Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Female Rapist Robs Cabbie (or Language Matters)

Craig Shoup, writing for The Times-Messenger, on “Fremont woman charged in cab driver rape“:

A Fremont resident has been indicted on first-degree felony rape and aggravated robbery charges in Hancock County after police allege she raped a taxi driver during a robbery.

According to Findlay police, Brittany S. Carter, 23, entered a taxi around 4:24 a.m. on Jan. 28 with Cory L. Jackson, 20, of Lima, who held a knife at the male cab driver while Carter performed a sex act on him.

The part about this that shocks me is not the crime. It happens far more than people realize, despite statistical data models that intentionally skew female perpetration into a category other than rape. No, the shocking part is that she was actually charged with rape and the media are not downgrading the crime. Typically, it will be called “forced to have sex” or not discussed as an actual crime.

That is progress, sad progress, but progress the same.

Read the rest here:

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breathe in the Light Trailer


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Victim-Blaming from the Male Survivor Perspective

There is a lot of talk about victim-blaming, shaming and denial whenever the topic of rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse is discussed. No gender identification or age demographic is free from this mindset. Quite often, people don't even realize that they are engaging in such practices. Some MRAs do it. Some feminists do it. Some human rights activists do it. Some Christians do it. Some Jews do it. Some Muslims do it. Some athiests do it. Some agnostics do it. Some Republicans do it. Some Democrats do it. Some Libertarians do it.

Some people, in general, do it.

While there is understandably a good deal of discussion surrounding how victim-blaming affects female rape survivors, many people are quick to dismiss the same when it affects male rape survivors. In some cases, well-meaning people will go so far as to co-opt the traumas of one gender to highlight a point about another gender in a very dismissive or minimizing manner. Periodically, a blogger will post a commentary that runs something to the effect of "see, when it happens to teh menz, it is always taken seriously, but never when it happens to women." While I understand such pieces are meant to highlight the horrible nature of victim-blaming toward female rape survivors, the end result is that they have used a traumatic experience from one rape survivor to make the case that other rape survivors have it worse based solely on gender.

Rather than call out specific people who engage in such insensitive and hurtful practices, I will instead take some time to explore some key forms of victim-blaming that are often aimed at men. Please bear in mind that most of these have a parallel form that is directed at female rape survivors. I am not saying that only men deal with these forms of victim-blaming. Not at all. On the contrary, and unlike many who co-opt our experiences to make the false claim that only women suffer victim-blaming, I am saying such vile practices are ALSO directed at men, not SOLELY at men.


Men Can't Be Raped: This one is used by the densest of the dense without regard to gender. I've seen men AND women spout this nugget of wisdom on more than one occasion. Even if we take the most conservative estimates at face value, in the U.S. alone, that leaves nearly 3 MILLION male rape survivors.

Erections = Consent aka can't rape a wet noodle: Anyone spouting this nonsense clearly failed biology. Erections can be forced quite easily and unexpectedly. Many men can attest to embarrassing incidents that involved the appearance of an unwanted erection. A simple touch can result in involuntary stimulation. While some men may have difficulty maintaining an erection after consuming several alcoholic drinks, this is hardly universal. Further, most healthy men experience erections while asleep and often upon waking up.

Contrary to the science and personal experiences of many male rape survivors, there are plenty of people who simply cannot grasp the concept of an involuntary erection. It is almost understandable that SO MANY women believe this nonsense to the degree that some will outright mock male survivors with this myth. They don't have penises and as a result, this must all seem so simple in their heads. Really, I understand that. However, there are also a large number of morons who have no clue how their own penises work and just LOVE to broadcast that ignorance when they come across stories about male rape survivors. (sigh)

Men are Strong aka He Should Have Fought Back:
This one is actually quite common. While men are not asked what they were wearing, their physical strength and perceived ability to fight back are frequently used to invalidate. There is a ridiculous assumption that all men have the mad martial arts skills of Bruce Lee, tenacity of Charles Bronson in a Death Wish movie, and incredible calm of Clint Eastwood portraying Dirty Harry. Apparently, we are trained in hand to hand combat, weapons mastery, and How To Be Macho from birth. It is quite common for women AND men to freeze during a violent encounter. Quite often, the encounter is over without a single blow placed. Further, predators are skilled at finding ways to either nullify a person's strengths or use them against their victim. My own rapist was very skilled in this regard.

A man raped him? He must have wanted it:
This form of victim blaming is one part homophobia and one part He Should Have Fought Back. Men can overpower other men and do so regularly in physical altercations or by simply communicating a threat. Weapons are also used, as are threats against loved ones, blackmail and drugs or alcohol. The idea that all men can fight off all other men at all times defies logic and credulity. It is incredibly difficult to take a person seriously if they really believe this specious nonsense.

