This tired, old victim blaming thing.

It is always disappointing when an opportunity to have a positive influence on how we perceive and condemn violence against women turns into another conversation of  how women are the ones that need to change their actions if they want to avoid being assaulted by men. This is what happened in a Q&A episode this week with a panel discussing Floyd Mayweather’s history of domestic violence.

When it comes to questioning the ways we talk about more complex forms of male violence against women, and the way our society responds to it, we just can’t get past the victim blaming mentality that accepts male violence against women as a ‘fact of life’ that women must navigate rather than society eradicate.

When a man is assaulted, men are not told to avoid walking the streets alone, because that would be ridiculous. Women, on the other hand, are consistently given this directive after violent incidents – even when the victim is attacked in broad daylight. It might not sound like “blame”, but implicitly, it is. It comes from the assumption that the streets are not women’s territory, and we don’t have the same right to walk them in safety as men do. We are expected to keep ourselves safe, because of an assumption that the dangers facing us are unavoidable except if we take extraordinary measures of our own to avoid them.

One of the best Twitter responses to the Q&A episode was Kon Karapanagiotidis:

Dear #qanda don’t discuss violence women ever again unless every sentence starts with either
“Men must
“Men’s behaviour
“Men need to change

Come on Q&A, do better.

Read the full article here >

Young, drunk, and in a sketchy place late at night.

You have probably seen this one but in case you haven’t… An Argentinian woman who works at a bus terminal has had her Facebook post message against slut-shaming and rape culture go viral. The post is brilliant:

“Yesterday at the bus terminal at 6 a.m., there was a drunk man, and ten minutes later he fell into a deep sleep. He had oversized pants that left his underwear and half of his ass exposed.

In sum: young, drunk, late at night, in a sketchy place like the terminal and with his ass in the air… and not I, nor any of the women who passed by this spectacle, raped him or killed him.

You see guys — it’s not so hard, and that no matter how drunk one is or how one is dressed, it’s possible to respect the lives of others???”

“Both men and women should pay less attention to the clothes worn by girls and deal more with teaching boys of future generations to NOT violate, harass, stalk, and kill.”

Read the full article here >

Brazil’s street harassment map.

Juliana de Faria from Sao Paolo has started Chega de Fiu Fiu (“Enough with the Catcalls”), an online map which records women’s instances of verbal and physical assaults.

It is both a community where women can vent and support each other and also serves as documentary evidence that harassment is real, and it is as serious problem – not something women should just be expected to take as a ‘compliment’.

“It’s going to take some time until we change this behaviour for good,” Juliana said. “But street harassment is now being seen as assault – and that’s the beginning of real change.”

Read the full article here >

Street harassment, it’s a compliment right?

A very sensible article on an issue that needs more prominence.

What happens to women on the streets is not seen as a critical issue – it is certainly not taken with the same level of seriousness as the safety of young men at risk of coward punches (where laws were changed, new terms coined). “Street harassment” is not even specifically referred to in the federal government’s much trumpeted national plan to reduce violence against women.

Read article >