(TRIGGER WARNING) On rape and sexual assault

I don’t care who reads my blog. I have a lot of family who reads this, many friends from back home and here and other places, many relatives whom I don’t know very well, and complete strangers too. I don’t care about social sensitivities at the moment – because this is something that needs to be read and understood by each and every one of us.

We have internalized misogyny and in doing so, we have perpetuated a rape culture, one where the victims are blamed, where the first question on a person’s mind when hearing about sexual assault is “Well, what was she wearing?”

Let’s get one thing clear – rape is not a result of sexual desire.

Rape is an instrument of inequality, dominance, and an ideology so deeply rooted in society that victims are more often than not blamed for being raped. It is rooted in cultures where victims are afraid to even report rape for fear of being shamed. It is rooted in a patriarchy where people can use rape as a method of punishment in isolated areas.

It is rooted in a world where the biggest insult to a man is being equated to women; where MALE RAPE VICTIMS are virtually unheard of because no one wants to admit to being that weak. But ladies and gentlemen, male rape victims do exist, certainly not in as large a number as women, but a substantial number nonetheless, and one that CANNOT be ignored. And it isn’t just about rape – it’s sexual harassment that happens daily and can be reported by ANY woman, EVERY DAY!

Rape is rooted in our mindsets. Which is why I say let the protests rage on. Let them not be dimmed by voices crying out for peace. Forget peace. This is when you shatter the peace to cry out in outrage. This is when you break down taboos and hush-we-don’t-talk-about-these-things ideals and say NO. I RECLAIM MY AUTONOMY. I RECLAIM MY RIGHT TO JUSTICE.

You want victory for all the women who have succumbed to the trauma of rape? For the women to haven’t and rage on and fight? For the women who’ve accepted it and moved on but still have that scar marring their pasts?

Then get angry for all the people who’ve been assaulted and harassed and raped and molested. Get angry, and get angry loud. More rapes are left unreported than are not – shame on us for perpetuating this.

Enough is enough. It’s about time we changed things. It’s about time we taught our boys not to rape and didn’t just rely on our girls to be careful, because they damn well shouldn’t need to be. No more using “rape” as a casual interjection in everyday speech. No more talk of “sluts” getting what was coming to them. No more hesitation before a woman can report her assault. And no more inaction from the people who need to take action.

Tear the silence with a scream of outrage. It’s about damn time.

KONY 2012 – the new internet meme

TRIGGER WARNING: Human Rights injunctions. Not the most fun of topics.


Now I am sure you all have heard about this phenomenon. I’m willing to bet a lot of you reading this are all for the “Make Kony Famous” campaign, and I’m sure you all have good intentions. After all, who wouldn’t want to throw a ruthless war criminal behind bars for his acts?

But this is not the way to go. Uganda is on the path to recovery, and it needs help in this recovery – what it DOESN’T need is a terribly flawed organization forming an army of twitter hashtags to make famous a man who has done all the damage he needed to, and to shed light on the LRA, which is in decline. I repeat: UGANDA IS RECOVERING.

Let’s backtrack though. Who is Joseph Kony?

Joseph Kony is the head of the LRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is a group of guerrilla fighters, whose purpose was to convert Uganda into a theocratic state. The problem which such pro-theocracy groups is that it only takes a little while before they launch a grand crusade aimed at purifying certain peoples. Then we have a problem because Joseph Kony pretty much declared himself a spokesperson of god. And then you throw a bit of occultism into the mix et, voila! Now you have a borderline cult of an army going around inducting little boys into their “cause” and raping innocent children. The LRA grew to terrorize not only Uganda, but the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Kony himself went on to take 88 wives (by “taking,” it means he declared all these poor women to be his wives, beat them into submission, and impregnated them). The LRA comprised of about 60000 child-soldiers. This number is much disputed, however, but just think about the sheer number of children they abducted.

But if this is so heinous, why am I not a fan of Kony 2012?

Scroll back up – because UGANDA IS RECOVERING. As are the other countries! And now you have Invisible Children, calling for military intervention in a country that doesn’t need it anymore just months after oil has been discovered in the country. How is this not problematic? Moreover, Invisible Children has been called out over and over for being flawed. “Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services […] with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production.

