My friend is living through something awful

  • Jan. 18th, 2012 at 4:23 AM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
Completely belated "South Asians for Justice" (SAJ) statement + my response.

The letter that SAJ send her is there. I'm just going to quote her words:

They coddled and protected a man who is ten years older than me, phd-track and from a highly class privileged background. The perpetrator is also jeering, spiteful and self-justifying about what he did to me, and tries to elicit pity and caretaking from women when talking about his current sexual violence ideations. All of this is transcripted through chats and emails. But unfortunately, Amita and co. were more concerned about preserving his access to organizational spaces.

I find the handwringing piece about state intervention ridiculous, since there has even never been any remote possibility of Saurav going to prison. The part that says that they don't want to be "punitive" ludicrously equates making safer spaces with the U.S. prison system. They demanded that he leave spaces ONLY if I am there. This is a man who has put in writing that he is a sexual predator. Apparently there are no minimum standards for participating in anti-oppression oriented spaces. Saurav perpetrated sexual violence against me after I experienced police violence. But I doubt anyone in these spaces would ask me to cry about the wounded psyches of the cops who harmed me.

They also left out that the "male ally" they used in this process told me my criticisms weren't worth engaging with and ditched the process. He was more dedicated to his friendship with the perpetrator than the process. Two months later, we finally are having a side accountability process to hold him accountable as well. Ridiculous. The accountability process group was itself not accountable.

It became evident through Saurav's own written admissions about his sexual violence and homicidal ideations via creepy emails to me, as well as information through others he harmed, that he has had an ongoing pattern of emotional and physical abusiveness and misogyny, despite his savvy utilization of feminist/social justice language and paid work on gender issues. He had also utilized his academic credentials and age to put me in my place; these were hierarchies that were being reinforced elsewhere in my life during my college years. He had also presented himself as a major source of support over the years, but opportunistically utilized multiple status differences and my vulnerabilities when I came to him for support last year during a time of crisis (which included trauma from recent gender-based stranger violence on the street). He repeatedly dodged responsibility over the course of the last year or so.


Due to the age gap, his peers/"friends" included my supervisors and professors, some of whom cofounded SAJ. I had outed him as an abuser to them by selecting "reply all" to a mass email he sent to to them and to me last year. Almost no one (including Aley, Svati, Linta) responded. One person, Thanu, outright dismissed my story as "gossip". Amita indeed sent out an email to those people early this year, trying to use her leverage as their peer, and only 3 of them responded. I don't think they're all particularly close to him, but I did feel uncomfortable sitting at the SAJ potluck with someone who I know used to hang out with the perpetrator (Linta), but basically silenced me before hand via email and told me to stop talking about it. I felt jarred when I first read the list of ten or so names behind the cofounding of SAJ and behind the mission statement, because of the incongruence between the language of the statement and the actual actions of those individuals. Many of those individuals are gender studies professors, anti-violence activists, etc.The SAJ mission statement includes language around gender justice and recognizing internal hierarchies around power/privilege, as well as the importance of recognizing the ways people are harmed by both interpersonal and state violence.

I find disgusting the ways the 30-something crowd who are peers of Saurav, well-established, paid to do anti-violence work, or teach race/gender/class issues as academics have responded. They do not speak for me.

So. This is a community that supposedly had to protect her. But privileged her abuser.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
The memory of sexist abuse online.

Memory of pain is a peculiar thing. There’s no doubt that the online abuse I got then, hurt – but I have difficulty remembering what it felt like. I remember the disgust I felt at those cartoons: I don’t think I was afraid but I’m not sure I would remember feeling fear any more than I properly remember feeling pain – they’re both essentially visceral emotions, not easy to remember with your head years afterwards. What I do remember, from both then and now, is the anger, the frustration, at not being able to do anything to the men who were enjoying themselves hurting me. Reporting them to LJ Abuse ceased to be satisfying as an act of retaliation when it became clear after a few days that LJ Abuse intended to do nothing about them. Banning them from my journal was not satisfying when I knew they would simply create a new journal and comment again. I wanted those men to be stopped. I wanted them permanently off livejournal as their playground. I wanted the ones who’d posted the worst threats reported to their local law enforcement. I wanted LJ Abuse to take action, as according to their own TOS they were obliged to do. And I do remember exactly how it felt to know that they wouldn’t.

