Women are raped from the day they’re born

Rape is more than the uninvited penetration of a woman’s body by a man. It’s more than being overpowered, abused and shamed. It’s more than the body parts involved, it’s the psychology of it all. When a woman is raped, her very sexuality is raped. It is perverted and contorted into the shape the abuser chooses.

Our very sexuality — raped. Consider that…

In our society, female sexuality itself is overpowered, abused, shamed and, yes, raped from the moment we’re born into the world as “female,” because different rules will be placed upon us based simply and arbitrarily by our chromosomes and genitalia. Actually, sexuality for both sexes is raped from the start, from the moment Baby slaps a hand down on his/her genitals while Mom changes the diaper and pulls that exploring hand away, but it plays out differently. But how it plays out over the long run is so much more insidious and damaging for girls than for boys.

In most families, children are treated differently based upon gender. Girls are discouraged from fighting, boys are discouraged from crying — and it has nothing to do with whether that girl is a tough little scrapper or the boy has a tender, fragile heart. We’re molded into whatever our parents perceive as normal and acceptable, regardless how we feel about it. Step outside that “normal and acceptable” template, and we get reprimanded, punished and shamed. And, that goes double, quadruple even, when it comes to sex.

Childhood rolls along into puberty, and regardless of what Mom and Dad taught us to do or not to do with our bodies, Mother Nature will step in and let youngsters know in an irrefutable way that their bodies have urges and sensations that are difficult, if not impossible, to ignore. In adolescence, however, the visible evidence between boys and girls is different. A boy will see a photo of a girl in a bikini and get a stiffie, and there it is: Front and center and throbbing, and not to be ignored. This is why teenage boys take long “showers” but never seem to be any cleaner for it.

So here’s the thing: Girls get stiffies too. But you can’t see them. It’s undetectable to anyone else, barring a little face flushing and squirming. Teenage girls also take long “showers.” And I’m going to toss the great equalizer right into the spotlight: They say 80 percent of males masturbate. That being the case, I’d guess that 90 percent of females do too. You know all those nerve endings in a big, ole penis? The very same nerve endings are packed into a clitoris — in one 20th the amount of space. The clitoris… she will not be ignored. She will, however, be lied about, because girls are showered in shame for their sexuality, and even more so for taking ownership of it and doing whatever they want with it. This is the root of the whole “Virgin or Whore” polarity.  A woman has two choices — deny her sexuality and be a virgin, and view her genitals as some rare prize that will be gifted to only the most perfect prince, or claim her sexuality and be labeled a harlot. Meanwhile, males are happily getting to know their own sexuality, exploring and discovering as normal sexual beings do, without having to be in the either/or category.

There is no male equivalent for the word “harlot.”

Very telling, isn’t it?

The reason is that exploring sexuality is encouraged for most males and viewed as normal (barring, of course, those whose sexuality has been suffocated by extremely religious parents), while the very same behavior is scorned and shamed in females.

How fucked up is that. Seriously.

Thankfully, we now live in a society where both males and females can explore and discover their bodies and sexuality freely, and have access to protection and birth control. Why NOT find out what amazing sensations can come from that throbbing pole or button that screams for attention? Why the fuck NOT? If God didn’t want us to enjoy our physical bodies, he wouldn’t have created them to be capable of such exquisite pleasure — both male and female. To say that exploring one’s own body is sinful is akin to saying that looking at a blue and pink and peach streak of an incredible orange sun sinking into the ocean on the horizon’s edge is also sinful. We have senses. They are meant to be used and enjoyed. You don’t get a rebate for what you don’t use or enjoy. You just go to your grave missing out on the cumulative pleasure you could have experienced while existing in your one and only trip through this world in the one and only exquisite body you will ever get.

So, this is where we’d arrived in years past — both sexes given a green light to own and enjoy their sexuality, and if the people around you don’t like it — you can move away from them and find a place more in line with your own values and beliefs. Recently, however, I saw a discussion ignite on my very own Facebook wall about the issue of intoxication and “legal consent.” If a man and woman are both intoxicated, and they have sex, the theory is that the woman is incapable of legally consenting to sex, and therefore the man is guilty of rape.

