Leftists need to stop shaming women for engaging the criminal justice system in situations of abuse

When looking for alternatives to the criminal justice system, we need to be realistic, not idealistic.

A 1998 protest against Bishop O’Connor’s “healing circle,” which allowed him to avoid trial.

“Fuck the police” was a slogan I easily aligned myself with as a young woman. As a then-aspiring anarchist (and NWA fan), the declaration sounded appropriately rebellious, and my father the Marxist had taught me that the police were bullies who existed only to protect money and private property. He may have been partially right, but while the phrase remains politically powerful, extending the sentiment to a literal abolishment of the police, I later realized, was not as radical an idea as I’d thought.

It was not only my lived reality, as a woman, but understanding the realities of countless other women, combined with the realization that power imbalances would not be addressed simply by avoiding engaging the criminal justice system, when dealing with male violence, that led me to question the idea that this was a viable solution.

It’s much easier to demand we get rid of something when we’ve never had to use it ourselves.

The fact that it is the male-centered left who are most-often leading calls for “restorative justice” processes or to abolish the police is a useful clue. The feminist movement, after separating itself from the left, as their issues were being ignored and they were subjected to ongoing misogyny from the men in these movements, fought to criminalize things like domestic abuse and marital rape, and, as a result, has been tarred as “carceral.” It’s a double-bind women can’t escape — either we are cop-lovers and traitors to the left, or we must remain silent, with no recourse when faced with men’s violence and abuse.

Criticizing leftist alternatives to dealing with crimes against women is often met with perturbed resistance and accusations of “carceral feminism” from men who’ve invested their politics in the idea that they are the “good guys.” But because abuse happens in supposedly progressive communities as often as it does anywhere, and leftist men continue to protect one another from accountability, these criticisms strike me as a particularly sexist form of bullying.

“Carceral feminism” is a meaningless term, adopted to encourage otherwise radical people to distance themselves from the ever uncool women’s liberation movement. If one accepts that using the law and the state as part of women’s efforts to hold men to account and to protect women’s rights is “carceral,” then the phrase is applicable, I suppose. Of course, if this is the standard by which we are using the term, any person who believes murder should be criminalized is also “carceral,” rendering the “feminism” affix meaningless.

In any case, the notion that the feminist movement has focused on incarceration as a solution to systemic oppression is wrong. Louisa Russell, a collective member at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter confirms this, telling me over the phone:

“Rape Relief, CASAC [the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres], and many other feminists do not think that long and harsh sentencing is the answer and we are not in support of ‘law and order’ agenda. We’re in agreement with the current campaign to get rid of mandatory sentencing.”

What the “carceral feminism” accusation tends to misunderstand (beyond its simple mischaracterization of the women’s movement and its goals) is that advocating for legislative change is less about jail time than it is about reflecting societal ideals — that is, making official the fact that, say, it is not acceptable to rape your wife, because your wife is not your property. While the law under capitalist patriarchy, in a racist world, should be criticized, rejecting it entirely seems misguided. Law is intended to be a reflection of society, therefore, advocating for feminist legislation is very much connected to our efforts to effect social change.

Unfortunately, due the fact that we have not yet managed to undo the system called patriarchy, women still fear violence from men on the left and men on the right, as well as all men in between. Currently, there is no group of men who women can trust to protect them.

When Michael Stewart, a writer at rabble.ca, argued in 2016 that abolishing the police was something we needed to start taking seriously, I understood his reasoning. The ongoing racist violence people of colour are subjected to, not only in the U.S., but in Canada as well, is abhorrent. In Toronto, carding (the practice of arbitrarily stopping, questioning, and documenting individuals when no offence is being investigated) was restricted (but not banned), after it was found to disproportionately target minority groups. Indigenous men in Canada have long experienced violence, negligence, and abuse at the hands of the police. Both the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have failed on an abysmal level, to protect Indigenous women and girls from male violence (and, in fact, the police are often perpetrators of that violence themselves). Even within the ranks of the RCMP, sexual abuse and harassment is widespread — we’ve seen hundreds of female officers come forward with allegations. Disappointing response after disappointing response has led many women who experience sexual assault or domestic abuse to avoid calling the cops at all. The police have failed women many times over, and RCMP member Matt Logan was quoted as saying, “If you are a sex offender in B.C. right now, you have a 98.5 percent chance of getting away with it.” In 2016, feminists and allies gathered outside City Hall to protest the VPD’s refusal to enforce Canada’s new prostitution legislation, which made the purchase of sex illegal. Mayor Gregor Robertson himself is unwilling to intervene on behalf of the marginalized women and girls who are being bought and sold on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, despite previous commitments toward doing so, and despite the fact that it is now the law.

Between their ongoing criminalization of poverty, their too-often violent racism and misogyny, and their unwillingness to hold other men to account for their violence against women, really, what is the point of maintaining a police force? Well, a perhaps uninspired answer is that we have no viable alternatives.

Russell told me that, as an anarchist, it felt a little awkward to be “supportive” of police protection, but “when you’ve seen that many battered and raped women it doesn’t seem ridiculous at all.”

“Yes, in my ideal fantasy there are no police, but we’re a long, long way from having that ideal and, at the moment, the reality is that one of the largest numbers of calls to 911 is in dealing with abusive men.”

Imperfect and unpleasant as it may be, women need intervention and the police are currently the only ones able to intervene at 3:00AM, if a woman needs to get a violent man out of her house. Women in these kinds of situations have no other choice but to call the police, Russell says.

What we have in the police force is also access to accountability. The same cannot be said of men in our community. Alice Lee, a member of the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, points out that, “Society is often part of the reason why [a man has] been able to get away with abusing or hitting [a woman].” When abuse is something that is largely condoned, women are left with few other choices than to turn to a body that, at very least, is legally obligated towards accountability. “It is in this accountability that we have found recourse,” Lee tells me. “I haven’t heard of any other system that allows us to have this kind of accountability or recourse.”

Like the state itself, the police are meant to work for us — citizens. That they sometimes do not is an issue we must continue to address, but the reality stands that the police, in Canada, are part of the public sector. Lee says:

“The police force is something I see as a system that reflects society’s values and principles and it should function that way, carrying out society’s values and principles. So when it’s not working, it’s up to us to demand change so that it works for everyone, not just certain people.”

The thing about abolishing the police is that women do still require a justice system and women still do need access to law enforcement. We need someone to call who will show up. And when it comes to offering alternatives, the progressive men advocating to abolish the police fall short on answers.

Fay Blaney, an Indigenous activist and founding member of Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN), thinks men often say such things without thinking about the impacts on women. “We’re always an afterthought,” she tells me.

In light of #MeToo, many have been calling for alternative models for dealing with sexual violence. At the 2018 Golden Globe awards, Laura Dern used her acceptance speech to call for “restorative justice,” and indeed, the most common response to the question of alternatives to the police is “restorative justice models.” While women should certainly have access to any form of justice they feel will offer them safety and comfort, things are not so black and white as “criminal justice system=bad/restorative justice=good.” Things become more complicated when we take power imbalances and abuse into account.

Though many white proponents of restorative justice models often attribute their origins to Indigenous cultures, they can actually be traced back to Christian groups such as Quakers and Mennonites. These measures were promoted by the B.C. government as a more “culturally sensitive” model of justice for Indigenous communities and as a means to address “concerns over the growing numbers of Native people being incarcerated,” a 2001 report by AWAN states. The report references Emma Larocque, a professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, who, in her article, “Re-examining culturally appropriate models in criminal justice applications,” finds that “the collective concept in these reforms has more to do with a misguided socialist assumption stemming from western, liberal, colonial ideas than any Native tradition.”

Blaney, an Xwemalhkwu woman of the Coast Salish Nation, echoes this, telling me, “That restorative justice model is not ours. We like to think it is, but it’s not.”

In a 1992 report looking at Aboriginal justice from a female perspective, Teressa Nahanee writes, “Aboriginal traditions have become bastardized by Christianity and the imposition of western culture.” The Indian residential school system, of course, is one example, having created a cycle of abuse that has yet to be unbroken.

As a result, she writes, “It is primarily men who have almost total power and control in Aboriginal communities e.g. Band Councils and Chiefs, male police, etc.” She explains that Aboriginal male leaders protect each other “and have collectively or collusively contributed to the violence against Aboriginal women and children through their inaction, ineptness, ineffectiveness, or neglect.”

In other words, Indigenous women and girls are being abused and marginalized both inside and outside of their communities.

In response to numerous concerns raised around the implications of restorative justice in cases of crimes of violence against Aboriginal women and children, AWAN conducted extensive community consultations and research. They came out “strongly opposed” to the application of restorative justice in such instances, citing numerous issues including, “structural power imbalances between abuser and abused,” “lack of…consultation with Aboriginal women and Aboriginal women’s groups,” a “failure of Aboriginal leadership to adequately address crimes of violence against women and children,” and “misrepresentation of Aboriginal ‘culture.'”

The reality of sitting down in a room with your abuser is unlikely to appeal to many victims… Any woman who has been abused by a male partner or family member will likely know that these dynamics extend far beyond physical violence, and that talking things through with an abusive person is likely to be more triggering than productive.

Russell points out that the issue of power tends not to be taken into account by those advocating for restorative justice models as a viable alternative to the current justice system. “When it comes to cases of violence against women where there’s such a massive power imbalance, [restorative justice] is wholly inappropriate,” Russell says. “It puts [women and men] on an equal playing field, which they’re not.”

An interesting example is the 1996 case of Hubert O’Connor, a white bishop who victimized a number of Aboriginal women at the St. Joseph’s residential school in Williams Lake, where O’Connor was principal in the 1960s. O’Connor served six months, was released, then sent back to court on yet another rape charge, which was dropped in 1998, after O’Connor participated in a seven-hour healing circle. While one of his victims claimed relief at being able to deal with the abuse outside of the court system, representatives from sexual assault centres and Indigenous women’s groups were vehemently opposed to the process, proposed not by his victims, but by O’Connor’s lawyer. Shortly after the healing circle, 70 women — many of whom had personally suffered abuse connected to residential schools — gathered on the legislature’s lawn for “a traditional native grieving ceremony” to protest. “He had no business going through the restorative justice process,” Blaney said.

Blaney cites numerous other examples where alternative justice models resulted in the revictimization of women, one of those being the South Island Justice Project.

The project experimented with “diversionary justice” within a group of Coast Salish Communities during the 80s and 90s, and was centered around healing through cultural and spiritual practices. While the program was in place, Blaney says, there was a case of a young man who was sexually assaulting women. He was charged, but the tribal council, chaired by the man’s uncle, requested that he be diverted out of the mainstream justice system, into the alternative justice program set up through the project. When he offended again, he was diverted once more. “He became so brazen that he sexually assaulted a woman in broad daylight, on the hood of a car, out in public,” Blaney said.

