Tag Archives: rape culture

My Ex-Boyfriend Loved Me. Everybody Told Me So.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

My ex-boyfriend was a really lovely man.  Everyone told me so.  He adored me, he cherished me, he valued me.  He thought I was special.

I know this is true because everyone told me so.

My ex-boyfriend was gentle and sweet, he was shy.  He had very little family and had been badly treated by those he did have, so he was vulnerable and needed to be loved.  He was insecure but full of heart.

Everyone told me.  Everyone.

Wasn’t I lucky to have a man like him, a man who so clearly was good and kind and loving and gentle.

So.  Fucking.  Lucky.

He loved me so much when he shoved me into walls.  He loved me so much when he hit me.  He loved me so much when he twisted my arm until I cried.

When he shouted in my face for smiling at the waiter.  When he wouldn’t let me leave the house or talk on the phone.  When he punched the walls so hard his knuckles would bleed then showed me the blood, blaming me for making him so frustrated.

He loved me so much when he raped me.  When he sent me upstairs to our bedroom to wait for him.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminism Blog, Blogger, Feminist Blogging

Photo credit Ninocare

He was so vulnerable, so insecure.  When he interrogated me about everything I said to my mother, what her face was like, how she interpreted it.  Whether I had implied anything negative about him.  Whether anybody knew.

He was such a good man.  I know it’s true.

When he found out I had a lesbian friend on Facebook and nearly smashed my laptop.  When I smiled at the man in the chip shop and he accused me of having an affair and screamed in my face.

I crept downstairs once.  He’d sent me to wait for him and had been gone for a long time.  I found him watching violent porn.  I ran back upstairs as quietly as I could.  That was a bad night.  He loved me so much.  Everyone told me.

I knew nobody would believe me.  Why would they?  I had no proof.  And he was a good man.

When I eventually got away from him I broke his heart.  I left him crying.  He cried a lot.  He cried when I tried to talk about how much he hurt me, why would I want to upset him like that?  I was talking as if he was an abuser, why would I do that to him?  He cried when I left.

He cried to his female friends.  They hated me.  Hated me.  They told me so.

I didn’t appreciate him.  I couldn’t see how much he loved me.  How special he was.  How gentle, how good, how loving.  I had a vendetta and I was cruel and selfish.  I was a liar.

He loved me so much.  Everybody told me so.

My mum believed me.

Every time I was brave enough to tell her a little bit more she believed me.

She had thought he loved me.  That he was a good man.  That he was gentle and good and kind and vulnerable.

My mum believed me.

When I was having the nightmares, she comforted me.  When I cried, she held me.  When I struggled, she paid for my counselling.

My mum believed me.

He was such a good man.  Everybody told me so.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Strength In Numbers

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When a famous man is accused of sexual abuse crimes and rape, it always seems that once one woman has made an accusation, others come forward with similar tales of abuse.  It has happened in high profile cases, the Jimmy Saville and Bill Cosby type cases, time and time again and it is always met with the same criticism.  The same accusations.  They are “jumping on the bandwagon”.  If it had really happened they’ve have come forward sooner.  They’d have spoken out.  They’re just trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame and a financial handout.

I have never gone to the police about the abusive relationships or experiences I’ve had.

I have a lot of guilt for that and I carry it with me.  I cling onto the notion that it was just me.  Nobody else went through that under those hands and I would rather not put myself through the horrendous process of reporting abuse crimes for which I have no evidence, which I would be put under an embarrassing and traumatic investigation and cross examination, where it would end up as his word against mine.  Where I would have to face those men again, men with eyes I have done everything I can to never have to look into again.

I am simply not strong enough to face that lonely road.

If others went forwards?  Then I think  would.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More,, Feminism, Feminist Blog

Photo Credit Kauschik Chug

I’m witnessing it happening.  One woman speaks out, comes forward with a tale of abuse and suddenly, like dominoes, other silenced women are holding up their hands.  They’ve suffered the same experiences, they too believed they were alone.  They too thought they were facing the prospect of that lonely road.  But they’re not.  There are women with them, women who can hold their hands and look into their eyes and tell them they are not wrong.  They aren’t making it up, they aren’t faking it, they aren’t lying and seeking fame and fortune at the expense of an innocent maligned man.  Women who can stand together because they have each other and that gives them the strength they need to look into those eyes once more.