Furthermore, Invisible Children supports the Ugandan Army which isn’t all that better than the LRA by way of raping and looting. They’re asking for the kind of intervention that won’t help anyone but the military – what these people need is aid to recover, to educate, to ensure that this kind of a thing never happens again.

Hashtags and posters won’t help. When the people in question do not support KONY 2012, why should you, a person entirely detached from a situation that has little relevance now? What you can do is seek out alternative charities and spread awareness for those. That’s much better than “Making Kony Famous.” People have already tried to make Kony “famous” by trying to arrest him multiple times but that hasn’t worked out

Personally, I believe we should be focusing on preventative measures to ensure something like this will never happen again, rather than screeching about a chapter that has long since been read.

Because honestly, when has military intervention ever helped anything?

Seriously though, the next time a charity organization asks you to help a population, take the time to find out what that population has to say.

Besides. If you’re going to be harping on about war criminals, I think you should take a look at the long line of US presidents unto this day first.

Or, better yet, the guy who went on a murder spree in Afghanistan a couple days ago.

That’s a bit more relevant to, you know, 2012.










Not all things are meant to be forgiven and forgotten

Do we honestly find it so easy, as a society, to forgive people like Chris Brown simply because he’s a celebrity? Or is there something deeper, a misogynistic tendency embedded deep within a society that has grown to deem it acceptable?

Let me answer that: it’s both.

We live in the kind of mass culture where on the basis of your power, wealth and prestige, you can be forgiven for heinous things for which a normal person may not just simply be rightly convicted, but the wrong person can be convicted as we watch without batting an eyelash. Institutional racism comes into mind here; if you’re an ethnic minority and well-to-do, chances are you’ll probably be considered automatically suspicious by a not-very-ethnic police officer. Heck, you don’t even have to be a police officer, most of the time, to side-eye a middle-aged black gentleman in a suit.

But forget ethnic minorities for a second and come back to heartthrob Chris Brown. He has looks, money, and an insane following. Let’s throw Rihanna into the equation. Chances are, a lot of people liked her less because she was ruining their erotomanic desire for Chris Brown.

Now let’s throw a few punches into the equation. Chris Brown made a big, big boo boo. One that, righteously, should leave him hated and ensure a quick fall from stardom.

Except, now, in 2012, he gets defended by people because obviously, Rihanna had it coming. And it’s not like he caused permanent damage or anything, right? Besides, the chick’s making songs about how much chains and whips excite her! Look, he’s obviously remorseful, look at all those songs he’s making about how she ruined his life just because he messed up her face a little.

And everyone falls for it. It’s Rihanna’s fault for being a strong, black woman. She should have known better than to ruin Chris Brown’s career, that harlot!

If Rihanna was your sister, you’d be feeling very, very differently about forgiving Chris Brown. If you were a decent human being, you would despise Chris Brown because men like that do not deserve to be forgiven if they hit their significant other and whine about it in songs about heartbreak.

But this isn’t even an isolated event, this happens all the time. Take yesterday, where half the world was mourning the lost of songstress Whitney Houston, while the other half was muttering, “she had it coming, that lousy drug addict,” and making ha-larious graphics about how they can’t tell Michelle Obama, Oprah and Whitney apart because, here’s the kicker, they’re all black!

Conveniently, everyone chooses the forget the abuse she was subject to by her husband, Bobbi Brown. Everyone forgives Charlie Sheen because he’s funny. No one raised a fuss against Mel Gibson, cause he was Jesus Christ, you guys!

Take a step back, world, and start thinking about acquiring a bit of decency. Women, this goes out to you too – oftentimes, we’re the ones judging our own sex, we’re the ones putting ourselves down, we’re the ones making snide comments and setting the egalitarian movement back a couple decades with every Fair & Lovely add we watch.

Think a little. I’ve heard it’s something some humans can do.

Also, courtesy of the incredible Kate Beaton:


EDIT: For a detailed account of what exactly happened the night Chris Brown beat Rihanna, go here.
EDIT 2: If this isn’t the perfect example of psychotic ignorance slash cult worshiping of celebrities, I don’t know what is. Thank you to a friend who showed me this article!