Category Archives: Rape Culture

Kickstarter Project Info. Part I: The Novel

Our Own Mistress

I have always been a writer. I won’t bore you with the struggle I’ve had with my mind and imagination, but I have always been drawn to creative storytelling.

A few years ago I experienced some intimate interactions that left me with new discoveries about myself. I became fascinated with the ways in which power exchanges and pain affect not only our sexual lives, but our personal ones. I have also studied sexuality for over a decade, particularly “deviant” sexuality, and so I was able to explore these things in detail, thanks to academia.

My Kickstarter project, my novel Our Own Mistress, is a labor of love for me. Though it is a heavily erotic novel, it is not erotica. I poured a lot of myself and my understanding of certain sexuality and gender related taboos in this puritanical, patriarchal world. It is inspired by real people, real relationships, and a very real, misunderstood, and misrepresented culture.

The story revolves around a young woman who has always struggled with her submissiveness. To put it bluntly, she has always been a doormat. Due to choices she made under duress, she finds herself alone, and a foreigner in London. Then, just when things appear to be at their worst, she is subjected to violence. However, this violent encounter leads her to the people who, through some “unusual” means, help her realize her strength.

In this novel, I attempt to explore many things I have witnessed and experienced:

  • LGBTQA Relationships and Exploration
  • BDSM Relationships
  • Gender Roles and Identity
  • Social and Cultural Misrepresentation
  • Feminism
  • Surviving Abuse/Assault

Due to the nature of this story, the novel contains graphic sex and violence.

I know it is not easy to fund a work of fiction; there are many, many people out there with good ideas and the ability to bring them to life. It is also not easy to fund a novel with sexual content without it being considered erotica, or “fluff.” Ultimately, none of that matters. This story has filled my head for too long now; it needs to be told.

For glimpses of this novel’s content, visit the Fiction Samples page of this site. Or, email me via the Contact page. I also have an audio recording of the book’s introduction available.

Coming Soon: Kickstarter Project Info. Part II: London

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Photo property of Erin Dunbar. Copyright 2016.

I Stopped Watching ‘Game of Thrones’ a Long Time Ago

You don’t have to be a “Game Of Thrones” viewer at this point to be familiar with the show’s history of depicting rape on screen. But a scene that aired last Sunday stirred and upset many fans and casual viewers alike, especially among the feminist community.

The controversial sequence prompted The Mary Sue, a pop culture blog with a feminist point of view, to declare that they’d “no longer be actively promoting the HBO series.”

I stopped watching Game of Thrones several seasons ago. I saw this rape issue coming well before the Cersei/Jaime “incident,” and certainly before Sansa’s wedding night (both of which I did not see, obviously).

I have a hard time watching rape on screen. I acknowledge that, sometimes, it’s genuinely relevant to character development or plot progression. If I really want to see something, I am usually able to fast forward through the rape scenes, or just leave the room until they’re over, and return for the rest of the film. And, I don’t mind doing that under certain circumstances.

However, it became clear to me that the reasons Games of Thrones creators had for adding rape were swiftly falling apart. There comes a point when none of the arguments for their being present hold up.

For example: “It’s revealing the severity of women’s oppression, and just how bad things are for them. Yet, they survive.”

I’ve been reading that argument at lot lately. Here’s the problem: we know. We know how bad things were and are for women, in life and in the show. You’ve established rape is commonplace, and that’s an important thing to understand. However, when you throw in rape over, and over, and over again, increasing the level of violence and taboo each time you do, it becomes pretty clear that you’re counting on that very real horror to draw audiences in by creating controversy. In other words, you’re taking advantage of women’s oppression for the sake of shock value.

Well, it’s working.

Everyone’s talking about it. Hell, here I am and I don’t even watch the show anymore.

None of this surprises me, because it became obvious to me by season two that the show was going to do absolutely anything to be the most “edgy” show on television. The violence, the sex, the language, it was all growing at an incredibly quick rate. It reached gratuitous levels by the end of season two. Thus, I called it quits.

I am concerned about impressionable viewers becoming accustomed to the idea of rape in a problematic way, about people becoming desensitized to the severity of it because they see it all the time. Women experience it, they survive it, and then they move on. All’s normal, right?

Wrong.

What’s to be done? I’m not sure. Game of Thrones is popular enough that, even with the current backlash, I don’t see them making any significant changes anytime soon. But, it’s still a free country (how long that will last, I cannot say). And I have the right to express my opinion, and to choose not to watch the show.

 

Rap Against Rape Culture

Meet the two women using rap to fight rape culture in India

“We’re now known as the land of rapes. But did you ever wonder how this took shape?”

That’s just one of the lines from a provocative new rap video that’s making headlines around the world.

Mumbai-based rap duo BomBaebs, which includes artist Uppekha Jain and TV host Pankhuri Awasthi, released a spoken-word piece on YouTube last week called “Rap Against Rape,” and the video has already been viewed nearly 500,000 times as of Monday afternoon.