If other women came forward I too would stand up.  I would face those eyes, those hands.  But so far it hasn’t happened.

If I’m honest, if I look into those hidden places in my mind that I dare not explore too often, I don’t believe I’m alone.  And I believe that if I did it, if I was that brave woman who stood up and said it had happened then I’d be leading that march down that road and I wouldn’t be alone in doing it.

The women who stand up and make it known are the bravest of us all.  Braver than me.  If I stood up I am almost certain others would follow yet I am paralysed by fear.  I have seen the condemnation, the scrutiny, the abuse these brave women are met with and I am too frightened to face it myself.  His word against mine, and I know how many voices will shout from his side about how abused he is by my speaking out.  And I am afraid.  Those women who face that, who lead the way, they are the bravest of us all.

There is strength in numbers.  It is not a bandwagon.  It is a march of solidarity.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

I Believe In The Sisterhood

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When a woman says she doesn’t think anyone will believe her, it is almost always when she’s speaking out against a man.  And pretty much always against a man with power and influence.

For some reason, the mass opinion of society is that a man with power and influence is far more likely to be the innocent victim of slander, than a woman he has power and influence over is to be the victim of abuse.  There’s the fear that a man’s reputation will be so damaged by the woman’s accusations that his life will be ruined whereas she will continue unscathed.

When men can be accused to some of the most heinous crimes; rape, murder, child abuse, and continue to have successful careers in film, television and, say, presidency, I think we can safely assume that this is bullshit.  And when women who have made accusations have been verbally and physically abused so much they’ve had to change their names and move house, or have been fallen into depressions so badly they’ve committed suicide, it is clear that women don’t get as much out of accusations as people seem to think.

So why do we continue not to believe women?

Why do we enable men to gaslight women into believing they have done something wrong, or invited their abuse?

Why do we enable this pathetic belief that women owe something to men?  That if they want us we are some how duty bound to protect their feelings, even if it sacrifices our own personal comfort or safety?  That rejecting them is an act of cruelty not self preservation?

I believe in the Sisterhood.  I believe that women should be a network of strength for one another.  I believe that when one of your fellow women comes to you and tells you of pain in her life that it is your duty as to hear her.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminist Blogger

Photo credit Unsplash

I believe that if you flirt with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if you go on a date with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if a man is in love with you you owe him nothing.

I believe that “consent” obtained through coercion, manipulation, pressure, bullying, gas lighting or guilt tripping is not consent at all.  It is rape.

I believe that anyone, male or female, who would try to convince a woman that she is in the wrong because a man cannot control himself needs to take a long hard look at themselves and then fuck off as far as they can go.

I believe that any woman who would immediately take the stance that the woman in pain is lying and sides with the man accused of causing the pain is seriously and incredibly wrong.

None of this means I hate men, none of this means I support abuse of men, something people often seem to assume.  It means that I believe women.  I support women.

I am here for the Sisterhood.  And God help the mister who comes between me and my sister.  Because I will fight for my sisters.  I will fight for women.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Yes All Men

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I’m one of those angry, feminist writers who writes about male collective behaviour and pisses people off.

Men abuse women, men rape women, men take advantage of women.  These statements are all true but, of course, I am reminded regularly “not all men!”

Firstly I’d like to point out that I’ve never said “All men”.  Secondly, if I believed it was all men, I wouldn’t be living with and raising daughters with a man.  So let’s just bare that in mind as we go on.

Most recently this has been in regards to women’s need for safe spaces away from men.  I am absolutely not in favour of making all areas unisex under the belief that people are people and therefore there is no need to separate us by biological sex.

The reason?

Men abuse women.

Photo credit Alexas Fotos

Photo credit Alexas Fotos

No, not all men abuse women.  But yes, all men could potentially abuse women.  And we have absolutely no way of distinguishing between an abuser and a non abuser until we are in the position of being abused.

I would truly love it if it made no difference, if men were statistically on an equal level to women for chances of abuse because that would drop male abuse rates down and we could all feel safer, we could all be safer.  But it’s not the case.  We are different and recognising that is essential.