Women don't commit sexual violence: While the stats most often quoted show extremely low numbers of female predation, the reality differs. Quite often the same act committed by a female as by a male is counted separately or not included in official tabulations at all depending on the statistical model. These models, with all of their obvious built-in bias, are then parroted around as if they are apples to apples comparisons of male and female predation. As such biases and outright distortions are often used to eliminate them from from data sets or intentionally isolate such data in lesser or hidden categories, we have no real idea of just how many female predators exist today. For those who believe this myth, perhaps it will be eye-opening to realize that you are reading an article written by a man who was drugged and raped by a woman. We exist and it is time for those truly interested in confronting sexual violence to stop promoting this ugly myth.

Why did you wait so long to report?:
When I first told my story online, I was asked repeatedly why I waited so long to disclose and told breathlessly that it meant I was obviously lying. Those asking such questions, believed it to be some unassailable "gotcha". When pressed to justify how that invalidated a person's claims of victimization, they predictably could not defend the concept. Lack of logic and an inability to explain the relevance of their myth seems to matter none to those bent on victim-blaming and rape denial. Many survivors wait decades to confront their traumas as they were not ready at the time, had no support or lacked the ability to confront it. We all heal on our own timeframes. You can't put a deadline on healing and expect it to occur magically.

You must be in it for the money: This ugliness was used against survivors of clergy abuse as well as against some women who named high profile men as their attackers. Were it not for the hard work of SNAP and other organizations who have kept pushing against predators of the cloth, this type of victim-blaming would stilll be occurring regularly to male survivors.

A New Perspective

Whenever the topic of sexual violence arises, it seldom takes long for the victim blaming, second guessing and concern trolls to show their wildly transparent hands. What a person who has not been confronted with trauma feels they would do in response to sexual violence is hardly evidence of anything other than their own arrogant ignorance. It is time to reject the excuses, "I wouldas" and apologia. Along with that, we need to scrap this insidious new meme that male survivors of sexual violence do not get victim-blamed. For those of us who have been on the receiving end, the truth is something else entirely. This is not a case of "What About Teh Menz" or whatever other sexist expression comes to mind, but an appeal to people to behave in a humane manner and refrain from further promotion of rape myths regarding male survivors.

Stop it. Stop it now.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Yes, Rape Can Be Gendered - Against Men (and by Women)

NOTE: I am borrowing from the work of Jacob Taylor at Toy Soldiers for this article and I thank him for having done the hard work in digging out some key references.

There is quite a bit written about the "gendered nature of abuse" and much of it is often used to silence or minimize male survivors. When stats are reviewed that actually treat male and female survivors equally by asking the SAME questions and using the SAME terminology to classify the results, then the numbers change drastically. See (http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/yes-women-do-rape-boys/) for links to the studies and more in depth discussion:

  • In 1994, David Finkelhor published a paper reporting that women commit 20 percent of the sexual abuse against boys.
  • In 1996, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect found that women committed 25 percent of sexual abuse against children.
  • Both the 2000 American Association of University Women study and the Cameron study showed that about 42 percent of students reported abuse by women.
  • The 2005 Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim study found that women committed 38 percent of the abuse against boys.
  • According to a 2008 University of British Columbia study of homeless youths, nearly half the youths said at least one woman sexually exploited them, and 1 in 3 said that only women exploited them.
  • The 2008-09 Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth report found that of the staff members who sexually abused juveniles, women committing 95 percent of that abuse.
  • In 2009, ChildLine received 2,142 calls from children abused by women, and found that boys reported more abuse by women (1,722 cases) than by men (1,651 cases).

Then, we have recent CDC study which intentionally misclassified rape against men by women as "forced to penetrate others", in which case when men were victims, the perps were 79.2% women and when men had been coerced (threatened, blackmailed, etc.) into sex, women were the perps 83.6% of the time. When men do this to women, the CDC properly classifies it as rape. However, when women do it men, the CDC classifies it otherwise. Yet some people use such clearly biased and skewed stat models to beat male survivors into submission with diatribes about how rape is gendered solely as man against woman. When men are raped, they are just victims of Teh Patriarchy.

From page 24 of the CDC report, where apparently men cannot be raped by women:

For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpetrators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators (data not shown).

See http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other/ for more information and discussion.

So, it does appear that for men, rape is gendered and that in some classifications of rape (even though the CDC intentionally misclassifies such to skew the numbers), women are the primary perpetrators.