When Women Dare Speak on Social Media

Identities.Mic: Actress Ashley Judd, who has been active in Hollywood for more than two decades, is also a die-hard University of Kentucky Wildcats fan. While watching her team play the University of Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday, Judd posted a since-deleted tweet that suggested the Razorbacks were playing dirty — an act that apparently triggeredan avalanche of online abuse, much of which was sexual in nature.

It’s not new; we’ve seen this over and over, more and more light has been shed on this issue, and yet it still remains an issue.

Then again, I suppose that should be of no surprise. Feminism, off and on social media, is still up for debate, women are raped and abused daily (as are men who dare show any sign of femininity). So, if we haven’t fixed those problems over the centuries, why should we expect any less from social media?

We’re worried about when protecting people becomes pure policing, and restrictions on freedom of speech. I understand that. But, it becomes a cycle of pure hypocrisy; men want to feel free to say what they please about women and to women, and then complain about their freedom when someone objects. But, what they say about and to women is, in turn, doing to women what men don’t want done to them. These men are out to shut women up, but can’t handle it in return.

There has to be a way to define social media use, so that the difference between freedom of speech and useless, and potentially harmful, harassment become clear.

Some online forums have tried to do this by eliminating particular words. That never works. One possibility would be to observe how words are used; are they directed at someone, or used in general?

But, even then, you risk policing, and it’s hard to be objective.

You’ll always have people (mostly men) crying that women are too sensitive, and who will refuse to see that the greater amount of harassment, bullying, threats, and violence happens to women, no matter how much proof you show. Unfortunately, some of these people are in positions of power that allow them to crush any potential change.

So, what is to be done?

A dear friend of mine engaged in a debate recently about a transgender woman being removed from a gym bathroom after another woman complained, and her membership being revoked as a result. Just for expressing her opinion on the issue (and yes, she was being very reasonable in her debate), she was doxed. They even went so far as to anonymously e-mail her employer. I hated myself a little for telling her that, though I agree it was wrong of them to do that, she needed to be more careful about debating people on the internet. When she does that, she becomes a target (an undeserving one, obviously).

Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done at this point. Like the unfair way in which we’re expected to deal with rape culture, we must deal with online harassment. We have to be cautious. Until other, more broad and related things change, wave to tread carefully, lest we become the next tragic headline that arouses another short-lived, quickly-smothered cry for justice.

Tumblr: 50 Shades of Grey & Abuse as Romance

I don’t claim to be an expert in the sexual, romantic, or social relationships within the realm of BDSM  and its communities.

However, I’ve read on it, studied it, and interviewed members for the purpose of research. As a result, I do know a thing or two.

I somehow brought myself to read 50 Shades of Grey through and through not long after it became a “hit.” It made me cringe from the first page (oh, God, the writing), but I considered it necessary for me to keep up with what was happening in the world of erotic and romantic fiction.

I can’t help but be seriously bothered by this series’ popularity, and the claims that it is making BDSM more acceptable and popular somehow.

Christian Grey is a severely troubled man, and an abusive stalker. His “contract,” amounts to little more than an urban myth; it is not at all a standard in Dom/Sub relationships. I am sure there are exceptions, but the active BDSM community is made of people who value trust above all else; receiving and executing pain as pleasure requires keen understanding of an individual’s desire and, most importantly, their personal boundaries. To force constraint of any kind on a person the way that Grey does would be unacceptable in true BDSM relationships and communities.

I would like to rip the writing apart, but that’s another rant altogether.

I understand popular and “trash” literature. I enjoy it. I’ve even published on literature than may be considered “trash.” I recognize people’s freedom to enjoy this work.

However, I urge you, readers, to consider just how much this is fiction. The Christian Greys of this world need psychological help, not a woman on her knees.

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Memes by the sixth siren of pandora on Tumblr. Permission for use requested and granted.

Cracked: Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped

Most of us realize in theory that men can be raped by women as well, but it’s just not seen as that big of a problem. Unless the victim is a child, female-on-male rape is considered so absurd that the only time we really see it is when it’s being portrayed as a carousel of slapstick wackiness in mainstream comedies. You see a beautiful actress force herself on a tied-down Vince Vaughn and the only thought is, “Ha, I wish!” After all, don’t movies tell us that men want sex, all the time, from absolutely anyone who’ll give it to them? He should be thanking her!

This is another way in which feminism benefits men. 

When male rape survivors (I prefer that term to “victim”) are dismissed, or too afraid to come forward, it is a direct result of ideas and beliefs regarding masculinity, forced on the male population by the patriarchy.  These beliefs are that men can’t be raped because that’s something that happens to women (when women aren’t lying about it, but that’s another issue), and women are inherently lesser. If a man claims he was raped, it therefore makes him lesser, because he is a man; he is supposed to want sex, no matter the circumstance. 

Feminism’s aim to level the patriarchy and make things equal benefits men because men may then cease to hide their vulnerability, and receive justice for wrongs done to them by women (and other men).