I know that reading this so many men, and women, will have an outraged reaction.  Women abuse men too!  Women abuse women!  Women abuse children!  Not all men rape!  Stop treating me like a rapist just because I’ve got a penis!

Sadly there are abusers in all walks of life.  There are women who do truly evil things to other human beings, and there are men who are the most gentle and non threatening people on the planet.  We are all on a spectrum from the worst of the worst violent abusers, to the most gentle pacifist lovers.  This isn’t about stating that all penis-havers are looking to rape.  It’s a statistics game and life is all about statistics.

Are you statistically more likely to die if you drive blindfolded or with clear vision?  Are you statistically more likely to contract a disease if you have sex with or without a condom?  Are you statistically more likely to fail an exam if you study or not?

If you’re invested in self preservation you opt out of potential death, potential disease, and potential failure.  Of course, we don’t all take these things into consideration or put any value in the outcome, but for those of us that do, you play the odds.  You try to survive, you try to succeed.

According to Rape Crisis, 85,000 women are raped annually in the UK, and 12,000 men are raped.  Defining rape by penetration, these are male rapes on males as well as male rapes on females.  Whilst this does not account for female abuse of men or female abuse of women, it suggests that women are far more likely to be victims of men.

Photo credit Ninocare

Photo credit Ninocare

As someone who has been assaulted both by strangers and in trusted relationships, I can promise you there is no way of knowing if the man who walks into the room means to harm you or not.  You just don’t know.  But statistically you know that if a man walks into a room you’re alone in you’re more likely to be at risk than if a woman walks in.  If you factor that risk in with the fact that in female safe spaces such as changing rooms you’re highly likely to be naked and vulnerable, allowing men unfettered access to those spaces puts women and girls at serious risk.

No not all men will take advantage, but yes all men are a potential threat.  With absolutely no way of knowing.  We have seen trusted, respected members of the community convicted of sexual assault.  Loving fathers, respected teachers.  And with only 15% of rapes being reported to the police, and only 5.7% of those reported rapes ending in conviction, it’s safe to assume there are a lot of rapists on the streets walking around as living, breathing weapons of abuse.

It is not irrational to play the odds and keep female spaces safe.  It’s not a perfect system but it’s all we’ve got.

And men, if you’re offended by this I suggest that instead of pointing out that NOT ALL MEN are abusive, you deal with those who are.  You deal with the culture you live in that breeds this sense of entitlement to sex that men have.  You stop assuming that just because a guy is a great mate to you that accusations of abuse from women must be wrong.  If you’re so upset by a woman’s acknowledgement of the threat your sex poses to women, work to stop that threat existing.

And most importantly work on getting your own house in order before demanding the right to walk into ours.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

I Stand With Jean

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

A hero of mine has been driven off Twitter by the abuse she has received.  I would urge you to read her account; When A Man Stalks A Woman Online. My Story.  In it, Jean Hatchet (her pseudonym), describes the constant onslaught of abuse she has received from a number of men, with one in particular leading the charge.  He has threatened her with murder, with rape.  He has threatened her daughter.  He has listed personal details about her with the promise that he knows where she is and that he will come for her.

Photo credit Jake William Heckey

Photo credit Jake William Heckey

The reason she gets this abuse is because she is a woman, a feminist, and spoke out against a famous man; Ched Evans.  She is currently raising funds to support both the claimant in the Ched Evans case, as well as the rape crisis centre, and that has earned her even more abuse.

I recently talked to my mum about it because I too am a woman, and a feminist, and I too have spoken openly about the Ched Evans case.  I have donated to her fund.  I have been in arguments online and I have received abuse because of it.  My mum is worried for me, worried for my children.

I hugely admire Jean.  When I get the abuse I get, in no means anywhere close to the level she does, it rattles me.  But, like Jean, I keep going.  I try to always keep going.

I understand the urge to stop.  My mum is an incredible woman.  She is strong, she is smart, she is a feminist and a huge inspiration to me.  But she wouldn’t do it.  She went on Twitter for a time, occasionally looking now, but the moment the abuse started she stopped.  It’s not worth it.  It’s upsetting, it’s frightening, and it’s so much better to just walk away and not make yourself suffer through it.  I don’t judge or condemn anyone who chooses not to deal with it.  Life is short, and the abuse is hard.