As a direct result of my experiences as a product that didn’t fit in the eggbox, I became an early adopter (2007) of the Internet proverb that if you’re not paying, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Website corporations will only care about online abuse of “the product” if it makes “the product” less saleable: and the online abusers, let’s not forget, are also “the product”. And it appears quite likely to me that they are considered a better “product” than we are – this is a gendered situation, with women overwhelmingly those being abused in this way. Women are traditionally, simply not considered as valuable an audience for advertisers. Why would our corporate overlords care if online abusers drive women away from their site, so long as the men stay?


The reality of online abuse is that some men hate women. As Sian at Crooked Rib points out, there is a recognisable set of excuses by men to make out that it doesn’t happen. The reason why so many website hosts ignore it or treat it as unimportant – we’re not useful product. Of course that perception too is rooted in sexism, and the use of sexist abuse to silence women is, as Laurie Penny points out, Older Than Dirt.

Some important linking

  • Jan. 15th, 2011 at 12:10 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Massive protests in Tunisia have ended in President Ben Ali (in power since 1987) leaving the country. Tunisia: The end of an era.

It all started about a month ago when a public suicide of a frustrated, disillusioned Tunisian grew into widespread anger. Days later the ink-spot has been ever growing in an unprecedented scope and magnitude.

The outcry against unemployment rapidly evolved into a popular movement asking for Ben Ali to leave power, for corruption to be rooted out and for the repressive police apparatus to be held accountable for human rights abuses.

Leslie Feinberg: While a hostile relative re-writes my life: ‘Who is, and is not, my family.’

In autumn 2010, Knopf published a “transgender” themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.

The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.

However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her “transgender”-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.

[...] Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family.

My verbal and written request for no further contact has been violated by my relatives numerous times over the last forty years. So I do not rely on them to respect my wishes. Instead, I have clarified and strengthened my legal papers, and I am making this statement public: My living biological relatives—Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde—are not my family. They do not speak for me.

Poet Susana Chavez’s Death Sparks Outrage in Juarez

Chavez is one of over 500 women in Juarez who have been found murdered in the last decade. And her death has caused an uproar because she had been one of few to speak out against the growing femicide, coining the phrase, “Ni una mas,” (“Not one more) and routinely criticizing local authorities for refusing to properly investigate the crimes. Her death has cast new suspicions about local authorities’ ability to handle the cases. That is to say that they’ve largely chosen to ignore them; so far, 92 percent of cases of women who’ve been murdered in the region remain unsolved.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Thanks to Mako who made me notice this:

Bita Ghaedi Deportation Cancelled!

[...] the British High Court granted Ghaedi interim relief pending a renewed application to apply for judicial review, while the European Court of Human Rights put a ban on her deportation.

As a woman who fled her husband as well as a political dissident, Bita Ghaedi has legitimate reasons to fear an "honour killing" if deported back to Iran. In his opinion, Justice Nichols stated that the British Home Office ignored a preponderance of evidence highlighting her very real claims to asylum.

Maria Rohaly from Mission Free Iran writes that mainstream media silence, in addition to dereliction of duty from organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, only hurt the case. Still, this case is a testament for how a small number of dedicated people can bring international attention to the horrific ways in which asylum seekers and refugees are treated by developed nations.


Oh, Hollywood. When you think it couldn't get worse. Well, it always gets worse.

Genghis Khan? Mickey Rourke.

I kid you not. Oh, how I wish I was.

