…is what you will doubtless describe this email at, since you seem to be on only the remotest of nodding terms with your marbles. However, I do urge you with the greatest of sincerity to reconsider your approach to what you incredibly damagingly describe as “feminism”. I have no idea whatever of your personal circumstances beyond the comments you make on your blog, but it appears that you’ve suffered some kind of sexual assault short of rape, but desperately wish to channel the anger of those who have been raped.
I have no desire to minimise whatever you suffered, but as someone who’s worked with several rape victims I find this behaviour deeply troubling, and rather more importantly know it to be greatly counter-productive in terms of attitudes to women. Perhaps things are different in America, where it appears to be widely acceptable to call for the murder of abortion-clinic doctors and the like, and adopt a rather cavalier approach to human life in general, but in the rather more rational environment of the rest of Western society your attitude only serves to encourage and empower misogyny and the trivialisation of all forms of sexual violence by portraying genuine victims as hysterical exaggerators. Your attitude to debate, rather astonishingly in the circumstances, only makes your position even weaker.
Rev. S. Campbell
If Campbell actually has worked with rape victims, I offer those victims my greatest sympathies and hope that they find the actual help they need.
He also posted this on a message board. It happens every so often: a man who I’ve banned — and it’s always a man — can’t believe that some uppity woman tried to silence him. He has a penis! He has a right to say whatever he wants to say wherever and whenever he wants to say it! So in his righteous anger over my banning him, because of my totally irrational anger to something silly like rape (not being able to comment on a blog > sexual assault), he sends a whole slew of trolls my way. And those trolls leave comments like these [sic to just . . . everything]:
Your immediate banning of somone who disagrees with you in a very civil and reasonable manner does far more harm to your cause than good.
Nobody has attempted to say that people who are sexually assaulted did not experience (and continue to experience, often) a terrible ordeal, and nobody has said or even remotely implied that any form of sexual assault is less than reprehensible. However, equating an alleged forced entry with a single digit with, say, being held down and forcefully penetrated several hundred times over the course of an hour is an indefensible position.
I’ve little doubt that everyone commenting (myself and Rev. Campbell included) would (assuming the allegations are true) gladly throw the full force of the law at the fat unfunny prick for such a despicable act – doubly so for trying to make a joke of it. But we won’t know now that you’ve banned everyone, will we?
Give people with reasonably expressed points a chance, however strongly you disagree, or everything you do to support any of your causes will just entrench your opposition further.
I find he descriptions of this “comedy” act disturbing and the lack of action taken by any member of the audience or theatre staff in attendance shocking and appaling.
I do however feel it necessary to point out that what occured wasnt rape. I think it is important to highlight that the 2003 Sexual offences act classifies rape as; Intentional pentration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, with a penis.
This act was therefore, under UK law, not rape. It was assault by penetration, which is such penetration but with a part of the body or any other object.
Without the woman involved coming forward to press charges, sadly nothing can be done legally under this offence but perhaps with broad interpretation of the public decency laws, actions by a thrid party who was present could be brought against the performer?
By the way, this is part of the “civil” comment that the first commenter is referring to:
It’s unfortunate when the people brave enough to speak out against unacceptable behaviour are also so pathologically stupid that it serves only to completely undermine their cause. You can print as many made-up definitions of rape as you like, but the only one that counts is the one in law, and in law nothing Vegas did counts as rape. If you had him brought up in court to answer for his actions on those grounds, the case would be thrown out in seconds.
I explained this in the comments on the post, but for those who clearly didn’t comprehend it the first time, here it is again:
* Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.
So, folks. I don’t care what the law is. I never said that penetrating a woman against her will with a finger fits the legal definition of rape. In some sane places, it does. In many others, it does not. I don’t give a shit. In many places, a man who has nonconsensual sex with his wife has not legally raped her. But he still raped her. In many places, a man who has sex with a woman who is unconscious has not legally raped her. But he still raped her. In most places, a woman does not have to say “yes” to give consent, but simply fail to say “no.” A situation where she did not say “no” but does not want sex and did not agree to it is still rape. No matter what the law says. Rape is the nonconsensual sexual penetration of another person. It’s not that fucking difficult to grasp.
I still think that Vegas’ ass should be in jail. But I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to presume that rape charges would be thrown out. I never said that they wouldn’t be. If actually taken to court, the highest charges that he could possibly be convicted on would be those falling under sexual assault that is not rape.