In a case study of the project, recorded in the book, The Problem of Justice: Tradition and Law in the Coast Salish World, author Bruce Granville Miller notes that project reviewers reported that victims often didn’t come forward about assaults because they “presumed that the offenders would simply be ‘counseled’ by elders and remain in the community, perhaps as neighbours.” Likewise, women were “reluctant” to approach elders who were perpetrators themselves, assuming “their concerns would not be addressed.” Victims were guilted into not going to the police, pressured instead to simply put the abuse behind them, and sometimes were intimidated by the abuser himself, as a means to prevent victims from involving the criminal justice system.

The project ended in 1993 due to ongoing challenges from Indigenous women, primarily Sharon McIvor, lawyer and (at the time) spokesperson for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).

A central reason that restorative justice models don’t work in Aboriginal communities is that, Blaney explains, colonialism destroyed the matriarchal kinship system that once existed in Coast Salish communities. As patriarchy was imposed, so was a culture of male violence and abuse. To her mind, restoring those matriarchal traditions would go a long way in terms of working against ongoing violence and abuse in communities like hers.

For now, Blaney says that, “even though the model with the police is not that effective, they’re a safe institution where we have the ability to challenge what they’re doing and attempt to improve upon it.” She adds, “I think we need that — we need the police… They just need to do a better job.”

In an essay at The Nation, Mychal Denzel Smith writes:

“We don’t consider the abolition of police a viable position to take because we believe they’re the only thing standing between upstanding citizens and the violence of the deranged. We’re afraid of being attacked on the street, of having our homes shot at, and being left without access to equally violent retribution.”

But women aren’t afraid of something as vague as “the deranged.” They are afraid of something quite specific: men. Those men might be the cops themselves, or some other authority figure. They might be cab drivers, neighbours, or faceless strangers we fear will follow us home or break into our houses at night. But most-likely, the men who will cause us harm are already in our homes — they are our husbands, fathers, and boyfriends.

If we get rid of the police, the question of who will protect women, then, from men, has a fairly obvious, but unsettling and insufficient answer: other men.

“In an ideal world,” Russell says, “responsible men would watch out for other men in the community and protect the community from being further attacked by [male perpetrators]. But that’s not what men are doing right now. Far from it. The current reality is that most men refuse to even hold other men accountable for their sexist behaviour — let alone police or correct them.”

Based on the logic behind “abolish the police,” we may as well say, “abolish men,” considering the source of most of the world’s violence. I’m being facetious, but surely you see my point.

What makes any of us believe the new boss, as it were, would be any different than the old one? The most likely result of replacing the police force with “something else” — whether that be restorative justice or some other form of mediation process; community patrols or a popular militia; an anarchist utopia that imagines perpetrators will be ostracized or will “heal” alongside their victims, in the community — is that similar structures of power will be replicated, and women will remain vulnerable and continue to be denied justice.

“Violence against women and racism are the result of systematic inequalities and if we don’t make real changes, I have no illusion that a different framework will result in a different or better outcome than what we have now,” Lee says.

Lee agrees with criticisms of the police coming from marginalized and racialized groups. “I’m not in any way in favour of a law and order agenda — I think that’s very dangerous. I’m totally against the police having too much power, acting with impunity, and a budget that’s high on militarism,” she says. “Those are all things we need to fight against.”

She believes that what we really need is a revolution, adding that movements like Black Lives Matter “are the way to go” and that other social justice movements need to come out in support. “That’s how we will effect real change,” she says. “But in the meantime, women need access to the law.”

Russell agrees, saying, “It’s not a political ideal, it’s just a reality.”

That leftists often accuse women of “pearl-clutching” or of encouraging a police state, due to their efforts to protect themselves from male violence, only demonstrates how little they understand about their own self-professed efforts at building a just world. The hypocrisy of subjecting women to abuse, but then criticizing them for calling the police should serve as a reminder to women of the priorities of these groups.

After a Toronto writer named Andray Domise, well-known on the Canadian left, was accused of abuse, a friend of his and fellow activist wrote in his defense:

“… Many of our personal philosophies involve sidestepping the police and courts, and instead embracing alternatives like transformative justice. Throwing a Black man to the wolves of the criminal justice system is violent, and does nothing to heal anyone involved including the accuser, the accused and the wider community.”

But accusing victims of “violence” for engaging the criminal justice system in their defense is a disturbing manipulation of both the word “violence” and the goal of social justice. A man can simultaneously be impacted by racism and also be abusive or misogynist — one does not cancel out the other. Letting men off the hook for violence because they are working class or racialized will not right the wrongs of an unjust world. These men still hold male power under patriarchy, despite facing class or race oppression, and indeed, have done their own fair share in terms of maintaining that power.

Mocking or shaming women for their efforts to hold their oppressors to account feels a lot more like locker room bullying à la “Man up!” than it does solidarity.

I’ve had to call the police myself, several times in the past, due to abusive men — men who were my partners – sometimes with positive results, sometimes not. An abusive ex suggested a “restorative justice process” to the community I was ostracized from — laughable considering his own position of power in that community (and in society, in general), and his demonstrated efforts to manipulate and distort the narrative in his favour, as abusive men are keen to do.

I’ve learned both from personal experience, as well from other women in this movement, that, while rebellious declarations satisfy our comrades, sometimes reality is a little more sobering.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • Good job Meghan. I am an unapologetic “carceral feminist” as long as those who would abolish government have no good ideas about what to do with violent men. Where I’ve seen ostracization operate most effectively is in communities that are working to police and silence radical feminists. Ostracizing those who don’t conform to social norms is also what makes many small towns so oppressive to live in and allows discrimination to persist, even if it does curb male aggression to some (inadequate) extent. It does keep people from stealing, but then anarchists believe all property is theft.

  • JProf

    And sometimes there’s blatant hypocrisy about this issue from men on the left. For example, George Cicarriello-Maher, who calls himself a communist and tries to be one of the most radical left-wingers in the USA on Twitter, is also a prison abolitionist. But in one of his tweets from about a year ago, he showed a photo of cops arresting a white nationalist (I think it was Richard Spencer), and the text of his tweet was “Abolish the police….tomorrow.”

  • I doubt police and policing can be separate from any other mainstream social institution. Why separate them out? And isn’t militarism a bigger issue? If the left uses the “carceral” term to criticize women, this just shows how absolutely dense the left is. Of all the groups the police are of no help to women and Blacks lead the list.

    That the police reflect male supremacy and racism is obvious, but so does all of current life on the planet. And that doesn’t stop women or Blacks from trying to exert pressure on them from every possible angle (as in more women police, women-on-women policing etc) to make them work to some very minimal level on their own behalf. There is no other way and there won’t be for a goddam very long time, so the left should just shut to eff up, or support the fact that finally women are gaining a teeny-weeny bit of justice around sexual issues in the courts. Something that has rarely, or if ever, happened previously in history.

    When women gain an equal footing in the justice system with males, that is the moment to start the conversation about radical reforms in policing. The truly radical act now is to put males in prison for their sexist crimes that have mounted up, and backlogged countless centuries. The #metoo shaming is not enough.. systematic justice is the political act, the radical act to try to achieve… even if against all odds.

  • marv

    Mighty arguments. Liberation will happen neither by law and enforcement alone nor without them.

  • If you’re going to have a society built on law, then you need a means of enforcing the law. It took about 300 years for European and British men to accept the law as an alternative to the personal revenge system they’d been accustomed to using. The law has not yet been extended to women. Sure we’ve gotten some laws into the books, but they’re rarely enforced. I suppose we could try the personal revenge system ….. Maybe if women routinely stalked and maimed, castrated, tattooed and/or killed the men who harmed them, these leftists would suggest we use the law and its police agents instead. I would add that people who say we shouldn’t use the police are people who have never had to use the police. They’re so bloody entitled they’re not even attacked in the streets or in their homes. Do they have any idea why? Do they not notice the regular police patrols in their neighbourhoods? Do they not realize that the drug addicts who commit the majority of minor robberies and burglaries are afraid of them because as entitled men of property they have access to the police and the rest of the justice system? What we really should do is remove the police presence from their neighbourhoods, and publicly announce that fact. I wonder how long it would take for them to start calling for a renewed police presence.
    The fact that the police are so corrupt they’re raping aboriginal women and killing non-white men is a problem with men, not a problem with police.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Meghan says:
    “A central reason that restorative justice models don’t work in Aboriginal communities is that, Blaney explains, colonialism destroyed the matriarchal kinship system that once existed in Coast Salish communities. As patriarchy was imposed, so was a culture of male violence and abuse. To her mind, restoring those matriarchal traditions would go a long way in terms of working against ongoing violence and abuse in communities like hers.”

    I think that restorative justice models work exactly as males intend them to work. Male systems, especially male law, is not meant to protect us. Male law protects males, that is what they are meant to do, and they do a fabulous job. Just a glance at how rapists are treated shows us this.

    Also, I am fine with abolishing males. And I am not being facetious.

    Also from the post:
    “perpetrators will be ostracized or will “heal” alongside their victims,…….”

    Nope. I don’t care about the “healing” of a rapist or an abusive husband. It’s time for males to let that manipulative falsehood die. Violent males do not commit violence because they need “healing”. That is just a male lie to make us feel bad for the male that is just so emotionally upset, he is just so hurt, that he can’t control his emotions or fists or dick, so he rapes or beats us out of uncontrollable sadness.

    Really. I don’t give a shit about your uncontrollable mansadz that manifests as beaten, raped and dead women. It is enraging that I am expected to do so.

  • VLCampbell

    Meghan, this is an excellent piece. Thank you for the time and thought and care it took to write it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks!

  • calabasa

    This is my favorite piece by you ever, Meghan. It is so thoroughly well-researched and written and reasoned and also exactly what is on my mind right now which is probably another reason I like it so much.

    If I thought perpetrators healing alongside victims would work, I would do it. But all the research I have ever done suggests to me that only holding rapists and abusers accountable for their actions work, because rapists and abusers tend to be a certain kind of person who is extremely adept at manipulation and really likes to work the sad sack angle (quite a few of them are not above this, at all). My personal feelings of not blaming a rapist for turning out like he did and feeling he’s symptomatic of a larger problem don’t actually do anything to mitigate the harm he did or does or will do, nor does it do anything to deter him or men like him in future, as you say.

    I was thinking about restorative justice with my ex *just to make him go to therapy for abusers.* If he would receive therapy for abusers as well as mental health treatment the whole time and would be humanely treated (unusual in the U.S., but I gather minimum-security facilities are better than max) I would be happy to send him to prison for six months to a year (unless they felt he needed longer, but I think a short sentence and the threat of a longer one next time would be enough to deter these guys).

