“We are never asking for it”

Written By: - Date published: 6:57 am, January 5th, 2018 - 75 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, patriarchy, sexism - Tags: , , , , , ,

Below is the stunningly awesome Madeline Anello Kitzmiller in her own words. A must listen for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of what has happened at and since she was assaulted at Rhythm and Vines. Her video is rich with progressive politics, social intelligence and heart. Background post is here.

Kitzmiller,

Two months ago at a club in Portland I was groped in the same fashion while I was fully clothed. I’ll point out that every single person there, man and women, reacted, and the man was thrown out instantly. I promised myself that the next person to touch me like that, I would punch in the face. The man who grabbed me at RnV happened to be him, and my anger was fuelled not only by that harassment throughout the day but throughout  my life.

One of the many messages that I’ve been receiving, the one that sticks out the most, is a fellow woman telling me that while she was alone at Rhythm and Vines a man came up to her and grabbed her, and while she was fighting back another man came up to her and grabbed her and tried to drag her off to a nearby bush. She was wearing a jacket and sweatpants. Thankfully she managed to get away safely.

Three things here. One is, everyone still doing it can now stop with the naked breasts = asking for it rhetoric. Kitzmiller just told us a story that centres this whole thing exactly where it should be, in the context of rape culture. It doesn’t matter what women wear or don’t wear, they still get assaulted.

The other is that punching back in a situation like this is valid, and is an act of both self defence in the moment as well as pushing back against rape culture in general. Many people reading this, especially women, will understand what Kitzmiller means when she said her anger was fuelled from experiences throughout her life. That anger is righteous and acting on that righteously far transcends abstract ideals about violence that are largely based in modern patriarchal, faux-liberal ‘violence is wrong’ constructs that not only fail to take into account the seriousness of rape culture but often actively sanction it. Aunty Jackie nailed it,

And Chloe Ann-King,

My third comment is that this isn’t predominantly about some men being badly socialised around nudity, although I think that is an issue also (and I know almost nothing about the man at RnV or his motivations). It goes deeper than that, to collective values around body sovereignty and women’s human rights, and the ways that men in particular are socialised by patriarchal society into acting to maintain injustice and male privilege. That Kitzmiller’s FB thread is full of victim blaming and abuse tells us that NZ still has a long way to go.

Whatever else needs to change, men learning what rape culture is and choosing to change it is imperative. That requires listening to politicised women and then to men who have done the mahi of emancipating themselves from their own macho socialisation (see links below).

Here’s Madeline Anello Kitzmiller,

 

Other pertinent voices:

Stephanie Rodgers’ post What did she expect?

Graham Cameron’s post Hey, saw you grab her breast at Rhythm & Vines. Come on bro, it’s time to apologise

Brad Kul’s FB rant about men’s behaviour and responsibility,

Moderation note: this post is intended to provide a good space for women and survivors of sexual assault. Please take care in how you express your thoughts. 

75 comments on ““We are never asking for it””

  1. Antoine 1

    Weka I agree with what you say (and quote) in the post.

    I only have one reservation. If a man assaults a woman and then leaves the scene, I am not sure that it is the best idea for her to pursue and confront him. I agree it is morally right for her to do so, but on a pragmatic basis I am not sure it is the best idea, as it may expose her to some risk. Firstly she may get injured. Secondly she may injure the attacker, which is fine in itself, but I am not sure that she would legally be able to claim self defense if it came to court.

    I could post some supporting links if that would help.

    A.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      You obviously haven’t watched and listened to the video embedded in the post. In it Kitzmiller says t may not always be safe to hit the harasser, and that people should take care not to take unnecessary risks doing that.

      She says she felt safe to hit back at R&V as there were a lot of security about.

      • Antoine 1.1.1

        She had to make a call as to her own situation.

        Others also should weigh the risks, having regard to the fact that a physical confrontation can quickly become dangerous – see e.g. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/news/one-punch-medical-effects-can-kill

        A.

        • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1.1

          Duh!? So now you are ignoring what Kitzmiller said in her video, and looking for something else to reprimand her with?

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            pretty much.

            • Antoine 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Not criticising Kitzmiller, but encouraging others to take a safe course of action.

