After 40 years, a victim of Franco’s Spain tells her story

lidia-falcon

Lidia Falcón in an archival photo, likely taken before her seventh and final arrest under the Franco dictatorship. The leftist lawyer and feminist was falsely linked to a crime allegedly carried out by Basque separatists in Madrid in September 1974. A café frequented by secret police was the target. Falcón had nothing to do with the attack at all, but that didn’t stop the dying dictator’s sadists from doing their worst to her. For 40 years she was unable to talk about it. Now, she tells her story to Público:

Lidia Falcón was tortured to the limit in the fall of 1974. She was beaten, insulted and humiliated. But not only in prison. In the official media as well. The daily newspaper, ABC, didn’t hesitate to publish her photo on the front page and link her to an ETA attack on the Rolando coffeehouse in Correo Street, near the Puerta del Sol, on September 13, 1974. Falcón had nothing to do with that massacre. But for the police, the Franco régime, and for its hangers-on, it was all the same. She was arrested in Barcelona and transferred to Madrid three days after the attack. She thought she would never get out of jail. That they would kill her first. Franco was near death, and the hatred of his Political and Social Brigade was running rampant throughout Spain. Tortures unimaginable today were commonplace.

The lawyer, writer and founder of the Feminist Party has taken 40 years to recount that dramatic episode of her life. The nine months she spent in prison and the nine days she suffered the interrogations of Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa. She kept it hidden as much as possible, she doesn’t really know why, she says. Every victim manages the trauma of torture as well as they can. Every person has their own defence mechanism. Silence and pretending were the methods Falcón chose.

Today, forty years later, she has decided to put those tortures in writing and present a denunciation before the Argentine embassy in Madrid as part of the so-called Argentine Case, the only judicial proceeding currently investigating the crimes of the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War.

“They arrested me seven times between 1960 and 1974, but no one has ever been told what I lived through during that last detention. Why? I don’t know,” Lidia Falcón told Público. She says she finally decided to take that step and make the denunciation in order to “help my comrades who are making such a great effort to put an end to the impunity of Franco-fascism.”

On September 16, 1974, three days after the ETA attack, the Politico-Social Brigade (BPS) arrived at Lidia Falcón’s office to arrest her and take her to Madrid, accusing her of taking part in the attack by planting an explosive charge in the Rolando Coffeehouse in Madrid, a place frequented by the BPS police. They had no evidence. They probably also knew that Falcón was not implicated. But it was all the same to them. They forced her into a car and drove her to Madrid. The same for her daughter and her companion, Eliseo Bayo. They wouldn’t even let her go to the bathroom during the 12-hour trip.

The worst, obviously, was still to come. Falcón spent nine days in the Franco-fascist terror’s station. “They threw Grimau out the window there. They tortured him to the point of uselessness. One thinks it’s possible not to talk about it, that it not come out,” Falcón said, in front of the Argentine embassy in Madrid. “They were furious and hungry for revenge. We can’t forget that 13 people had just died, and there were 84 injured,” Falcón continues.

A doctor examined her upon arrival. “Do you suffer from any illness?” he asked her. “I’ve recently had hepatitis,” she replied. Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa now had the perfect target to destroy their victim: “They hit me in the stomach and in the liver and tugged at my arms until I thought they’d fall out.” This for three days. No sleep, no food, no drink. Between beatings, they talked about her daughter: “She’s in jail. Maybe she’ll find a boyfriend.”

After 72 hours in detention, she was visited in her jail cell by the instructing judge, the commander of the First Military Tribunal of Judges and Officials of Madrid, and after a lengthy interrogation, Falcón signed a declaration in which she did not confess to participation in the attack, nor any relations with the terrorists. “I’ve asked myself whether the CIA was implicated in the attack,” Falcón remembers, describing how the judge thumped his chest and exclaimed, “I will not allow betrayals of this uniform!”

After the official left, she was returned to her cell. The next day, Billy the Kid and Conesa came back for her. They handcuffed her to two hooks in the ceiling, but Falcón’s wrists were too small. Her 50 kilograms of body weight were not enough to fill the cuffs. Falcón fel again and again. Finally, they tied her with ropes and began to punch her in the abdomen, stomach and liver.

“Do you recall anything Billy the Kid said to you during the interrogation?” asked a journalist.

“Yes. Of course. There’s one thing that I’ll never forget. Ever. While he was beating me about the stomach, he said to me, ‘Now you’ll never stand up again, whore,'” replied Falcón, recalling that after the interrogations, she had to have five surgeries to try to repair the damage from the tortures to her shoulders, stomach and uterus.

Like other victims of Antonio González Pacheco, alias Billy the Kid, Falcón remembers his face well. Those eyes that sparkled upon seeing another’s pain, which enjoyed inflicting terror and exercising the superiority of having a victim tied up and free rein to torture. “He was a sadist. He liked it. You could see he was enjoying those moments,” Falcón adds, recalling that she finished most of the torture sessions by losing consciousness.

When she fainted, they untied her and laid her on the floor. They woke her with a bucket of water. Then the doctor examined her, checking the whites of her eyes and her blood pressure. “Let her rest,” he usually recommended. She remained on the floor, wet, for hours, until they brought her back to her cell. The next day, the tortures continued. On the sixth day, the torturers could not continue with the same abuses. They could not hang her from the wall because she would lose consciousness quickly as a result. Then, when she awoke, she went on receiving punches and kicks while lying on the ground.

On the ninth day, they transferred her to the Women’s Prison of Yeserías in Madrid. The tendons of her arms were torn, as were her uterus and abdominal muscles. She spent nine months in that prison. On June 11, 1975, they gave her provisional freedom and a fine of 30,000 pesetas. Though she had been accused, she never went to trial. In fact, No one ever went on trial for that ETA attack. Neither she, nor the other 21 accused.

Years later, Falcón went to the Historical Archive to look for the documents from her stay in prison, her detention, and the seven arrests. They didn’t exist. Her name only appears on a document which recounts a conversation between two police officers. “Everything has been eliminated. It’s part of the pact of silence of the Transition. Everything stays behind. There are no guilty parties. No one was sentenced. No investigations. Spain is a single country, and bipartisanism shares a big part of the blame,” Falcón says.

Translation mine.

In case you wonder why Argentina should be involved in this case, you may recall what I blogged a few weeks ago about the exchanges between the military academies of Spain and Argentina. Even as Franco’s régime was in its last gasps (literally, since the dictator was on his deathbed), that of Argentina was just around the corner. Already the fascist (“anticommunist”) brigades, both military and civilian, were harassing Argentine leftists, and bodies were beginning to fall. In a country with a long history off generals-as-presidents, a military coup is never far behind, and in 1976, it finally happened. The fragile Argentine democracy crumbled even as an equally fragile and uncertain so-called democracy emerged from the dictator’s death in Spain. It was like the two countries sat at either end of a see-saw: as one went up, the other went down.

But even as the public balance was shifting, something covert was going on, something that would assure the continuation of fascism, its migration between one Spanish-speaking land and another. Spanish and Argentine military officers were involved in an exchange program, and specifically one dealing in so-called “counterinsurgency” methods. In plain English: Terrorism, murder, torture, abduction, permanent disappearance of victims, and erasure of their very names from the records. Officers from one country went to train in the other, and vice versa. The new Spanish democracy was a sham, as much as the former Argentine one had been. In truth, fascism would continue unabated, hidden. Just as the Argentines had their secret prisons in places the public never suspected, so did the Spaniards harbor their torturers in plain sight. And this even with Franco in his grave, and a two-party electoral system supposedly now in place. Officers and torturers of both régimes enjoyed total impunity, and some still do to this day.

It’s getting late, and yet there is so much still to be done to bring real democracy to Spain and Argentina. As long as the victims live, the torturers’ crimes can still come to light…even after 40 years or more.

Ontario sex-ed fight gets ugly. What century is this, again?

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Good lord. I would have thought that teaching kids the facts of life at public school was no longer even a little bit controversial, but apparently it’s become just that. AGAIN. And today, in the Ontario Legislature, the pot boiled over:

Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Essex), a leadership hopeful, attacked Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday for not doing enough to consult parents before implementing the new syllabus that takes effect in September.

McNaughton told the house that the premier should not be imposing views upon mothers and fathers concerned about the revised program designed to protect children by better informing them about sex.

Note that the oh-so-concerned-for-concerned-parents Mr. McNaughton is a Conservative “leadership hopeful”. Hence all his laudable, laudable concern for the unheard voices of parents who don’t want their kids learning anything about sex at school. His leadership hopes took a bit of a trouncing, though, at the hands of the woman whose job he’s eyeballing:

Wynne, Ontario’s first female premier and lone openly lesbian first minister, suggested the Tory MPP was being homophobic when he said Monday “it’s not the premier of Ontario’s job — especially Kathleen Wynne — to tell parents what’s age-appropriate for their children.”

“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education?” she told the house.

“What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”

Yeah, Monte, go on going after her job. After all, she’s just a trained schoolteacher with a master’s degree, a former provincial education minister, AND a parent. What the hell would SHE know about age-appropriate sex ed?

Could the real reason he’s so squiffy toward her new curriculum be none other than the simple fact that she’s gay? Or is it something more sinister, namely the anti-intellectual bent that we’ve seen so much of in the Ontario SupposiTories since the bad old days of Mike Harris and his No-Sense Devolution, when he put a high-school drop-out in charge of the provincial education ministry and basically ordered ol’ Snowballs to ransack it and leave no textbook untorn? The same generation that grew up on a starved education system now takes such governmental neglect for not only normal, but a correct course of action. Twenty years of undoing the good work of William B. Davis, the Education Premier?