    Maybe we should make the sentence for non-egregiously-violent non-stranger rape six months in a minimum security facility designed more like hospital in which the guy receives intensive therapy designed for abusive men, as Lundy Bancroft ran sessions, in which they all had to hold themselves and each other one hundred percent accountable for what they did to their victims. (Essentially, as my friend put it, therapy for abusers is “reverse cognitive behavioral therapy;” instead of getting them to see how they have been negatively self-blaming uselessly to feel better about themselves, we need to see that they have thought positively about or justified their actions uselessly and blamed others, where they deserve the blame for what they did; they have to be constantly held accountable. This takes *work* most people don’t want to do and is an act of love, to hold someone accountable this way; but what is our other option for rehabilitating rapists and abusers? Preventing offending in the first place feels easier to solve but is *so much harder* because of just how furiously men are hanging on for dear life to their cognitive dissonance about pornography, sex work, gender roles, and the male approach to sex under patriarchy, and its role in creating rapists).

    Maybe we could see that more men were incarcerated by addressing misogyny within the criminal justice system (the way that despite rape shield laws lawyers find ways to get around them and victims are put on trial instead of rapists, and people–male or female, although the situation obviously mostly benefits males, as the majority of rapists rather than victims–are assumed to be in a default state of sexual consent unless it can be definitely proved beyond a shadow of a doubt otherwise–at least in U.S. courts; we don’t have such a presumption of consent on the part of victims for other crimes, say, for example, theft). We could demand that police do more police work and actually test rape kits and investigate rape claims; a little digging around would turn up other victims, and multiple victims testifying should mean enough to put an offender away for six months of freaking therapy with the promise of a heavier sentence if he does it again. Maybe we could instruct the jury about rape myths, and how we need to say *no more* to rape which means sheltering and pardoning the people who commit it *no more.*

    I understand that people (particularly men, but a lot of women too) are unwilling to send your average power rapist who doesn’t physically harm his victim and probably knew her (as twisted and savage as that can be when it’s your friend or a sexually abusive partner) to some maximum security prison or even your average minimum security prison for years; maybe if we made special prisons for sexual offenders designed to rehabilitate them, and everyone understand this was about rehabilitation and that the offenders were then to be back in society without retribution, this would go over more smoothly. Educating people about the long-term effects of rape would be helpful, because I have certainly been physically harmed (acute, lasting PTSD caused a relapse of an autoimmune illness that had been 20 years in remission–this has been horrible for my health in every way). A lot of people–even people who should know better, like Germaine Greer–appear ignorant of the facts about rape and the harm it causes.

    You are smarter than I was, because I never called the police. I think it’s because of childhood stuff and my formative sexual experiences being with a sexual abuser who was grooming me, but somehow it never registered as violence or I didn’t think it matter, even though my abuser regularly choked me and once choked me unconscious when I tried to take his drugs away. I only went to the police once–ironically about what I now think about as a fairly milder incident of taking advantage of somebody, but which was very triggering at the time because of all the memories it dredged up, and my mistaken belief that if I was “good” this would not happen to me, not even on the one night all year long I go out with a friend and let myself get drunk–and my experience of that was so awful (being called a “stupid girl,” told “not to go home with someone if I didn’t expect that” and to “get to know someone first” by an officer who then complained about his job and who should not have been on duty because he’d shot a man in the woods the day before and was clearly still traumatized) that I never reported a rape again (that is, until my ex-boyfriend sent a police officer to my house for a wellness check after I told him I’d rather have died than be raped again, which was true; I then reported him to the officer, with my friend present). I did not report the second and worst incidence of violation which took place after what had devolved into a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship had ended. That is the only instance of violation he actually admitted was his fault and apologized for in any direct fashion. I hope that the fact that he dropped off the horizon, according to people who knew him who later told me (after he was outed by a local FB group during the beginning of the #metoo movement, which should have opened everybody’s eyes to the epidemic of rape in our communities and how women have stayed silent), the day after I angrily and harshly rejected this attempt at an apology signifies that he actually feels bad and that if I asked him to he would attend therapy for sexual offenders and abusers, but I don’t know if it does. I would give him my blessing if he would do that and promise to me never ever to rape another woman again, and if I were to find out he did and be notified by police I would prosecute him for what he did to me and other women.

    Maybe this is deluded though and what he needs is an official process in order to be held accountable. I just don’t think I would win because people don’t understand rape in the context of a DV relationship, or post-rape contact, or victim behavior and how it can vary with circumstance and trauma. All the clear signs pointing to his guilt, including other victims, if I got them to come forward, or various emails and texts which are vague confessions (not to mention his repeated desire to get back together with me when I was supposedly a stalker who had falsely accused him of rape because of a “miscommunication”), including text messages on the documented day of one of the rapes admitting he was calling because of that day and that he’d really “screwed things up badly”–I think all they’d see is a mentally ill and therefore unreliable woman (me, because what he did made me crazy) and a mentally ill and unreliable man (him), and declare it didn’t meet the burden of proof. That’s what would happen, while I was being shamed in court for my behavior after the rapes.

    I remember doing the Meyers-Briggs test a long time ago with my mom and siblings. My mom was shocked that when asked “which is more important: justice or mercy?” I answered “justice” (though she shouldn’t have been; as a middle child, I had always been very concerned with fairness, which my father liked to tease me about, telling me “life isn’t fair.” He was right). She exclaimed that of course mercy was always better than justice.

    I believe that’s a noble idea and one women in particular have been sold on in a form of larger social grooming. I have no idea to what extent my current state of compassion has been groomed into me because I was somewhat sternly socialized out my natural state as a child of having a temper and striking back at those who hurt me. (I know I was also always compassionate, but the extent to which I can’t feel anger now strikes me as the reverse image of the extent to which some men can’t feel sad and cry, and turn that sadness and depression into rage).

    My sister was always naturally compassionate but after her long work doing oral history of the homeless and documenting their horrific struggles as men and women victimized by this system, she no longer feels the compassion for perpetrators she once had. I think my whole family is pretty pissed at the guy who did this to me, because I brought this up to my mother recently and she said, “Oh, but there can be no mercy without justice. Only the victims can choose to be merciful after the person who wronged them has been brought to justice.” This is a very different stance than what I remember from her. I can only conclude that something in intervening years has changed their minds and seeing their sister or daughter go through what I have might be a part of that.

    I agree that the narrative of restorative or transformative justice can easily be used as cover, and I believe many people know that but feel powerless to do anything about it, and feel that at least the community knowing and the perpetrator pretending some remorse is better than nothing. It of course serves those who commit these crimes, who tend to be just a bit more sexually narcissistic and aggressive average men that anyone could know from all walks of life and levels of education.

    The fact is that conversation about rape is a conversation about sex is a conversation about relationships, and the conversation about abuse is a conversation about gender roles is a conversation about relationships, and this hits men who don’t rape and abuse but benefit from rape culture and an abusive paradigm uncomfortably close to home. We need to keep hitting closer and keep them uncomfortable and push this conversation about saying no to men and saying no to the idea that abuse is an acceptable or socially constructive form of love.

    Bravo on your research, awesome to discover that the origins of restorative justice are white, Christian and colonialist, great ammunition with everyone currently pushing this, which includes a lot of libfem women also covering up men’s crimes as well (the man who groomed and raped me when I was seventeen who has been raping women ever since and has some sort of psychic hold on most of his victims; his wife has been pushing this toxic narrative while undermining some of his victims’ therapy. Of course I have not been included in this process, although I asked out of curiosity, to see how genuine the offer of restorative justice for any victim who should desire it was–it was not).

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks so much calabasa. There were many more times I *could* have (and probably should have) called the police, but did not. It’s a scary thing to do… Especially when you’re doing it to a man you ‘love’ (or think you love)… I certainly don’t think it’s the only option or always the best option, but the idea that we should feel ashamed, embarrassed, or like sell-outs, politically, is so messed up. We just can’t win!
      xx

    • calabasa

      Sorry, posted in reply to the wrong comment!

  • Meghan Murphy

    All men are part of the oppressor class, under patriarchy, Rich. Also, how manipulative to frame women who engage the criminal justice system in situations of abuse/male violence as somehow selfishly thinking only of their ‘personal protection’. Women who call the police on their rapists are generally not doing so to protect themselves — they’ve already BEEN RAPED. They are often doing it to protect other women — i.e. to prevent the perpetrator from assaulting other women.

    If patriarchy was abolished, then we wouldn’t need to call the cops to protect us from violent men. This point is made clear in the article.

    • calabasa

      My new roommate is doing his PhD specifically studying (and criticizing) liberal policing. We talked about this somewhat (that women, while definitely not protected by most police and the justice system–because most abuse is intraracial and men will often protect other men unless they perceive “their women” are being despoiled–women nevertheless need to be able to go to the police in times of emergency as they have no other option). I agree with him that police were conceptualized as and still are a tool of state control, but as long as the state exists as such, we need some control. I’m going to show him your article.

      I agree with you that we can’t win. This is like another intersecting axis of oppression or something, demands of allegiance to liberal (not truly leftist, or they’d be on our side) men. “Misogyliberalism?”

      ETA: I don’t meant to make light of misogynoir or other intersecting axes of oppression at all by saying that, and in fact there’s quite a bit of it in saying black women can’t call the police on black men who are attacking them and committing violence against them. It’s not fair to pin the burden of racist police onto black women or demand allegiance to a cause when their lives are in danger.

    • CatherineTGWShark

      So true.
      Also, I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong or selfish with women who do call the police out of thinking of their own ‘personal protection’.

      Like, why would that be selfish or wrong? The system is terrible but women have the right to try and use it in hope of protecting themselves.

      Even if a woman is ‘only’ thinking of herself? Well, so what? Does Rich thinks a women who’s been raped/ is being stalked/ is being beaten / whatever else should disregard her own safety and think about how will her attacker be treated by the police?

      Wtf, is wrong with men who think women are selfish if they don’t put the safety of their violent male attackers before their own safety?

  • Meghan Murphy

    And what do you propose women do when a man is beating them in their home?

  • calabasa

    Absofuckinglutely what Meghan said. If I could make sure my rapist never raped again without police, I would do that first. In fact I even had a *plan* involving restorative justice (not for justice for me but for my safety in meeting with him) to *try* that which would probably fail and be ill-advised and exposes me to retriggering trauma just to get him to go to fucking therapy so he doesn’t rape anyone anymore ever again. I doubt he’d ever do this or respond which is probably good as it’s a bad fucking idea in all likelihood.

    The only relevant thing you said is that these institutions shelter abusers, which is true. Police commit DV at a much higher rate than civilian men. This is also why there are mandatory arrest laws in DV cases in some U.S. States, which police still try to get around, because they never fucking were arresting *anybody,* even if a bruised and bloodied woman answered the door.

    Basically, police are a shitty option and a last resort but often an *only* option in a male world in which men abuse women. And men don’t just abuse women they date (although thanks for the dose of victim blaming, how many times have I told myself it’s my fault for deciding to date again? Good to know if I take another chance it’ll be my fault for not knowing better and you’ll be annoyed if police accidentally pound on your door), they also rape and assault women at random all the time.