              (Edit: for an example supporting my view, see http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/girl-bottled-thrown-floor-thug-11088326. Warning, violent content. The link describes a situation where a woman confronted a man who had assaulted her friend, and was herself injured, with permanent effects on her health. I would like for others to avoid this situation.)

              A.

              • Antoine

                But as a man, I should probably keep out of this discussion. No doubt there is a woman here who has undergone self defense training, who can comment on whether it is advisable for a woman who has been assaulted to pursue and confront the attacker.

                A,

                • weka

                  I’ve undergone self defence training and I fully support Kitzmiller, or any woman, to do what she needs to when being sexually assaulted. As has been pointed out, what she did isn’t for everyone, women can make their own decisions. For me the core of the issue is in what Aunty Jackie tweeted.

                  It’s not that you should keep out of the discussion, it’s that if you are going to be here, are you going to learn from what politicised women are saying.

              • weka

                Still think this is a duh moment. And you fail to understand that there isn’t necessarily a safe course of action. In part because men keep insisting that their reckons are the important thing.

        • Obtrectator 1.1.1.2

          A few relatively (I said RELATIVELY) light blows by a woman when you’re in a grassed area are not remotely comparable with a king-hit by some booze-enraged musclebound thug that results in you banging your head violently on a concrete or tarmac surface.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2

        “She says she felt safe to hit back…..”

        But she may not have the Law on her side under those circumstances….

        http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM328268

        Gropey Sleazeball had skittered back to his possie/posse and was sitting down when she righteously slapped him….

        • Hornet 1.1.2.1

          I agree Rosemary. The defence of ‘self defence’ becomes very difficult to argue when a person leaves the scene of the offence to follow the perpetrator. What got me about this incident too was how the man was almost appearing to hide amongst his friends. Gutless and sleazy.

        • Sabine 1.1.2.2

          Let her argue her case in a Court of law, and have the groper be called up to give testimony – and his friends – about how she assaulted him out of the blue. I would watch that.

    • weka 1.2

      Not sure what your point is Antoine. The man who had harassed her hadn’t left the scene, he was sitting on the ground a few metres away.

      Of course there is risk in a woman punching a man who just assaulted her. As Carolyn said, duh. But you seem to be saying that women shouldn’t make those risk assessments for themselves, because the situation is dangerous. If so, that’s patronising and undermining of women’s power. And, the situation is already dangerous, as I thought the post made clear.

      The thing that interests me more is whether as a man you are willing to listen to politicised women and learn something, or whether you think your own reckons are the important thing here.

      • Antoine 1.2.1

        I read your post, largely agreed with it, and have now said all I have to say on my one area of disagreement.

        A.

  2. Carolyn_Nth 2

    From the post:

    The other is that punching back in a situation like this is valid, and is an act of both self defence in the moment as well as pushing back against rape culture in general. Many people reading this, especially women, will understand what Kitzmiller means when she said her anger was fuelled from experiences throughout her life. That anger is righteous and acting on that righteously far transcends abstract ideals about violence that are largely based in modern patriarchal, faux-liberal ‘violence is wrong’ constructs that not only fail to take into account the seriousness of rape culture but often actively sanction it.

    So…. getting the discussion back on topic…. I repeat:

    the seriousness of rape culture – and I would add, the wide spread personal, social, emotional and physical damage it causes.

    e.g. as reported in the post, in a quote from Kitzmiller:

    a fellow woman telling me that while she was alone at Rhythm and Vines a man came up to her and grabbed her, and while she was fighting back another man came up to her and grabbed her and tried to drag her off to a nearby bush. She was wearing a jacket and sweatpants. Thankfully she managed to get away safely.

  3. greywarshark 3

    The taking and not caring culture sets up society for the rape culture. It also sets us up for war and attacks of violence and not giving others the rights to move round without being stopped and questioned. This culture is oppressing a vast majority. Changing from rape culture with the mindset turning to considering others and not just taking, off invading countries, people and individuals. It is all connected in a global economic culture that encourages exploitation. (Just to set it in context as I see it.)

    • One Two 3.1

      Correct , GW

      ‘It is all connected’

      Examination of issues in silo’s will not lead to sustainable outcomes

      Human beings are being abused…there is no monopoly ….the constant references to ‘patriarchy’ are missing the point IMO…….