Last year I had a spell where I was getting a flurry of particular upsetting abuse.  My mentions on Twitter were overwhelmed by angry, aggressive men, shouting abuse at me through their computers and phones, and it got me down.  I dreaded opening that page.

At first I had been able to laugh it off.  Idiots.  Misogynistic assholes with nothing better to do, so pathetic they could hate a woman so much just because I spoke out against shaming women’s bodies.

And then it got hard.  Then harder.  Soon I felt sick and shaky.  It was horrible.

It was then that my partner did the most romantic thing he has ever done.  He started hashtagging “Invading Your Mentions” #IYM.  He started tweeting me with things about me that he loves.  Things like being a good writer, a good mother, a smart woman.  Things that popped up between the vitriolic abuse I was receiving to break it up with sunshine.

His tweets, that came in so rapidly they were able to drown out the cruelty, saved me that day.  Stopped the feelings of sickness and the fear.  And soon I was laughing.

Until recently I imagine the abusive tweets that Jean Hatchet receives on a none stop daily basis were drowned out, at least partially, by the messages of support from women who, like me, admire her and respect her for the work she does.

But now?  I understand why she has stepped back.  I nearly caved after just a day or two of the kind of barrage she gets daily.  Mine stopped after a couple of days and now only flares up occasionally, and rarely enough that I can handle it.  To cope with it like Jean does takes extraordinary strength,

So why do it at all?  Why not do what my mum, and millions of other women, does?  Why not step away before it begins?  Why not say the idiots are not worth it?  Why not see that nothing will change the behaviour of the aggressive, violent idiots that haunt Twitter?

Because if we are silent they win.  If we step away they carry on.  If we lie down, who stands up?

Edmund Burke was credited with the famous line; “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Well the only thing necessary for triumph of misogyny is for good women to do nothing.

For as long as I am able I will keep standing.  I will keep writing, I will keep tweeting, I will keep facing it.  I will keep supporting the work of other women, sharing their words, encouraging them as best I can.

I will keep invading their mentions with words of solidarity.

I hope Jean Hatchet is one day able to return to Twitter and the public eye because she inspires me and so many others to keep standing, and to want to stand in the first place.

We stand to say no.  We will not take it anymore.  We will not lie down and let you walk all over us, abuse us, beat us, rape us, deny us our own agency, and exclude us from life.  We will not stay away out of fear and a desire for a quiet life.  We will not be bullied into silence.

I stand with Jean, whether she comes back or not.  I stand with Jean.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Ched Evans – The Men’s Hero

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Since Ched Evan’s rape conviction was overturned something has struck me.  Something remarkable.

Men are THRILLED.  Not just thrilled, they’re championing him as a hero.  They’re determined to force women to agree it was the right choice.  They’re aggressively arguing against women who speak against his behaviour.  They’re hashtagging IAmChed.

Ched Evans.  The Men’s Hero.

So why?

WHY?

Ched Evans is legally not guilty of rape.  So what is he guilty of?  He’s guilty of cheating on his fiancee.  He is guilty of having sex with a teenage girl who was too intoxicated to speak.  He is guilty of entering the hotel room in the dark where his friend was having sex with her, having sex with her himself, then leaving without speaking to her before, during or after.  He is guilty of having his friends film the incident outside the hotel window without her knowledge.  He is guilty of having sex with her without caring whether or not she wanted him to.  He is guilty of using a woman as a sexual object for his own gratification.  He is guilty of having sex with a heavily intoxicated teenager.

So, he might not be a rapist, but he’s a terrible person.

So why are men so caught up in a frenzy?

Because they aren’t lying.  They are Ched.

They’re men who think if a woman gets drunk she deserves what she gets.  They’re men who think if a woman gets drunk they have a right to violate her body.  They’re men who have been accused of taking advantage of drunken women in the past and now feel validated.

They’re men who believe their desire to fuck a woman is worth more than a woman’s desire not to be fucked.  They’re men who believe women are liars and not to be trusted.  They’re men who believe woman are sluts and slags and slappers.

