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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Trigger warnings

I am a woman, indeed a feminist and I’m sick of fighting with other women and with men as to WHETHER rape is wrong and WHEN rape is wrong and WHY rape is wrong and HOW the way we discuss it is wrong, stupid, demeaning, insufficient and just another way to prop up rape culture.

I’m sick of victim blaming and ‘slut shaming’ and ‘Oh well you were in the ROOM’, or ‘Well you have had SEX before’, ‘ Well you WERE flirting’.

I’m sick of the readiness to assume women to be pathological liars utterly unable to handle their own sexuality, and willing to destroy lives by false rape claims as a kind of sport.

I’m sick of the readiness to assume the total innocence of a man who at BEST had post match extramarital *sex* by tricking a naive girl into agreeing to having sex with him and two others and THEN called another nine or so grown and beefy men in to watch and comment and laugh and grope fondle and snigger while he and apparently FIVE others fucked’ her for his OWN amusement and validation, and quite certainly not hers. That’s NOT group sex, that’s NOT a romp, that’s setting up sexual assault.

And WHY do we so readily believe him? Oh, cos he said he didn’t do it. Ok. Bullies bully and when they’re caught they say they didn’t. So a denial means fuck all frankly. Would *YOU* say ‘Why YES officer, I did indeed break the law and brutalise that girl for shits and giggles, please arrest me and put me in jail immediately’ if you were a big tough well paid well respected footy player who figured they could get away with it? Or would you all already have agreed in advance ‘Deny, deny, deny’.

He said he didn’t, she said he did. WHY are we so very ready to ignore her extremely serious claims absolutely and completely and only discuss it as ‘group sex’ as if it was all just warm and fuzzy and lovely? We’re not talking about him going to a swingers club, where he took part in a consensual orgy with other fully consenting adults all on an equal footing in terms of power and security, we’re talking about a thirty year old football star and eleven other fully grown men and one nineteen year old hotel worker in a room.

Group sex is no issue. If Footy Teams wanna fuck each other in the showers as a post match bonding exercise, go for your fucking lives. If you wanna get into group scenes in clubs, or with other people with similar interests, what the fuck of it? This is NOT what was described here.

The term ‘gang bang’ makes my stomach turn, but it seems far more apt in its nastiness than ‘group sex’ as a descriptor of what happened even IF consent is proved/assumed. It’s all about *the gang*, *the dudes*, the pack mentality, and the *bang* it appears to me is all about the gang bonding over treating the ‘bang-ee’ for lack of a better term as not quite human, the prop for ‘good times’, the object to be passed around, the prop for the gang at the ‘bangs’ expense. The more humiliating for the victim, the more fun for the gang right?

And then denial is so easy. It took me three seconds to figure out how you’d get a girl in that situation not to move ‘Shut your mouth and stay still or I’ll snap your fucking neck’. Girl stays still. Cops say ‘No brusies!’, case goes nowhere. If I had gone to a room for sex with a couple of football players and found myself in a room of twelve burly men participating in an activity I didn’t consent to I don’t think I would move either if one of them was on top of me. I’d will them all to spontaneously combust, for someone to find me and help me, for me to die, for it to end, but I’d be staying still from fear of further brutality and just waiting for it to be over.

TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER WARNINGS:

A friend of mine told me years ago of a story she’d been told by a guy who had been in the armed forces of regular group bonding exercise within the armed forces in a particular area. These guys would go to a bar and single out a ‘not so attractive’ girl. One would chat her up, trick her back to the room (whether under some ‘I just want to talk’ guise, or whether by making her think that THEY  were going to have sex, consent to which means NOTHING in the face of what is to come) where the rest were waiting. Then they’d insult her til she cried and take turns ‘riding her’ (ie RAPING HER) the sport being seeing who could ‘stay on’ the longest while she was bucking and thrashing to GET THEM OFF OF HER.

Group rape as manly bonding where the entire POINT for the bonding to be ‘fun, funny and effective’ for the men involved is her total and utter LACK of consent, her explicit rejection of consent and of the situation, her expectation of one scenario, and ending up in another, her humiliation at the jeering laughter, her physical and emotional pain, her desperate fight to end it, her desperate desire for it all to end.