But if Vegas penetrated the woman with his finger, he still raped her.
I don’t know why people can’t understand that. I don’t know why people look to the law as some kind of fucking gospel and assume that it is always right. The law is not always right. That’s why we still elect legislative bodies and expect them to do the job of passing and amending legislation — because we have not yet reached a place where laws are timeless and perfect. And I doubt with all my might that we ever will. I can only assume that they’re arguing with me on legal terms because they don’t have anything else. Nope, Vegas will not and probably cannot be tried on rape charges. I never argued otherwise. What the hell is your point?
I also never compared rape with a single digit with gang rape by a stranger with the use of a weapon. I just said that they’re both rape. And they are. Just like injecting someone with a lethal dose of morphine against their will is a hell of a lot “nicer” than stabbing them forty times, setting them on fire and watching them drown in their own blood. If I was forced to choose one of those fates, I would go with the former in a heartbeat. But both are still murder.
If using the word “rape” to describe rape is somehow denigrating feminism, then I sure as hell won’t stop until the entire movement and body of theory doesn’t have a single ounce of credibility left. Luckily, those making these remarks are not feminists, don’t know a damn thing about sexual assault and don’t care enough to do some research before spewing bile all over my blog. If someone agrees with them and calls themselves a feminist, their feminism is certainly not my own, and they are a person with whom I absolutely do not want to be associated.
I said upfront on the post about Vegas’ actions that the story had a strong affect on me personally. It did. However, the fact that this story triggered me doesn’t make me any less credible. In fact, it shows that I know what the fuck I’m talking about. And in any case, this was never about me. Campbell wants to make it about me. He thinks that I only give a shit because I’m psychologically damaged — and says that he doesn’t want to minimize what was done to me, right after calling me crazy, and right before calling me a hysterical exaggerator. (It doesn’t take very long to go from “angry woman” to “hysterical,” does it? Oh, I forgot . . . same thing.)
And you know what? I am psychologically damaged. Sadly, I know that all too well. I think that most victims of sexual violence are. That doesn’t make us crazy or incapable of rational thought. It doesn’t make us less able to see sexual violence for what it is than a man who seems to very clearly have never experienced it. Do my own experiences encourage my speaking out on the subject of sexual assault? Most likely. But I write about sexual assaults that I have ever personally experienced much more than those I have — Every. Fucking. Week. I write about them with the same anger, the same disgust, and the same profound sadness over the state of humanity. And so do other wonderful feminist bloggers, and the amazing people who regularly comment here.
I stand by what I said on the Vegas comment thread — that comments from those like Campbell keep me from talking about my own experiences in detail. The word “exaggerator” stings particularly strongly. Words like this are the reason that I have personally told exceedingly few people about the assaults, and even fewer in any amount of detail. Remarks like Campbell’s are the reason that, though they can read about it here and someday probably will, I’ve never discussed it with my own family. His words are the kind that kept me in denial for so long and that still keep me from being able to actually use the word “rape” to describe what was done to me. Words like this keep me cowardly, and are the reason that I have such immense respect for those who do publicly talk about their own sexual assaults. Because I know what happens. And honestly, as I began speaking out more and more, I knew that it would eventually happen to me, too.
I know that they’re wrong. I believe with all my heart that I am right. But while I don’t want to say it and give them the satisfaction, you know what, it’s the fucking truth. This kind of shit hurts like hell.
What kind of kick people get out of it, I do not know. I am doing my best to ensure that they don’t silence me. I have closed comments on the Vegas thread for obvious reasons. But I stand by every word I said there. I may have to close comments here, too. I hope that I don’t.
Every so often, comments that I get here throw me over the edge and make me want to burst into tears. This is one of those times and has me considering a break. I don’t know. I do know that I will not be reading the things being said about me on Campbell’s message board thread. I do know that this is my space and I only have to publish the comments of my choosing — and right now, my choosing is going to be in my own best interest, and the best interest of a safe space for those who have survived sexual assault. This has always been my goal. Sometimes my argumentative personality gets the better of me. And clearly, I need to do better at not engaging with these kinds of people.
If Campbell reads this — and he can’t, but I’m sure it will get back to him — I’d like to say that no, his email is not what we call sexual harassment. His email is what we call acting like a shitty excuse for a human being.