Yeah, let’s stay the course. That’s still an electable strategy, right? I mean, just look at the peanut gallery these guys are playing to:

McNaughton and one of his rival PC leadership candidates — MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) — met with the raucous protesters, many of whom brandished anti-abortion signs.

Yup, it’s the anti-intellectual brigade, out in full force against anything that might inform their kids more and better than they themselves would! To hear this crowd talk, you’d think that just not telling kids anything about sex at all, other than “don’t do it till you’re married, and only for procreation” would be an effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and that deadliest of all sins, Teh Ghey. Meanwhile, the precious, protected children of people like these grow into the kind of harassers who stand outside women’s health clinics, baptizing imaginary “murdered” babies.

But what am I saying? Nobody knows better than a parent what’s really good for the kids, right? RIGHT???

“Parents should be the first educators on serious issues like sex education . . . Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are not respecting parents,” McNaughton told a rally of more than 200 people outside the legislature.

Oh, but of course. Parents are the bestest sex educators a kid could have. And the government has no right to “interfere”! That’s why schools that teach “abstinence only”, in accordance with religious parents’ wishes, have higher pregnancy rates and STD rates than schools that teach comprehensive sex ed. That’s why so many people whose parents “protected” them by withholding all sex information other than “Just Don’t Do It” are parents before their time, perpetuating the vicious cycle faster and faster than ever before. That’s why antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and syphilis are wreaking havoc on kids whose folks told them condoms were the devil’s toys. That’s why AIDS is still incurable and there’s no vaccine on the market for it yet. The same people who think a few shots of Gardasil will turn their daughters into harlots when those girls haven’t even put down their Barbie dolls yet. The same whose kids are so desperate to learn anything at all about sex that they turn to porn for info. Yeah, those people are the greatest sexperts on Earth, and nothing they say could possibly be fallible.

And it could never fail their kids, either.

Music for a Sunday: Down right to the happy end

“Fifty Shades of Shit”: A German feminist’s heretical thoughts

no-sexual-violence

“No to the eroticization of sexual violence! Boycott Fifty Shades of Grey.”

A sentiment I can heartily get behind. This article from Mira Sigel, of the German radical-anarcho-socialist-feminist blog, Die Störenfriedas, basically says it all for me, too:

It’s February 2015 in Germany, and as a feminist, one wants to pull the covers over one’s head and wait till summer so that the sexist shitcrap that’s currently washing over us from TV and movie screens will at least be made tolerable by sunshine and ice cream.

On Thursday, in Berlin, there was the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey. The film version of the book, which is a — yawwwwwn — love story about an emotionally disturbed, violently inclined, rich and dominant man and a woman inferior to him in every way, is creating buzz around the world. There’s talk of “eroticism” and “lust”, and even Germany’s top-ranking feminists are applauding approval, because it has something to do with women’s liberation. That’s right: Getting your ass paddled or playing the choking game is just as sexually liberating as playing the prostitute in a bordello. The eroticization of violence and exploitation is a wonderful instrument of oppression that the patriarchy has just begun to discover. We now think of Playboy Bunnies as kindergartners, and the nonsense of Sex and the City, which for ten years was meant to prepare us for a life as constantly horny luxury queens.

But let’s go on. What’s really upsetting about the story is not that Anastasia sets out to finally find the limits of her sexuality and to cross them, but that she gets “seduced” by a rich, smart, and — naturally — “mysterious” man. What exactly is self-determined about that? It’s the age-old tale of King Bluebeard. Didn’t you know? Well, then, read up. A patriarchal fairytale par excellence. She naturally somehow “senses” that Christian Grey needs emotional rescuing, because hey, why else are we women here, with our bodies, our psyches, and our whole lives, to take care that it goes better for men, insofar as they can take it all out on us? Anastasia isn’t into S/M. She lets him do it to her, because she thinks she’ll get access to Christian’s disturbed emotional world this way. She realizes that he’s overstepping her boundaries, and still keeps going on. As well, she was a virgin before she met him, and has nothing, literally nothing, to compare his sexual experiences to.

Christian likes to hit women because his bad mama neglected him and was also a drug-addicted prostitute. Naturally, the whole wide world of women has nothing but understanding for that, and willingly sticks out its butt, so that the poor boy can take out his feelings on it. In turn we get to see him constantly in the film with his bare chicken breast. Because Anastasia takes his boundary-crossings so self-sacrificingly, eventually he does let his guard down a bit — and makes her his princess. One might laugh about that, because it’s so silly. In reality, though, it’s dangerous. Because it idealize a toxic view of relationships, in which women consequently deny their own needs and boundaries so that they’ll be better off. Women become clumsy twits, who fall so far under the influence of an experienced man’s sexual wishes that they become willing partners for damaging relations. It’s called grooming.

At the Berlin premiere, minors sashayed around with leather whips and other paraphernalia that they presumably consider sexy — because everyone tells them that sexuality is the thing of the hour. A chance to find out for themselves what they like, and to look for a corresponding partner, though, is something that neither our society nor Germany’s leading feminist group will concede to them.

Even the fact that there are also submissive men is no argument. What turns them on is subservience. The fact that a WOMAN is debasing them. Not a man. A woman. A woman who, however, is socially far beneath them. Therein lies the arousal — that is, it comes out of a deeply sexist and misogynous world-view. Sexuality is always to be viewed in the context of social reality. Why else have chambermaids been in the Top Ten list of male sex fantasies for centuries? Why do colonialist world-views express sexual desire in terms of white women and black men, and vice versa? Why are pornos full of racist stereotypes? Why is the horny secretary or nurse a fantasy that gets passed down from generation to generation? Why not a female professor or politician? Because female power — real female power — doesn’t stand for the male dominance of sexuality in a patriarchal society.

Soon, as well, we’ll see the next installment of Germany’s Next Top Model. Heidi ate burgers, döner and sausages in order to shut up the thinness critics. “I’ve been watching the show for ten years,” shrieks an 18-year-old hopeful. “It’s always been my dream to take part.”

Why doesn’t everyone wake up? Shouldn’t girls dream of high-school graduation, university, science, creative heights and successes, instead of making monkeys of themselves with Heidi & Co.?

Society shows young women their place. Either as sex toys for male power fantasies, or as skinny models without dignity.

Hopefully it will be summer soon.

Translation mine.

Full disclosure: I’m not a kinkster. I’m not even remotely curious, having read enough already to know quite well what it’s all about. I have no desire to try it for myself; what I’ve read and seen doesn’t resonate with me — at least, not in a titillating way. I will admit to feeling disturbed by a lot of it, though, and for the very reasons Sigel outlines so succinctly here. The overwhelming majority of it plays to the age-old male power fantasy of “owning” a woman. Even the reversed situation derives its power mainly from the temporary inversion of the accepted order of things. But it doesn’t question that order, nor does it seek to subvert it in the real world. What happens in the dungeon, stays in the dungeon. And anyway, even the most submissive of male subs has his safeword, meaning the action stops when he orders it to. So in the end, even he still has power — even if his male privilege is momentarily (and voluntarily) doffed. The same cannot be said for female subs, whose submission is socially encoded as “normal”.

Worse, the ugliest aspects of the male-dominant power dynamic are so egregious in Fifty Shades that even the most ardent kinksters feel the need to dissociate from the franchise. I may not share their proclivities, but I don’t blame them a bit. They say they don’t stand for Christian’s blatantly illegal moves to control Anastasia, for stalking, for isolation, for abuse, and for the actual, slave-master ownership of a person, right down to a ludicrous, legally unenforceable “contract”. I would hope not! Who’d want to be associated with something so conservative, so un-edgy, so damn OLD? Because really, this is indentured servitude, when you get right down to it; good old-fashioned indentured servitude with a side order of medieval torture.

And yet, heterosexual kink* does partake of the same old dynamics, and that’s what makes it so primal and titillating to some, and fraught — and frankly, ripe for abuse. The kink community has always had its Christians, out to exploit a ready and willing pool of inexperienced young women. And every female sub has found herself at least once, it seems, in Anastasia’s unenviable shoes, being sexually assaulted and having her bounds blatantly overstepped by a dom who refuses to hear NO. And has had to warn others away from that freak. Who is not, unfortunately, that much of a freak.

Sometimes, the only thing that separates a kinky abuser from a garden-variety one is the leather costumery. And even Christian, in his “kinky” mode, is not that much of a one for the leather gear. He can play out his “master” role just as well in banker’s grey flannels. (But hey, at least we get to see him shirtless and sweaty. Whoopee!)

The disturbing thing about Fifty Shades is not the boring-ass sex (which has been described in detail elsewhere, and if you want to read about it, just google) — it’s the mental abuse. And the most abusive thing is that it teaches girls that if they submit enough, they’ll be rewarded with the prince and a tiara and, presumably, a whole stable full of sparkly pink Pegacorns with mauve manes and tails, who piss perfume, fart rainbows, and poop marshmallows, and heal all hurts with the magical light of their crystal horns. That sacrificing themselves and having no desires of their own is the way to a man’s heart, and that they’ll cure him of all his demons that way.

In real life, as has been often pointed out, that way leads straight to the women’s shelter, and often the morgue.

Abusive men aren’t for women to cure, and they don’t even want to be cured. They’re as hooked on their violence as a junkie on the needle. The power fantasy has been marketed to them, too, as a drug that they need to score and go on scoring in ever greater hits, for ever higher highs. The fact that they become numb to it eventually is never mentioned. They end up not in control, but in thrall. The fact that they end up in jail or dead in a grisly murder-suicide is the only logical outcome for that power dynamic. And it’s a fact that gets glossed over by the media time and again. When we do hear talk of a guy going to jail for beating his female partner to death, or of one who shoots first her (and/or their kids) before turning the gun on himself, it’s always couched in nonsense phrases about “senseless violence” that “no one could have predicted”.