You know things like anime adaptations don't stand a chance if these fuckers can't even respect a historical figure who belongs to another nation.

May. 2nd, 2010

  • 2:05 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Via Questioning Transphobia:

Save Bita Ghaedi.

Bita Ghaedi is an Iranian refugee living in the UK. The British Government has refused her asylum case. She is terrified of being tortured and killed if she is forced to return to Iran. Bita lives with the fear that she shall be hunted down and killed by her father, brother and uncle for so-called honour reasons, or legally sentanced to death by Iranian authorities for her involvement with the PMOI (an Iranian socialist movement). She is being deported THIS Wednesday May 5th. For futher detail see the press release at the bottom of this page.

Here you can read her talking about her story.

Bita has now been told by the UK Border Agency and Immigration Service that her application to remain in the UK is 'without merit' and have notified her that she may be removed at any time back to Iran at a time when the Iranian regime are under chronic pressure to score points against the PMOI. In recent weeks the Iranian regime have accused Britain of “fomenting the post-election turmoil that has shaken it“ (Independent, UK 18th January 2010) and of deserving a "punch in the mouth" (Independent UK 30th December 2009). While some commentators in the British media have claimed that this is nothing new, the pressure on the Iranian regime is very new, and not lost on those who hold the reigns of power in Iran.

There is also Kiana Firouz, lesbian actress, who is in danger of deportation.

Save Kiana Firouz's life by stopping her deport from the UK

Kiana Firouz has sought asylum in the U.K but her application was turned down by the Home Office, despite accepting the fact that she is a lesbian. She accordingly submitted her appeal which was dismissed incredibly by the adjudicator. According to her solicitor’s point of view there is a little chance to grant a permission to appeal against the adjudicator’s decision. It means that she will face with deportation soon.

Kiana Firouz still remains in the UK, however her case has been denied by the Home Office. She, nonetheless, is receivi ng support regarding her situation. She also continues to advocate for the rights of homosexuals in Iran by participating in documentaries. Recently Firouz acted in a documentary about her life and the struggles she faced in Iran.

Oh Fucking shit

  • Apr. 28th, 2010 at 7:50 PM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
This is Not an Analysis of Rape Culture. This is a Rant.

Trigger Warning for very graphic and disturbing descriptions of rape, as well as descriptions of death from alcohol poisoning.

Cut for triggering content in quotation )
la_vie_noire: (Default)
...and how Native Americans really don't live on perpetual genocide.

Via [ profile] ithiliana:

Making the connections: Sexual Violence in Native Communities.

Now even if I wanted to think that way and only stick to say sexually transmitted infections or abortion rights, I really can’t. Why? Because I’m Native, and as such the existence of violence in our communities, especially against our women, exists at rates that are extremely abhorrent and exceedingly high. We HAVE to talk about it all because to not talk about is to ignore some 80% of the population of our women who, for example, have experienced intimate partner violence, or the over 90% of our people who are deeply feeling the effects of residential/mission/boarding school which can sometimes result in different types of violence against oneself and others.

[...] First of all – isn’t the fact that Native American women experience violence almost 3 times more than any other group of women in the United States, 86% of the time by non-Native men – an inherently cross-sectional feminist issue? I don’t mean one that gets the occasional blog post every now and then, or gets centre mainstream feminist stage when it’s convenient, especially with statements like “Oh wow, Iook at these numbers – we didn’t even know about this!” HOW is it that you don’t know? Sure the Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native population is just over 1% of the population in the United States, and in Canada the Aboriginal population is roughly 3%, but with rates like these, say in Canada where there are over 500 missing and murdered Aboriginal women, that’s equivalent to some 18 000 white women. WHY don’t the women in our Native communities measure up in priority? I would think that the occurrence of violence against this many Native women would have every single feminist group up in arms and refusing to shut up until something is done about it – I certainly see that kind of coverage when abortion rights are threatened. WHAT are YOU going to do with this information now that you know about it?