      Until ‘we’ figure this out….status quo…..

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        One Two
        If you are agreeing with me then I think we should be sure what it is we agree on. I don’t think that patriarchy concerns can be dismissed completely. Women do have more agency than before say 1950. However their faults are magnified by men, and particularly the comfortably off who value and respect money and materialism, most women I think are regarded as second-grade men, and can achieve a higher position only by serving the interests of the comfortably off in some way, or by being ‘pure’ and a heroine of some sort.

        Individually women may find respect and love from family and society but there is a general downplaying and generalising of women that surfaces now and then, for instance when the head of a prominent Chamber of Commerce dissed women in business as being unreliable not so long ago as they tended to be flaky, off their heads or unwell every month. (That’s roughly how I remember the remark.)

        • One Two 3.1.1.1

          GW,

          I was in agreement with your statement up to and including It is all connected…

          Your entire comment, essentially

          Beneath the bold It is all connected are my own worded perspectives and were not intended to be read as anything other than that

          I make no comparison to the imbalances which do exist between male and female, because I am not going to engage in what I believe is an imbalanced discussion around ‘patriarchy’, what it is and who ‘suffers more’ from the impacts

          To re-confirm my position

          Human beings are being abused…there is no monopoly ….the constant references to ‘patriarchy’ are missing the point IMO…….

        • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.1.2

          Mihi’s finest hour….(now a real woman…kind and compassionate and considerate as we are ‘posed to be…would have removed the man’s spade before he buried himself completely.)

  4. Sabine 4

    The myth about what were you wearing / how you were behaving / must’ave done something to deserve it

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/powerful-art-exhibit-powerfully-answers-the-question-what-were-you-wearing_us_59baddd2e4b02da0e1405d2a

    i would like to point out that the little dress belongs to a girl no more then three or four.

    i was raped in my own bed, wearing a flannel gown and my sister slept in the bed next to me. She was 6 i was just about to turn 12 – my rapist was my stepfather. That is how banal rape is. The banality of evil applies to rape. For many many women it is a rite of passage.

    The sad thing is that we are still discussing the same shit.
    – alcohol consumption is no excuse to grope, assault or rape.
    – women don’t dress for men, they dress for themselves
    – women are not there for the entertainment of men who have a questionable idea about what is sex and how to go about it
    – if men can’t go out without risking to grope, assault or rape someone then they should stay home under supervision until they have learned to behave in public.

    and to those that want to bring up men being raped?

    – do men ask themselves what they wear and if they wear clothes that would not incite rape rather then wear shorts, tight T-shirts, shiney shoes, tight trousers or anything that may give someone the idea that the wearer is ‘asking for it’
    – do men ask themselves if the roads they travel are save and do they adjust their itinerary in order to avoid getting themselves raped
    – what do men do to prevent their drinks from getting spiked
    – what tips do men receive in mens magazines, from the police, from their parents, their schools, their religious support to prevent their rapes
    – what areas of town are supposedly out of reach for men lest they accept that this calls for their rapes, and what do they do if they have to go to these areas in town for business, or because they live there, or their family lives there?
    – how many drinks are save for men to drink before they are drunk enough to get raped without impunity
    – what precautions do men take when they go on a first date? Call a friend half way through dinner for an update, text a friend with all the information about where one goes to dine and wine? Text a friend with the car details of the date?

    cause these are all a few things that women do to keep themselves save, in fact that is how girls from the smallest age on get conditioned to always make sure that they ‘don’t give men the wrong ideas’. Cause clearly the poor men can’t help themselves, when they see boobies they must grope. Its the manly thing to do. right? Oh and if we punch a fucker who gropes us, we are the ones assaulting the poor poor man thing? Fuck this bullshit. Can anyone ask the dude what the heck he was thinking and why he thinks it is acceptable? Please give him an interview. Why do you think you can go up and grope women?