  • calabasa

    As far as I know, the origins of the police as a Western system go way back to the “workinghouses for the poor” created during the transition from feudalism to capitalism in medieval Europe, and the first innocent victims were “wandering serfs” who refused to work for a wage because they didn’t agree with the Enclosures (land privatization, destruction of the commons and forcing proletarian people to work for a wage, for an employer).

    I think we all agree it’s a force of civil colonialism to keep POC and the poor in check, one which only serves women in relation to their being the property of men, usually white men, that it’s a tool of control wielded by the state–nevertheless, as long as the state exists, we will need some control, particularly of those who commit violence and for those who are vulnerable to said violence.

  • DeColonise

    I’m not a fan of the whole arrangement of authority in this culture either, that police for one thing have legal monopoly on violence and this entire arrangement of course drives a very specific kind of personality towards such a job. Men (and a few women) who loves domination and this kind of authority.

    However, with this said, in this day and age when society looks like it does and we have zero planning of how to organize our communities against rape, domestic violence and so on… I have no problem with people taking help from the police in any way they can.
    In an ideal situation where people actually helped one another and stood up for one another the Police had not been needed but we are not even remotely there.

    I think the main job for the Police, why they were created at all at one time, is to protect the rich from the poor.
    As we see time and again they always come to protect corporations right to exploit without impunity and to beat up protesters and so on to make sure capitalism goes on as usual.

  • Anne Bonne

    Rich’s gaslighting and wholly self-absorbed comment here is a perfect example of the logical endpoint of men – right and especially, it seems, left – tirelessly inserting themselves into people, places, and discussions where they don’t belong and aren’t particularly welcome, without caring to regard the underlying subject from a necessarily female perspective. I suppose in this last regard they are a bit defective.

    Worth noting that Hekate Jayne said “abolish men,” and nothing about the personal responsibility of individual women to purge individual men from their lives. Leave it to a man to ignore a woman’s meaning by twisting and manipulating her words to blame victims of domestic violence for their own suffering, though.

  • Anne Bonne

    I like the first idea, but stun gun-only doesn’t really work in countries like the United States where gun ownership, as we are constantly reminded by daily mass shootings in the evening news, is common and culturally embedded and where so many domestic fatalities of women and children are caused by men with guns.

  • Hekate Jayne

    You say:
    “…..the onus is never on women to protect themselves individually from violent men, or create female-only safe havens or self-defense communities.”

    Are you joking?

    The onus is never on us? To create female only spaces? Or attempt to protect ourselves?

    Really? Because, bro, we cannot escape you. We try. Then some of you slap on a dress and some lipstick, and use your male fucking law to get in.

    We don’t need the fucking onus. We create our own spaces and attempt to protect ourselves and each other from you, but you make it impossible and/or you punish us for it. And then you lie and manipulate in an attempt to make yourselves the victim.

    You don’t have the ability “to enforce your will”? That sound you hear is me laughing in your fucking face.

    Also, you and I have a very different definition of the word, abolish.

    • Rich Garcia

      None of you are trying to escape from men when you continue to enter into relationships with them. And what “male law” are you talking about? The one that puts people who look like I do in prison? When was the last time you were handcuffed and thrown in the backseat of a police car because you fit a certain profile?

      • CatherineTGWShark

        None of you are trying to escape from men when you continue to enter into relationships with them.

        Seriously? Fucking seriously? Congratulations! You have spent so much time on a feminists site but you have learned nothing.

        Aside from what you said being the bog standard victim blaming (of the “you asked for it” / “you chose this” and even some “stupid women always picking assholes” that is so beloved of MRAs everywhere) bullshit it’s also incredible stupid!

        Let for a moment indulge your misogynistic premise of “Stupid women aren’t boycotting romantic relationships with men; so they only have themselves to blame” and pretend it makes any kind of sense.
        Tell me; what about women who don’t have romantic relationships with men? Do you believe men aren’t attacking, raping and killing them? Do you think men are perfectly okay with women who don’t have romantic relationships with men? Are men not enraged by the very idea of women who don’t have romantic relationships with men?

        Tell me, how men react to women separatist movements? Hell, how well they react to women only music festivals?

        Also, please let us know how exactly are women supposed to get away from all men? Should we make spaceships and escape into the fucking space?

        And what “male law” are you talking about? The one that puts people who look like I do in prison?

        Yeah, dude. That law. Just because it’s also racist and tend to sucks for some men (mostly those who are disadvantaged due to race and/or class) doesn’t make it any less male law.

        Be honest now; do you enjoy MRA talking points? They do love that “Well, some men have it bad so patriarchy / system that benefits men can’t exists!” bs.

        When was the last time you were handcuffed and thrown in the backseat of a police car because you fit a certain profile?

        Um, dude?

        You do know that black women, and Hispanic women, and Native women exists, right?

        And that they too are arrested, and imprisoned, and sometimes raped by the cops (hell, they are just now making laws about that being a no-no. Well, at least on paper. We’ll see how well will the cops listen to those laws), and even sometimes killed by cops, right?
        MoC are hardly the only ones with a very good reason to fear the cops. Hell, can you even imagine how it feels to WoC? What if they need to call the police to protect them from a violent men? They have to consider that they might get violent cops who might even kill them!

        So, you know what?
        You can fuck off with that “Police is only bad for men like me” bs.

        • Wren

          As if no one here has ever been arrested.

        • calabasa

          Not to mention prostituted women, who might be trafficked, desperate, abused, or addicted, who here are criminalized and locked up as sex offenders after being abused by a client.

          I was accused of being a “hooker” by a cop just for walking with a male friend in a certain neighborhood (street “hookers” can wear shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops too, you know). He really wanted an excuse to lock both of us up, probably because I was white and my friend wasn’t.

          My experience of police: when dating a Mexican guy with a green card when I was younger, highway patrol routinely pulled him over when I would ride with him north to his city. They would check his trunk for illegals, shine the light in my eyes, ask me if I was okay (as if he might be kidnapping me). They would follow him in that city, sometimes tailing him for blocks and looking at his plates, looking for an open warrant. Once we were pulled over when our black friend was also in the car, because we were in our neighborhood in that city, which was a predominantly white, gated community. Somebody called in seeing two Hispanic men and a black man driving in the neighborhood (and possibly included that there was a young white woman in the car, oh noes!) and we got pulled over.

          Once, with this same boyfriend (who was abusive and tried to kill me on more than one occasion), someone called the cops during one of our fights. The people who showed up we later questioned if they were actually cops at all, as they were dressed all in black and didn’t show us any badges. They pounded on the door, strolled in, searched the living room, found a roach in an ashtray. We told them a friend had been over the previous evening and had brought a joint with him.

          Nevertheless, the white cop took me alone in my bedroom. Once in there he began making threats until I was crying, and forced me to empty my purse, meanwhile threatening me with what he would do if he found drugs in there. This is despite the fact that everything he was doing (forcing me alone into the room, threatening me to make me open my purse) was illegal. I thought I had an ounce of weed in there, but it turns out my boyfriend (who was good about hiding drugs) had taken it out and hidden it somewhere unbeknownst to me. I was as shocked as the cop to find nothing illegal in my purse; he was furious.

          The white cop’s Hispanic partner mildly questioned me and I mentioned that my partner had flown into a rage because I told him I was too tired to attend his art show and not feeling well. He mildly suggested that, well, maybe his feelings had been hurt, but we shouldn’t let it escalate into fights like this, right? Then they left, without ever asking me if I were hurt or if there’d actually been any domestic violence.

          I reported a rape to the police in college. I was first denied a female officer, then called stupid by the male officer, told I “shouldn’t have gone home with someone” if I didn’t expect rape and told to “get to know someone first,” told I had no case, regardless of cervical bruising or any other injury because it “could be just rough sex” and the “DA would just kick it back,” and then the cop complained to me about his job, his long hours, and his recent trauma. He clearly saw me as a privileged, rich college girl who was complaining about some “he-said she-said” shenanigans and had morning-after regret. That was the extent of it, in his mind; I was wasting his time. He perceived a class difference between us and reacted accordingly, by insulting me. He also had not been trained in victim reaction and didn’t understand why I was stony cold and expressionless (I was dissociated from myself and the event); victims should be sobbing uncontrollably and crying, right? (This difference probably accounts for the difference between that experience and the next time I reported rape, when I was feeling quasi-suicidal and *was* crying hysterically; that time, it was clear the officer believed me, although he and the department and the DA’s office did exactly nothing about it).

          I was arrested once when walking with a friend in a neighborhood more tightly patrolled than white neighborhoods. Here’s another difference: my brother, a confident white man, knows how to handle police. In our middle-class predominantly white neighborhood, when our parents were out of town and we had high school parties, on the few occasions the cops showed up (my brother had a system where he’d knock on all the neighbors’ doors, politely inform them of the “get together,” and ask that if it got too loud they would please call us first), my brother answered the door, came outside, and politely, with brash confidence, explained that the party had gotten a little out of hand, yes, he was sorry, people showed up who weren’t supposed to, but he would send them home and we would keep it down, no, there weren’t any underage drinkers, this was a college party and they were careful (my brother had a fake ID), he’d shut it all down right now.

          The cops never even came inside the house, which was packed with underage kids drinking, doing drugs, having sex, and all sorts of shit for which somebody would be getting arrested. They’d listened to my well-spoken, well-dressed, confident, white brother calmly explain this all–which he could do even if he was high as a kite–and they’d thank him and leave. That’s the power of whiteness, in a white neighborhood; if it had been certain neighborhoods, the police would not have stopped to listen at all, they’d have busted in and arrested everyone. I can recall being at MUCH quieter parties in neighborhoods in which the police just raided houses and jumping over walls and running away when word spread through the party that police were raiding the house, even if I had not been doing anything illegal and didn’t have anything illegal on me–simply because I know how police are and what they’re capable of; I am also scared of the police.

          The one time I was arrested was in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood that had lots of crime and was tightly patrolled by the police. I had just returned from living in Spain, where people drink in the streets (as they do in many countries; public drinking being illegal is pretty unusual). I forgot it was illegal in the U.S. I was on a date with a guy, and we didn’t want to waste money trying to talk in loud bars or clubs on a Saturday night, and he didn’t want to say “want to come over to my place and drink?,” so we got a bottle of wine and walked around. In my parents’ neighborhood, this would be the end of the story.