They’re men who, if they had the chance, would have done the same thing.  They’re men who are jealous.  They’re men who want to get a chance in the future.  They’re men who now know it’s okay to target drunk and vulnerable women who are too intoxicated to consent.

They’re men who are happy that sex without consent no longer constitutes rape.

Do you know what I want to say to them?

Fuck you.

Fuck you every time you pretend to be disgusted by Donald Trump whilst you secretly admire him.

Fuck you every time you encounter a drunk woman and think it’s her own fault if someone rapes her.

Fuck you every time you hear that a woman has been abused and you suspect she’s lying.

Fuck you every time your sister or daughter or wife gets offended by things you say offhand but doesn’t bother arguing because they won’t get anywhere.

Fuck you every time you get drunk and feel safe.

Fuck you every time you assume the person you’re having sex with wants it, without bothering to ask.

Fuck you every time a gay man checks you out and you feel violated.

Fuck you.  Fuck you.  Fuck you.

YOU are the reason we don’t come forward.  YOU are the reason so many men get away with it.  YOU are the reason the women in your life don’t trust you.

YOU are the reason we feel ashamed and disgusted with ourselves, rather than with the men who abuse us.

YOU.

This isn’t about celebrating an innocent man walking free.

You don’t celebrate when convicted murderers are found innocent.  You don’t hound and abuse the families of their accusers.  You don’t abuse and fight against those who speak out against the murder itself.

This is about celebrating the validation of every disgusting thought, desire or choice you’ve ever made.

You are Ched.  And I hope the women in your life find out fast.  Because that makes you dangerous.

If you have any thoughts, please let me know.  I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you can find my details on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, as well as links to the books I’ve written and Podcasts I speak on at www.sirenstories.co.uk

Responses To Amber Amour’s Live Blog Rape Ordeal

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Amber Amour, a feminist campaigner from New York, has suddenly shot to fame for one of the worst reasons possible.  After she was (allegedly) raped, she live blogged her ordeal.  In a series of photographs, starting from the bathroom floor where the incident occured and following her experiences through a hospital trip and experiences with the police, she posted to Instagram everything that happened.

Do you know what is the most disgusting thing about Amber Amour’s Live Blog?  What makes me hate humanity and feel sick to my stomach?  It is not the fact she was (allegedly) raped, as abhorrent as that truly is.  It is not the fact she spoke so publicly about what happened, though many disagree with her.  The most disgusting thing that has happened since Amber Amour’s (alleged) rape is people’s responses.

“She had a f*cking naked shower with him what did she expect to happen?” @Mayaobradovic

Yes, she did agree to a shower with him.  She spoke in her blog about she had kissed him and then, he had asked her to shower with him and she agreed.  Do you know what she didn’t agree to?  She didn’t agree to him forcing her to the ground and forcing his penis into her.  She told him to stop and he didn’t.  That is rape.  Kissing is not agreeing to sex.  Nudity is not agreeing to sex.  Intimate contact is not agreeing to sex.  Do you know what IS agreeing to sex?  Agreeing to sex.  So what did she expect to happen?  A shower.  Would she have agreed to have sex with him had he asked?  Maybe, maybe not.  That is entirely her business and I wouldn’t judge her either way.  But being raped both vaginally and anally until she passed out was not something she ever agreed to.

J.J. Barnes, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo credit Geralt

“Is there a reason why your ALWAYS supposedly getting raped?  I honestly don’t believe your story.  I think you’re a bit insane.” @instafame_101

She spoke about how she got involved with the #StopRapeEducate after being raped in NYC.  Apparently some people think that women are only allowed one rape in a life time.  If you’ve been raped once, any further sexual activity is immediately consensual apparently.  It doesn’t work that way.  Being raped once is not an immediate protection from experiencing it again.  Do people usually speak out about it?  No.  And therein lies part of the problem.  The shame we are made to feel for speaking out about one case of sexual assault makes the liklihood of speaking out again tiny.  In reality?  More women than you might like to imagine can legitimately use the phrase “The first time I was raped…”

“Why the f*ck did she kiss him in the first place?” @viwernnn

Because she wanted to and he wanted her to.  That’s about it.  Maybe she was attracted to him, maybe she was sexually excited by him.  I’ve kissed men I’m attracted to without consenting to or wanting to have sex.  I’ve been sexually excited by men without consenting to or wanting to have sex.  Being attracted to someone is not an agreement to have them enter your body.  Kissing someone is not an agreement to have them enter your body.  Actually consenting is agreeing to have them enter your body, what Amber Amour did was shout “Stop!” whilst (allegedly) being violently assaulted.