This shit happens, it’s real. And I don’t tell it to sicken, I tell it because it’s telling of an ACTUALLY EXISTING group mentality, of the sort of masculinity that thinks that men need to be ‘hard’ and that ‘hard men’ need to bond, and that hard men bond by meting out the sickest most revoltingly inhumane treatment to women. Cos it’s ‘funny’. Just like chick jokes. Men who seem to have a very confused understanding of consent.

Didn’t know that happened? Me too. If the armed forces, the guys society holds up as ‘good guys’, guys who’ll take one for the team, country bond in this way, if we hear coaches and managers comparing footy players to blokes preparing for war, if we know that some men do this, why is it so hard to fathom that others do – why do we assume they wouldn’t cos they seem like ‘good blokes’ – Disney sold us up the river kids, the baddies aren’t scarred eye-patch wearing villains with hooked noses and black hats – rapists don’t wear an I.D badge.

It’s time we got our heads out of the sand. There is a particularly extreme and vile strain of masculinity out there associated with toughness as synonymous with meanness, with ‘bonding’ as synonymous for ‘let’s go brutalise some women’, with a fucking self preserving secrecy and a deliberate blindness to consent and an utter disregard for the humanity of women. A masculinity that if you scratch the surface positively screams ‘I should have killed her when I had the chance the stupid whore’.

Whether Johns et al were part of this group we’ll probably never know. But even on the most charitable of readings they were as Kate Ellis has phrased it acting in a predatory way to lure a young girl up to a room on the pretext of sex with a couple of guys (so they say) and then having another nine guys come in to jeer and mock and grab and molest.

And then there’s what feels like a majority of the rest of society. Sitting idly by not actually caring what happens to women so long as our heroes get to put their dicks wherever they want, whenever they want, regardless of what it does to others. Masculinity that may not, itself rape, but is happy to continue to reap the benefits of society as it is, happy to go home to female lovers but equally happy to sit with mates and listen to them say revolting things about women. Women happy to damn other women as ‘bad women’ who ‘deserve what they get’ if they agree to sex with more than one guy.

If you listen to people talk about what’s expected from footy players you’d honestly think they were discussing soldiers headed out to war. Somehow in all that we’re meant to think it’s just an understandable by-product of both football and the armed services that in producing men willing to take physical risks and injuries for their sport/for the armed forces that women will JUST.GET.RAPED (DEAL PLEASE). We’re supposed to *understand* that where hard men bond women get broken. Poor hard men. Didn’t REALISE. Didn’t MEAN to.

Then some of the people who want to ‘help’ just can’t help but do more damage:

Pru Goward? Shut your face about a woman agreeing to sex with one or two men being ‘risky behaviour’ and not leading to ‘white weddings’. Pru Goward? Shut your face about how you’re just so ‘sick and tired’ of women not pursuing claims in court and the ‘smells’ this leaves all over the footy players and women who allege rape.

This sort of fucking homogenising sanitising view of what is acceptable sex for a girl to have, of what it leads to is incredibly destructive and offensive, and just as much a part of rape culture as the more easily identifiable strands.

There is nothing wrong with group sex, with kinky sex, with playing out scenarios and roles that are considered by the general populice to be less than savoury. But there are ways of going about it that ensure that it isn’t rape, that it’s not understood as rape by anyone involved, that all involved are happy to be involved.

What turns my stomach is that it seems to me these guys are not intested in group sex at all, but rather a gang bang in the sense that they are looking for some anonymous girl to reduce to a faceless, nameless hole, that the ‘fun’ is in the laughter and mockery, in changing the rules, in ‘what nasty things can we do to her that she would not have expected?’. It disturbs me that we’re so very ready to believe these aggresive team bonding exercises to be consensual and fully enjoyable for a woman who is screaming that she was raped, who’s been claiming the same thing for seven years.

Do I think it’s impossible for a woman to want to participate in that sort of scenario? No. I think all kinds of sexual desires are possible for all sorts of people. Do I think that these particular men would take care of any woman who does agree? No. I think they’ll change the rules the minute the door is closed safe and snug in their heart warming knowledge that as sporting heroes they just have to deny and the police will go away. Do I think the woman is ‘to blame’ if the rules change? No fucking way. Agreeing to sex is not the same as agreeing to the rules being changed without your consent and consent needs to be able to be withdrawn at any time.

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