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ALRIGHTY THEN. Hello! My name is Sarah and we are going to Talk About Some Things. Those of you who were here yesterday (warning: brief yet graphic description of rape) remember that there was some seriously offensive behavior happening! (I'll let you go catch up, my post I've linked has the two posts linked that are the start of this)

Now, [livejournal.com profile] randomepiphany has updated here, as well as edited her initial post here. I'm going to go THROUGH that post of hers, as well as the edited post, in this post, which pisses me off for two reasons: a) the content of that post is pretty damn offensive and b) this means I have to read it carefully over AGAIN, point by point, which is only going to make me more angry. But! I do it for you, and so that we can Talk About This.

Note: I have no expectation that this post will do anything to sway either [livejournal.com profile] randomepiphany or her friends. They have shown that they are not interested in discussion by either ignoring points brought up by commentors in [livejournal.com profile] sinuous_curve's post, by derailing, or by disabling/deleting comments. (Also note: Derailing for Dummies is NOT a how-to) I will not be deleting comments that might pop up here, I will of course allow anonymous commenting, but I will screen/freeze trolling comments. I also will warn and cut for language I see as triggering; if I miss something let me know.

Let's Go!

Let's start with the edit, which I'll c&p under the cut for posterity:
YES, I USED THE R-WORD, OMG. I considered the reference very carefully prior to making it. I knew that some people would find it offensive; I chose to use it anyway, for precisely that reason.

Rape is a horrific, massively traumatizing experience, but it is not the epitome of horror in the universe, nor is it unique in its horror.


We're going to start here by trying to quantify traumatizing events. There are worse things than rape in the world! Therefore you shouldn't be offended so much by rape!

I speak not of internet flame wars, but things like emotional rape - the systematic violation and victimization and depersonalization of another - and NO you cannot say that it is not the same, because now we are talking about my personal experience and YES IT IS. A person can brutalize another to the core of their soul, shatter every part of their psyche and leave them cowering and helpless, without ever touching their body.


Without a doubt, emotional trauma inflicts massive wounds on the psyche. I speak from personal experience in this instance, but I also know that my experiences are very different from rape. I do not feel it is appropriate to compare and conflate these traumatizing events. Rape survivors are also survivors of emotional trauma as well as physical trauma. Rape survivors are not IN ANY WAY analogous to people who have had other people criticize their writing. I'm leaving aside the issue of fanfic and the internet because you know what? If you were in a creative writing course and you wrote a story, and had worked very very hard on it and submitted it to a public forum for your classmates to read it if they should choose to, and then another classmate did read it, and let other members of the class know about problematic elements in the story so that they might make informed decisions, this reaction would still be hyperbolic, out of line and incredibly offensive. Ditto if this was a published work and a review written about a book. Ditto ANY TIME YOU COMPARE ANYTHING TO RAPE WHICH IS NOT RAPE.

The idea that forced sexual activity is the Very Worst Thing Ever


WOAH WOAH WOAH. We are going to STOP RIGHT THERE. Because now we are heading into the area where Rape is conflated with Sexual Activity. And Non-Consensual is turned into Unwanted. You know what's unwanted? My wheat intolerance. Junk mail. Strangers sitting too close on the bus. You know what's non-consensual? RAPE. You know what's not SEXUAL ACTIVITY? Rape.

Rape is not about SEX. Rape is about power. Especially the type of rape used in the original comparison: gang rape. Rape is still dismissed as something based on getting sex out of the victim. And then that idea is used to dismiss rape as a horrible horrible act of abuse. Because you really wanted it, right? And you wouldn't have [done that/been there/worn that/whatever] if you hadn't secretly wanted it. There is nothing about rape that involves SEXUAL ACTIVITY. It involves violation and assault.

and worse than any other experience could be, is not only degrading to anyone who's ever been tortured and victimized in a non-sexual way


You know who wins in the Victimized Olympics? NO ONE. I addressed this point already, but all trauma is traumatizing. That being said, rape is STILL DISMISSED AS A SERIOUS CRIME AND INCREDIBLY HARD TO PROSECUTE. If you are the survivor of sexual assault, and you choose to tell people, the chances are high that you will spend a large amount of that time convincing them that yes, it happened and yes, it is a big deal. I'm not going to rank trauma ('Oh, you're only a 6 on the trauma scale. You only get this much sympathy, for this many years. Next!') but to ignore the fact that rape survivors face a very different world from survivors of other types of physical assaults is to be dangerously and willfully ignorant

but also plays right into the archaic concept that A Woman's Virtue Is Sacred Beyond All Else, and is offensive on that level as well.


OH HO HO. Let's talk about THIS. A Woman's Virtue (leaving aside the fact that yes! men are victims of sexual assault as well! let's ignore THAT TOO) has NOTHING to do with the offensiveness of the comparison. My concern for survivors of rape is not for their 'virtue' or 'worth' as women. It is for their emotional and physical needs as survivors of rape. I don't believe that a person worth as a person is based on their physicality and what they have to offer in that way. I believe that the personal sanctity and safety of every person is paramount and when that is violated, that is the crime. I don't believe that rape 'besmirches' virtue in some way and is wrong because of that, I believe that rape is a VIOLENT AND DISGUSTING VIOLATION, and that it is wrong that any person thinks they can assault in that way.