“I’d learn from my mistakes and know not to put myself in a rape situation” @simplyjunelle

Do you know what a “rape situation” is?  Let’s see… wearing revealing clothes, going out at night, walking alone in the street, drinking alcohol, flirting, going home with a man, kissing a man, flirting with a man… But, nuns are raped and they don’t do those things.  Children are raped and they don’t do those things.  Women are told they should control their behaviour all the time, stop living their lives freely because living freely invites abuse.  And even if we agreed and stopped living freely because otherwise we’re inviting rape, rapes happen in the home to women wearing their pyjamas and sleeping next to their boyfriends.  Being a woman is a “rape situation”.

“Why didn’t you try to smash his head with something hard?  Or try to defend yourself?  Maybe because you liked it!”  @coperatejohnnkie

Part of me hates myself for responding to this.  Part of me wants to scream.  Do you honestly think that if someone doesn’t fight that means they like it?  Let me tell you that is not the way life works.  Fear, horror, shock, embarassment, these things are paralysing.  Yes some people are able to fight and my goodness how I admire and respect them.  But in my experience you don’t fight.  It is so overwhelming and frightening and painful that what you do is freeze and you cry and then, when you’ve eventually processed what has happened, you start to get the feeling back in your hands and feet and your eyes start to focus again.  She didn’t hit him over the head or fight.  But that doesn’t mean she liked being raped until she bled.  And thinking that is incredibly disturbing.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Siren Stories, Feminist Blog, Feminism Blog

Photo credit Geralt

“Where are your morals and values when you CASUALLY wanted to have a shower with him?” @sof.18

Her morals and values are called into question because she was willing to shower with a man.  No question of his morals and values.  Because a woman being in control of her sexuality and wanting to be in a naked situation with a man is shameful.  Him wanting to be naked in the shower with her and then being violent and raping her is not even noted.  Why are men allowed to get into any sexual situation with a woman they wanted without judgment, but if she agrees to any part of it she is shamed?  It is illogical as well as offensive.

“You were not raped, you were f*cked hard… I guess the NO you were telling him was a sexy no.” @ivangoddy

No means no.  This is the most simple of lessons.  If I ask my three year old what no means she says “no”.  If she said no, she meant no.   If as an adult you still cannot understand that then you really need to examine your life choices.

“Recovered staggeringly well after your ‘rape'” @shayter3

Do you know how to tell if a woman has been raped?  You can’t.  Women are raped every day and carry on with their lives.  They see their family, they talk to their friends and they go to their jobs.  They just carry on with their lives on the outside whilst inside carrying a deadweight that will never shift.  Think it’s amazing she’s carrying on with her life?  It is.  It is damn amazing.  It is hard, it is so hard sometimes you just want to curl up in a ball and cry because the weight inside you is suffocating, but you carry on.  The ability to keep going is not evidence her rape is fictious, it is proof that survivors of rape are seriously badass and deserve respect.

 

There are so many comments on her posts, some in support, many not.  As a woman involved in an anti rape campaign and a survivor herself, she will have better understanding than most of how people can react to a woman who speaks out about rape.  Yet she still chose to.  She still chose to face those criticisms and insults and look the cruelty in the eye.  Why?  Because not speaking out about rape perpetuates the culture.  It makes it shameful and embarassing for the victim and protects the rapists from negativity.

Was Amber Amour raped right before the Live Blog started?  I can’t possibly know.  Only she and he know right now.  But I believe her.  And I believe that the way people reponded to her prove just how potent the rape culture is.  How much we put energy into blaming women for being abused instead of blaming men for abusing them.

Speaking out was incredibly brave.  It was something most of us are never brave enough to do.  And I hope there is justice legally, even if her scars will never, ever heal.

#StopRapeEducate

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!