In fact, the violence makes a lot of sense, and is dead simple to predict, given the dynamics of the patriarchal, capitalist world we live in. This “fantasy” is a big, money-making reality. Every little Joe Schmoe wants to be a Christian, on some level. With access to an Anastasia, who takes every slap, every punch, every rape, without complaint…just as she’s been taught.

Even the stuff you grow up thinking is so “subversive” and “transgressive” really isn’t. The Marquis de Sade? Hardly a libertarian “citizen” of revolutionary France, but an opportunist who took full, gory advantage of the old droit du seigneur. His perversions weren’t even particularly extreme for his day, at least insofar as literature went; there was already plenty of “blasphemous” spanky-spanky erotica kicking around even then. He didn’t invent a libertine tradition; he grew out of one like a fleur-de-lys from shit. Most of what he cut his teeth on was anticlerical, clandestinely published, and meant to shock with its childish defiance. And it shaped his tastes, without a doubt. His contemporaries were blasé about that. But what made him truly grotesque and ultimately a criminal in their eyes was not what he read and wrote, but what he actually did. To powerless underlings who had virtually no rights in pre-revolutionary France. This was no harmless fantasy of consensual role-play. His victims were predominantly young women in poverty and/or prostitution, who had no choice but to submit to whatever he meted out to them, even death. (Oh yes, did I mention that he was most likely a serial killer, one who pre-dated Jack the Ripper by about a century? Plus ça change…)

Even now, the “sadists” of BDSM are slow to wake up to the fact that their cherished fantasies are the products of some mighty banal evils. Not necessarily childhood abuse, or mommy/daddy issues (lots of kinksters have no history of those), but forces from the larger society writ small and personal, marked “private” and for individual sale only. Some, to their credit, are at least distancing themselves from the mad Marquis, recognizing that a man of the upper class, who poisoned, mutilated and flayed young peasant women without pity, is no role model. They stress safety, sanity, consensuality. They take it as a bounden duty to provide aftercare, and laudably tend to the wounds they inflict. They are seeking alternative terms for their kink, words that don’t hark back to droit du seigneur — at least not so blatantly. Bless them for trying. It’s just a pity that those same terms they stress so hard — safe, sane and consensual — are also being used by some, who are far less scrupulous, to gloss over the serious examination of kink’s background forces that is long overdue.

But that, too, is quite understandable, in light of the blinding obvious. People want to have their cake, and their fetishes too. What else is there to do on your own time in this god-awful crapitalist soul-eating world? Why kill the buzz of kinky “transgression” with structural analysis of its deep-down conservatism, with examination of class and privilege, with history, with the nasty inconvenient fact that the playing field is not finally level now, but still every bit as lumpy and unfairly tilted as it’s ever been, even without the old seigneurial class?

And whose rights are being perpetually eroded by all the bogus talk about “sexual freedom”, used by real sadists like Jian Ghomeshi to assert that their ugliest whims are nothing less than a basic human right?

Take a wild guess. Take several. Take all the time you need.

*Gay kink — more liberating/liberated than straight? Don’t bet on it. A lot of butch/femme and even racist and homophobic stereotypes are played out there, following problematic templates similar to those of the straights. After all, they all have the class consciousness of a heterosexist society as their biggest (and really, only) role model.

Saudi Arabia, progressive kingdom of irony

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Saudi feminists sure do love them some manspreading.

According to Konbini, this photo was taken last year at a conference at Qassim University on women’s rights. The piece also notes that Saudi Arabia ranks 127th out of 136 countries on gender equality.

I don’t know what’s more impressive: That such a deeply sexist country managed to fill a whole lecture hall with men interested in women’s rights, or that there are 9 countries still below them in terms of equality.

I guess this must be what the crapagandarati meant when they characterized the late King Abdullah as a “reformist” ruler.

When perverts become “victims”

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Sebastian Edathy, personifying chutzpah on Facebook. In English, no less.

Right now, in Germany, there’s a huge scandal going on. A former parliamentarian, who resigned shortly before his home was raided by police, has been found to have bought and downloaded child pornography, and even pretty much confessed that he whacks off to it. So, why is this self-admitted pervert not behind bars yet? Well, as the Störenfriedas blog has found, the problem lies in German society itself, and their way of addressing — or rather, NOT addressing — the nature of the problem:

On Thursday, December 18, Sebastian Edathy gave a press conference. The 45-year-old Edathy is facing criminal charges for possession of child pornography. An investigation is now under way to find out exactly who knew what, and when, about the accusations against the Saxon state politician. Also to determine if Edathy was warned. SPD parliamentarian Thomas Oppermann and federal delegate Michael Hartmann play a particular role.

It is surely important [to know] who warned Edathy, because it tells us something about the social position of children and sexual violence in our society, and of complicity in their trivialization. Above all, Edathy is using this question right now to present himself on the media stage — and the media are playing along — to push the actual acts into the background and thus whitewash them.

There’s talk of the “Kiddy-Porn Affair”. Just this headline contains an ugly verbal distancing and a further objectification of children for purposes of sexual exploitation. It is not a “kiddy-porn affair”; it concerns actual children, who were and are being made to serve as masturbation fodder for men. These are not some films that have nothing to do with reality, but children with real feelings, who remain forever caught in the net of men’s sexual exploitation. How must a person feel when he or she knows that their own body is serving again and again as wank-fodder, and one can never do anything about it?

Says Adrian P., who was affected, about that: “The pictures of me are horrifying. I can never get rid of them.”

Edathy himself talks of “purchases” when he’s talking about the children to whom he masturbated: “I believe that the majority of the critical public voices on the purchases — to be honest — are right.” In the final analysis, Edathy takes no responsibility for his own conduct.

A reporter asked: “Are you a pedophile, Herr Edathy?” Edathy replied: “Are you homosexual or heterosexual? Maybe you’re a pedophile…you know what, that simply doesn’t concern you.”

This response is very clever because it brings pedophilia down to the same level as homosexuality and heterosexuality. This excuse is symptomatic of Edathy’s position, which resonates with that of the pedo-criminal organizations, such as the “Crooked 13″ and others. These have been trying for decades to sell sexual interest in children as normal sexuality, which should be acted upon. Because this is, according to their definitions, normal, and the results of such “normal sexuality”, as they call it, meaning the sexual exploitation of children, is consequently whitewashed and negated. Finally, it’s all the same in fact whether Edathy’s conduct fits the definition of pedophilia or not. On exactly which grounds children have suffered violence is unimportant. The consequences must be borne by those who have exerted sexual violence, and by those who have profited from it (after the fact). The perpetrator-type of one Herr Edathy is, in fact, irrelevant.

This justification of such deeds is socially widespread. The grounds for it will be laid out here, because they have very real effects upon the Edathy case and its medial reception:

The concept of “pedophilia” comes from the Greek and is made up of παῖς (“boy, child”) and φιλία (“friendship”). It seems to suggest that men with sexual interest in children, and those who sexually exploit children, actually act on the basis of a real, genuine friendly inclination. Even in this case, language reshapes what is actually a very gruesome reality. The motive of a friendly inclination can be doubted, anyway, and even if one considers it valid, it could still be laid to rest, at latest, when power relations are used and boundaries overstepped, as in when sexual violence is used against children.

Pedophilia is listed as a “disease” in the ICD-10 and the DSM, and above all, it is a “disease” in the mind of society. That brings much sympathy for “afflicted” men as a result. It has also led to the notion that people are under pressure, and thus “understanding” — for the perpetrators, that is, not the victim — is necessary, and to look at “both sides” when it comes to sexual violence by men against children. “Aware” men, who are “ready for therapy”, are celebrated. And people who are against that celebration are characterized as heartless, without character, and devoid of empathy. At any rate, we must discuss how much of “pedophilia”-as-sickness is a social construct; if we leave out this consideration, we can still at least ask ourselves who has ever celebrated a victim of sexual violence when she or he has gone into therapy (insofar as there is even a slot in therapy for them; the totally inadequate psycho-traumatological care of victims of violence is worth an article in itself).

“Do you even regret anything?” asks a reporter. Edathy replies in a roundabout way. In his opinion, it’s wrong to expect persons in public office to be flawless. He sees himself as a victim of the rule of law. “The children are victims too”, says the reporter. Can Edathy be sure that children have acted without duress? Edathy, again, blames the Criminal Prosecutor’s Office: “I have paid a high price for what I’ve done. I will try to build up a new existence for myself. Maybe someday it will be possible for me to live without fear in Germany.”

The “flaw”, to have had [sexual] contact with children or youths, will always stick with someone — even when such charges are proven false. The Canadian company from which he obtained the films in question has been under criminal investigation without charges for years. Edathy keeps emphasizing that the films are “legal”, but only once does he say, in an aside, that it “was morally not okay”.

Again and again, the question gets asked: Were the nude photos legal? The headline reads: “Harmless nude photos, or criminal child porn?” Edathy himself says: “I didn’t act conspiratorially. I was firmly convinced that the pictures are not criminally relevant.” He also says: “We are not talking here about a capital crime.”

He also says it’s okay to consume such pictures or films whose production “did not use recognizable violence”. In the Stern, it says: “It was wrong to buy the films. But it was legal.” Where is the responsibility on the part of a currently active federal delegate to society, when he sees everything as “okay” and “legal”, but as a consumer he can’t tell if violence was behind it or not? Can he still shuffle off responsibility for that onto others? Or would it not be better to take responsibility in this sense: “As long as I can’t be 100% sure that no violence was used, I am morally and legally obligated to keep my hands off it”?

