Saturday, November 10, 2012

My friend got raped.... in her sleep

Story is re-blogged from Womanisms

Tonight my heart feels heavy. My friend Jill* came over to tell me she was raped. Every day I passionately talk about the need to help rape victims, to believe them, offer them support, and not blame them, but when it happens to someone near and dear to you, no amount of reading will prepare you for the shock. We were sitting in my kitchen, she drinking a glass of wine, me munching on cookies while making dinner. When the words "I was raped" came out of her mouth I held on to a half eaten cookie for over an hour. I couldn't decide if I should eat it, drop it, or offer it to her. That was my way of coping with such a horrendous confession. While she told me her story I cooked enough food to feed a small village. It was the only way I could keep my hands from shaking. But this isn't a cooking blog. I am writing this because Jill's story is all too common, and the lack of available support is depressing, so I need your help.

Jill was raped in the middle of the night while she slept. That day she arrived home from work exhausted and frustrated that for the prior two nights she could not fall asleep. She ate, showered, read a book, and took a sleeping pill. For weeks she had left her kitchen window open because her small apartment was prone to getting stuffy. She would cover the open window with a canvas painting of "starry night" so that her neighbors could not see into her home. That night, someone climbed the building's fire escape and was able to get into her 5th floor apartment through her opened window. He quietly walked into her room, climbed into her bed, and taking advantage of her deep slumber, raped her.

Jill woke up thinking that she was dreaming and rapidly realized that there was man on top of her, raping her while she slept. She tried to scream as he restrained her, but the only name she could remember was her mothers', who lives miles away and could not have possibly come to her aid.While her rapist restrained her with the weight of his body he stroked her hair while whispering " one else is here." Jill told me that while he was restraining her he kept whispering terms of endearment into her ear. He called her "baby" and "honey" and tried frantically to quiet her screams. All this happened in her dark bedroom while she was half-asleep. She struggled until she could set herself free. By the time she was able to turn her bedroom lights on her rapist had run away, once again escaping through her opened kitchen window.

It took Jill several minutes to realize that she was not actually dreaming. In fact, the first person she called was her ex-boyfriend and good friend, who lives in another state, to ask if he had been in her bedroom. It made no logical sense that he would be there, but it was the only man she could remember having a key to her apartment. He assured her that it was not him and encouraged her to call the police.

At 3 in the morning the police escorted Jill to the hospital to undergo a rape kit examination. She waited with two police officers for 6 hours until she could undergo a full examination. When I asked her what took so long she said, "there was only one room, I suppose there were other women going through the same thing." After the medical examination she spent hours in a police precinct, retelling the story over and over again to detectives. Jill confessed to me that although the police and detectives treated her kindly, she felt disgusting and shameful every time she was asked to explain the events. She felt guilty that she could not remember what her attacker looked like, how old he was, his ethnicity, or even his approximate weight. He seemed like a shadow, and if it were not for the medical examination confirming the presence of semen in her body, she would have still been unsure of whether she was raped or not. Every time she was asked to explain how her rapist could get into her home she guiltily confessed that she had left her window open. She was embarrassed and kept blaming herself for being so careless.

Jill has no close siblings, her father passed away several years ago, her mother does not live near her, and her  older half-brother, lives in another state. That night Jill was completely alone. When her mother arrived at her side she was already too tired to retell the story and blurred the details in fear her mother would freak out; "I'm her only baby" Jill told me as she tried to explain why she did not want her mother to know all the details. When she called her half-brother he seemed rattled and upset, then told her he always knew she was careless and immature. He questioned her judgement, asked if she was sure she was not just being robbed, and then reminded her that accusing someone of rape could ruin that man's life; apparently forgetting that his own sister's life was in shambles. Jill is still struggling with comprehending that reaction, but continues to believe that she could have avoided what happened if she had only closed her window.

Jill came over last night to tell me that her rapist was caught, but that she still feels unsafe and wants to move.  An eyewitness saw the rapist climb though her window, and surveillance cameras caught him walking across her courtyard and entering his own apartment. He lived right across from her and was married. Jill says she's glad he was caught, but nightmares of that night haunt her. She has changed all the locks in her doors and windows, and even when in need of fresh air she hesitates opening the windows, for fear that she'll forget to close one. At night she sleeps with her lights and TV on because the darkness and quiet frightens her. Any noise in the night startles her, and when she gets home, she looks inside every room and closet to make sure no one is inside her home. She wonders if her rapist has friends or family members in the neighborhood, and she worries that they might try to take revenge.