    • …that is how girls from the smallest age on get conditioned to always make sure that they ‘don’t give men the wrong ideas’. Cause clearly the poor men can’t help themselves…

      That’s the central premise of Sheikh Hilali’s “uncovered meat” argument. Most NZ men seem capable of figuring out the evil of that argument, but can’t make the logical connection between the “uncovered meat” thesis and their own variations on “well she should have/shouldn’t have” when one of their fellow blokes assaults or rapes someone. The central premise is the same: men can’t help themselves, and shouldn’t have to. Hilali’s argument is just a more clearly expressed version of theirs, and it’s helpful to tell them that.

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        Hence why i would like to see / read / hear the interviews with the agressor explaining what they did and why they did it, rather then again and again the same interviews that puts the onus on the victim.

        Let them explain that meat is meat, and that when they see meat they want to have it, fry it, eat it and throw the left over bones away.
        Again and again until men are sick and tired of hearing how they can’t help themselves when they see meat.
        I want men to finally come out to say ‘ we are not beasts’, cause this attitude and these acceptable excuses (by society) turns all men into beasts until they prove that they are not. And even then, everytime men encounters a women he does not know, he again is the beast that can not be trusted, and appropriate steps need to be taken to keep save from the beast, i.e. change the side of the road, run instead of walking, going into a shop waiting for the men to pass, hide in a doorway, etc etc.

        I want men to understand that. If we are meat, you are beasts and beasts need to be kept on a leash in a cage with a muzzle.

  5. Bill 5

    Something I’ve been wondering in the face of all this victim blaming…what would the reaction have been (from some of those same people) if that exact scenario had been played out by a brown skinned guy and not a white skinned one?

    Have also thought how much things would be propelled forward if the guy in the vid did some positive social media stuff off the back of “getting it”. Just dreaming though, as I suspect his time, thought and energy is just being taken up by way of ribbings from his mates.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.1

      He didn’t, but another guy did, as linked in the post:

      The reason I know is because I was you, bro.

      I could probably make a lot of excuses: early domestic violence; early introduction to pornography; hyper masculine institutions including college and rugby; alcohol abuse. And all of them contributed a bit.

      But in the end, the uncomfortable truth is that I was that guy who ran up and grabbed Madeline Anell-Kitzmiller’s breast. The details and context are different, but the toxic combination of wild aggressive entitlement, lust and support of my peers is the same.

      I hurt some young women when I was your age. Sometimes it was a mistake and sometimes I was egged on by mates and sometimes I made a choice.

      So bro, it’s time to apologise.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1

        Yeah…I read that. My first reaction was to say “Once a sleazy, gropey, misogynist always a sleazy gropey misogynist so why don’t you slither back under your rock and keep your ‘I’ve been redeemed’ narrative to yourself.”

        But then….perhaps the likes of gropey sleazy guy will only listen to another gropey sleazy guy…eh, bro?

        Blokes…..sigh….

      • Bill 5.1.2

        Yeah, but lets say Graham Cameron had written the most insightful and “on point” piece that struck chords left, right and centre. Is the guy who was at Rhythm and Vine, his mates or his peers even ever going to come across it? I doubt it.

    • Sabine 5.2

      as i said above,

      we should be interviewing the groper. Let him defend his actions and tell the public why he was ‘assaulted’ by the women after he groped her.

      Let him literally say, her naked boobies made me do it, and my mates shouted me free piss for doing it.

      As for race, maybe we leave this for another time, or maybe race only plays an issue if it is a brown fellow groping a white women, but would it be a problem if a white men groped a brown women? any which way, does it matter in this case?

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.3

      There’s a lot of stuff been written about race and sexual abuse/rape. Basically, it’s a black bogeyman stereotype that constructs narratives that present black men as the main rapists.

      Meanwhile women of colour are multiply abused (as women and black/brown) – ditto for the abuse of low income and working class women by Toffs – so it IS about power.

      But, race isn’t the topic of the post, which is summarised at the end of the post:

      Whatever else needs to change, men learning what rape culture is and choosing to change it is imperative. That requires listening to politicised women and then to men who have done the mahi of emancipating themselves from their own macho socialisation

      And here is a very good post about gender and whataboutery.