If everyone were to act that way, there would be no market for prostitution or pornography with adult “protagonists”, because it is simply impossible to rule out force. Aside from that, why should one be absolved if one assumes that no violence was used because that is “not visible”? What does Edathy mean when he speaks of violence? Must violence be “visible”? Does it depend on that? It does not. It speaks to Edathy’s posture, and that of society, that there can be a context of “under normal circumstances” and “violence-free”, a moral-ethical as well as judicially representable one, in which such photos can be produced, distributed and commercialized. Ergo: When it comes to minors, the question of force or no force cannot even be asked.

The manifold attempts of the sex-industry lobby to make even children into “self-determined actors” and to legalize “child prostitution” and “child pornography” (these concepts are real bones of contention), point to yet another way.

A further question should be what difference it really makes whether a politician masturbates to “legal” or illegal nude photos. Doesn’t the whole affair show that there are loopholes in the law, and that as a result, the legal framework for nude photos of children must be urgently evaluated and made stricter? On what grounds does a man (or woman) even need nude photos of children? Is “art” not simply the usual excuse for sexual violators to get off scot-free? It is a sheer insult that politicians, whose job it is to make laws and be responsible for the protection of women and children, to make legalistic excuses for their acting-out of power. So the assertion that people were acting out “sexual urges”, not crimes, calls into question why this is not a crime. With legal silence, society leaves countless victims in the lurch and betrays them. Edathy’s dismay that despite his immunity a search raid took place on his home clearly shows that powerful men enjoy particular protection.

During the press conference, Thorsten Denkler stated that there surely is a difference between legality and moral rightness. Edathy aggressively waved that off: His private life surely doesn’t concern anyone!

This reference to the private sphere is a cheap trick, but it works when it comes to offering criminals protection. It’s self-evident that everyone has their private sphere, and that this must be protected. But it is also self-evident that this cannot come at a cost to others. A collective looking-away from pedocriminality on the part of society doesn’t protect the private sphere, it supports criminals. Edathy is aware that in this society, sensitivity toward dealings with children is very high, but goes hand in hand with hysteria. This perception supports him in his self-portrayal as victim. He would never get rid of that stain. His recurrent aggression when talk turns to the film material is noteworthy. Again and again he attacks the questioner verbally, and sticks to excuses over the legality. He sees this film material as “art”, not child pornography. It is obvious that even here, mostly economically weak children are serving rich men. But when only visible violence is relevant, then economic forces, violent experiences, addictions and other consequences are obviously of no interest to either criminals or lawmakers. To shrug off he exploitation of these children as problematic sexual practice clearly shows the media’s trivialization of the subject. That the earnings of legal recordings obviously also finance criminally relevant materials, is a clear and present danger that is not being debated.

“Is it not humane to warn others?” runs an oft-asked question. That surely depends on the conscience of the person. Whoever has empathy will hardly be in the mood for that. When it comes to sexual violence, it must be clear that there can be no protection for perpetrators. How the many witting individuals still in public office can live with the knowledge that they didn’t care about the fate of the children, and that they let a criminal go on offending, is hard to imagine. “What do you think goes into the making of those posed photos of little boys that you got off on? Have you any idea of what production process takes place, and when did you begin to think about it?” asks Dieter Wonka. Even here, Edathy can’t think of anything but that it was not illicit material, and right away goes on the attack, saying that Wonka has mistaken him for a jurist and hasn’t done his homework. The same thing happens to a female journalist, who points out to him reports of heavily traumatized children from various films. How does he stand regarding that? Angrily, he counters that she wasn’t paying attention for the last two hours, and that the Phoenix TV channel should just send her a transcript. No matter how many times this reporter looks at that transcript, she will look in vain for a sympathetic word for the children. He has no answer either for the questions of a children’s aid representative.

“Pedophiles” are very creative in their use of masturbation fodder. It doesn’t take much, in a pinch, to make their fantasies come alive. One genre, for example, is the use of child models in tights, in various poses. Do children have to be served up for men on silver platters in order to serve their sexual interest in them? Does society want that for its children, and would we want such a society? Is it important and necessary for children to have nude photos of themselves on the Internet?

In the Stern issue of December 17, 2014, the headline reads: “The Edathy Affair”. Even here it’s not about children, but party politics. Nothing is coincidental, and the slogan on the front page reads: “The Power of Forgiveness”. It has to do with other people in another article, but naturally, an association with Edathy is meant to be established here. It is in fact a mistake to believe that forgiveness helps. This idea has more to do with Christian beliefs, which have forced the idea that good people can forgive, and bad and weak people can’t. In fact, for many victims of violence, it is very important that a perpetrator be punished, and in a fitting manner. For many victims and their families, life has become hell on Earth, and just the thought that a perpetrator can go on committing crimes with a smile on his face is hard to tolerate. Forgiveness is a concept, and helps no one other than predators and their irresponsibility. The idea of forgiveness even puts victims under more pressure, because they can’t even face their feelings, because with religious people, feelings like hate and vengeance are seen as “bad”. But victims can and should be able to feel whatever they want. That’s all.

The reactions of the media and many people are explainable, but not very helpful:

Most people see the world through rose-colored glasses, in order to feel good. Otherwise, they would not be able to handle the real proportions of gruesome crimes and violence. At least not without being forced to deal with it. Some even say “there is some good in everyone”. This saying is obsolete and trivial, even laughable, because with many crimes, it doesn’t matter if there’s anything “good” in a person. Who cares here if a man who, for instance, has raped children, cares about his sick wife or children, or likes flowers or animals? In the English-speaking world, sexual criminals, regardless of type, are called predators. They seek out their victims in a goal-oriented way, and plan exactly how to successfully carry out their crimes. In German-speaking spheres, meanwhile, there is much to seemingly legitimize the criminals and their crimes. There is talk of “urges”, which expresses a lack of control, and opens the way for criminals to give up responsibility and suggest to society that these criminals can and should not be accused of anything. A further, very common designation is that of “inclinations”, a further total whitewashing of terrible violence against children. Some people also say “sickening”, which surely comes from the fact that some behaviors make us sick because they are so repugnant and gruesome, which is true in and of itself. But that cannot mean that these criminals are “sick”, because that would mean that they can’t do anything about their behaviors, and that their actions are free of blame.

Many people make the mistake of believing that they can recognize a lie. But people are very bad at recognizing lies, as studies have been showing for years. Even police officers are no better than other people or psychiatrists. All professions had the same results as pure chance. Even in the case of Herr Edathy, maybe some believe that based on their seemingly great knowledge of human beings, Edathy could not have done anything bad.

There are many theories as to why people, almost always men, are attracted to children. But in fact there is no proven knowledge. The modes of conduct, however, are known. There is always a long period of planning and fantasizing in advance. The obsession with children is supported by constant masturbation to fantasies about children, or actual pictures of children.

Maybe we don’t always have an answer to the question as to how to stop men like Edathy, or how to explain their behavior. We, and those responsible for the media, should however stop making excuses for them. It is not our job to explain and justify the actions of criminals. That is, ultimately, a distraction and doesn’t help the victims. We should take an interest in the victims and give them a space. The criminals are responsible for ending their own criminal behavior, and they should have to bear the consequences for it in all regards. Victims must bear the consequences of sexual violence all their lives. Edathy has gotten a lot of space in the media. And there, the victims were reduced to a “kiddie-porn affair”.

Translation mine.

So you can see clearly what kind of linguistic gymnastics we’re talking about. Germany has a pedophilia problem in its major media. Germany has to take a long, hard look at itself. No doubt about that.

Well, I hate to say this, but the exact same thing happens all the time in English-speaking media, too. There’s a lot of sympathy for pedophiles who claim to be “aware of their problem” and “seeking help”. On the other hand, one has only to look at how the media covers the acts themselves to see what kind of contempt still exists toward victims. Sexism, racism — you name it, the prejudice is there, coded right into the language. The New York Times, of all “respectable” publications, fudged the gang-rape of an 11-year-old black girl in Texas three years ago. Rather than treating the perpetrators as predators seeking out the youngest, the weakest, the lowest on the social totem pole, the Times report painted them as the victims, and insinuated that the girl was a prematurely grown-up temptress:

…the paper of record speculates on how the small town of Cleveland, Texas, has been rocked by the story, and the torturous question of “how could their young men have been drawn into such an act.” How, indeed? It’s surely a horrifying scenario when 18 young men are implicated in a crime of violence and degradation. The victim’s affidavit says the assault began when a local 19-year-old offered her a ride in his car, and escalated to a protracted group assault, featuring “threats she would be beaten if she did not comply” and participants recording the abuse on their phones. How could these boys have been “drawn into such an act”? Was it drugs, sociopathy, coercion? Or was that little girl just asking for it?

After all, as the Times helpfully points out, “Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.” Gosh, I wonder if she’s pretty or you know, developed, because that’s relevant too.

So you can see it’s not just the Germans who have a language problem when it comes to child rape and sexual abuse. Americans have it too. And Canadians. And Britons. And…you name it.

Any country where sexual assault occurs, you are bound to run into language barriers when it comes to talking about it. Not because adequate words don’t exist to cover the problem; most of us surely have a big enough vocabulary of those. The problem, as the Störenfriedas piece makes clear, is not words, it is the willingness to use the correct ones. To “make nails with heads”, as the German saying goes, implies that you can’t properly hammer a thing together without them. And this is true, for it is the head of the nail that takes the hammer’s impact, and drives the shaft into the boards. Headless nails are just bits of wire that get bent out of shape and won’t hold anything together at all. So it is with language, too: The wrong words, like headless nails, won’t hold together; they distort, they bend out of shape, they are worse than useless.