So I refuse to fall into line with the thinking that the word "rape" is somehow more sacred than any other kind of horrific experience; horrific experience is horrific experience, whatever its form.

In this situation, people are alleging that I caused them deep and lasting emotional harm with my words


Well, wait. How did you start this post? A person can brutalize another to the core of their soul, shatter every part of their psyche and leave them cowering and helpless, without ever touching their body. Oh, right. I guess that only applies to you, huh. I guess the GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION of Gang Rape you used in your initial comparison, and the chance that it might trigger some readers, doesn't matter. Or the fact that [livejournal.com profile] sinuous_curve made hir initial post in order to warn hir readers of the potential of triggering, HARMFUL language and imagery in your story. Sorry, my bad.

- and yet with their own words, they have effectively gathered up a mob, snuck up on me from behind, blindsided me with a blow to the head, and proceeded to shove their Internet penis through every orifice they could find


Well. If I may be a bit flippant, I seem to have misplaced my Internet Penis. I probably put it down when I picked up my pitchfork and flaming torch. In that one post that started all this. The post where you left comments, and your readers left comments (comments that haven't been deleted! Imagine!), before you compared OPINIONS ON YOUR WRITING to RAPE. And now, a MOB.

as if I were a thing to be abused rather than a human being worthy of even basic respect


Everyone is worthy of respect. Everyone includes you, yes, but it also includes me, and [livejournal.com profile] sinuous_curve, and all the other people who have spoken up to tell you that you said something wrong and hurtful.

- and they are ALL ABOUT the damage they claim I've done with my words, yet completely dismissive of the effects of their own words and actions. My words are WEAPONS; theirs don't count.


And I could spin this write back at you: our words are brutal and dehumanizing, leaving you cowering in a corner, but yours are misinterpreted and innocent. This works both ways.

And I don't know if I can even explain how deeply dehumanizing it is to have people TELLING YOU what your thoughts and motives are, to speak openly and honestly to people and have them bluntly call you a liar because you cannot possibly be CAPABLE of honesty


Unfortunately, your actions and words have not shown you to be someone who is willing to engage openly and in a calm fashion about the issues brought to your attention. You began engaging in a reasonable way in [livejournal.com profile] sinuous_curve's post, and overnight decided to make offensive and hyperbolic statements. When called on your actions, you escalated further. I have no faith in your motives.

... once you are the target of an assault like that (and assault with words is still assault, especially accompanied by that sort of mob intimidation tactic) you are no longer a person, you are nothing, and no matter whether you fight back or try to cooperate or roll over and show your belly or burst into tears you are still POWERLESS, the mob is relentless and Will Not Stop until you are completely cowed, completely beaten, utterly broken... and then they will kick you in the side and tell you that you DESERVED IT...

Yes. Rape.

I used a horrific word to describe a horrific experience. In the world beyond fandom, that is what writers DO.


In the World Beyond Fandom, someone who compared criticism to a brutal gang rape would also be looked at askance, at least.

And y'know what, in the real world people use words like 'rape' in analysis and analogy, and other people read these terms and attempt to comprehend the underlying concept being conveyed without screaming 'OMG SHE SAID RAPE!!!!!' because the Word is more important than the idea involved


The words we use show how we feel about the ideas and concepts we are addressing. Your cavalier treatment of the act of rape and of rape survivors shows your thoughtless and careless treatment of those things.

- and in case I have not made it adequately clear, I am through letting the Fandom Thought Police push me around. Words can cut, words can wound, but the insane emphasis of the power of words over the MINDS AND HEARTS OF ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS is just ridiculous.

I understand others' opinions may differ wildly from my own, and I have no wish to deliberately cause pain, but I am no longer a member of the fandom community, nor subject to its self-censorship requirements, and I will express myself as accurately as possible. I respect the thoughts and feelings of others, and acknowledge their validity; I am not, however, bound by them.


So yes, the "R-word", and (end edit) why on earth would I want to be part of a community that thinks this sort of behavior is acceptable? Why would anyone?




Whew. Ok, now on to the post made today. The majority of it is general Cult of Nice bullshit. There is also a very telling statement (The antics of the hamsters running on their wheel have nothing to do with me. (Except when they make me shake my head in incredulity and say, "...what?????" - but even that's getting old.) But the people who read my stories and enjoy them, you guys I appreciate; so drop me a line, and I will definitely be in touch once I shake things down.)

I personally am not bothered if she leaves her stories up or takes them down. I'm not going to judge the quality of her writing, that's not the point here. The point is the offensive comments made, the unwillingness to confront her own actions, and the violence in her language.

Phew.


ETA: I am away for the weekend! Family time and planning and etc. Please feel free to link this, please feel free to discuss in the comments. Please do not troll yourself or others, please feel free to post anonymously, please keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle.
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June 2011

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