  6. Lara 6

    this is a big reason why I’ll never attend a music festival, and in fact will very rarely attend any pubic music anything

    it is simply not safe for women to do so

    I’d like to think I’d have the courage to thump any man who tried to grope me, I sure do have a lot of anger built up from being sexually abused, assaulted and harassed over the years, but the last time it happened to my great dismay all I did was freeze

    freezing when being assaulted… it’s terrifying, but seems it comes from a very primitive part of the brain and is incredibly hard to change / overcome

    maybe with the #metoo movement 2018 is the year we can finally stop endlessly discussing what victims and survivors of sexual abuse and assault do / don’t to, and start focussing the conversation on the perpetrators / abusers and what they do and don’t to.

    maybe this will be the year we can start focussing on how sexual harassment / assault / abuse is gendered and so start finding cultural solutions and change

    because if we are continually derailed and abused for trying to name the problem, it won’t get named and examined, and then we’ll never find a solution

    IMO

    • Sabine 6.1

      you will never ever hear a bloke say this (just you know to prevent himself from being assaulted or worse)

      “this is a big reason why I’ll never attend a music festival, and in fact will very rarely attend any pubic music anything

      it is simply not safe for women to do so”

      This is just so sad. Sad and maddening, that women all over this planet, old, young, middle aged, mothers, single, widowed, orphaned, will not go to concerts or open air festivals, for fear of getting assaulted and raped.

    • Ross 6.2

      it is simply not safe for women to do so

      Nearly every woman who attended RnV wasn’t groped, and some 13,000 people attended. Which suggests that it is safe to attend events like RnV. Fifteen people who attended RnV were possibly afflicted with norovirus. That seems to have been the main risk. But the vast majority weren’t affected.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/100292575/rhythm-and-vinesgoers-vomiting-was-so-bad-she-fell-unconscious

      • Psycho Milt 6.2.1

        If you’re the woman some guy is trying to drag behind a bush, the fact that most women weren’t subject to attempted rape is probably of little comfort. Risk assessment involves assessing the impact of the risk if it eventuates, not just the likelihood of it eventuating.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          Amazing how many people miss that aspect of risk assessment.

          • Sabine 6.2.1.1.1

            i don’t think they miss that aspect, but having it said out so directly might make them uncomfortable realizing that this is what women have to do every day, hence the need to downplay how women plan their travels, activities, personal and professional live.

            Can you imagine a bloke stating that they would not go to a concert for fear of assault and rape? yeah, right Tui.

            • Ross 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Sabine

              Most murder victims and victims of manslaughter are men. More men than women die or are injured in car accidents. Men get assaulted, as do women. So yeah I’d say men do make assessments of risk at specific times.

              http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/homicide-victims-report-2015.pdf

              http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/roadcrashstatistics/monthlyoverviewofcrashstatistics/monthly-road-crash-statistics-update-september-2017/

              • Sabine

                Please answer me these points here.

                and to those that want to bring up men being raped?

                – do men ask themselves what they wear and if they wear clothes that would not incite rape rather then wear shorts, tight T-shirts, shiney shoes, tight trousers or anything that may give someone the idea that the wearer is ‘asking for it’
                – do men ask themselves if the roads they travel are save and do they adjust their itinerary in order to avoid getting themselves raped
                – what do men do to prevent their drinks from getting spiked
                – what tips do men receive in mens magazines, from the police, from their parents, their schools, their religious support to prevent their rapes
                – what areas of town are supposedly out of reach for men lest they accept that this calls for their rapes, and what do they do if they have to go to these areas in town for business, or because they live there, or their family lives there?
                – how many drinks are save for men to drink before they are drunk enough to get raped without impunity
                – what precautions do men take when they go on a first date? Call a friend half way through dinner for an update, text a friend with all the information about where one goes to dine and wine? Text a friend with the car details of the date?

                cause these are all a few things that women do to keep themselves save, in fact that is how girls from the smallest age on get conditioned to always make sure that they ‘don’t give men the wrong ideas’.

                Also, please, link to one article about a man raped where the following question have been raised – in order to undermine the victime –
                – what did he wear
                – why did he drink
                – how much did he drink
                – where was the mother
                – were where his friends
                – why did he go out alone
                – why did he not call a taxi
                – why did he invite this person home
                – what was he thinking dating this person
                – what did he expect getting dressing like this

                other then that i would really like to know how you come to the conclusion that catching the norovirus is equal to ‘catching’ a rape/assault.

                last but least, women get killed too. So i guess we can go back to the topic at hand, assault, of women at the hand of men, captured on video, with women defending themselves. Yes?