          We sat on a wall. Almost immediately a squad car pulled up, lights flashing. They ridiculed my date, called me a hooker, shined their flashlights around and tried to get him to pick up a crack pipe (I stopped him). They called me a hooker over and over again. Although when they found us we had simply had the bottle, which was mostly full–hadn’t even been in the act of drinking, just talking, when they pulled up, meaning they had no evidence of a crime whatsoever, not even a misdemeanor–the female cop demanded I empty my purse. When I told her I knew my rights and that she had no right to ask this of me because we hadn’t been committing a crime, much less a violent crime, she put her hand on her gun and said we could “do this the easy way or the hard way.” Was she really threatening to shoot me? Whatever, it wasn’t worth it. I emptied out my purse, inside of which (although we had not been smoking) I had a tiny baggie with a few sticks and seeds of marijuana inside. She was ecstatic, and wrote me up for: drinking in public (despite not having been anywhere near the bottle at the time; it was next to my date), marijuana possession, possession of paraphernelia (despite not having any paraphernalia), and trespassing (because we were sitting on a wall in front of the empty parking lot behind some building or other). Yup.

          My date was not Hispanic, but actually half-Japanese, half-Irish, which meant it was kind of hard to tell *what* he was, apart from “not white.” I got the full “low-class white woman with non-white man in a trashy neighborhood” treatment from the cops–repeatedly accused of being a “hooker,” threatened with a gun, and written up on bogus charges. The roommate I live with right now is actually looking at patterns of policing in different neighborhoods and how much police response has to do with neighborhood.

          I can’t help but recall the case of the African-American woman who called the cops when someone threw a brick through her window, only to be raped by one of the responding officers. It’s absolutely true we can’t trust the police either. Whether I’m perceived by police as “rich white college girl” or “poor white trash hooker,” I can’t trust them either way. They are not on my side.

          It’s like Rich thinks only men of color might be wrongly arrested. I would say color and class play large roles in women being falsely accused, arrested, or attacked by police too, not to mention the threat of rape by police. Police rape scandals have been in the news lately; remember all the black women raped over the course of years by Officer Daniel Holtzclaw? There have been many other such scandals in lots of places, against women of color and women without means and just women in general. Where I live, when I was growing up, it came to light that not only was the police force involved in drug bust coverups and drug dealing with “missing evidence” from storage lockup, but the department also covered up the habit of numerous officers of pulling over women for real or imagined driving infractions and then forcing them to perform oral sex or raping them, and threatening them with arrest and imprisonment if they told. Fortunately the department now is run by a liberal reformer (although my new roommate would say that’s an even more insidious tool of state control).

          Who does Rich Garcia think he is kidding with “are you of the class who might end up handcuffed in the back of a car for no reason?” Sure, anyone poor or who has been involved in or could be mistaken to be involved in prostitution is, not to mention women of color. The outcry against police abuse has largely ignored how police mistreat women. Are you of the class consistently overlooked when it comes to talking about oppression? Are you of the class of people most often raped by police, or dismissed by police for being raped?

          Noam Chomsky was recently asked by a woman if he supports welfare even though he doesn’t believe in the state or state controls. He said unequivocally yes, that the fight for the most vulnerable and needy members of our society IS a fight against the state–which is why they resist it–and that the fight for a socialist state will lead us to the place where we can fight for socialism without a state–that is, libertarian socialism (group-governed socialism or anarcho-socialism, rather than state-based socialism); he’s absolutely right about that. Until the poor, the marginalized, the dispossessed, can make ends meet and organize, we will be in no place to abolish the state because these people will still need protections.

          Noam Chomsky, on welfare:

          WOMAN: Noam, since you’re an anarchist and often say that you oppose the existence of the nation-state itself and think it’s incompatible with true socialism, does that make you at all reluctant to defend welfare programs and other social services which are now under attack from the right wing, and which the right wing wants to dismantle?

          CHOMSKY: Well, it’s true that the anarchist vision in just about all its varieties has looked forward to dismantling state power-and personally I share that vision. But right now it runs directly counter to my goals: my immediate goals have been, and now very much are, to defend and even strengthen certain elements of state authority that are now under severe attack. And I don’t think there’s any contradiction there-none at all, really.

          For example, take the so-called “welfare state.” What’s called the “welfare state” is essentially a recognition that every child has a right to have food, and to have health care and so on-and as I’ve been saying, those programs were set up in the nation-state system after a century of very hard struggle, by the labor movement, and the socialist movement, and so on.

          Well, according to the new spirit of the age, in the case of a fourteen-year-old girl who got raped and has a child, her child has to learn “personal responsibility” by not accepting state welfare handouts, meaning, by not having enough to eat. Alright, I don’t agree with that at any level. In fact, I think it’s grotesque at any level. I think those children should be saved. And in today’s world, that’s going to have to involve working through the state system; it’s not the only case.

          So despite the anarchist “vision,” I think aspects of the state system, like the one that makes sure children eat, have to be defended-in fact, defended very vigorously. And given the accelerating effort that’s being made these days to roll back the victories for justice and human rights which have been
          won through long and often extremely bitter struggles in the West, in my opinion the immediate goal of even committed anarchists should be to defend some state institutions, while helping to pry them open to more meaningful public participation, and ultimately to dismantle them in a much more free society.

          There are practical problems of tomorrow on which people’s lives very much depend, and while defending these kinds of programs is by no means the ultimate end we should be pursuing, in my view we still have to face the problems that are right on the horizon, and which seriously affect human lives. I don’t think those things can simply be forgotten because they might not fit within some radical slogan that reflects a deeper vision of a future society. The deeper visions should be maintained, they’re important-but dismantling the state system is a goal that’s a lot farther away, and you want to deal first with what’s at hand and nearby, I think. And in any realistic perspective, the political system, with all its flaws, does have opportunities for participation by the general population which other existing institutions, such as corporations, don’t have. In fact, that’s exactly why the far right wants to weaken governmental structures-because if you can make sure that all the key decisions are in the hands of Microsoft and General Electric and Raytheon, then you don’t have to worry anymore about the threat of popular involvement in policy-making.

          So take something that’s been happening in recent years: devolution — that is, removing authority from the federal government down to the state governments. Well, in some circumstances, that would be a democratizing move which I would be in favor of-it would be a move away from central
          authority down to local authority. But that’s in abstract circumstances that don’t exist. Right now it’ll happen because moving decision-making power down to the state level in fact means handing it over to private power. See, huge corporations can influence and dominate the federal government, but even middle-sized corporations can influence state governments and play one state’s workforce off against another’s by threatening to move production elsewhere unless they get better tax breaks and so on. So under the conditions of existing systems of power, devolution is very anti-democratic; under other systems of much greater equality, devolution could be highly democratic-but these are questions which really can’t be discussed in isolation from the society as it actually exists.

          So I think that it’s completely realistic and rational to work within structures to which you are opposed, because by doing so you can help to move to a situation where then you can challenge those structures.

          Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power

    • CatherineTGWShark

      It’s incredible isn’t it?
      The way he apparently can’t see how misogynistic and victim blaming his comments are.

      I mean; what if some racist shithead was to say to him; “Well, if you don’t want police to racially profile you and oppress you; just escape from the racist police! Go start a fucking space program and go in space or go live in a country where you’ll be the majority! That should solve your problem, right?” Would he understand that that would be pure nonsense and racist as hell? I think he would.

      But he doesn’t see a problem with telling women similar misogynistic nonsense.

  • Hekate Jayne

    This restorative justice bullshit is a male fix to a male created problem. Males do all manner of bullshit, bumbling around, like they are trying oh so fucking hard, straining their teeny man minds, trying just so, so hard to fix it! But they just can’t hit on a solution, you see.

    Confused males are so confused.

    As an example, rape is endlessly confusing for males. Is it legitimate rape? Forcible rape? What is consent, anyway? Gee whiz a roonie, it just seems like every interaction with female people is potential sexual harassment, we are trying so hard, but we just can’t figure it out. Ladies, can you explain again? Won’t you please help us out? Sexual assault hurts males, too, you know!!!!!

    Yet, they don’t accidentally rape or molest each other, do they? So they aren’t all that fucking confused.

    Males know what rape is, they know how to stop it. But they use confusion as a smokescreen so that they can keep raping while hiding behind this bullshit of MALES SO CONFUSED BUT TRYING SUPER HARD, THO.

    It’s fucking insulting to our intelligence.

    But they love violence and domination directed at us. They will never choose to stop it. They will have to be stopped.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks Lavender!

  • Alienigena

    “Society is often part of the reason why [a man has] been able to get away with abusing or hitting [a woman].”

    This has always been my point when talking to others about violence against women. If something happens in this society and its impact on women is routinely downplayed or ignored then there is social sanction and approval of the behaviour, including sexual and physical violence directed at women and children.

    The idea that the community will support women who have been assaulted by men is ludicrous. I was following some links in the article and came upon an article about an indigenous woman who had been assaulted by her male partner and her experience of his relatives (sisters, friends) continual harassment of her following the report of the assault to authorities. They called her names publicly and followed her into grocery stores. They made threats of physical violence if she didn’t retract her statements. A community in which this kind of behaviour is condoned should not be using restorative justice in the case of domestic violence as the family members of the abuser will just try to intimidate and harm the woman.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ooooh gosh why didn’t we think of that!

    I mean, women *do* take self-defense classes and buy guns (I will never buy a gun, so please don’t suggest that to me again, thanks — like, not only am I uninterested in shooting *anyone* *ever*, but wtf would happen to me if I shot and killed a man who was threatening me??), and the women’s movement *has* tried to form community watch groups, but it’s practically impossible to maintain without funding and infrastructure.

    Also, you’re acting like this is an either/or situation. Women *are* creating alternative ways to support female victims of male violence, hence the shelter movement. But that doesn’t mean that women should be shamed when they engage the criminal justice system. So long as men are being violent, we need someone to call who can come and help, at 3am. At this point, the police are pretty much our only option.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It says leftists need to stop doing this. Not that all leftists do this. But the ones who do need to stop.

    • CatherineTGWShark

      Like, are we supposed to start everything with #notallleftist? Or #notalll_______ (insert as needed) disclaimers?
      Can’t people get that; yes of course it’s #NotAllWhateverTheFuck?

      Sometimes I do despair.

  • Melanie

    The reason women engage in the system is because it’s better than being beaten, raped or murdered. I’ve had to engage in the system a few times in my life because I, my children and my pets were in immediate danger. If I didn’t engage in the system my violent, deranged ex who is an ice addict probably would’ve gotten into my house and beaten the crap out of me in front of my children, or worse. That’s why. What do you suggest women do in that kind of situation? It’s not like he even went to prison for terrorizing us. All I got was a 12 month AVO.

  • Alienigena

    A recent news report on the woman who was sexually assaulted and killed in a Christian Science reading room indicates the accused is an indigenous man and tries to excuse his behaviour by claiming that inter-generational patterns of abuse made him do it.

