“That’s because Louis’s behavior didn’t hurt the system. It maintained the system. It alienated women from careers in comedy and allowed everyone to continue to live in a world where they could believe that the table, the Official Council of American Funny, was a place only straight men were worthy of reaching.”

– Guy Branum: Tear Down the Boys’ Club That Protected Louis C.Kb

German feminist activists have called for a law reform for some time. The debate was picked up again after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve and other cities. Groups of men were apparently pick-pocketing and assaulting women. Since then, the country has discovered that only one of these accusations is actually a crime. And because many attackers were described as non-white the law on asylum seeking has been tightened while groping is still legal and wasn’t even included in the latest reform draft.

On sexual abuse in Germany A good article about the current discussion of sexual assault and rape culture in this country.

“Here’s the thing; if your plan was to stop only when I became unresponsive, then you still do not understand.”

Emily Doe, the victim of Brock Turner, wrote – and then read in court –  an incredibly powerful, clear, and moving letter during the sentencing process. Turner, a former Stanford student-athlete, was convicted by jury of a number of accounts relating to rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced to a mere 6 months in county jail “because a longer sentence would have ‘a severe impact on him’” according to the judge. Turner still denies assaulting her.
There are many quotable passages in the letter, but I recommend reading it in full. It might be tough (obvious trigger warning) but it’s an important read, as she details not only how she was hurt and the lasting impact of the assault, but also how degrading, confusing, and revictimizing the process of justice was/is for her as the survivor.
The letter is a must-read. Especially for fellow men.
Buzzfeed has published the letter in full.

Beverly Johnson: Bill Cosby Drugged Me.

Top model Beverly Johnson is among the now countless women Bill Cosby lured in with his charismatic superstar persona and then drugged in order to sexually assault them. Her piece for Vanity Fair is a really important read (if you have the stomach for it: she describes the drugging in detail; discusses sexual assault.) Her story shows that Cosby was acting out complex plans in order to abuse women. These weren’t “heat of the moment” actions. Allegedly, I guess, but there are now really too many accounts of women – including rich and famous women – to not believe their collective stories.

Johnson’s article is also really good at explaining why she did not come forward earlier. Given the issues with Black masculinity, this passage stood out:

Finally, I reached the conclusion that the current attack on African American men has absolutely nothing to do at all with Bill Cosby. He brought this on himself when he decided he had the right to have his way with who knows how many women over the last four decades. If anything, Cosby is distinguished from the majority of black men in this country because he could depend on the powers that be for support and protection.

Like many, I grew up loving the Huxtables. But that love for Bill Cosby’s work is now overshadowed by his personal malicious actions, and the women bravely telling their stories aren’t the ones ruining that influential, wonderful show. Cosby did. “Allegedly.”

Beverly Johnson: Bill Cosby Drugged Me.

It’s On Us: Sexual Assault PSA

“It’s On Us” is another well-made, common sense, public awareness campaign backed by celebrities and the White House. It’s an almost entirely US-focused campaign (you can’t even buy a shirt outside of the USA), but the issue is international.

It really Is On Us (and I’m specifically looking at us men) to actually translate it from awareness into action – and not just by buying a tshirt, changing an avatar, or raising money. I’m also not sure where the donated money goes besides Generation Progress/Center for American Progress, which… isn’t great. However, the website does give a few helpful tips how we can act, and the video is a good call to action

This doesn’t make sense. People who use the phrase “rape culture” do not deny that rape is a matter of individuals making the active choice to rape. “Rape culture” is a very useful way to describe the idea that rapists are given a social license to operate by people who make excuses for sexual predators and blame the victims for their own rapes. Instead of recognizing this, or, at the very least, just not bringing it up at all in its memo, RAINN instead bashes a straw man, arguing that the focus on “rape culture” diverts “the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”

Feminists who coined and spread the phrase “rape culture” are not denying that rapists need to be held personally responsible for their criminal behavior. They are pointing out all the cultural reasons that this doesn’t happen: the myth that false accusations are common, the myth that rapists are just confused about consent, and the myth that victims share the blame for drinking too much or otherwise making themselves vulnerable. Only by tackling these cultural problems will we be able to see clearly that rapists know exactly what they’re doing and punish them for it. Rape culture doesn’t cause the desire to rape, but it allows rapists to rape with the confidence that comes from knowing you’re very unlikely to be prosecuted for it. Surely they have Google search at the RAINN offices that could have helped clear this up, but if not, an intern could have called one of the many feminists who speak out regularly about this issue to understand it better before dismissing it publicly.

Armanda Marcotte: RAINN attacks the phrase “rape culture” in its recommendations to the White House, obviously doesn’t understand it.

This is one of the really frustrating cases when (roughly speaking) cultural actors with a wide reach, like RAINN, ignorantly or deliberately do not understand slightly more complex concepts that describe cultural phenomena/problems. The term rape culture does not negate the rapist’s personal responsibility/guilt. However, It’s useful to describe all the other problematic aspects in our culture that are terrible in addition to the individual cases of sexual assault, violence.

New White House Sexual Assault PSA

The White House released a pretty good PSA against sexual assault featuring some preyy big names besides the two top men at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Daniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers, and Steve Carell.

I like it when famous men, especially men famous for being “macho,” speak out in this way. We men need to teach other men not to rape. Statistically, we all know and maybe value someone who has committed some form of sexual abuse.

I want to note, however, that the video uses the common but problematic rhetorical device of framing the terribleness of abuse by stressing that the affected are “our” mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc. Which is sadly accurate; statistically we all know and probably love someone who has experienced sexual abuse. I know why they use it, but still – women* deserve to be free from abuse regardless of their relationship to men, they deserve it as people. This (culture of) abuse needs to be fought regardless of who is hurt.

Another Terry Richardson Victim Comes Forward – The Cut

Because I keep seeing images of Terry Richardson’s underwhelming fashion & celebrity photo shoots on my timelines, here is a reminder what a predatory rapist creep he seems to be. You can easily google numerous other accounts like the model’s linked above, from equally reputable sources like NY Magazine. [CN: description of sexual assault in The Cut article.]

Another Terry Richardson Victim Comes Forward – The Cut