What a bunch of politically correct, hypersensitive victim-mentality bullshit. It’s sexism at its worst! And, this “men bad, women good” thinking erodes true feminism. All men are not bad. All women are not good. And, there is a vast space where those groups intersect. Unless a woman is unconscious or unless she said “no” (in those cases, yes, it’s rape, absolutely), if a guy and a gal tie one on and end up having a wild and crazy night of delicious sex, both are responsible for whatever happens. Transfer this “legal consent” argument to a car. If a woman gets drunk, gets behind the wheel and causes an accident that kills someone else, she is guilty of vehicular manslaughter. No one in their right mind would say that she didn’t legally consent to driving the car, and therefore she is innocent. The law applies to males and females equally. Inebriation does not guarantee innocence — nor does it equate to helpless victimhood.

The other piece of this imbalance is that women, from the moment we’re born, are brainwashed into believing that our genitalia is at the same time priceless and filthy, when in fact, it’s neither. Our genitalia is our genitalia, as our noses are our noses and our ankles are our ankles. This irrational, erroneous hyper-religious garbage we’re saturated in is the real issue, the real crime… the real rape. Brainwashing is psychological rape. It’s the forced penetration of someone else’s will. It’s the injection of something unwanted and uninvited into our most private, sacred space… our very own minds and souls. Unlike physical rape, however, as adults, as we realize the ludicrous self-abasing poison we’ve been force-fed our whole lives, we have the power to put up a protective barrier between what we believe and what others want us to believe. We truly can say “NO.” And put a stop to it. Just like that. We have all the power in the world — we just seem to sit around waiting for someone to give us permission to use it.

Empowering women means lifting them up to an equal level with men — not pulling men down. Everyone rises up to the same level on the game board, everyone has access to all the pieces, and moreover, everyone takes responsibility for where they put those pieces and how they use them. Those who are unable to take responsibility for their choices and actions should stick to taking long showers until they are. Mature, consensual, curious sexuality is about the best fucking thing (redundancy mine) on earth. Great sex is fabuloso-awesome-wonderlosity covered in candy-coated glitter and dripping with caramel honey. On a rollercoaster.

Which actually sounds like fun… and if I did it, yes, I’d own up to it, and not blame it on the tequila. Moreover, I wouldn’t blame it on the guy who bought me the tequila, in a vain attempt to protect myself from layers of multi-generational, cultural and societal shame, over which I feel helpless.

Our entire society needs some sexual healing, and women in particular. We need to de-villainize the human body, especially the female human body, and strip away the centuries of fear and shame, and learn to view our sexual sensations as just one more in the line of taste, touch, sound, smell… just another wonderful thing to enjoy while we explore our existences in our bodies.

Girls, ladies, sisters… you have genitalia. Get over it. It’s no more special than the plumbing the guys have. They aren’t prizes, they’re pussies. Meh. Essentially just another body part. But let me tell you, learning about that body part will be a lot more fun than learning what your knees can do. Enjoy it. Own it. Empower yourself by taking back your own genitalia and your sexuality. You’ve been raped long enough.

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Raped by the legal system

Somewhere out there is a young woman who was unfortunate enough to have a few drinks and go for a walk by the train tracks one night with Thaddeus Jay Sonne. The two were bar-hopping with friends, had a few drinks (or, more likely, a few too many), and the next thing you know, the police are on the scene of this girl kicking and crying, saying, “No, no, stop!” and Sonne continuing to have sex with her. Sonne was arrested, but the woman was unwilling or unable to state unequivocally if she was raped. She said she wasn’t, but then said she was “uncertain” about pressing charges, and like so many women who are date-raped, or raped by someone they know, her feelings of confusion, guilt and shame likely outweighed her desire for justice.

Sonne was acquitted of the rape charge, after an astounding claim from his attorney that he was too drunk to understand what “no” means, and released on the spot. Free as a bird, and armed with a great defense should he ever find himself in the mood when the woman he’s with isn’t: “I was too drunk to understand what ‘no’ means.” And besides, as he stated on tape, sometimes “no” doesn’t mean “no,” it’s just a dare — she could have fought him off if she really wanted to.