While Jill told me her story I frantically cooked a million dishes, chopped all the vegetables in my fridge, and put out every snack item I had on the table. But we didn't eat any of it. I needed something to do, whatever kept me from crying. But I can do something now, I can help her move. Jill does not have a lot of money and while her job is satisfying, it does not pay well. She lost time from work going to the doctor for follow-up blood tests, talking with detectives and police officers, and going to court to testify. Soon after, Hurricane Sandy hit New York causing massive damage, flooding, and power loss. Jill could not get to work for days, causing her already dwindling savings to completely vanish.

I have offered to help Jill with money so that she can find a new place to live and pay for her security deposit, first month of rent, and moving her furniture. Thinking of Jill sleeping in the same bedroom where she was assaulted and raped breaks my heart. I  speak up about rape victims needing assistance all the time, now it's time to do something about it. I have set up a PayPal account for monetary contributions to help Jill move. We can't help every woman in this world, but if we help one we're moving in the right direction.

For those of you who can donate, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who cannot, I also thank you from the bottom of my heart, for reading this story and caring. In times of need money is appreciated, but support and compassion is what truly matters.

I started writing this with trembling hands, and I finish it with a hopeful smile.

If you want to reach out to the author and if you want to help the survivor out, you can reach Patricia at @Besito86 on twitter.

Reflection: Should I name you?

I was reflecting abt my rant that I wrote on Sexual Harassment/Workplace Harassment a few days ago, and how it turned from being percieved from addressing wider issue to just blaming & shaming one person.

I am conflicted as I wanted it to be for wider audiences and I wanted to point out the fact that we do ignore such instances as they are perfectly normalized. It turned out it that transformed into all about "the person" as they disappeared from social media after its publication.
Some of my friends are of the view that "naming" takes our focus away and I know "naming" deflects the purpose of educating masses & makes it an individualized event, but does it stops Sexual Harassment from specific persons?

We have @DrDawg here who says that "naming" is indeed a great tactic to counter cyber bullying, but does it stops others from doing it? I guess "naming" sometimes helps in putting a stop to immediate harassment as the perpetrators' wider reputation is on the line.

Does "shaming" changes mindset of harassers?  Most probably not, most of them are not sorry for doing it, they are sorry for getting caught!!

There was also a concern that "naming" changes the nature of how the event is percieved by others. I dont know but I assume once a face is given to an event, different associations come up & ppl feel differently about the said event. It can highten people's feeling for some and it can also make others' resume to victim blaming [as if thats not common =.=] I assume in such cases, it becomes individualized to the person who has been reporting harassment & the perp might look for easier prey.

Rule of thumb is if u have committed a crime, u might have done it before & definetley will do it again, why not make "offenders" known. In cases of Sexual Harassment & Rape, there are "doormats" who shun the women who speak strongly abt their experiences then why be quiet abt it? What kind of purpose does being quiet serves except that it emboldens those pathetic males?

@sudixitca said:  Slapping on the face in private may not teach a person the lesson but naming should be in extreme cases.  Let me share what my concern is. In a certain age group, people tend to ..act irrationally. An embarrassed teen or a young guy can commit suicide. That is my worry. f a person genuinely apologizes and no criminal conduct/harm is present, I would forgive that person.

Why should "naming" be just in extreme cases, if someone has sexually harassed a women, dont others should be on alert?  Can harassers commit suicide due to societal pressure and shame that comes from naming ? 

You are saying if someone has faced Sexual Harassment, their perpetrators shouldnt be named cos there are countries which dont consider it as criminal offense? The prime example is Pakistan where we dont have laws that protect women from sexual harassment, where victims who face sexual violence are turned into face further humiliation of how the violence was consensual.

"Criminal definitions of harassment shouldnt be limited to just physical violence." Andaleeb emphasised. If we are making statements, they should be applicable universally esp for sexual violence cos its extremely pervasive and there are men & women who are apologists for it everywhere.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wolf Trap... continued

“I'm really tired of dealing with undercover psychos!!", I found this today on twitter.
I have been facing lot of bullshit in the past 4 days.

Its traumatizing & emotionally abusive when someone reduces you to just a "sexual object" cos of their testosterone levels which they refuse to control cos hey its their male right, no?

“Its not suppose to be something emotional dude, its just plain old sex I am asking for..its just physical", I was told, “I just want to fuck you and nothing more...thats what friends do", he continued. These are the words which ring in my ears, and makes me feel disgusted with myself, every time I need to re-live that crap.