Now some of the mainstream media have been paying attention – a little – albeit in a very sensationalist and sucker-punching way. Yet I’ve been reflecting a lot on why it is that violence against Aboriginal women is all of a sudden receiving more mainstream media attention. Ask anybody from an Indigenous community or nation and you will hear that this has been going on for 500+ years. I certainly don’t feel like the violence is subsiding or going away, but I’m acutely aware of how long it’s been going on for and how deeply entrenched it is in many of our communities, to the point of lateral and internalized violence and oppression.

Or, you know, do what I have been telling people to do for years and read Andrea Smith's Conquest. Here on Google's Books is the preview.

Apr. 14th, 2010

  • 3:08 PM
la_vie_noire: (Meets Minimal Standards of Decent Human)
This post, I think, is one of the most important that has been written lately.

C. L. Minou writes We Are the Dead: Sex, Assault, and Trans Women. Trigger warning, descriptions of sexual abuse.

But as the Kimberly Nixon case showed, even woman-positive organizations can be no haven for trans women, since those groups can, in Canada at least, refuse to hire a qualified rape counselor simply because she looked like a man in their eyes. Presumably they would do the same thing to a trans woman who had been the victim of rape or sexual assault (or domestic violence, as Nixon herself had been.) Even though a trans woman, like many other women who have been assaulted, might long for an all-female environment to aid her recovery, there is no guarantee that she’ll be accepted there. And often no guarantee that anyone else will have her. Even in large cities, finding a trans-positive or even trans-accepting victim center is likely to be impossible. There is nowhere to turn for many trans victims of rape or assault, which is why the sexual assault numbers for trans women–high though they may be–are almost certainly drastically underreported.

Also, something to say is how, even in the bloggosphere, the reactions to abuse of cis women by authorities is so very different to the reactions from outsiders to abuse of trans women by authorities. Compare this case to any case of trans women being victims of police harassment when reporting their rape and how the public responded. (Not to say Hannah's case didn't have their dose of misogynist bastards commenting, of course, but Hannah didn't even experience what Josephine Perez experienced. Had Perez been cis, people would be outraged all over the blogosphere.)

Apr. 5th, 2010

  • 6:13 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
I have an appointment with the doctor on Wednesday because it will be an specialist. And I'm a worrywart.


Triggering and very graphic. Violence against trans women under the cut )
la_vie_noire: (be prepared)
Via kutti, Only Congolese will initiate and bring change to D.R. Congo

Considering local challenges and harmful international interference in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past 400 years, it takes the greatest courage to overcome fear of oppression and to act for change. The courage demonstrated by grassroots Congolese women to resist and overcome fear of their local and international oppressors is extraordinary in the history of Africa. At this moment, many Congolese women are rising and sacrificing themselves to rewrite history and to liberate themselves completely from the bondage of those who continue to oppress them, in order to give themselves and their children a chance of survival as well as a better future for new generations.

[...]Sexual violence is not cultural or traditional in the D.R. Congo but has been used as a tool of war, humiliation, destabilization and displacement of communities. Congolese women want the international community to know that that sexual violence will only end by the restoration of peace and the application of the rule of law in the DRC.

The international community, particularly the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, are invited to demonstrate a political will to end the conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa. They are invited to demonstrate their commitment to peace by delegitimizing armed violence and ending the militarization and the support of oppressive regimes in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

I'm still dead-tired

  • Mar. 9th, 2010 at 10:00 PM
la_vie_noire: (Meets Minimal Standards of Decent Human)
That was a lot of blood, I came home covered on it (lab practice, people). Then had to go to the drugs store. For anti-depressants (I just ran out of them).

So I'm kinda dead, but I still have two very good links to share:

Black Dahlia on Display. On tragedy porn, or consuming human suffering.