And that is what all this perpetrator-friendly talk of “being drawn into” gang-rapes, or “purchases” of child porn videos, also does: It distorts a situation, bending our mental view of it out of shape. It is worse than useless to the victims of those crimes; it takes the blame off the perpetrators and throws it right back onto those who have already suffered the most. Especially if, like bad Christians, they refuse to “forgive” those who “trespassed against” them. Don’t you love that phraseology? It makes the body sound like property. Like turf. Only — and this is grist for a whole other article — whose property, whose turf, is it? Surely not that of the victim, since women have long been legally reckoned to be property of men, and children likewise. The horrific implication is that one can do what one wants to them, as long as one owns them. Human chattel, it is still a thing.

And yes, law enforcement has long supported that view, too. I can still remember when the phrase date rape first hit the media (yes, I’m that old), and when police routinely refused to “get involved” when a man beat the shit out of his wife, even if it put her in hospital, because that was “only a domestic matter”. Even now, there are still people who think that if a man buys a woman dinner, he has essentially bought her sexual consent, and she is “a real bitch” if she doesn’t “give it up” to her entitled date. Or that Ray Rice had a God-given right to punch out his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer. She has since married him, believe it or not, and even “taken his name”, i.e. signed herself over as his chattel under the old coverture laws, though she probably has no idea that the slave-era implications of name-changing are still there, wriggling away below the surface of things.

Coverture may have fallen out of legal fashion, but he idea that a woman has a will of her own, which deserves respect, has yet to be adequately — i.e. FULLY — transmitted in English. Can you imagine what that implies for the children?

Sebastian Edathy certainly goes about whitewashing his own actions with a great deal of chutzpah, but he didn’t figure out how to do that on his own. Just as kids learn how the world works by watching the grownups, so a pedocriminal learns how to twist language to his own advantage by watching others do likewise. The media may ask him all kinds of hardball questions, but in the end, they too are complicit in the overall mishandling of the problem-with-the-fancy-Greek-name.

And that’s not just a German thing; it is a problem everywhere. Edathy bought those movies from a Canadian company, so we as a country share in the scandal and the blame of this trans-Atlantic miscreant. Who knows where, in turn, those movies were made?

In the end, adult male supremacy is a global problem, not limited to any one country. And the globalization of capital, the global nature of capitalism itself, has proved to be nothing but a boon for the abusers of children, traffickers of women and girls, and perverts who whack off to not-technically-illegal photos and movies of naked boys. One cannot stamp it out at one end and declare the whole thing dead; it will only look for another, more congenial place to resurrect itself, hydra-headed, worse than ever. The problem is global in nature, and demands a collective, global solution in turn. And it demands that we all, together, change the way we look at women and children — radically. We must, collectively, give up all ideas of people-as-property, infinitely interchangeable, disposable, and exploitable.

Language plays a definite part in that radical change; a wonderful German word comes to mind. The word is both verb and noun: Umdenken. A re-thinking; to re-think. That is what we need to have, and to do. Until then, we’re just spitting into the wind, and we shouldn’t be surprised if it all just blows right back in our faces.

Why the Marquis de Sade is nobody’s hero

martyrdom-of-st-barbara

Detail from “The Martyrdom of St. Barbara”, by Jean Bellegambe, 1528. Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai.

What gives with the idea that a notorious 18th-century aristocratic sociopath — a chronic, pathological liar who ruthlessly took full advantage of his high social rank to carry out the vilest depravities with near-total impunity — could somehow be transmogrified into a modern-day hero of democracy, freedom of speech, and sexual liberty? The Marquis de Sade, who could rightly be called the Jack the Ripper of late-royalist France, literally got away with murder…almost. For the crimes he committed, his head should have rolled off the block of the guillotine when the Revolution stormed the streets of Paris. Yet he was somehow, stupidly, spared, and wound up being locked away in a religious hospital for the rest of his days. Now, he’s being lionized for the same repugnant sort of things we would have condemned in the lower-class “Jack”, whose real identity is still much debated (although it was claimed to have finally been revealed just this past year).

It’s worth noting that class differences make all the difference here. It was his class alone that assured that the Marquis would go free and unpunished (though closely surveilled by police) for many years while France was still a monarchy. He eventually landed in the Bastille (for sodomy and poisoning), but was later transferred to a mental asylum, from which he was released in 1790. And even after the old class hierarchy was shaken up, his cleverness at lying, and feigning libertarian-democratic ideals in line with the new order, served to keep him free for a short time longer, and eventually, in the eyes of the modern public, rehabilitate a name that had already fallen under criminal suspicion during the reign of France’s last two kings.

Or so it would appear.

French historian Olivier Blanc has taken exception to Sade’s modern-day apologists, however, and called out their blindness, disingenuous motives, and general stupidity in an open letter occasioned by a new exhibit on Sade at the Musée d’Orsay:

I am surprised at the patience with which the public, more or less feminist, supports the numberless untruths and fallacious interpretations of the facts and acts of the Marquis de Sade. Since the [era of the] Surrealists, who have, if one may say, returned the personage to fashion, one witnesses a multitude of idolatrous, literary, theatrical or media productions (from Le Figaro to Le Monde) paying homage to the “Divine Marquis”. He shook off the yoke of oppression, which crushes the body and spirits, and to him alone flies the flag of liberty.

But all that is currently said of Sade, whose name applies to great national impostures, be they historic or intellectual, resides in the calculated omission of facts, or removes their abusive interpretation. Or these attempts at rehabilitation, enterprises with commercial ends, today attain the proportions necessary to make the point about this personage by relying minimally on historical method — mostly on his own texts about himself — and in the first place, by taking context into account.

When he was arrested during the Revolution, on December 4, 1793, Sade had acquired the reputation of being a patented liar. And at that time, when the law cracked down on suspects, his wife and in-laws, the family of Cordier de Montreuil, his constant “accomplices”, no longer had the means to smother the new accusation by the Parisian sansculottes who had taken aim at their protégé. In the ledgers of the surveillance committee of Piques, where his residence was located, the revolutionaries expressed their reservations about the duplicity of the former marquis, who had succeeded in being elected president: “From August 10, when he arrived at the section, he has never ceased to play the patriot. But these (patriots) here were not fooled.”

Biographers of Sade, notably Maurice Lever, have abundantly shown that Sade was neither a defender of new ideas nor an admirer of the Revolution. And no one, in 1792, was in fact fooled by his claimed republican convictions, nor the writings of circumstance which he published after the fall of the monarchy. At first he cited the democratic Girondins, braiding garlands to Roland — and then, when that same was in trouble, he turned toward Marat, one of the principal artisans of the fall of the Gironde. As everyone knows, it was not 24 hours before Sade was to be executed, the same day Robespierre retrenched in the Paris Commune and was caught. If Sade, according to the accusation well and truly drawn up by Fouquier-Tinville, was not on the last carts to the guillotine, it was because of an administrative error, which did not permit them to localize the prison in which he was detained.

At any moment, furthermore, it must be underlined that it is not a question of the “immorality” of Sade’s writings, which, according to modern legend, had justified the prosecutions and persecutions to which he was subjected during the Revolution. During the Ancien Régime as well, in an era of practically no rights for the weakest and poorest, it was not Sade’s writings that posed problems, but his comportment as a sexual and criminal predator.

Titled and immensely rich through his marriage to the heiress of a powerful family, beneficiary of an incredible indulgence on the part of his own and the protections of ties to his caste of origin, Sade acted up time and time again, such that his turpitudes nonetheless reached the highest spheres of the police institution which, in 1764, advised the madams of Paris not to send him any of their girls. Police inspector [Louis] Marais, very well informed, wrote: “One never has to wait long to hear tell once more of the horrors of the Count de Sade.” An informer to the count and minister of Sartines, who transmitted to King Louis XV himself, by regular bulletins, the sexual indiscretions of debauched courtiers, Marais was not wrong when he spoke of the horrors of Sade.

The troubles had begun for Sade when one of his victims, Rose Keller, who was subjected to a bloody sado-masochistic ritual at Arcueil — which was certainly not the first — had the bad idea of undoing her bonds, and escaping him through the window of the room wherein he had imprisoned her. And, even more extraordinary under the Ancien Régime, this young person was able to register a witness statement attesting to sexual abuses and attempted murder, even if that same were challenged as, apparently, a false statement. Since Sade’s life did not in fact revolve around his writings, which interested almost no one during the 18th century, but around his endless lies and also his impunity, scandalous in the eyes of his contemporaries, which his status as a nobleman, privileged son-in-law of the influential parliamentary family of Cordier de Montreuil, procured for him.

At a time when the rule of law did not exist, the conclusions of judiciary affairs are, for historians, to be regarded with much circumspection. It is understood that the monarchic powers, and the parliamentary caste, had the tendency to protect their own, favoring, for example, the flight abroad of those who had been accused of crimes (sometimes also their internment, via letter of cachet, to prevent the unpleasantness of a scandalous court process and condemnation to death). One also knows that innocent men of the people were sent to the gallows, and that they willingly abandoned to the gibbet young servants vaguely suspected of having stolen a silver spoon. The processes by which such things took place — without a jury of their peers, reposing on a minimal inquest — which, whether before the Châtelet de Paris, before Parliament, whether that of Paris or the provinces, offered no guarantee of equity and the certitude of pressures from above, and eventually of false witness statements aimed at neutralizing complaints from below.