              • weka

                “Most murder victims and victims of manslaughter are men.”

                And when 1 in 4 men are murdered you *might get to make that comparison with rape and sexual abuse. In the meantime, you appear to be running ‘what about men’ lines, which as the author of the post I consider to be a derail. If you have a point to make that isn’t that, please rethink how you are coming across.

        • Ross 6.2.1.2

          PM,

          I was responding to Laura’s point about safety. The fact remains that 15 people ended up in hospital, possibly the result of norovirus. I’m not aware any woman was dragged behind a bush, or there was any attempt to do so, at RnV.

          • weka 6.2.1.2.1

            Your lack of awareness being the critical point. You don’t get to say what is safe for women, the women who were there, or who chose to not be there do.

            Comparing novovirus to rape is stupid, and a derail. They’re quite different things. Please don’t minimise rape culture and the effect it has one women.

            • greywarshark 6.2.1.2.1.1

              Perhaps men raping is caused by a disease? Like norovirus. And all men should have an innoculation against it. Plus hints on how not to be infected like staying away from casual sexual encounters.

              Of course that good advice would also apply to women. But if men could avoid feeling up women in a jolly sort of way, all fun and no harm done etc., which isn’t true, then big steps would be taken in changing the culture that accepts rape as acceptable, or blames it on the female or male victim.

              Syphilis used to be rife and caused a lot of people to suffer, however I don’t know that it stopped males. And infected men then passed it on to their wives and future children.

          • Psycho Milt 6.2.1.2.2

            The fact remains that 15 people ended up in hospital, possibly the result of norovirus.

            More likely the result of spending a few days in pretty unsanitary conditions than norovirus, and even if it were norovirus, nowhere even near the same league as being sexually assaulted or raped.

            I’m not aware any woman was dragged behind a bush, or there was any attempt to do so, at RnV.

            Did you try reading the post? Also: of course you’re not aware of it – women tend not to raise with their male acquaintances the topic of those times they were almost (or actually were) raped. Which is something that ought to make you think twice about trying to tell women there’s little risk to them in attending an event like that – you aren’t aware of what happens, but they are.

            • weka 6.2.1.2.2.1

              “women tend not to raise with their male acquaintances the topic of those times they were almost (or actually were) raped.”

              Doubly so with men who minimise sexual assault.

              • Sabine

                and also it keeps men quiet about their own rapes. Cause if women can’t speak up because men minimise sexual assault what can raped men expect?

                that is the sad reality.

            • JanM 6.2.1.2.2.2

              You’re right – we do tend to be careful about telling about rape, especially to men. I think a bit of this is the remains of the ‘virgin’ concept – yuck.
              My most clear case of rape happened when I was not in any shape to do anything legal about it (and as this was in the 80s we all know how that could have turned out!). So whenever his name was mentioned (he lived in Central Auckland, as I did and was reasonably well known as an author, amongst other things) I would just say casually, and without emphasis – “Oh yes, he’s my rapist” – The responses were very interesting to say the least – especially from men – ranging from embarrassment to pretending they hadn’t heard. Interestingly, and as a result, I think, of saying it without fuss, no-one ever tried to say they didn’t believe me. If anyone asked me I would tell them how it happened, again without drama – heaven knows if it had any retributive result, but I certainly felt better.

      • Lara 6.2.2

        FFS

        plenty of women who attend music festivals and concerts get sexually assaulted

        it’s a thing, and women know it

        very few of them will make public what has happened to them

        and so as a man instead of telling me my risk assessment is wrong, how about you listen to the very real dangers we face and our experiences.

        http://www.amodelofcontrol.com/?p=2763

      • mpledger 6.2.3

        Nearly every woman who attended RnV didn’t *report* that she was groped.

    • JanM 6.3

      There are many many things most of us feel we can’t do because we feel unsafe in a male-dominated world.
      One of the worst things about it is it gives men the excuse to ‘protect’ us, which often works out to be a subtle (or not so subtle) form of control

  7. Obtrectator 7

    What seems to have been overlooked so far is how come the incident came to be caught on video at all.