Watching people look at the different exhibits as though they were getting a peek at a real-life episode of Law & Order was incredibly disturbing. The fact that the “Black Dahlia” was, in fact, a young woman named Elizabeth Short who was horribly, brutally violated, tortured, and murdered, was totally lost. These weren’t stills from a movie; the body in the images wasn’t made of plastic. These were photos documenting how a real, actual human being suffered unimaginably…and they were on display for entertainment value, just one stop on a tour before moving on to see the exhibits about Marilyn Monroe and O.J. Simpson.

[...] the exhibit just made it incredibly clear that all these cases, and the human pain and suffering attached to them, have become gruesome real-crime stories and the people affected by them are characters in the entertainment.

Maybe I would have liked to say "who the hell thinks this shit is a good idea," but I don't live in a parallel universe, a pervasive and insidious part of media is dedicated to tragedy porn. Real human beings tragedies.

Do You Work? On our monetary system, and disability.

Truly. It's now so common to conflate employment and identity at a variety of class and education levels, so common that employment itself has become a marker of social worth. And in this particular economy, employment numbers (never the people, just the fear of the numbers) have become political talismans that the two parties sling at each other in order to try and maintain the illusion that they have a stranglehold on power.

Employment is such a controlling social and moral force. Work discourse frames the discussion of how, when, and even if women have children, their value as working parents, and how they might live/work afterwards. Work discourse controls who, some wild popular imaginations, is a productive citizen and who a "welfare queen." In accident reviews and, for example, in the post-911 insurance discussions, work discourse can help assign a monetary value to some lives..... You get the picture.

And if you are a disabled person trying to work, trying to get a job, trying to retain a job, you know how difficult things can be.

Jan. 11th, 2010

  • 3:08 AM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
This can be extremely triggering and I'm sure will be painful to read, but cis able-bodied people have to do it. Read it.

is a dream a lie if it don’t come true / or is it something worse

A little while ago, Melissa was crossing the street in front of her apartment with her roommate, bringing home groceries late at night from the store right across the way. They were struck by a car in the crosswalk in what appears to have been an innocent, freak accident. Melissa’s roommate was killed instantly. She, because there was an ambulance less than a block away at the time, made it to the hospital with a shattered leg, head injuries, and Gods know what else, comatose.

I didn’t know, when I heard Melissa’s roommate was killed on the morning news, because the news said she’d been with a man, and my first thought was oh, God, is Melissa okay, does she know what happened, she must be so worried. I left a couple of voice messages, but couldn’t get through, and it was only once I saw a report with Melissa’s old name on it that it hit me: there was not a man hit in that accident. She was comatose, with friends there, and family on the way. The prognosis was very, very bad, like “we don’t think she’ll make it till morning” bad.

She made it till morning. And the next night. And the next. We all started passing around updates of how she was doing and taking time to mourn the schoolmate who hadn’t made it. Family arrived, connected with each other, and everyone took a few deep breaths. Melissa started improving, against expectations–eyes opening, snapping fingers when asked, responding in small ways to the people present though she was semiconscious at best and could not move. They made plans to fix her leg and skull and there was talk of moving her to a specialist facility closer to home, one with real support for people recovering from comas, and against all odds she was fighting. It should have been no surprise: she was always a fighter. She was going to be okay.


They had ultimate power over her–her body, her brain, everything. She was disabled, and couldn’t speak for herself, and couldn’t express her own preferences, and they were next of kin, and they knew best, and the authority for medical decisions was in their hands. They loved her more than anyone, and had her best interests in mind, and were just looking to her recovery, just listening to the doctors.

And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more.

If she was–as many people deemed unconscious, or low-functioning, or unaware by medical professionals, as many many people with disabilities who can’t communicate the “right way” are–aware in any way of what was going on, laying there helpless and voiceless while her body and life and mind were edited and mutilated by loving people, wise professional people in complete control…I actually can’t finish that sentence, because I am shuddering too hard, because I have a hard time imagining a real scenario closer to Hell.