It is far past time to stop promoting and defending statistical models that intentionally erase MILLIONS of survivors simply because they have the wrong genitalia to fit certain preconceived political arguments. Maybe before shouting "What About Teh Menz" in a mocking fit, you might want to check yourself and make sure you aren't part of the problem by promoting intentionally skewed stats that misrepresent the facts and hurt other survivors. It is one thing for a person to "speak the truth about their own experience", but quite another to misuse stats or create hierarchies of survivorhood based on gender.

If we are going to have adult conversations on rape and gender, then let's use real facts that treat survivors equally, rather than tortured stats that treat the same acts differently based solely on the gender of the victim and perpetrator.

That would be far more compassionate and mature than continuing to mock us in ignorance.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It

As a vocal male survivor, when I’m not talking about sexual violence in writing or before audiences, I’m reading about it in many contexts and sources. A great deal of what I see on a daily basis is directed at men with the assumption that we know nothing about sexual violence or have no experiences that parallel those of female survivors.

Those making such arguments are often NOT sexual violence survivors themselves. Encountering such memes can be quite painful when you are a rape survivor yourself. The problem is not that female survivors receive the majority of the attention when sexual violence is discussed. The problem is that when sexual violence is discussed with regard to male survivors, there is often resistance, condescension, and outright mockery by people who quite often have not experienced such violence themselves. For those who have lived through abuse at the hands of women, that can be doubly wounding.

I’ve lived through sexual violence. I have my own story and my own experiences. I have my own triggers and my own issues. I don’t need to be educated. I don’t need to be taught what to do or not do. I don’t need any proven statistical bias to legitimize my life or my experiences. I lived it.



Approximately twenty years ago I met a friend at a club in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He came with a female friend. During the night, he disappeared leaving his friend by herself and without a ride. As she was pregnant and without a ride, I agreed to take her home when I left. She had not been out in a while and wanted to stay until the club closed that night. While she was not drinking, she bought me a few thank you drinks for agreeing to drive her home.

After a few drinks, I became very tired and disoriented. I never drank until I got drunk, especially when driving and off base. I didn’t like the feeling and it wasn’t secure off base. I just figured I was tired and had too much without realizing it. There was a motel next to the club. She suggested we get a room and sleep it off, then I could drive her home in the morning. I agreed as I was rapidly losing the ability to think or see straight. She got us a room with double beds and we split the cost.

I vaguely remember laying down with my clothes still on. I probably took off my shirt per the norm, but I left my pants on. I did not feel comfortable taking my pants off around this strange woman. She warned me that she did not want to have sex and I remember saying that I was seeing someone and was not at all interested in that either. I laid down on my side of the room and was out almost immediately.

At some point in the night, I awoke to find her on top of me. I said something I cannot remember and she coaxed me back to sleep. I doubt very much that she could even understand what I was saying, given how disoriented I felt at that time.

The next morning, after the sun had risen, I woke again feeling confused and unsure of where I was or what had transpired since getting off work on Friday afternoon. My pants were nowhere to be seen, my underwear also missing and my penis was erect. I realized that she was on top of me, grinding and moaning. I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t fucking her. I didn’t want to fuck her. Who was she again? I moved as my legs were stiff and sore from being in the same position for hours with her on top of me.

She darted her eyes at me and told me not to move. I was ordered “don’t be forceful.” She then asked if I was trying to rape her when I could not remain perfectly still and again told me not to move. In addition, I was told that I could hurt the baby if I tried to stop it. After she finally finished, I was still expected to drive her home.

In short, I was drugged, raped, threatened and had a baby used against me as a human shield. To say that experience left me messed up would be an understatement.

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I was under 21, drinking illegally in a club, while on active duty with a local, pregnant civilian. Why didn’t I report it? Read this paragraph again and think about it harder if it eludes your grasp.


The Reaction

How did I react? I buried it deep and pretended it didn’t happen, which is a common reaction for male survivors. That did not mean that it had no effect on me. I simply pretended it didn’t happen. I called it a bad night and said she was a little twisted.

As one therapist would later tell me, denial of trauma does not mean it isn’t affecting you. I believe she said that if unacknowledged, the effects would “come out sideways” and in a manner that may not be easily identifiable. For me, that was a sudden and ridiculous promiscuity that did not exist before the rape. I began to act out sexually by sleeping with any woman who offered. I turned down no one, to include several much older, married women. I did not seek out sex, I simply said yes every time.

To say that I was reckless then would be accurate. I was risking exposure to disease and potential violence from angry husbands and boyfriends. I did this for about three years before getting married and further stuffing the memories down further. Further, I lost nearly all trust in women – especially aggressive and loud women.