The judicial tribulations of Sade under the Ancien Régime have not, however, shed any significant light establishing his culpability in the disappearances of young women (often beggars or prostitutes, therefore numerous), or the attempts at murder exercised upon two or three who survived more or less unhurt (at the same time removing the force from their statements). But what are we speaking of? Sexual phantasms not ritualized or limited, or the delirium of sexual compulsions inscribed in the very real suffering inflicted by a man and suffered by an unconsenting, kidnapped woman?

The very detailed witness statement of Rose Keller, tortured in a house in Arcueil, gives an idea of what pleased Sade: slow bloodlettings, cuts rubbed with salt or hot wax, cuttings and excisions of the skin, maybe even partial dismemberment. Death, by infection or assault upon a vital organ, was nothing but the logical end of such criminal acts.

This type of phantasm, which could have come to the attention of those who may have had the task of gathering witness statements in Paris or in the village of Lacoste, explain how justice could have sought to avoid that due process, even behind closed doors, be done, giving way inevitably to contradictory debates and crudely revealing these deadly practices. Not so much to protect Sade himself, but to avoid public condemnation — even limited to the aristocratic sphere — it did not extend to his immediate family.

An interesting and little-used witness statement was published in the 19th century by the author of Memories of the Marquise de Créquy, a Breton compiler and very erudite royalist, who had gathered an impressive mass of diverse documents about the end of the 18th century and, notably, exemplars of “news at hand”. These unauthorized texts, under Louis XV and Louis XVI, passed from hand to hand, and were read in the literary and political salons, and their reliability is today scientifically recognized as much greater than even non-censured writings. They have to do with Mme. de Boulainvilliers, the chatelaine of Passy and wife of the provost of Paris, himself the younger son of Samuel Bernard, and the mother of three influential ladies of the court — Madame de Faudoas, Madame de Crussol, and Madame de Clermont-Tonnerre. The descendants of this powerful and highly esteemed lady, in their day, could not let their names be associated with anything imprecise or inexact. So this witness statement from the Marquise de Boulainvilliers, who of course ran in aristocratic circles, consolidates in all points the veracity of that given by Rose Keller, who escaped from Sade. In this case, it concerns another woman, held prisoner and tortured in a house in the village of Passy, where her cries of pain alerted Monsieur de Boulainvilliers, who by chance was passing close by at an early hour of the morning. Imagining that it was a childbirth going badly, he ordered that his wife be awoken so that she could come by with a physician. While first aid was being rendered to the victim, badly cut with a partially flayed leg, two individuals were intercepted who turned out to be the Marquis de Sade and his valet. The death of the victim, a few hours later — incapable, they say, of signing her deposition, gathered by the bailiff of the marquisate of Passy — thus extinguished the legal proceeding which had begun under the guidance of the president of Boulainvilliers himself. Sade alleged that the woman, even though bound and gagged, was consenting, and that the wounds which he had inflicted on her were aimed at testing, with her agreement, a healing balm of his own manufacture. “The examining magistrates were unable to listen without horror, but respect for the formalities got them to the bottom of it all, and if the Count de Sade was not hanged, it was due to the delicacy and magistral probity of M. de Boulainvilliers. The king does not lose his rights, as is just, and that abominable man was locked up with the brothers of St. Lazare in perpetuity, via letter of cachet…though it may displease these adroit criminals against whom the laws and the judiciary can do nothing.”

There are other witness statements along the same lines, notably those of Jeanne Testard, Catherine Trillet, or even the witnesses of the “Marseilles affair”, which provoked predictable condemnation of the marquis for contumacity, a judgement which his wife tried to have quashed. What to conclude, except that Sade was not a libertine but a criminal, and that in his case, the rare witness statements which have come to our attention constitute but a small part of reality? It seems useful to us to remind here all those who, through ignorance or deliberate calculation, at this moment, with very consequent means, great lack of awareness, or decidedly poor faith, have rehabilitated an individual whom the sansculottes of Piques, and a number of his contemporaries, were not fooled by.

All those persons who practice BDSM respect conventional codes regarding limits not to be overstepped in consensual games of sexual domination. These enshrined practices, whose practitioners belong to organizations, apparently have nothing to do with the unrestrained and deadly sexuality of Sade, but the paradox is that his name serves as well to designate BDSM practices and games deemed “safe”. This semantic ambiguity is the breach into which have fallen those sycophants of Sade who conflate sexist violence, murderous sexuality, and literary audacity.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

It’s also worth noting that many BDSM practitioners of the current generation, realizing that Sade was not at all like them (he relied on the poverty and powerlessness of his victims, as well as their youth, to help protect him from charges of abuse), are now distancing their parasexual pastimes from the term “sadism”, which should better be understood as a form of sexual psychopathy, rather than a consensually staged power-play that stops with a safeword. The D and S now typically stand for “dominance and submission”, and are generally understood to be roles played, as in a drama, rather than real-life states of master- and servanthood, as they were in Sade’s day and in his real-life practice.

That’s not to say that there aren’t quite a few would-be real-life Sades in the mix, and it’s a problem that the BDSM community still has to contend with on a regular basis, as the Jian Ghomeshi affair, among others, has shown. Trying to join such a community is often hazardous for young newcomers, especially submissive females, and abuses are rife. Abusers gravitate to that community, in large part, because it makes them harder to stop. Sometimes the law catches up to them; sometimes, the details are too murky for much to be done. The dangers of libertinism are much more than just a psychological fillip; the potential for damage is real, and great. Here in Canada, the importance of consensuality wanes as the danger level of any given activity rises; if it endangers life and limb, “but-but-but she consented!” is no more an excuse for what happens than it was when the Marquis unsuccessfully tried to evade a murder charge. (Which only failed to be lodged on the grounds that the tortured victim died, unable to sign her own deposition against him!)

For those willing to look beyond the usual platitudes about sexual freedom as an absolute human right — a notion that ought to be good for more than a few cynically raised eyebrows by now — it is clear that the old adage about power corrupting, and absolute power corrupting absolutely, holds true in the case of the Marquis. He was close to the royal court, and that degree of power offers a great deal of protection that a common man of similar predilections could never enjoy. The Marquis was the quintessential spoiled brat, debauched from an early age. His entire upbringing predisposed him toward the abuses of power, and toward sexualized abuses in particular. His own nihilistic “philosophy” — the Randian objectivism of its day — makes it clear that the Marquis was the very opposite of a libertarian, at last of the small-l kind. (The capital-L kind, on the other hand, wishes it were more like him, minus the mitigating powers of a king and judicial system.) “Don’t you see, Justine?” says his fictional Bressac, to the heroine of that eponymous novel. “Man does not repent of what he is in the habit of doing. Get used to evil, and remorse will vanish. If you so much as feel a twinge of remorse after having committed a crime, commit still another one. Ten, twenty or thirty evil actions shall remove all possibility of remorse.” If that is philosophy, it is the philosophy of the psychopath, of the serial killer. It does not deserve to be elevated any higher in the public’s esteem. And neither does it deserve any protection under law.

Had Sade’s crimes been more fully investigated in his day, we might today recognize him not as the revolutionary hero he tried (and failed at the time) to pretend he was, but as the prototype for a Ted Bundy or a John Gacy. There is no doubt that he killed and disposed of a great many of his impoverished victims quite unnoticed. The ones who lived to tell, or to accidentally gain the attention of the authorities in the case of the victim who later died, were merely the lucky ones.

Most of all, we would not be in danger of continuing to mistake him for some kind of great sexual freedom pioneer, when he was in fact no better than the medieval torturers France had supposedly left behind in a previous century. You know, the ones who tortured and killed countless women for daring to exert any sexual choice or agency at all.

Venezuelan LGBTI rights activist murdered; activists seek equal rights under law

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Giniveth Soto and her spouse, Migdelis Miranda, holding their son. It will be a terribly hard holiday season now for Migdelis, as Giniveth was taken from her and their son most brutally on Saturday in the wee hours. The crime is still unsolved, and worse, it points to a lingering deficiency in Venezuelan law, too:

Giniveth Soto, lesbian, psychologist and Venezuelan activist for the human rights of the sex-diverse populatio, was brutally murdered in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 13, while working as a taxi driver to support her family.

Giniveth, who was also the niece of National Assembly deputy Fernando Soto Rojas, had married Migdelis Miranda a year and a half ago in Argentina. Together, they conceived a son with the help of artificial insemination, and he was born three and a half months ago, also in Argentina. The decision to marry, as well as to conceive a son who was born in a country other than their own were difficult decisions, but part of a clear and radical struggle for recognition of the dignity of loving relationships between persons of the same sex and/or gender, as well as legality and full inclusion for families formed by gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, transsexuals, and intersex people (LGBTI) in Venezuela.

In Argentina, as of 2010, same-sex marriage is possible, for non-resident foreigners as well; also, Uruguay and Brazil, both members of Mercosur, have advanced significantly in the dignification of the citizenships and humanities of all persons, guaranteeing them equal rights, impacted by the leadership of Venezuela in a process of significant changes which has resulted in more than 15 years of full social inclusion.

The Bolivarian Revolution is based in the essential goal of defending and promoting the development of persons and respect for their dignity, guaranteeing the progressivity and pre-eminence of human rights, equality without discrimination, no subordination of any kind, social justice, and equality as basis for the construction of a just, egalitarian and peace-loving society. However, human rights for the LGBTI population have been rendered invisible by a system dominated by functionaries in service of a lay state, who use the Bible instead of the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela to make decisions and justify discrimination, for which reason they must be removed from office.