    “The Gladue principle states that judges should consider an Indigenous offender’s history in sentencing, taking into account personal experience with residential schools, the foster care system, and physical or sexual abuse.”
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/elisabeth-salm-homicide-suspect-tyler-hikoalok-1.4672838

    Making up for past societal wrongs by sacrificing the bodies and lives of women is just repugnant. My father could claim an inter-generational pattern of physical and psychological abuse as a rationale for how he treated my mother and my brother and I. You should not sacrifice justice for the victims of violent crime because society fucked up in its treatment of the perpetrator. What could an 18 year old man have possibly found sexually arousing about a 59 year old (she is post-reproductive so that tired MRA/evo-psych excuse for sexual assault does not cut it). It is all about expressing male power over someone smaller and more vulnerable. Fuck a society that would try to salve its own conscience for its systemic racism and violence against one group by treating crimes against women as a joke.

  • Hekate Jayne

    So males won’t be violent if women were all pretty.

    Also, violence is not caused by “inequalities”. Violence is chosen by males who either refuse to or can’t control themselves and their fucking emotions and actions.

    Go fuck yourself.

    • foamreality

      Adam is an idiot. Still, i take issue – are you really suggesting violent crime that is higher among poor communities has nothing to do with inequality or lack of money? Thats dangerous thinking. It has everything to do with it (its not the whole story, but drug dealing, gang warfare, pimping all has to do with inequality)

  • Hekate Jayne

    Your Dudebros send us to prison for defending ourselves from you.

    I invite you to join Adam/Eva in going to fuck yourself.

    • Rich Garcia

      People get sent to prison all the time for the decisions that they make. Do you think women who are imprisoned are all saints? And I don’t give a shit about your anger and your tough girl facade. You rant and rave as if you’re ready to castrate every man you see, yet you openly admit to having your own ‘unicorn’.

      I can only imagine how many of you live well and are truly high on the hog, and are only using radical feminism as an echo chamber to vent about how terrible men are. This is “White Feminism” in a nutshell. Boring, bland discussions about how evil men are, with no distinctions based on class.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’ve been broke my whole life and you’re being a dick. As if rich women turn to radical feminism, for god’s sake. Don’t you think we’d be WAY fucking further along if we were rich or had literally ANY rich women in this movement???? Don’t you think we’d be FUNDED?? Have ample media outlets, institutions, shelters, feminist politicians, spaces, and so on and so forth?? You are either clueless or dishonest and I suspect it’s the latter.

        • Rich Garcia

          Radical Feminism can be co-opted by anyone to suit an agenda.

          • Meghan Murphy

            But it has not. Also, it can’t if it stays true to its principles. Radical feminism does not support wealth or capitalism, in general.

      • Hekate Jayne

        Where did you get the idea that I want or need you to “give a shit” about my “anger” or “tough girl facade”? It would seem to me that you need us, because you fucking run over here frequently to grace us all with your precious wisdom.

        You are so pathetically thirsty for female attention, that you continually come here where you aren’t wanted or needed, insert yourself into our “bland and boring discussions”, and you are all about fixing the feminism for us! If only we would take your wise manly directives, you could lead us out of the vile patriarchy and into a paradise where males are perfect and the women are worthy of it because you have taught us how to earn it! And you have the madz because we not only do we refuse your manly critiques and your masculine directives, but we tell you to fuck off because no one here gives a shit about your tiny thoughts.

        Look, I am well acquainted with the toddler tantrums of males that don’t receive adequate or timely praise for just showing up. Your insults are as lacking as your pathetically limited intellect and you are just a waste of time. So while our conversation ends here, I am sure that you will be back in the near future, to continue your sad little quest of being the king of the white feminist women and to try to get us to appreciate you in the manner that you feel entitled to, you super special male, you!

        Good luck with that, little fella.

        • CatherineTGWShark

          ^That.
          Plus, I think that the dude is personally offended that you are a ‘terrible castrating men hater’ and yet are in a stabile, supportive relationship with a man.

          Btw, dude is such a fighter against “White Feminism” that he forgets or ignores existence of WoC.

          He also seams to thinks that no commenter here are WoC.

          Nope, we’re all super privileged white women oppressing everybody (and by that I mean men ‘cos they are the only ones Rich cares about) around is. /s *eye roll*

      • CatherineTGWShark

        Wait, so People get sent to prison all the time for the decisions that they make. and Do you think women who are imprisoned are all saints? when we are talking about the law / police abusing women.
        But it’s ‘poor innocent men’ when we are talking police abusing men?

        *snort* Dude, you are so transparent it’s hilarious.

        • Liz

          Yeah I guess my first question is why Rich hasn’t tried all these alternative defense options against the police…if he thinks they are good enough for women against violent men, he should be able to get some mileage out of them against the police. People get sent to prison all the time for decisions they make!

          It’s not really a question, we know and Rich knows that these are not viable options against a violent oppressor. His point is we need to choose options that prioritize men.

          • Wren

            Ha! Why should men ever do anything for themselves??

      • Meghan Murphy

        Most women in prison are victims of domestic violence.

      • calabasa

        So, after just proposing we defend ourselves, you call self-defense “a decision we make?” That we should be, hmm, arrested by police and sent to prison for, instead of just calling police in the first place to avoid the need for injuring or killing our attacker?

        What?

        It’s almost as if what you’re saying makes no sense!

        Do you not realize women are discriminated against within the “justice system” for being women (and more so for being racialized or impoverished women) as much as racialized men and impoverished men?

  • lk

    “That leftists often accuse women of “pearl-clutching” or of encouraging a police state, due to their efforts to protect themselves from male violence, only demonstrates how little they understand about their own self-professed efforts at building a just world.”

    Women who call the police are not encouraging a police state….they are using the means available to them to protect themselves (and often times their children) from male harm and to hold males accountable

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Your first paragraph is pure “argle-bargle women aren’t willing to absolutely and utterly disadvantage themselves / make themselves even more of “free for all” victims to use and abuse to do what I think they should so they are hypocrites!” balderdash.

    The second paragraph is almost funny. You say “it’s used against the rest of us who don’t have the ability to enforce our will with a badge or a gavel” (huh, somebody remind me; how long ago it was that women weren’t allowed to served as cops or have any input into law making or justice system?) and “ onus is never on women to protect themselves individually from violent men“.

    You are ignoring that the law absolutely is used against women. If you only care about racism&law; you do know that WoC exist, right?

    You do know that black women, and Hispanic women, and Native women exists, right?
    And that they too are arrested, and imprisoned, and sometimes raped by the cops (hell, they are just now making laws about that being a no-no. Well, at least on paper. We’ll see how well will the cops listen to those laws), and even sometimes killed by cops, right?

    MoC are hardly the only ones with a very good reason to fear the cops. Hell, can you even imagine how it feels to WoC? What if they need to call the police to protect them from a violent men? They have to consider that they might get violent cops who might even kill them!

    Also; “ onus is never on women to protect themselves individually from violent men“?

    When women do protect themselves they are overwhelmingly punished for it!

    Women who kill men, even in self defense, get a hell of longer and harder sentences then men who kill women.

    And fuck off with that “Well, women should just grow up and take responsibility for themselves! If a man is hitting you; you just need to challenge him to IRL Mortal Combat and win! Easy peasy! Involving the police or anybody else is just not sporting at all!” crap.

  • calabasa

    Uh…

  • calabasa

    Did you take a wrong turn?

  • CatherineTGWShark

    It would be a tremendous favor to the rest of us who don’t have to deal
    with the cops banging on our doors in the event of a domestic dispute.

    Heh, so that’s your bugbear?

    Not a worry that cops might jump you on a street or something?
    No, it’s tired old (and false) MRA “Police is always on women’s side during domestic dispute!I Oh, the poor falsely accused men! Daddy government will send cops to whit knight the b****!” talking point.

    Dude, why don’t you practice what you preach? According to your stated views you’d only have to avoid relationships with women and then you won’t have to have to deal with the cops banging on our doors in the event of a domestic dispute.
    Or you could also not cause domestic disputes? I mean, if you are one of the Good Guys (heh) then why would there be a event of a domestic dispute?

    Maya Angelou wrote “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We see you. We know who you are. There’s no need to keep telling us.

  • CatherineTGWShark

    No, you see if feminists were really serious they’d go and engineer a men only killing virus . . . wait no, that’s a episode of Justice League cartoon!

    No, if feminists were really serious they’d go and assemble the Infinity Gauntlet and snap most men out of existence . . . no wait that’s a Marvel comic / movie!

    No, if feminists were really serious they’d go into a another plane of existence and also turn into super monsters capable of taking on any men dumb enough to try and take them out of that another plane of existence . . . no wait that’s Stephen King’s book!

    No, if feminists were really serious they’d go start a space program and go colonize a new plant . . . no wait . . .
    and so on and so on
    /s

    It’s also super, at best, childish. It’s a magic thinking that cares nothing for the facts and reality of the world we live in.

    Or at worst it’s pure malice. People who know it dosn’t works like that, but want to guilt women into being silent victims.

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Isn’t it funny how women are superposed to solve the problem on male on male violence. But should be silent about male violence against women and girls?
    And how men apparently have no responsibility to stop male violence?
    Funny as a heart attack. *eye roll*

  • CatherineTGWShark

    The conservatives / leftists divide and reparative justice thing (in USA) is very interesting.

    When that oldest son of that huge, religious, reality TV family was exposed as child molester the left was rightly outraged by the family going “Oh, we sent him to a religious retreat and he prayed his sins away so it’s all good now! The justice is served and everybody needs to shut up about it”.

    But in cases of leftist men? Or whatever interest grope the left have at the moment?

    Well, then the perp “healing” from it is just the thing! And involving the cops and the law is just mean. And women should show solidarity by shutting up about the abuse they suffer. All in name of a Greater Good.

    Horseshoe theory (and hatred of women) in action.

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Are you seriously not aware that there’s more to the world then just USA?

  • CatherineTGWShark

    Therefore, if the state equalizes the domestic situation by promoting
    temporary partnerships and equalizing the attractiveness of citizens as
    much as medically and psychologically possible, men will feel no need to
    commit violence.

    Soooo, the way to solve the problems of male violence; is ‘just’ to have government force everybody into massive plastic surgery and brainwashing?

    A mix of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess?

    That’s your solution?
    And I thought I was talking the piss / going too far with my Infinity Gauntlet comment.

    Fucking Poe’s Law.

    Also, promoting temporary partnerships? Are you talking state sponsored prostitution? I hope you aren’t but the rest of your comment is so out there I have to ask.

  • CatherineTGWShark

    It’s like those dude watched the Purge and Med Max and any similar violent male fantasies; and went “Yes, this is cool! This is the world we want!”.
    They never consider that maybe they wouldn’t be on the top of the pile. That they might be the victims. Nope, most times the dreams of owning women as chattel and being as violent as they wish prevent that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Also, like, anyone familiar with abusive relationships knows that so much of it is psychological… Self-defense classes are not going to save women from abusive relationships, good lord. If you’re in a house with an abusive man and he’s scaring you, you want him out of the house… Being able to protect your face from a punch isn’t enough.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Stop with the sexist insults, Rich. You may not attack women this way, here.