    The footage begins with what appears to be a general shot of the crowd, but even right at the beginning Madeline is there almost in the middle of the frame. She’s then tracked for several seconds until she’s almost out of view, at which point the assault occurs.

    So you’ve got to ask yourself: what was the camera operator’s original objective in focusing on her, and staying with her for so long, before there was any compelling reason to?

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.1

      Maybe the video shooter just liked the glitter job, or just happened to be videoing the whole scene – there’s a lot at the sides that are blanked out.

      The video was shot by, what looks like a Kiwi woman, who is anti-body shaming.

      So… more whataboutery?

      • Obtrectator 7.1.1

        Thanks for the link, Carolyn. At least it wasn’t some prurient male.

        But I don’t understand the “whataboutery” comment. If it’s a response to something in my post that’s offended you, please clarify, and I’ll try to make amends.

        (Should make it clear that I detest the creepy behaviour shown in the clip, and am right behind Madeline and her response.)

  8. Drowsy M. Kram 8

    In public settings at least, increased prospects of a ‘macho’ response to sexual groping (and worse) will deter some, and that’s a very good prevention outcome.

    Publicise every successful ‘it’s not OK’ action/decision, and name and shame high-profile offenders – Harvey Weinstein, what a guy /sarc.

    There will be blow-back, and poor decisions, but societal norms must be changed.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-17/consent-and-sexual-assault-prevention-program-in-schools/9266634
    https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/prevention.html

    https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/aasas-media-library/AASAS/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AASAS-Sexual-Violence-Action-Plan.pdf

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/Documents/1.4.17.VAW%20Event.TF%20Report.PDF [alas, the Whitehouse is a very different place for the moment]

  9. Ovid 9

    The other is that punching back in a situation like this is valid, and is an act of both self defence in the moment as well as pushing back against rape culture in general.

    They were more slaps than punches. I doubt she even left a bruise. Judging from the video if it was an effort of self defence in that instance, it was pretty weak-sauce. There are some strategies smaller unarmed women can use to incapacitate a larger man: gouging eyes, striking at the throat, a knee to the groin. Ask yourself this: was it more likely her action of striking her assailant underlined a message to him saying “This is not ok” or would her assailant have laughed it off?

    Many people reading this, especially women, will understand what Kitzmiller means when she said her anger was fuelled from experiences throughout her life.

    Yes.

    That anger is righteous.

    Yes.

    and acting on that righteously far transcends abstract ideals about violence that are largely based in modern patriarchal, faux-liberal ‘violence is wrong’ constructs that not only fail to take into account the seriousness of rape culture but often actively sanction it.

    I don’t understand this point. Can you or somebody else expand on this?

    • Sabine 9.1

      might it be that violence by women against their aggressors after the aggression is considered assault while the actual initial aggression against the women is also her fault for doing something wrong.

      I think it goes to the ‘two wrong’ don’t make one right. I.e. the initial assault was wrong, but the following slap was also wrong. Which in my books just serves to undermine the righteous anger of the victim and helps the aggressor.
      It might also play into the little diddy of ‘if he struck you it must be because he likes you and does not know how to show it properly’ thus saying ‘ by the time you get married it won’t hurt anymore’ and also saying that ‘girls don’t hit, girls don’t fight, good nice girls don’t need violence to defend them self or to vengeance (this is clearly not good english, sorry) them self”. Thus conditioning the girl/women for a live in which gendered violence of some sort is normal and not something to be done about and certainly nothing that would/should compel a women in fighting back.

      it is as JanM above says : One of the worst things about it is it gives men the excuse to ‘protect’ us, which often works out to be a subtle (or not so subtle) form of control.

      • weka 9.1.1

        “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

        This. And that women are suppose to not have their own power, only the police are allowed that. We know how that works out.

      • Ovid 9.1.2

        Thanks Sabine.

    • weka 9.2

      someone yesterday was arguing that because the assault was ‘over’ and the man had walked away and sat down, that Kitzmiller’s physical response was unjustified, and she should have gone to the police instead of hitting him. I’ve seen similar arguments offsite. It’s an argument that basically says women should use the patriarchal system (police/justice) to deal with sexual assault and not their own processes.