In other words, that kicking, crying woman he had sex with was at fault. She didn’t really mean “no,” and she just didn’t kick hard enough or cry pathetically enough. And besides, she was drunk and therefore had it coming.

And then there’s the friends.

The two had friends in common who certainly leapt to Sonne’s defense, and urged the woman not to press charges: “Come on, we were all drinking, shit happens, let it go… you don’t want him to go to jail for years just because of one night, do you? Didn’t you say you liked him, well, what did you expect.” Maybe even threats from his friends: “If you send him to prison, I’m gonna (insert your favorite threat here).”

One can only imagine what was said, but one thing was for sure – the woman knew that if she pressed charges, she’d have to relive and retell what happened to her, while an attorney shamed and belittled her, and painted her as nothing but a drunken whore. Surely, she decided the ordeal of facing it all over again seemed worse than just moving on. She decided to let the justice system go on without her and see where the chips fall.

Well, they all fell on Sonne’s side.  He got a big thumbs up from the legal system. He’s free to go forth and take tipsy girls for walks all he wants.

So, where does that leave the victim? What might she be thinking, knowing that in the eyes of the law, Sonne did no wrong. It must, therefore, mean… that she was at fault?

If he’s not in the wrong, then… I ???

My dear girl, whoever you are, beyond what happened to you that night, the legal system has raped your mind. It shoved ideas and perceptions into your brain against your will, and there they’ll fester and grow, and if you don’t face those dragons now, they will subconsciously and consciously alter your self-esteen and life choices.  You’ll second-guess yourself, because clearly you don’t know what’s what. You’ll question your own sanity and judgement and perception, because on some level, you know what happened to you and yet the legal system said it didn’t. You’ll start wondering if maybe they’re right. There was something you did, or didn’t do, that caused what happened. And I’ll bet you’re already wondering if maybe you are the bad guy, because this poor, innocent boy was dragged through this whole ordeal, and if he’s innocent, that means… you’re guilty?

Is your brain in a pretzel right now? Wondering if down is up and up is down, and second-guessing your ability to choose friends or make wise choices, and replaying the tape over and over to figure out where you made the exact mistake? Are you feeling dirty and “less than”? Full of shame and self-loathing? Wondering who you can trust and who you can’t, because clearly your judgment is faulty?

You’re having these thoughts not because there’s anything wrong or bad or faulty about you, you’re having them because the legal system didn’t validate you. Replace your thoughts of uncertainty and self-loathing with this single mantra: The legal system failed me. Above all, you must forgive yourself for what happened. You did NOT cause it. Sadly, you’ve been taught a hard life lesson at a tender age: Life is not always fair. And it doesn’t play nice.

Turn your self-doubt, shame and guilt into anger. Anger is empowering. Use that power to protect yourself in the future. For you, and all young women out there: Be your own protectors. Don’t allow yourself to get so intoxicated that you aren’t in control of yourself or able to make good decisions. Don’t go anywhere alone with a man until you know him well. Learn self-defense. Learn to fight, and should you ever find yourself in a similar situation again, bite, claw and gouge like a tiger. Punch, elbow and kick to break bones. Let there be no confusion about your desire: to inflict as much injury as possible to escape. Yes, leave a mark. Leave many. They’ll make great evidence when you press charges.

‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘no’ if the rapist is drunk?

When it comes to rape, there’s a familiar mantra: “No means no.” However, according to an astounding story from the Feb. 3 Davis Enterprise, “no” has caveats: If the victim is drunk, her protests of “no” may not mean anything, and if her rapist is too drunk to understand what “no” means, he’s innocent.

According to a story by Lauren Keene, a couple witnessed Thaddeus Jay Sonne, 21, of Davis, having sex with a woman near the Amtrak station and called the police. Officers arrived and saw the woman “crying, kicking her legs and saying ‘no, no, stop’ as they confronted the pair” and arrested Sonne. The story notes “… the woman’s blood-alcohol content was 0.23 — nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 — while Sonne’s registered at 0.17.”

