned out as he berated my inaction. To him, my passiveness and silence were the reasons why things like this continue to happen.
He did not wait for my response.

When I was sixteen, I discovered that Facebook had a section of inbox messages named ‘others’, which contained those mails received from strangers, automatically stored as spam. Curious, I opened it to find numerous messages from men I had never seen before. I was propositioned, called s*xy, asked for n*des, and insulted.
Delete message.

When I was seventeen, I called for help as a drunken man tried to s*xually harass me in a crowded street.
The people around me seemed to walk by quicker.

At eighteen, I was told that sexism doesn’t exist in modern society.
I was told that harassment couldn’t be as bad as us women make it out to be.
That I should watch what I wear.
Never mind you were six, never mind you were wearing pink pyjamas.
That I should be louder.
But not too loud, a lady must be polite.
That I should always ask for help.
But stop overreacting, there’s a difference.
That I should stay in at night, because it isn’t safe.
You can’t get harassed in broad daylight.
That I should always travel with no less than two boys with me.
You need to be protected.

That it can’t be that hard to be a girl.

I am now nineteen years old.
I am now tired.

 

I’m done. We need change.

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Uber-like Service For Women Only, Launching 19th April

Uber might have to take the backseat, so to speak. Chariot for Women is new a ride-sharing service set to launch April 19 throughout the United States. Chariot’s Founder, Michael Pelletz, had the idea for a women-only service while he was employed as an Uber driver. He encountered a disoriented, aggressive customer  who made him feel unsafe. He pulled over at the nearest Police station, thinking “What if I was a woman? How would a woman handle that situation, especially when I was so nervous myself?” Thus, on February 9th 2016, Chariot for Women was born.

Chariot (name change coming soon) claims to be a safer option than its competitors, because all drivers will be women, and the service would pick up children under 13 regardless of gender, as well as transwomen. Whether Chariots for Women will survive the onslaught of hate it’s receiving, and legal gender discrimination issues, is yet to be seen.

Keep in mind that during the late 1990’s, the Massachusetts state legislature created an exception in gender discrimination law for women-only fitness facilities. One could argue that ride-sharing services are even more dangerous for women, especially since the number of sexual assault claims raised against Uber drivers is very shocking:

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Before anyone says women are also capable of violence, we know that. Chariot has the necessary safety precautions in place.  A thorough background check will be done on all drivers. As with the Uber system, passengers will also see a picture of her driver, as well as the trip details (make of vehicle, license plate number, etc.) Extra safety steps includes a code sent to the passenger. If the driver knows your code, then no worries. If the driver doesn’t know the code, the passenger will know not to get in the car. The app has adapted the model of real-time GPS tracing and maps, so passengers will know exactly when their Chariot will arrive, rather than standing on a corner waiting for a taxi.

Plus, 2 percent of every fare will be donated to women-focused charities. These include, but are not limited to, foundations that are trying to cure diseases, end violence and abuse, and help empower women. A list of 10 charities will be made available every month, as chosen by customers, and while a passenger is in the car, a pop up will display the 10 options.

Despite all of the good, there are a lot of hate too. Haters are gonna hate, potatoes are gonna potato. Here are some of the gems (good and bad) collected from Twitter:

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(A quick look at Superius777’s profile and you’ll see a homophobe, islamaphobe, racist Trump supporter. So nothing really newsworthy there.)

Don’t forget the sub Reddit, too…

Via:

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Get your Smart ID card online at eHomeAffairs

The Department of Home Affairs has launched an online service – eHomeAffairs – that allows South Africans to apply for their Smart IDs or passports online.

Smart-ID-yomzansi
Image Credit Via MyBroadBand

When the system was initially announced in 2015, it was referred to as Home Affairs’ e-Channel, and was incorporated with certain Standard Bank & FNB branches as a trial run.

With this new system, you may:

  • Submit your application for a Smart ID and Passport
  • Upload supporting Documents,
  • Pay application fees
  • Schedule Branch Visits

Don’t get too excited though, a visit to your friendly neighboorhood Home Affairs is still required for having your photograph taken and submitting your fingerprints.

Once everything is processed, you will receive an SMS notifying you that your Smart ID or Passport is ready for collection.

Via:

If you are a South African citizen, aged 30 to 35 you are welcome to go give the pilot software a test drive. Home Affairs announced that the service will be made available to more citizens soon.

If you haven’t already registered for a Home Affairs Profile, you will need to capture your ID Number for an Eligibility Check. Next, you will be redirected to the Account Registration Page. (I was told my First Name was not valid. Seriously?)

step 1

And then, this:

not valid

Take note that the system seems a bit buggy at the moment… But this is to be expected for any newly launched site/system. Give it some time, folks. Just think, if all goes well, less frustratingly long hours and even longer queues spent at Home Affairs.

Me and the rest of SA’s 30 – 35 year olds only managed to reach step 1. A breakdown of the entire 5 Step Process can be seen here.

The comment section on MyBroadband turned political real quick, though. The Gupta’s even received a mention.

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Sources:

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Book Review: Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Catching up. This was originally posted on Goodreads, as well as my (now dormant) Geeks With Beaks site.

This is not so much a review, per se, as me just rambling away, struggling to find the words to describe how Neil Gaiman’s Ocean hit me in the feels, and made me question my existence, the universe, and everything in between.

I apologize in advance for my excessive use of the word “awesome” and variations thereof.

Rating Based on the standard 5 star rating, I give this book 10.
THIS IS THE AWESOMEST, BEST FUCKING BOOK I EVER, EVER, EVER READ. EVER!!!
Genre I don’t even know… Horror? Fantasy? Magical Realism? Wait, it’s AWESOME. The Genre of Awesome.

Details Author: Neil Gaiman (Twitter: @NeilHimself)
0062255657 (ISBN13: 9780062255655)
178 Pages
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Notes Neil wrote it for Amanda Palmer; Amanda autographed it for me. As if it couldn’t be any more awesomer.  (For the uninformed, Amanda is Neil’s wife, and one of the greatest musicians ever. In my humble opinion.)
Review

15783514From Goodreads:
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Memorable Quote:
“But standing in that hallway, it was all coming back to me. Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me.”

Memories are waiting at the edges of things… Such haunting words.

This book moved me in a weird, strangely beautiful way. I can’t quite explain it; I have no words. Most of the other reviews on Goodreadsdescribes The Ocean at the End of the Lane as being ‘childhood, in 181 pages.’ That’s close enough I guess, yet it is so much more.

It made me think about my own childhood, with some memories so vivid and clear, and others waiting on the edges of things, just out of my reach. Most of them are still out of my reach, but I feel a little bit closer to them, having read The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It made me feel like anything was possible again. Like when I was a child. Who knows, maybe I had a Lettie in my past. Or an Old Mrs Hempstock to clear it all away and make me forget. I don’t know. This book scared me.

And I truly wish I knew how Neil Gaiman did it. To write a master piece. In such a clear, simplistic way.

Okay, enough about me. In one short paragraph, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about a man who returns to his childhood home after many years. As he sits by the pond (his friend Lettie believed it was an ocean. It really was an ocean) memories long forgotten came flooding back. Memories of an evil thing, a being that can’t quite be described, that came to their town, to his house, to his bedroom. Something so horrific that no child could quite grasp, or even understand it. It would have destroyed him if not for Lettie.

Neil Gaiman takes something supernatural, unreal, something from a horror story, and writes about it as if it was just another day. An everyday occurrence. Something normal.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and it still haunts me.

You simply have to read it.

 

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