This is not an unusual scenario. It happens all the time, and in worse, far worse, forms. This is still practically standard in the history of how people with disabilities are get violated, and the intersection with trans status only magnifies it. If I got into a car accident tomorrow and fell into a coma, it could happen to me–I can’t marry legally, and my parents who are not part of my life could walk into the hospital and have my partner removed and do pretty much whatever they please with me, a possibility that gives me dry-heaving panic attacks.

Dec. 8th, 2009

  • 8:22 AM
la_vie_noire: (Meets Minimal Standards of Decent Human)
13-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide After Classmates Spread Nude Photos

Trigger Warning for discussions of suicide, descriptions of non-consensual sexual conduct, victim-blaming and slut-shaming

As Veronica Arreola said on her Twitter, while the media insists on calling this a “sexting-related suicide,” it’s much more accurately referred to as a “slut-shaming suicide.” Because the photograph she sent is not what drove this poor girl to kill herself — the non-consensual spreading of the photograph, and the subsequent reaction that her classmates and all adults in positions of authority had to it seems to absolutely have been what drove her to despair. And that is a truly vital distinction to make if we actually care about the fact that a 13-year-old girl is dead, and why.


And while everyone sure as hell seems to be worried about What! We’re! Teaching! Our! Girls! that they send the photographs, no one seems to be saying a goddamn peep about what we’re teaching our boys when they think that non-consensual sexual conduct is okay. Yet again, apparently consensual female sexuality is seen as a bigger threat to society — and to girls themselves — than non-consensual male sexual behavior perpetrated against them.

[...] And while the article rightfully goes on at length about the certainly awful way that the school dealt with their knowledge that Hope was self-harming and in danger, there is no mention of how the school’s actions also contributed to her being in danger in the first place. The fact is that they punished her — they told her over and over again that she was being called a slut and a whore because of her own actions, that being a “slut” or “whore” are very, very bad things that deserve punishment and bring reason for shame, that sluts and whores deserve to be taken out of school and to be used as an example of what happens when girls display any form of sexuality (with their consent or not), and that sluts and whores cannot be trusted to advise other students, because apparently they have no moral compasses. And the fact is that they apparently failed to punish the other slut-shamers, sexual harassers, bullies, and sexual perpetrators for whom they were responsible.

Hope Witsell made the decision to end her own life. A whole lot of other people seemingly decided that keeping women in their place was a lot more important than protecting a 13-year-old girl, and than stamping out sexual misconduct. A whole society backed that second decision up.

13 year old girl. Who still is slut shamed even after she is dead. Slut shamed by adults. 13 year old.
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Gudbuytjane writes Day of Remembrance:

I used to distance myself from the Trans Day of Remembrance. It made me angry, and in ways I couldn’t discuss with my mostly cisgender community (as some of that anger was directed at them, inevitably). I would rail against the broader queer community only ever focusing on TDOR, and the implications that had for trans women. I found candlelight vigils a hypocrisy against the marginalizing and tokenizing that happens every day to us in queer communities, and I was infuriated that the only thing cisgender queer culture seemed to have as a comment on my experience as a trans woman was “You might die one day for what you are. Violently. Remember that.”

[...] The most important voices to be heard are our dead, and the responsibility for those voices lies with those of us who are still alive. Not for cis culture to consume, not even for ourselves, but for these women who are no longer with us; By giving them dignity we give ourselves dignity, and demand it from a culture which withholds it from us. Even if it is only knowing their name or a tiny bit of their story, it gives back to them some of the humanity their killers took.

Although cisdominant media inevitably focuses on the murders of these women, pieces of the stories of their lives nonetheless get through. This is how she died is supplanted for brief moments by This is how she lived. Amplify that. Know the stories of their lives, and tell the stories of your own. Not just on November 20th, but every day.


la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] la_vie_noire

Latest Month

March 2013



RSS Atom
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Designed by [personal profile] chasethestars