Nearly twenty years later, I decided to confront it. The time had come to do something about it. I sought out assistance and began to see a therapist. I spent a lot of time on me, thinking, analyzing and progressing. It was painful, but necessary work. I’m not done with it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be truly done.

While in therapy, it was as if the bandage had been ripped off suddenly and the wounds were newly raw. I had panic attacks, crying fits, sudden anger and loss of time. I felt exposed all the time, everywhere.

I had trouble being alone with a woman in a confined space like an office or elevator. Some days, I didn’t even want to stand next to a woman in line for a cup of coffee. Remember the controversy in the feminist blogosphere over strange men talking to women in an elevator? Reverse the sexes and I lived it. For me, the issue wasn’t hypothetical or used to demonstrate which gender has it worse with regard to potential sexual violence. It was based on an actual trauma response. The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.

I felt guilty all the time. I still feel guilty quite often. I feel guilty because I don’t trust women I don’t know. I feel guilty because I sometimes view women, particularly loud and aggressive white women, as potential threats to my well-being and mental health. I feel guilty because for a long time, I couldn’t look at a pregnant woman without seeing that sick woman from so many years ago.

I still struggle with some of these issues today, but not as often and not always in such intensity as before. Presently, I have returned to my prior human resources career. This field is dominated by women and has proved a big test for me.

The biggest test is sometimes just getting through the day without losing it. Some days I pass without issue, on other days I just have to give myself a hall pass so I can get on with my life.

James Landrith is a rape survivor, public speaker, internationally syndicated blogger, civil liberties activist and the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist (ISSN: 1552-3446) and The Abolitionist Examiner (ISSN: 1552-2881). Landrith can be reached by email at: james@jameslandrith.com or at his personal website/blog.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Ownership, Sexual Violence and Standard Operating Procedures

Carly Fleming of Culture Shock on "How Men Can Talk About Women's Issues":

Although there may only be one Feminist Ryan Gosling, there are other men out there offering their support for women’s issues. Any movement fighting against oppression needs to accept allies to maximize the potential to succeed; however, there is often a disconnect in dialogue that prohibits such collaboration from happening.

Last Friday at BU’s weekly Coffee and Conversation, there was a discussion on rape culture stemming from the recent events surrounding the men’s hockey team. We had real talk about slut shaming, survivors, and educating ourselves. The conversation ended with the men feeling as if they were not being given a right to contribute. In my opinion, possession of a penis is not a crime deemed punishable by exclusion. Still, men need to understand a few points before engaging in these conversations.

This is an interesting thread and article. I want to thank Carly for taking the time to write it. Please take the time to read her article and all of the comments. While my comments below were inspired by Carly's article, I am not solely focusing on her thoughts. I am making broader observations that exist independent of her comments. Please bear that in mind.

I can understand the need to have closed conversations that center on a particular gender and I support such conversations when done in a manner that is not used to create a hierarchy of survivorhood or promote minimization of other survivors. In short, the way these conversations are identified must be taken into consideration to avoid confusion, generalizations or over-reaching ownership of traumatic experiences based on narrowly defined criteria that are not openly stated.

For instance, a conversation that claims to be about rape culture or sexual violence, but is really ONLY about how the same affect women is misleading. If it is only to be about how those topics affect women, then that needs to be spelled out. If a conversation is identified as meant to discuss rape, then people will rightfully expect it to be about rape in general without exclusions. If it is only about how women are affected by rape than that caveat must be clear and spelled out in plain language. To do otherwise, a discussion/organization runs the risk of appearing to be engaging in minimization or erasure of survivors who don't fit that narrowly defined criteria.

I am a male rape survivor of a female rapist who drugged a drink and then raped me repeatedly over several hours while unconscious and continued same after the drugs wore off. I don't claim to understand how female rape survivors feel and I sure do not expect that they will understand how I feel.

By way of comparison, I've gotten to know many female survivors of female rapists and heard their stories and struggles with recognition and acceptance. They have experiences that female survivors of male rapists simply cannot understand fully from their own perspective. The view is just that different. Further, each survivor, regardless of gender identification of the perp or victim reacts uniquely in the short and long term. There is no such thing as a survivor monolith and I'm tired of seeing that concept promoted and defended in so many places.

Given that the overwhelming vast majority of women have NOT been raped, it is a bit frustrating as an ACTUAL RAPE SURVIVOR who just happens to have a penis to be told repeatedly that rape is a women's issue, quite often by women who have NOT been raped. Viewed through that lens, I find myself often shaking my head in frustration. My experience as a survivor has made the issue mine as well. I don't need the permission of a woman who has NOT been raped for me to make sexual violence an issue I take seriously and work to affect in a positive manner. Truly, I don't.