    • Wren

      I mean, he’s never gonna get any better.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks Liz!

  • Unree

    The tribes you talk about will defend all their men, but have you ever seen them defend any of their women? I mean as a subject and agent in her own right.

  • Unree

    Again with the pointless dishonest shade tossed on Hillary Rodham Clinton, this time saying she “is both an austerity-embracing pragmatic centrist” but also “who hey — guess what — embraces the anti-police message.” Neither accusation is true, and what either has to do with the O.P. is hard to tell. Obsessives gotta obsessive.

  • Unree

    If women in Maine are doing that well, they’re exceptional in the USA. I’ve never seen data directly comparing what CatherineTGWShark compared, but from what we know her point is very likely true. Here’s a link noting that a third of murdered women are killed by male partners but only 4% of murdered men are killed by female partners: https://solidarity-us.org/atc/130/p729/

    And another on how severely women are sentenced when they kill batterers in self-defense: https://www.bitchmedia.org/post/women-in-prison-for-fighting-back-against-domestic-abuse-ray-rice

  • Kiwipally

    How to perform revictimisation 101.

    🙁

  • Wren

    Rape and sexual abuse are crimes of sadistic pleasure, not crimes of poverty, or desperation, or born from addiction, or for the perceived necessity of belonging (like the pressure to join gangs). How can you reform these men when the only purpose in committing their crime was to sexually torture others for their own arousal? You can’t. However, I do believe we can prevent the next generation of rapists, but of course we would have to drastically reform our laws and culture.

  • acommentator

    “Would you volunteer for it? I wouldn’t.”

    The same goes for the regular police force. There are legitimate concerns about some of the people who want the job. But most people don’t want anything to do with the job. It alternates between tedious and dangerous. Police officers get killed at what looks like ordinary car stops, and every domestic incident call could be your last.

    We just had a female officer finally get out of the hospital after being repeatedly stabbed. She may not ever be in shape to go back to work again.

  • Melanie

    It does, but the solution is to fix the system, not guilt trip desperate, terrified women for calling the police on violent men.

  • Melanie

    Most of the time women don’t call the police even when they have good reason to. I’ve had so many violent crimes committed against me by men since I was a child and not one of them has ever been held accountable, let alone gone to jail – because I didn’t report it to anyone, let alone the police. So why dont you get off our backs? If your mother or other loved one was being attacked by a knife wielding maniac would you not call the police? I’ve called the police a few times over the last few years because I’m older and wiser and am more able to recognize that I’m in danger, that I have a right to be safe and I’m not going to tolerate male violence anymore. I’m aware that the system has problems but in that moment when I fear for my safety what else do you expect me to do? I just got an AVO anyway, which is just a piece of paper. My ex never went to jail for it so you can rest easy the the poor man was safe from the big, bad justice system. That’s all you seem to be worried about.

  • Melanie

    Women are police officers too and many police officers are trained to be sensitive to women who are victims of male violence. The system is not perfect but I’m going to use it if I need to. The problem is male violence and abuse of power. You should get off women’s backs and take it up with your bros.

  • acommentator

    “You hear a certain kind of antifa dude assert that poor communities *never* call the police. This is a total lie. The most vulnerable communities call on the police all the time. It would be better if they also had other public services on which to rely, and it would be better if police forces had more effective public oversight. Those are things worth fighting for.
    Realize: abolishing the police would NOT mean the end of policing.”

    Well said.

  • ptittle

    Good point. Didn’t think that through.

  • calabasa

    That’s not quite true. Meghan mentioned accountability as a huge factor. We don’t have any working model of community policing. It’s true that the state disallows this and calls it vigilantism, but it still remains true that we have no working model of community policing, and therefore no recourse. Police have to take reports and there’s a record and others have to review these reports and prosecutors have to decide if there’s a case and databases use these reports for demography. This is all so corrupt and imperfect that there’s usually no justice for women, so I’m not sure what you’re even complaining about, as most of the time men, unless caught in the act, are not going to be arrested anyway, particularly for rape (but domestic violence is also seldom and when it is lightly punished).

    Black men are not being shot by police and black and Hispanic men are not being profiled by police because women call the police about domestic violence or rape. That’s a disingenuous argument.

    Similarly, asking if we are of the class who winds up handcuffed in the back of a police car for no reason (which some of us are, yes) is clueless–are you of the class routinely ignored when it comes to civil rights issues (why does BLM not discuss more or at least equally prioritize what police have done to black women–profiling, beating, killing, and raping them? Those cases seem to disappear in an instant, whereas people recall the names of young black men shot in the streets by police. The idea that misogyny might be at work in the erasure of female victims of racist cops is as difficult for people in a civil rights movement like BLM to admit as it is for white women to admit they might harbor society’s racist values or fail to take into account those different than them in their own approach to activism). Are you of the class most likely to be raped by the police (something which happened over a long period of time in my hometown while I was growing up), or dismissed by police for reporting your rape (as has happened to me personally)? That feels pretty fucking awful too. I don’t trust police any more than you do.

    However, there is no other option. This is why men who belong to the 99 percent–as overwhelmingly men of color do, and clearly as almost all men do–need to realize that they are being turned against women and each other by the hierarchy of masculinities, and they need to join with women. This will mean examining their misogynistic upbringing, rooting out violence and holding each other accountable. This will mean not working for the state–THEMSELVES. Again, this is not women’s problem, it’s men problem. Men need to stop working for oppressors and being oppressors, simultaneously.

    It’s true that all of us oppress, but institutionally women have far less power, and ALSO, overall, institutionally or otherwise, women are far less violent. We would not need state actors to intervene if men could learn to control their violent behavior, which means that men need to speak to other men about this problem, and create community-based programs in which men hold each other accountable for male violence and seek to eradicate it within our communities.

    Only when our communities are united and we can feel safe with each other can we rise up against the state. This was a huge problem with the Occupy movement as well (violence and widespread sexual assault within the encampments, necessitating state intervention). The day that men really internalize that they’ve been systematically taught to hate women and expect sex and sexual labor from women as their birthright, that this resentment, entitlement and objectification lead to rape and abuse, which keeps women dependent on a system that’s not really helping them because we cannot depend on individual men to help us or even not to harm us, is the day that we will ALL be free, not just women and not just men.

  • Maureen

    PSA: This is the same man who flounced under the “Six trends to leave behind in 2018” article, stating:

    “With feminists who take everything out of context, who needs the Trans Cult? If it means anything to you you can keep circlejerking with the rest of your hardboiled sob sisters here and hope that your do-nothing complaining will tear down the Patriarchy.

    And as a male everything that I say will be branded misogynistic, so I don’t care anymore. I’m done explaining myself. You people are done and your movement is dead. Now leave me the fuck alone already so I won’t have to come back to this website.”

    … And yet here he is.

  • Maureen

    >Between their ongoing criminalization of poverty, their too-often violent racism and misogyny, and their unwillingness to hold other men to account for their violence against women, really, what is the point of maintaining a police force? Well, a perhaps uninspired answer is that we have no viable alternatives.

    Thank you. I’ve never seen it said so succinctly.

  • Meghan Murphy

    We would have political power, organizations, well funded lobby groups, WAY MORE fucking shelters. Like… The lack of rational in this (all too common) accusation is so insane.

  • You think we don’t know this?!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m fully supportive of women taking self-defense classes. Warrior Sisters, for ex, are awesome. My point is that Rich’s suggestion that we shouldn’t ever call the police and should just take self-defense classes instead is unrealistic and unhelpful. Yes, take self-defense classes if you like, but there is more at hand here than simply being able to defend yourself from attacks. This doesn’t really work in situations of domestic abuse, because so much of the control/abuse is psychological.

  • Wren

    It’s probably boring to discuss these things with libfems, since they agree with most everything men say due to false ideology or intimidation. Where’s the fun??

  • Wren

    Yeah we are imprisoning the wrong people for the most part. However, if we criminally punished sexual predators and batterers — and I mean ALL of them — with significant and appropriate sentences, and released the non-violent criminal offenders, I wonder how many men’s prisons we would need? (I’m thinking we’d still need a lot).

    The women’s prisons, however, would be nearly empty.

  • Wren

    Yep, all of my students are black or Latino. Nearly all of the women have crazy domestic violence stories (attempted murder, chokings, beatings resulting in miscarriage, etc.). None of the men faced significant jail time for DV charges. However, many ended up in jail for drug and/or weapon charges. Shows you the priorities of the legal system.

    Besides, I can tell you that men of all colors and classes pay to rape women, so none of that “minority meninism” (love that!) convinces me.

  • Kiwipally

    If we could actually get convictions for all the men who rape and commit other sexual violence and domestic abuse, we could still end up needing more prisons.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thinking on it…

    • OldPolarBear

      Very late here; I’m kind of behind on my reading for various reasons and came in to catch up. I hadn’t heard about this but went and looked for it. One thing I find interesting is that I could find plenty of “news” videos of around 5 minutes give or take, with some clips of the things Greer had said that upset people. I started wondering if I could just get the video itself, without news summation or commentary. I searched and it wasn’t coming up but I finally found it on the Hay Festival site itself and discovered that it is just over an hour long. I finally paid 10 pounds sterling to subscribe, which will also let me have unlimited listening/watching to hundreds of other Hay Festival presentations.

      I’m so far not quite 21 minutes in. I’ve heard some of the controversial parts. Greer so far has been, as always, a superb speaker. I’m reserving judgment overall until the end. I would very much like to read your post on it, should you decide to write one.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t generally support the use of the word ‘cunt’, but it means something different in the UK… I assumed she was using it in a jokey way to reference the way those in the UK might use it?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Are you talking about the attacks on the VRR MMM event in Vancouver when Janice Raymond came? Or something that happened in Montreal? If you’re talking about the VRR event/protest (if you could even call it that — I think maybe a couple of people showed up to “protest”), that was in 2013 http://rabble.ca/news/2013/11/memorial-draws-controversy-over-invitation-speaker-janice-raymond

  • Lori S

    Heather, you should write about the things you want written – and comment on the article at hand.

  • ptittle

    Good point. Didn’t think that through.

  • acommentator

    “Many of us like the idea of restorative justice, but meanwhile we need to live in the real world today, so we need to carefully choose when it is practical now and when it is not.”

    We have a system of “restorative justice.” It is called the civil law. Some one harms you in violation of your legal rights, you sue them and seek damages. The object is to make you whole, as nearly as possible.

    The criminal justice system is about punishment. While restitution can be an element of how a crime is redressed, the focus remains on punishment. You are not supposed to be able to buy your way out of it by resort to “restorative” principles.

  • acommentator

    “Is it possible that police do more to uphold patriarchy than to uphold female safety?”

