Written By: - Date published: 6:57 am, January 5th, 2018 - 75 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, patriarchy, sexism - Tags: #MeToo, anger, body sovereignty, misogyny, rape culture, sexual assault, sexual harrassment
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.
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,
Any sort of violence is abt power + control.
If violence is done to you, + you choose to fight back to regain power, that is your prerogative.
He tried to exert power over her by grabbing her breast.
She denied him that power.
Good fucking job.
— The Aunties (@whaeapower) January 4, 2018
And Chloe Ann-King,
Any woman who hits/thumps a man after he has groped/assaulted her is doing so as an act of *revolutionary self defense*.
I've punched men who grabbed me in bars and pushed them really hard. I'll do what I have to in order to protect myself and survive. #notsorry
— Chloe Ann-King (@GGrucilla) January 4, 2018
If men have issues with us hitting them back in response to them groping and assaulting us, here is a fucking brilliant idea: don't fucking assault or group us in the first place you trash pieces of shit.
— Chloe Ann-King (@GGrucilla) January 4, 2018
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,
My FB rant from this morning.
I tone down the swearing due to many Christian family members on that platform. pic.twitter.com/msAbyb7IkA
— Brad Kul (@Brad_Kul) January 3, 2018
What bugs me about the R&V sexual assault is that the dickhead was with a bunch of mates obviously egging him on. This shit needs to stop. My wife and I have spoken to our teenage sons about this. If you’ve got boys, talk to them.
— Jeremy (@nz_voter) January 4, 2018
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.