With great bravery and courage, Giniveth militated in AC Venezuela Igualitaria, which represented the struggle in which she, along with her beloved spouse, joined, demanding that Venezuela recognize the right to register their Argentine marriage, and that the birth of their son be registered recognizing the maternity of both women, as expressed by Argentine authorities upon the birth of the boy in their land, as well as legislation in favor of the right for any two people who love one another to marry freely and with consent and live together without regard for their sexual orientation or gender identity. And she believed, with revolutionary consciousness, that these changes would only be possible under a Bolivarian socialist doctrine which promotes decolonization and depatriarchalization as key motors of a cultural change which would permit the cultivation of a truly egalitarian and just society.

However, she was not able to see these changes become reality. Under the Bolivarian government, there was evidently a process of discrimination and of profound psychological and moral violence, as regards requests made for social protection for her family, across the silence which pervaded between the decisions of the institutions of the state and her demands, a situation which repeates itself for thousands of Venezuelan families who cannot access the rights which seem to be privileges for certain models of family.

It is important to emphasize that when the Principal Registry Office and the National Electoral Council do not give positive responses to the requests for registration of the marriage of Giniveth and Migdelis, or for the registration of the birth of their son, they are exposing the juridical non-recognition of the Venezuelan citizenry of their son, and the non-protection of her spouse by rights which the institution of marriage awards to married couples (such as community property), leaving them only the protection of the laws of the Republic of Argentina, a country where they are subjects of full rights.

Her spouse Migdelis, demoralized and in tears during the wake, said: “Giniveth was right, we homosexuals are second-class citizens. I’m painted on the wall here; nothing I think or decide matters to anyone.” Meanwhile, Giniveth’s family decided to cremate a body which was the victim of a murder, and take away the ashes without consulting her spouse, at the same time as they said they understood and completely respected the relationship between the two women.

It is urgent to solve the murder of our valiant and unstoppable activist. A crime may not remain unpunished, and more so still if it is a crime that painfully afflicts the bases of the struggle for the defence of human rights of the Venezuelan sex-diverse population. It is imperative to do justice, but also it is critical to strengthen our public powers to guarantee the effective exercise of the right to live in freedom and equality, without discrimination or stigmas based in atavistic Judeo-Christian prejudices, without psychological or moral violence as consequences of a heterosexist, sexist and machista culture, in order to thus begin in Venezuela the socio-cultural change so longed for by her, developing concrete public policies such as the approval of the Equal Civil Marriage Law.

Translation mine.

In recognition of the need for equal rights and protection under law for Venezuelan LGBTIs, there was a demonstration this morning at 9 a.m. Activists called together by Giniveth’s group, AC Venezuela Igualitaria, as well as the Ejército Emancipador, gathered before the Legislative Palace, where the National Assembly meets, to request that National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello and the PSUV assembly members work to pass laws to protect and grant equal rights to the sex/gender-diverse community, in accordance with the principles set out by sections 2.2.4.2, 2.2.4.3, and 2.2.4.4 of the Bolivarian Constitution.

Chavecito himself said that “gays have a place in the Revolution, too”. That place cannot be secured by anything other than full equality. Otherwise, we’ll only end up hearing more stories like this, in which a same-sex spouse was shoved aside by blood relations and never consulted in the most basic matters, while a murder remains unsolved and the killer, whose motives and identity are still unknown at this hour, remains unpunished.

UPDATE: La Iguana TV reports that three parliamentarians have been designated to take on the equal-marriage legal project proposed by the activists. They are Modesto Ruíz, Dinorah Figuera and Eduardo Piñate. A petition of more than 20,000 signatures was delivered to the National Assembly last January, and it looks as though now, things are starting to speed up. Meanwhile, the Public Ministry has assigned the 48th national prosecutor, Víctor Hugo Barreto, and Caracas prosecutor Susan Ferreira, to investigate the murder of Giniveth Soto. Here’s hoping there’s plenty of action on that front, too.

Montréal Massacre: The truth that no one wants to know

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“Je lutte contre les féministes!”

So said Marc Lépine, Gamil Rodrigue Gharbi, expressly declaring war on feminists before he opened fire. These words have often been misquoted or mistranslated as “You’re all a bunch of feminists”, “I hate feminists”. In fact, they mean “I am fighting against feminists”. This is just one of many truths that have been distorted, ignored or outright whitewashed in our memories of that horrible day.

25 years ago today. A full quarter-century. Has it really been that long? For me, the crime of the Canadian century happened only yesterday. No matter where I am, no matter what day it is, what time of year, for me it will always be December at Queen’s University, whenever I think of those names, that night. I will always feel the cold and damp of the ever-present Kingston slush leaking into my boots, will always smell the snow in the air, will always feel the strangled need to cry as I head to the vigil, to class, to my volunteer work at the Queen’s Women’s Centre. I, who can’t forget, wonder how anyone else could fail to remember.

And yet, fail they do. They fail all the time. Our politicians, our media, they fail us, the women of Canada.

A few days ago, Peter MacKay, our so-called justice minister, stuck his foot in it big-time when he said that “we may never understand” why Marc Lépine did it. In actual fact, only he himself may never know that. He, and maybe the rest of the willfully ignorant, predominantly male morons who comprise the conservative government and its voting bloc. And they may never know it because they just don’t want to know it. They are idiots, they don’t belong in power, and they must not presume to speak for the rest of us.

All other Canadians know the truth all too well. Days after it happened, letters were already pouring in to media outlets all over Canada, and especially Québec, decrying the massacre for what it was: not the random act of a lone madman, but a specifically political act of terrorism. Protests and vigils were organized on university campuses across the land. Feminist women, and a few perceptive, allied men, could already see the truth, and they weren’t having any of the media’s carefully organized, cleverly worded whitewash. None of them were fooled by the conventional “wisdom” that Canadian women had already achieved all that they wanted, that life was fine and fair now, and that feminists should just pack it all in and go home to their kitchens…so to speak.

The women on Lépine’s hit list — oh yes, he had one — know it all too well, too. They were his actual, intended targets. They were meant to become examples of “what happens to feminists when they go too far”. The fact that they did not may be due only to Lépine’s instability and ineptitude; he was apparently almost as poor a terrorist as he was a student. Instead, it was a completely unrelated group who paid the price: the women who were admitted as engineering students to the Polytechnique, taking what Lépine fancied was his rightful place in a profession which is still, to this day, heavily dominated by men.

Did any of them call themselves feminists at the time? I can’t speak for the dead, but I do know that at least some of the survivors said that no, at the time, they were not, although they believed in equality of the sexes, and believed that feminism’s work was done. They were examples of how feminism had succeeded, because they were beneficiaries of female progress and believers in equal opportunity. And yet, also, they were victims — unwitting exemplars of how much of our society’s complacency works against that same progress. They just wanted to fit in, to be accepted; they conceded to the patriarchy without realizing how at the time, or how much. They were not then feminists. But they are now, because now they see the need. Far from sending them to sleep, the shooting was a wake-up call for them. The Massacre drove home to them that there was and is a need for feminism, because women are not free yet, and neither are they treated as men’s equals.

Worse, we are losing ground; the long-gun registry was scrapped, and human-rights protections that women have fought for over decades are being eroded away by creeping conservatism, neo-traditionalism, and ultra-capitalist economics that push the underclass ever further down. If feminism has accomplished all its goals, as is so often insisted by media and “men’s rights” groups, why is there still so much misogyny — enough to kill, not only in spectacular mass form, but on a small, steady, day-to-day basis?

Maybe it’s because our supposedly liberal, enlightened society is still largely an Old Boys’ Club. And maybe because that club is jealous of its power and control, and will do all it can to preserve it; just look at how long the struggle for pay equity has been going on. Maybe because women getting legal personhood, abortion rights, the Pill, the vote, an education, and some limited right to pursue a career, isn’t enough to combat it. Maybe because the scant handful basic, partial concessions of rights we have been able to get have actually served, in the minds of sexist men, as provocations, as proof that we’ve “gone too far”, as “danger signs” that a matriarchy is about to replace the existing “benevolent” patriarchy, and as “evidence” of a “need” to put women back in “their place”. (Note all the quotes; they’re there for a reason.)

And yes, the Montréal Massacre was aimed at doing exactly that.

I know all this because I have a little purple book in front of me on my desk right now. It’s called, simply, The Montréal Massacre. It was compiled by Louise Malette and Marie Chalouh, and translated by Marlene Wildeman for Gynergy Books. I bought it in the early 1990s, and I have yet to finish reading it, because its intensity keeps knocking the wind out of me. It is a collection of letters, essays, newspaper articles and poems, written in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, and it puts the lie to all the conventional narratives. Some of the writers are well-known Québec feminists, others ordinary people who were moved to write letters to the editor because they could not stomach all the bullshit and the lies. All are deeply, darkly critical of the mainstream narrative, of the silence it enforces.

Some note how the francophone media’s language around the victims was absurdly masculinized; the murder victims were not, as the media put it, étudiants, masculine/generic, but étudiantes, female students. Not all were engineering students; Barbara Klucznik was a nursing student. And not all of them were students, either; Maryse Laganière was an employee of the Polytechnique’s budget department. So the “student” appellation was not entirely accurate. The one and only thing the dead all had in common was that they were female. By erasing the gender of the dead, the media whitewashed the fact that the massacre was a gender-specific act of terrorism. (Even in the English-speaking media, where gender-specific noun endings are largely passé, a subtler form of erasure was the order of the day. And at least one journalist now feels guilty about her own unintentional part in the whitewash. It as, after all, quite the Old Boys’ Club in there. And, like the Massacre victims, she just wanted to fit in.)