The two were acquainted, and had been out bar-hopping with a group of friends. Were they flirting? Did the woman indicate she was interested and then change her mind at the last minute? Did Sonne attempt to loosen her up with a few fluffy high-octane drinks? Who knows. And who cares, really, because in the end, “no means no.” Right?

Wrong.

In court, an officer played an audio recording of Sonne claiming he believed the sex was consensual. He acknowledged that he heard the woman say “No,” but said, “Sometimes it’s more of a dare than an actual request. If she wanted me to stop, she could have made me stop.”

Right. A drunk woman pinned beneath a larger, stronger man can always overpower him, right? Just like her uterus has special magic to reject an egg that was fertilized during a rape. Mr. Sonne has a great future in the Republican party.

And… what suspect doesn’t offer a pathetic, desperate excuse upon arrest to try and avoid prosecution? Tell us, police officers, do the suspects reach for those handcuffs and joyfully jump into the back seat, or do they spout their innocence even as you’re fingerprinting them at the county jail?

Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor prosecuted the case, and rightly responded to Sonne’s inane explanation that “No means no. It’s not vague. It’s not confusing. The defendant is guilty of rape because (the woman) told him no.” Sonne’s attorney, Dan Hutchinson, argued that his client’s level of intoxication “may have prevented him from comprehending the word ‘no’ until officers had approached the pair.”

Wow, what an airtight alibi! Hey all you wannabe rapists out there: Just get really drunk before you assault your next victim! If you’re too smashed to understand that “no means no” — particularly when accompanied by crying and kicking, you’re home free, pal! Go forth and rape with confidence! And in case you’re caught, just keep Mr. Hutchinson’s phone number handy. He’ll get you off the hook.

What a precedent! If you’re too drunk to understand “no,” could you also be too drunk to understand that drinking and driving is wrong, and therefore innocent after plowing over some kids walking to school? Or too drunk to understand that the gun goes “bang” when you pull the trigger and will send a bullet through someone’s forehead? Absolutely! Innocent as a newborn kitten! Whatever laws you want to break, no problem! Just get drunk first! And don’t forget to tell your pals Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker thanks!

Keene’s story concedes that the victim later said she wasn’t raped, but also expressed “uncertainty” about pressing charges. Hmmm. She said she wasn’t raped… but was also uncertain? Sexual assault counselors, please weigh in. Please tell the audience how frequently a rape victim is hesitant or even refuses to press charges because she doesn’t want to face the ordeal of a trial, and just wants to move on. Please enlighten us about a woman’s confused state of mind after being raped by someone she thought was a friend… someone with whom both have friends in common, who might apply great pressure not to press charges. Inform us about how often a rape victim’s fear, revulsion and shame is greater than her desire for justice.

Morever, what if the woman was so drunk that she passed out and was raped while lying there unconscious. Or worse yet, murdered afterwards. Do you mean to tell me that unless the victim can verify it, no rape happened? Try. Go ahead and try. Pack a lunch. We’ll be arguing for awhile.

Apparently the jury ignored these considerations, and acquitted Sonne after less than a day of deliberations, and he was freed immediately. Hutchinson wasted no time in crowing about his victory: “I was happy to see Mr. Sonne walk out of the courtroom a free man — vindicated by a jury from his community — and into the arms of those who care about him and always believed his innocence.”

What a travesty of justice. For the victim, and those yet to be victimized. Because there could be more. Sonne knows the magic “free pass” for worry-free rape: Just get so hammered that you don’t know what “no” means, pick out a tipsy young filly and take a walk near the train tracks. Party time, Dude! If you’re both drunk enough, “No” is just a dare!

As for those “loving arms” that received Mr. Sonne — if you truly love him, teach him what his attorney and the jury who endorsed his behavior did not: “No,” in fact means “no.” “No” is a complete sentence. It is not a dare. It doesn’t mean “Try harder.” It means STOP. Besides teaching him a word that even most dogs understand, enlighten Mr. Sonne about body language: A kicking, crying woman who is struggling to escape is NOT interested in having sex with you. There was no confusion that night by the train tracks. That woman’s message was crystal clear: She did not want your penis inside her, and you jammed it in there anyway. And you got away with it.