After posting “The Wolf Trap” on twitter and receiving support from quiet a number of people, one of my tweeps (folks who follow my twitter updates) asked “Isn't that sextual abuse too?” It made me think.. is it?? Its more of a harassment but I guess it can go that way too if it extends to the point of emotional and psychological exploitation. Though there are times when we can't differ b/w harassment and abuse.

Since I wrote “The Wolf Trap”, I am being sent constant text messages and calls on how I should be removing the name used in the blog and the material. That I should be placing some big disclaimer along with the name change from “Anas” to “ABC” cos “realistic name is offensive to people with similar names” [as per our dear Anas].

I am told “stop treating a friendship like a one night stand and I care for my life and whats attached to it.” Buddy you have some fine definition of friendship, I am not sure where you grew up but I wasnt raised by wolves. You need to stop confusing your “friendship” with your flavour of the day. You do care for your life but you definetley dont care for others, now do you? Others are just plain old disposable.. garbage to be exact.

And then when I have refused multiple times to do it, I am told;

If anything happens to my life in the future you can thank yourself for it. It was of no emotional value. There is so much can happen since you documented a whole real incident. I wouldn't let your family know about it. Write whatever as an excuse just get my name of it”. 
Errr... like what will happen to your life... Oh now I remember, that everyone will know that you are actually a “creep” pretending to be progressive using liberal and feminist values. That you are actually an opportunist who is looking for vulnerable women so that you can get laid. Basically a huge fraud!! That you are not only an egoistic narcissist, who thinks he can go around and do whatever but there are no consequences none whatsoever for you, cos you are some big shot who is invincible!!!

I am honestly surprised the guy who is extremely callous pretends to be stud is actually caring about what “stupid”, “psycho” girl have to say which can bring down the empire of his spotless “reputation”.

And if you think that you have “balls” to act in such manner, then you should also be man-enough to face the consequences. I have zero sympathy for people who are manipulative and exploitative in nature. Just cos you helped me out with a few projects, it absolutely doesn't mean that I owe you my life and my principles. It absolutely doesnt mean that I will be on the phone listening to your senile arguments of how I owe you that.

I owe you nothing more and nothing less than my gratitude. I dont owe you my self esteem, my self respect and my freedom of speech.

Honestly, I might have had a change of heart if you had accepted the responsibility, apologized and said that its not something you intend to with anyone in the future... but OH NO, how can a typical male paki lad think like that, [it was about how I was twisting the words, how I was misrepresenting something which is absolutely “normal” cos a lot of guys do it and lots of women remain quiet].

Here is a news flash for you: I am not your average woman, Anas!

You are not a friend, you wouldnt know the meaning of friendship, if it hit you with a lightning bolt. Friends protect others, care for them, nurture them, not try to feed on them or use them to get what they need.

I am not your personal slave or someone you boss around at home on a regular basis, Anas!!

And this is not “bullying” as you insinuated but your texts and calls trying to “persuade” me to change my mind and make me feel guilty for something I am not responsible for, was definetley harassment.

Take this as a lesson for your future sexual adventures, learn to have proper consent from people rather than make a huge scheme to prey on them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Wolf Trap

This story is re-blogged from Sex and Fessenjoon

I think its the curse of being brown that most men especially your typical brown Pakistani men (I will talk about my own males because I am blessed with God gifted rights to railroad them) think that they can literally walk over you.

They can get to know you in the name of friendship, play with you, treat you like shit and when they are all done, their arrogant ass can throw you away.

Most of the time, they prefer that you will stick to them inspite of the emotional abuse that they are throwing at you (after all, you wouldnt be a faithful partner/girlfriend, if you didnt right?).

It’s hard-wired in their brains that all Paki chicks – especially the ones who live in the West, live independent lives, go to school, and have successful careers – are actually “whores.”

So let me introduce you the douche of the week, lets give him a name… how about “Anas,” (I hope all the Anas out there wont take offense to it).

Anas and I met through twitter-verse. He had my weakness – I like politically-enlightened guys (yes, I am a nerd like that). I enjoyed his tweets like I do for a lot of people, and we started talking about our political interests.  He ended up connecting me with some influential contacts to help me with my research (I was so happy that I could scream my lungs out).

It was awesome to work with him and everything was really great until Anas asked me about FWB (friends with benefits) uh oh. I was a little surprised, but I thought, who cares man, maybe this guy is having a quarter-life crisis.  Plus he had been so sweet with me, so why not help walk him through it.