Several of the writers also note that the media expressed curious sympathy for the killer while ignoring his blatant motives, preferring to portray him as mentally ill, an abused child of a wildly unstable father, and pitiable, rather than as a conscious political actor. Why can’t he be all of those things? they ask. For he WAS all of those things. Being mentally ill, abused and pitiful does not render a person apolitical, nor should it obscure that person’s political motives. Being political does not make one cold, mechanical, divorced from one’s own abused and abusive past, either. Such oversimplification serves the public interest poorly; feminists know that all too well. They’ve had to battle similar erroneous perceptions from the get-go.

Above all, the writers of that little book decry how quick the patriarchy was to fling its mantle over everything, to declare it “incomprehensible” and deem all protest “inappropriate”, “disrespectful”, etc. All FEMINIST protest, that is. If a man spouted blatant sexism to “protest” all the “rampant feminism” that supposedly provoked the killer, why, that was quite all right. The voices of the privileged class were welcome to have their say, over and over and over, ad nauseam. The underclass? Shut up, you bitches, the men are talking. Go home. Make sandwiches. Be thankful that we let a few of you in as tokens, and be quiet. Don’t demand more.

Even today, we’re still fighting the carefully orchestrated ignorance that fell like a shroud over that late afternoon. And it’s like trying to swim through an ever-spinning turbine to get at the truth, to be able to tell it and not be silenced.

I can still remember watching the mass funeral on TV, seeing the Catholic priests swinging their incense-burners over the caskets as they were paraded by. It was a literal smokescreen being cast before our very eyes, a metaphor made real. And oh, how nauseated I was by it all. I can remember thinking, quite clearly, how ironic and horrific and yet strangely appropriate this was; patriarchy had killed those women, and now it was burying them, too. And of course, it decreed forgetfulness, mealy mouths, empty words, lip service in lieu of honesty and action, much smoke but no fire. The victims were “innocent”, and much was made of that innocence and guiltlessness. They did not deserve to die — everyone agreed on that — but they were also not allowed to be women. They were not allowed to be acknowledged as victims of sexism, of patriarchy, of gendercide.

People still don’t want to know why those 14 women were really killed. They’re very curious to know who they were, but not so curious as to why they had to perish. They think that it’s enough to put faces and life stories to the names, and not inquire any further into the killer’s motive for destroying them. Worse, in their efforts to “put the tragedy behind us”, they’ve buried Marc Lépine’s suicide-note-cum-manifesto and hit list, so that it can’t be analyzed and criticized, and so that its contents cannot be properly understood. Who benefits from that? The Menz Rightzers. The MRAs. The “manosphere”. The patriarchy. They’ve already claimed him as their hero-martyr-saint. They have websites set up as shrines to him, and have cultivated them for years. They consider his words to be a kind of holy writ, a truth bomb in the war against feminism. They preserve his ramblings while the rest of us are unable to find the full text of those words on any site that isn’t unsavory, that isn’t dedicated to hating women and calling for their wholesale enslavement and destruction, that doesn’t repulse us and send us fleeing for our sanity’s sake.

Think we don’t need feminism anymore? Think again. This is why we need it, people:

25 years have gone by, and in those 25 years, the message to be silent, to bury the dead women “respectfully” by forgetting the meaning of their deaths, has only grown louder. But if we want to actually make progress, we have to talk about them, analyze, criticize, tear open the hypocritical crypt, and blow away the ashes, dust and smoke that surround it. We have to scrub away the whitewash from the sepulchre, and acknowledge what’s really inside. Otherwise, we’re only doing the terrorist’s work for him, and erasing women from the picture. Not only from the past, but our present and future, too.

Ladies! Do you still need feminism?

Some mornings it’s just not worth gnawing your way out of the restraints, is it? I mean, with shit like this popping up in my Facebook feed, it’s enough to put me permanently OFF my feed:

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Congratulations, ladies! Your fight’s over! You won! You don’t live in Saudi Arabia! (Sorry, Saudi ladies, you’re screwed. The dude who wrote this drivel isn’t about to lift a finger to help you.)

Of course, this meme is bullshit because we still DO need feminism. Because in NO country in this world is it entirely possible for women to do the following:

Fully and freely decide when, if and how we will bear children. Men, particularly lawmakers, are still interfering with our right to reproductive self-determination. They are restricting our access to good health care, especially abortion (but not limited to that, by any means). Worse, a “Quiverfull” mentality is taking over in North America, and women are being denied the right to use birth control…because “God says so”, apparently. “Freedom of religion” is becoming a Damoclean sword held over our reproductive organs.

Walk down the street unharassed, every day, no matter what we’re wearing. Even women who are fully covered, in burqas, face harassment. And they face it from the same “enlightened” white men who wrote the above drivel. In fact, those men are the ones most likely to try to strip away these women’s efforts at privacy. As for women who don’t cover up…well, they get treated like they asked for harassment. Nobody asks for that; we just get it every day, for nothing…because we are women and girls.

Grow up and attend school unmolested. Same deal as above, but with an added dollop of interfering with our educations and stunting our career prospects from an extremely early age.

Work at any job we like, with equal rights, equal respect, and equal pay. Women are still getting harassed out of male-dominated fields. And underpaid, too. What a pity we can’t grow penises on command to prevent that!

Work at any job we like, without being sexually harassed on the job. Yes, even here in Canada, this shit STILL happens, and I can’t believe we still have to protest it. Jian Ghomeshi is hardly an exception. He’s the boss from hell that many women in many different fields have had, still have, and probably always will…until someone decides to do something about it.

Be in a relationship without violence. And by violence, I mean the kind inflicted by males upon females. The kind that enforces male supremacy and patriarchy.

Be free from sexual abuse at home. Girl children are more likely to be sexually abused growing up. And not by some stranger in the bushes, either. The culprit is typically a male relative, and he typically gets away with it, because women and girls are still being regarded as property, and his to do with as he will.

Go on dates without having to fear that our dates will sexually assault us. When we have to watch our drinks (or stir them with a finger to see if our nail polish changes color), that’s a sign of severe inequality right there. When’s the last time you heard of a woman drugging a man that way, in order to have her way with him? Not often? Not ever? Funny, because that happens to us all the time. College women even have to avoid frat parties, because this is likely to happen to them there.

Be able to report a physical or sexual assault or an incident of harassment without getting blamed for it. It’s always “what were you doing, what were you drinking, what were you wearing?” Such questions put the onus on the victim and let the perpetrator off the hook.

Be able to report a physical or sexual assault or an incident of harassment and be immediately, completely taken seriously. And believed. And not taken further advantage of it by leering sexist pigs who think we’re “fair game” because we’ve already been through it.

Be able to report a physical or sexual assault or in incident of harassment…and actually see justice done. Because even if we report, are not blamed, are taken seriously and believed, the conviction rate for such crimes is shockingly low. Like, lower single digits low. This is inexcusable and happens with no other type of crime.

Enjoy representation in democratic government that is equal to our percentage of the population. We are 51% of humanity everywhere, but we do not have 51% of the seats in government. Not even in Iceland and Sweden is this the case, and they’re way ahead of everyone when it comes to gender equality!

Yeah, I’m sure we don’t need feminism anymore. Especially since we no longer have to deal with attitudes like this:

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I mean, I thought this question was settled with a resounding YES here in Canada, way back in 1929. Before that, mirabile dictu, we were still not persons here, at least in the eyes of the law.

But apparently, some guys somewhere are STILL asking this inane question, even now, when it should be obvious that if women were not human, men wouldn’t be able to interbreed with them. If the answer to the question were No, then we wouldn’t be producing children; we’d be producing mules. If we were producing anything at all, that is.

As for the rest of that meme, it’s just as bad and worse. It is designed to minimize the many and crucial roles women have played throughout the history of civilization. We have always worked outside the home, often much harder than any man. We have produced important things on our own, without the help of any man. Skyscrapers and satellites? Well, gee, maybe women WOULD have produced those, too, if they hadn’t been harassed and hounded out of traditionally male careers like science and architecture! Why are male achievements privileged so much above those of women…especially things women have been doing since humanity stopped living in trees and grunting? If women aren’t human, then neither are men…and the dude who horked up this hairball clearly hasn’t evolved beyond the australopithecine stage.

As for giving birth being our main contribution to society: Well, so what? It was the only one explicitly and consistently ALLOWED us. Where did you come from, O dude who made this — fully formed from the head of Zeus? Nope. You came out of a woman’s belly after up to nine months’ gestation, probably by way of her nasty-wasty cootie-ridden vagina. Same as every other sooooper-fucking-genius male. Half your DNA comes from your mother. So does the X chromosome in every one of your cells. Even though you hate and despise her, hold her in utter contempt, and are keen to minimize the role she and every other woman plays in your life, the fact is, you can’t live without her. And this is how you repay her? You fucking parasite. You should be bowing down in gratitude that she didn’t abort you. Or leave you to die of exposure on a hillside.

And if we are so “pampered and privileged”, why are we deemed “near-worthless” and fit only to be denied all our inalienable human rights? Does this asswipe seriously believe that women are better off in chains, and that humanity would be better off that way too? Because the picture, which was blacked out by the anti-MRA Facebook group that posted this, showed the women naked and in chains. Hell, even in Saudi Arabia, women are treated better than that!

It’s very telling, isn’t it, that some men can only assert their “rights”…by denying us all of ours. And this in the supposedly “free” countries where we allegedly have so many…and yet, not nearly enough. Because no one — NO ONE — is suggesting that men be treated the way we have been for centuries, much less stripped of all THEIR rights.

Yes, we still need feminism. And as long as memes like these exist, along with the assholes who made them, we will continue to need it badly.