For nearly 20 years, I have lived and breathed the consequences of her decision to inflict her will on me. I've surprised many women who feel comfortable speaking authoritatively on sexual violence sans personal experience with my knowledge of PTSD response and first hand accounts of victim-blaming and healing strategies. I take issue with people male OR female who arrogantly profess to speak for survivors but do not really understand our core issues and challenges, except from an academic or political perspective. In the larger narrative on sexual violence there are giant truckloads of arrogant ignorance that need to be replaced with empathy, learning and listening - regardless of gender identification.

I fully support narrowly defined discussions and exploration of themes on whatever criteria (to include gender) is useful to those controlling the conversation at the time, but my patience is wearing thin for the broad-based hijacking of issues and promotion of generalizations on the basis of the gender when there are millions of male survivors dealing with PTSD and Rape Trauma Syndrome across the globe. We are not only allies to female survivors, but the actual affected parties in our own right. I do not need permission to speak on this issue. I, unlike many people who would see me silenced based solely on my gender, have lived it. I will not sit in the corner in shame like a petulant child awaiting mommy's permission to speak again.

I can speak for days to my own experiences with rape culture, rape jokes, victim-blaming, denial, threats, cyber harassment and outright mockery. A person who has not experienced such from the perspective of a rape survivor (regardless of gender identification) is ill-equipped to fully relate and should NOT be engaging in any form of silencing or promotion of survivor hierarchies for any reason.

Quite simply, it is not their right.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Yes, Men Can Stop Rape (But Why Stop There?)

Emily L. Hauser, writing on the "Men Can Stop Rape" campaign:

I think they are part of an important larger trend, one that can be seen in a broad array of efforts to get men involved in fighting the scourge of sexual violence, and can be heard in the voices of individual men who are standing up and speaking out. And I think that good, powerful images are one of the most powerful weapons we have in any advocacy campaign. I wish these posters were being put up all over the country.

Women can fight rape — but only men can actually stop rape. Efforts like this give me hope.

Unlike many similar efforts, this is an important and maturely executed campaign that treats men like adults and projects a positive and non-accusatory message. I’ve seen these posters for a while now and liked the message. That said, I do have a quibble with the concept that "only men can actually stop rape". Contrary to to the author's claim, women can also stop rape as some of them ARE rapists too. Violence (sexual or otherwise) isn't a men's only club.

Not only do some women molest, rape and sexually abuse male and female children and adults, they are often complicit in male predation as well. Get a group of female survivors of male predators together and you will find a large number of women who were completely failed by mothers, aunts, grandmothers, neighbors and teachers who knew what was happening or worse - helped facilitate and cover up the abuse. In addition, women also set up other women for rape as revenge, jealousy, or out of hatred.

This problem is so much larger than just pointing at men and saying "stop it."

For those who don't know and because it helps color my own view of the situation, I was raped by a woman who drugged me. I’m sorry, but she also needs to be include in the masses who can stop rape. I'd suggest that any person who used a fetus as a human shield to keep a person compliant for the purposes of committing rape (after the drugs that she had previously administered via an alcoholic beverage wore off) was definitely someone who can and should contribute to ending rape. She, and abusive women like her, are certainly part of the problem. Her possession of female genitalia doesn't change a damned thing about her actions or accountability.

Since getting involved in sexual violence advocacy work as a speaker and trainer (and survivor), I’ve heard from many male and female survivors of female predators. Women who commit sexual violence fly gracefully under the radar partially based on gender norms that view women as incapable of being monsters and men as less masculine if they admit they can be vulnerable. While empowering campaigns like this one do us no harm, claims that "only men can actually stop rape" serve to further erase and minimize our own personal experiences which don’t fit neatly into the predominant narrative on sexual violence.

Yes, I understand the stats and I can also pick many of the methodologies apart without trying – including the recent CDC study which claims that a woman forcing a male (adult or child) to penetrate her is not rape. How exactly can anyone justify using alternative language to downgrade such an action based solely on the genders of the perpetrator and victim?

I do understand Emily's point, but my own experience differs with that perspective. As much as I’d love to pretend that female rapists don’t exist or matter, I have to deal with the consequences of my own rapist's actions every day – and the general mockery and denial of men and women alike who dismiss, minimize and willfully confuse the issue with regard to female predation.

While I do support the campaign's message and the tactful and mature manner in which it has presented the images, I hope people can understand how the view is different from this angle.

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