    There are always, unfortunately, plenty of places in the world with no functioning police maintaining the rule of law. The roads out of those countries are full of women and children fleeing the conditions that result. War lords. Militias. Clans that are a law to themselves.

    Without a functioning government in place with a functioning police force, no one has any safety, IMO.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Don’t twist my words, matthew.

  • Alienigena

    “As for the “insinuation of incest”, I took that to be a reference to Trump’s frequent sexually objectifying comments about her, like “…she does have a very nice figure.”

    I agree with the statement you made in principle but it is Ivanka’s father who is making the statements in question. She has never endorsed that statement verbally or textually that I know of (see kfwkfw’s comment above about daughters of narcissistic fathers). Are we all now responsible for any comment ever that our fathers have made about us (unflattering ones as well)?

    If Ivanka publicly contradicts him she would likely get flack from one segment of the population (the respect your father, even though he is a perv crowd) and if she doesn’t respond to his comment she is also culpable. Every time I have tried to talk about my father’s abusive behaviour (including words he has used to describe me) towards me to my mother or my sister I have been shut down.

    I do think Ivanka Trump exploits other women by selling them products they don’t need but so does Gwyneth Paltrow (and some of the products she and her site Goop promote are medically dangerous, e.g. coffee enemas) and the Kardashian clan when they endorse products on social media like Twitter or Facebook.

    I am not American so Ivanka’s behaviour does not have the emotional resonance for me that it does for Americans. Some of the things that Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s spouse) has said have seemed utterly brain dead to me. It seems to me that there is a different standard for cool girls than the rest of us. Cool girls (e.g. Samantha Bee) can get away with saying whatever crap they want however insulting to other women (or specific women) and the rest of us are made to feel we have to shut our traps because we don’t have permission to use sex-specific slurs.

  • Alienigena

    “Female attention is not an issue for me, nor will it ever will be.”

    Gagging sounds. Why do you even bother to come on a feminist site when you obviously don’t even view women as people just adjuncts to men?

  • FierceMild

    “there is no place for violent men except institutions” There is always the grave.

  • FierceMild

    Women want to be liberated from the rule of men. We do not want to abandon the rule of law.

  • VLCampbell

    Now you both sound precisely like the extreme, man-hating position that anti-carceral feminists claim that carceral feminism is partly mistakenly about – and it has no more grounding in reality or morality than the anti-carceral position does.. Although I think the anti-carceral analysis is ridiculous for all the reasons Megan so skillfully articulated, viewing all men who commit any kind of violence against women as irredeemable trash is just as outrageous and utterly wrong-headed. It’s also precisely the mentality that’s behind the atrocity that is our current prison industrial complex and mass incarceration horror show, where there’s not even the slightest attempt at rehabilitation, even though there’s plenty of research to show both the possibilities and the benefits, and where further abuses are endlessly allowed. You can be both for appropriately severe consequences for violent behavior as well as for far more restorative and rehabilitation prison reform, etc. They are hardly contradictory.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Agreed.

    Males commit well over 90% of violent crimes just because they want to.

    A large number of them are just broken and need to be put down.

    I have never hurt a male, most women haven’t, and the few that do are almost always self defense. It’s not about being mean or carceral. It’s about the safety of women and girls.

    • kfwkfw

      Exactly. I don’t care about being labeled a man-hater. I hate violent men & im proud of it. Finally I am able to care about women & girls as I’ve been carefully exorcising my internal misogyny. Thanks to people like you & Meghan Murphy & everyone on this site & anyone willing to radically support & advocate for females. I finally have values that match my heart thanks to radical feminism.

      • foamreality

        Nothing wrong with being a man hater, advocateing the death penalty on a rad fem website, yeah , no.

  • kfwkfw

    Me and Jane are angry. And I disagree that we give radical feminism a bad name. I don’t think it’s helpful to tell each other we’re doing it wrong & are bad representation when we are simply expressing anger. We aren’t drafting policies, we aren’t taking to the streets with this mentality, I don’t think the attitude is going to help in any debate because I understand it’s extreme. I’d never hurt a man, I’d never kill a man. You’ve never had the strong feeling that you wish all violent men were dead? We have, I guess. And it’s not wrong to share that. No way. It helps me to see I’m not alone.

    This is a place to give opinions & relate to other women who have the same feelings as you – those feelings often being extreme anger. If they’re not your feelings…just let it be. It’s feministcurrent.com. This, to me, is supposed to be a safe place to express anger & all other feelings that come up & I’ll continue to use it that way, unless Meghan Murphy has a problem with it.

    But again, I don’t appreciate the “doing it wrong” bit. I’m allowed to express my ugly thoughts & opinions here & you’re allowed to disagree, which you’ve done. I’m human, not just a radical feminist.

  • Filthy MRA

    It’s nice seeing that I’m not deranged for seeing things this way. The police’s intended purpose should first and foremost be to deliver anyone from any immediate danger they might face. The police have absolute power and I think women ought to feel fit to use it for protection. It’s kinda the whole reason people equate “calling 911” with “calling for help”. Using what is immediately available in 2018 is not rooting for the status quo.

  • VLCampbell

    And neither am I, by a long shot. Thanks for being willing to dialogue about this.

  • Hekate Jayne

    My father bought my sister a house.

    I bought my own. And I live below the poverty line. I am not going to pander to my sexist, misogynist father to get stuff.

    Ivanka chooses money over her own dignity and self respect because of the benefits, mainly money. That doesn’t make her father’s comments about her ok, but she has decided to stay in his realm.

    There’s not enough money in the world for me to do that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not sure where you got the impression that the women interviewed/quoted for this article feel the system is good for women or that any of us ‘like’ this system. The arguments being made are far more complex than you are allowing for in your response. And the reason leftist men bullying women who call the police re: male violence is included in the article is because it has an enormous impact on women, in terms of their communities and choices. Do you think it’s nbd to be ostracized from your community because you call the cops on a violent man, while that same community abandoned you/didn’t support you, and sided with your abuser?? Maybe you’ve not experienced this personally, but it is awful and can feel incredibly traumatic.

  • Misanthropia

    Males who incite violence against women are garbage. We are not here to hold hands with garbage males and sing kumbaya with them. We are here to stop them

  • foamreality

    Yeah? You think Emma Goldman would agree? To me she was the greatest radical feminist of her time. She practically invented anarchism.

  • foamreality

    Realize: abolishing the police would NOT mean the end of policing.
    It would mean something elites would very much prefer, and are already
    carrying out: the rise of private, mercenary police forces.

    You
    think the end of publicly funded, publicly supervised police forces
    would mean rich people would stop hogging property? Nope. It just
    means they’d do it more secretively and violently.

    Generally, thats what the police already do, only with our money instead of theirs! But more seriously capitalists, especially libertarian rich ones depend on money. That currency is backed by the state, which is backed by armies and police. Without the police they have no money, without money they cant pay private mercenaries. One reason anarchists dont much engage with libertarian capitalists is that we know they and their market driven ideology depends on state violence. They cant abolish the state police. Because they would have nothing to pay people with to help them. They would need to become dictators of large nations. That is a real threat. But no more so than pushing for socialism. We gotta try better, can’t stay as it is or there would be no point in being here complaining about violence. The police are not our friends. They were never meant to be..

  • Meghan Murphy

    At what point did you get the impression I thought there was one right answer? It’s been made clear many times over that no one here thinks the cops are an ideal solution, but just what we have access to right now, under this system. Alternatives have been set up by feminists, feminists who I am allied with and interviewed for this piece — i.e. rape crisis centers.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That a few commenters here support the death penalty does not speak to what feminism as a movement supports. In any case, this is a reasonable place to have those discussions and debates.

    • foamreality

      Did I say they did? I know they don’t. I am part of that movement . I just said i find those who promote the death penalty abhorrent to those who would promote it. Is this not a reasonable place to oppose the death penalty and have that disscusion. Can we only discuss how it IS a good thing? I dont understand your comment.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I am opposed to the death penalty, so I’m a bit lost here also…

  • Meghan Murphy

    At the hands of whom?

    • foamreality

      MEN of course. Fathers, step/fathers, uncles, friends, brothers, gangs. Most male on male violence happens close to home, or in the army/police.

      Did you think i was going to say women? Jeez Meghan.

      Pointing out that males punch kill each other all the time isnt because i am not a radical feminist or that im trying to move focus away from women. Its about trying to highlight the source of this violence. I don’t think males are born so damn violent. If I did I’d suggest we just cull the lot. It matters to highlight what perpetuates it among men if ever we are going to stop it. Army and police are a big part of the problem. Organised violence with absolute power over everyone.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Gotcha. And, yeah, I asked because I wasn’t sure.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think the solution to violence is more violence or killing people off… (And again, to be clear, I support women who defend themselves/fight back against their abusers, but I don’t think organized state-led violence is a solution to anything). The death penalty, imo, would never simply be used against evil, sadistic males, but would be misapplied as always. It’s simply not a good solution to the problem of patriarchy, any way you slice it. Too extreme, too dangerous.

  • Maria Gatti

    I hope so! Civilised countries have done away with the death penalty, and it is not out of any misplaced empathy with ultraviolent criminals. Paul Bernardo will NEVER see the light of day, nor will Russel Williams. Countries that have retained the death penalty tend to have higher rates of violent (and ultraviolent) crime than comparable countries that have abolished it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ok, well I didn’t say it was incompatible with feminism, I said that the feminist movement, as a whole, doesn’t support it.

  • foamreality

    Stop with the sophistry. I didnt say radical I said reason. I didnt say dont mix, I said dont confuse them. Supporting the death penalty is as unreasonable as human can possibly get. Watching death is also pretty emotional. Both of these things should inform the decision NOT to hang people. But also death penalty catches women too.

  • foamreality

    Come off it. You cant just say any critisism of any woman here is always wrong. Not least because this website is full of articles that criticise women. Rightly so. But in this particular case VLCampbell has made an excellent comment, anger is vital and necessary, but calls for violent bigotry is not. I dont give a shit what gives rad fem a bad name. Those who would bad name a diverse group because a few comments are already bigots.

  • foamreality

    Thanks. I’m good at avoiding a stupid point.

  • foamreality

    I wasnt saying MVAW was the same as Debt. That would be stupid. I was just making serious point about how the 2 are always deeply connected. Because all debt is enforced by Violent males. Therefore replicating violence everywhere, because well who isnt in debt?

  • foamreality

    Hmm. Nope.

  • foamreality

    I shouldn’t worry about peoples opinions? Why? Thats the only reason I speak or listen to anyone.

  • kfwkfw

    Great to see you! Been on Twitter vs here lately, but been checking in here. I’m doing well…I mean, angry as fuck about the state of things but personally well. How are you? I wish you were in Twitter! I sent you a message the other day actually lol but I understand why you’re off of there. It’s a terrible place most the time.