      But we know that going to the police is fraught and often ineffective and in some instances actually dangerous for women. What Aunty Jackie said is the most pertinent thing imo, because it’s not just about stopping the assault, or teaching the man in question (and those around him) that it’s wrong and there are consequences, it’s about dealing with the effects of the assault as well. It’s all about power. Going to the police or walking away might just make the woman feel more powerless. This is a big topic, because our justice system focusses on punishing offenders and does sfa for women and what they need, and I think many men aren’t yet ready for what would happen to them if women punched back*

      If men who argue Kitzmiller was wrong to hit back stepped up and addressed rape culture they might have more moral legitimacy, but as far as I can tell it’s just an abstract argument based on their own personal values and ethics which has no regard for the safety and wellbeing of women.

      * I used the term punched in the post because I was thinking about the punching nazis issue. There are similarities.

      • Ovid 9.2.1

        Thanks Weka.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.2

        …it’s just an abstract argument based on their own personal values and ethics which has no regard for the safety and wellbeing of women.

        Well said Weka.

  10. NZJester 10

    It does not matter if a woman has nothing on or is fully clothed, the attacker will always find a way to blame the victim for what they do or don’t have on as the reason they attacked them.
    Placing the blame on the victim is the easiest way for the attacker to try and excuse what they did.
    Some people who claim to be religious say it was her fault for dressing the way she did. To those people, I say read your bibble again as Jesus himself clearly placed the blame on the attacker for the sin, not the victim.

    Matthew 5:29 is the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the third verse of the discussion of adultery. Jesus has just stated that looking at a woman in lust is equal to the act of adultery itself and in this verse he recommends gouging out one’s eye to prevent sinning.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_5:29

  11. greywarshark 11

    Women who were in the feminist wave of the 70’s didn’t expect that they would automatically receive utmost respect from men. There were classes in self defence so that the likelihood of being an easy victim would be lessened. Getting men to stop being aggressive and letting their immediate feelings run away with their brain is an impossible job, particularly for young men. The way they are brought up is deficient, and many are anti-social which you don’t realise until they start talking in a relaxed way about society and how they feel they have the right to behave.

    But keeping the public discourse going, encouraging an understanding of each others’ rights is good practice and should be talked about. But self-defence includes trying not to leave yourself vulnerable, not to pretend that you are self-sufficient and don’t have to consider sexual assaults. It also may be that you have to learn how to cope with a minor case of bad behaviour like someone touching you and deal with it without turning it into a major attack of moral turpitude. That a good Samaritan will happen along and save you from yourself in a caring way is not always going to happen.

    Some women seem to think that they should be able to insure themselves against male aggressiveness. I don’t think insurance companies would ever take on such a policy. If they did and knew that the woman had made herself vulnerable by taking alcohol or drugs or other risky behaviour would mean there would be no payout.

    Perhaps there could be classes that help with the touchy-feely man at work, or woman. Saying clearly rather loudly, something telling like, ‘If you just ask to get past in future I will move straight away and you don’t have to squeeze past Mr …. or Alisdair or Tessa’ is an indication that something is occurring that all can know about. There definitely needs to be some moves that can be made that can be adopted to stop the harrassment.

    There is a feeling of moral panic at present. I have copied the google heading re the Commission of the 20th century about NZ moral status then and how it was viewed.

    The post-war family – Children and adolescents, 1930-1960 …
    https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/children-and-adolescents-1940-60/post-war-family
    Public concern led to a commission of inquiry into the moral delinquency of New Zealand’s youth, led by Oswald Mazengarb. The resulting ‘morals … Blame was placed on working mothers, excessive wages for teenagers, a decline in family life, and the undue influence of film, comics and American literature. Responding to …

    • Lucy 11.1

      “Getting men to stop being aggressive and letting their immediate feelings run away with their brain is an impossible job” nope its not! Women have never had the pleasure of allowing their immediate feelings run away with their brain as we do risk assessments from the time we are about 3! Sick of men excusing other men for their acts committed. If every time someone bullied or hurt another human there was consequences we would have a lot less trouble with rape culture. But while most acts that hurt become the responsibilty of the victim we will always have a problem.

  12. Jackel 12

    The male that did this is among the knuckledragging unwise. Never misunderestimate women. Get out of the way boy, women are a man’s job.

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