There was my first mistake.

Lesson 1: Even if someone is on their deathbed, they are not your concern — direct them to the nearest psychiatrist.  Especially if they’re brown.

So it moved from their desire to have a f#ck buddy to asking me to be theirs (are you fucking kidding me) and they were so fucking persistent even after I had said no zillion times.

I honestly want to know, why do all these confused living-with-their-parents mama boys think that a strong independent woman is someone they need to conquer with their sexuality to appease their male pride? 

I find it extremely insulting that here I was lending an ear, trying to help return a favor cos someone has been kind to me (I am a stickler for rules like that), and they thought that they could indeed ask me for sexual favors.

Lesson 2: Nothing comes free in life, except for death and taxes.

Why would you pursue me especially when I said “NO?”  Is it a typical male psychology that NO means YES? (Sounds more like rapist psychology).

I thought this person was in some way my intellectual equal = a feminist, a leftist, and had an interest in all the amazing  things in the world — I thought we would be great colleagues.  I wanted to learn from them and work on something bigger with them than my current projects (talk about disappointment).  

Imagine my disappointment when he turned out to be the biggest closeted douche that ever existed in my life (falling into all the typical male Paki stereotypical category). 

It’s not like I’ve never been cat-called or I haven’t been pursued/harassed by random brown guys in both my virtual life and in my real life.

My point is that even the most “enlightened” folks – whose stances in political/social topics you admire – can be definite douches.

They think that they have huge advantage over all these other guys, just because they have huge fan following and admiration in the wider circle.  They actually believe that you can't talk about their doucheyness openly because no one will believe you for a second.

In such instances, you either lose all your respect for them and walk away, not knowing what would have happened if things were actually civil or you become a robot and do whatever they want you to do.

Bottom line: Beware of douche-bags, you have no idea which cloak they are disguised in…



Friday, November 2, 2012

Men who are NOT worthy of marriage

After reading that pathetic highly crappy piece of article, "Women Whom Men Should Not Marry"especially reading about his virgin mania and virgin phobia about women.

Yours truly have come up with my own set of #MenNotWorthOfMarriage after asking for people's opinions from twitterverse. So here are the men you should definetley NOT get married to;

1. Anyone who believes there are rules about who you should marry or not via Chrissie

2. Rapists... who think that their partner/wife is their sexual slave, and they are suppose to be present at their beck & call each and every time and they dont have their own set of needs and desires.

3. Abusive Men: Emotionally, psychologically, financially, physically abusive men

4. Insecure hyper-sexual control freaks [ and please dont ask what it means, I think we are all mature and we know what it means ]

5. Sexual Harassers: If someone can go and harass a woman in the street, because his testosterone level is too high and he can't keep his junk in his place, he honestly is not worth your time.

6. Rape Apologists: These are the fellas who think that shifting blame from perpetrator to the survivor the ultimate way to go about it... I mean, after all, the man has his needs and a woman is nothing but a tool to suffice it... Next time dude, try to dig a hole in the wall and make the wall pregnant.

7. Mullahs suggested by Arsalan

8. Wife beaters: And if any god damn woman claimed that how "his" beating is a sign of "his love", she is going to get another slap from me for being epically delusional.

9. Mamas boys: After all do, you really want to be married to someone living in their parents' basement and who are just too comfortable with their grown ass being taken care by their dearest mommies... yeah I wouldnt want that

10: Religiously CONFUSED: Guys who use "Quran" to justify scientific theories.. ermm.. like dinosaurs.. trust me you dont want that, the next thing you they will be quoting Allah provides them money so they shouldnt be heading to work.

11. CHASTITY WHORES: [Proposed by Sabih] who consider themselves studs, and date like 3 girls at a time [too much time on their hand, man] but when it comes to marriage "Larki sharif honi chaiyay" [the chick needs to be the most innocent girl in the world ]

12. FEUDAL LORDS : waderas, sardars, saien, chaudhris etc [highly applicable Pakistan], you dont want this douche to marginalize your voice and get off at it. These are also one of those who think that everything has a sale price so they can buy you, your opinion and your dignity.

13. Taliban Apologists: Because at the end of the day God's higher purpose includes killing people so that the "Muslim male pride" can take over the world and impose "Sharia" [whatever that means]

14. PTI Trolls: Honestly the most racist, sexist, homophobic, problematic lot that I have ever come across my life... they are the end of all the bullshit in the world.

Feel free to add yours list to the column as well.

Website last updated 2013