On t’watch | Montreal Anti-Street Harassment Posters

 

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These amazing posters have been popping up around Montreal. Since I’m a hermit I haven’t seen them myself but several friends have been posting the ones they saw to Facebook and Instagram so I decided to check out the on t’watch blog where you can see them all.

Instead of an about page, the main page of the blog displays the project’s intentions (a perfectly chosen bilingual word):

“Around the corner, leaving our homes, on route for work, never safe from the looks and the unwelcome comments that make you feel small. A walking piece of meat, of course they feel entitled to look and comment. We are taught to live in fear, always threatened with the possibility of being assaulted and never offered any tools to deal it other than ridiculous advice (never walk anywhere alone at night, don’t wear skirts, and lately, don’t take a taxi by yourself if you happen to be drunk, etc) that serves to reinforce rape culture and put the onus on the victim instead of targetting the rapists. Thus, perpetuating notions that it is normal to be accosted, that it’s in men’s nature, implying that certain behaviors are to be expected in public spaces.

The simple and oft banal fact that we are regularly bombarded with sexist ads and imagery condition our behaviors. Objectified, commodified, used to sell the norm, why is anyone surprised that most of us regularly experience sexual harassement and/or racism in the streets of Montreal? These experiences that are systematically invisibilized, denied, normalized; they are our daily experiences which we so often deal with in silence, unsure of how to respond. A symptom that indicates that our dealings with the Other are still tied up in the dynamics of domination that are easier to name than to deal with […]”

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(cont.) ” Unlike urban and street art, this project is one of reappropriation of the city not one of revalorizing or embelishment. Making these power dynamics visible, naming them, acknowledging that they exist, also allows for them to be destroyed little by little.

This is an invitation, to all people who are tired of feeling like a walking piece of meat, all those who dont know how to respond to those entitled morons’ gaze and comments, to any person that is sick of being a “victim”.

Here is your invitation to reappropriate our spaces, to create an environment of confidence to take ‘the power back, one of solidarity, but more so to reitirate that it is not our responsibility to alter the way we dress, where we walk, at what time, with whom, how we hold ourselves, who we look in the eye and how we are walking. It’s not up to us to fix our behavior, CONTROL YOURSELF YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES, and shut your mouth.” 

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Amazing stuff! I love that this blog is bilingual and that the posters each have an english and french version!  The proje(c)t page of the blog is also worth checking out.

They remind me a lot of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s amazing Stop Telling Women to Smile project posters, which I’ve just realized I never posted about! I’ll be sure to make a future post just on her work which I’m so proud to have on my own walls at home.

VIA ontwatch | blog féministe / feminist blog.

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Steubenville: this is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment

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There is a TON of stuff being written about the Steubenville rape case and I wanted to share this article, by Laurie Penny from NewStatesman, because its brutal, no-nonsense honesty about rape culture and society’s responsibility really stood out to me. There are too many amazing things I could quote from it but I’ll settle on this and let you read it for yourself:

“There’s a word for what happens when one group of people sees another as less than human and insists on its right to hurt and humiliate them for fun. It’s an everyday word that is often misused to refer to something outside of ourselves. The word is ‘evil’.”

 

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Steubenville: this is rape cultures Abu Ghraib moment.

Sex with a survivor

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Great post originally from Festering Femme on how to have sex with a survivor of sexual assault. I’ve received a few questions from survivors or people involved with survivors about having sex after assault and I really liked this post on the subject.

how to have sex with a survivor* —

and just a general warning that this is not a universal guide with every survivor falling neatly into the patterns outlined below. survivors—and all people—deserve the courtesy of being treated as individuals with distinct needs and concerns; please do not read the following and assume you no longer need to engage in honest, open conversation with your sexual partner(s).

festeringfemme:

  1. don’t expect it of us. like, this is a given, absolutely, but between partners with varying experiences and sex drives… this has been a constant struggle for me in relationships. every person i’ve been in a relationship with could never fully reconcile that sex and a relationship were not inherently tied. our relationship did not give them a pass to intimacy. my lack of desire for intimacy for stretches of time would, to them, signify a failed relationship. that impression on their part in turn made me feel like a failure. that fucks up relationships. that fucked me up. whether or not you are a survivor, sex should never be expected of you. ever. and someone who believes they deserve that from you under any circumstances is a piece of shit.
  2. on that note, don’t plan sex. partners of mine have often tried to be seductive in saying things like, “i can’t wait to do this to you later tonight…” but, to me, that simply meant that it became an obligation for me. that made sex an obligation. and, therefore, it made sex undesirable. i would feel this pressure to perform for them rather than to engage in sex for my own pleasure and it became this thing where i would attempt to start for them but i could never fully commit because i felt pressured. not to say this is what my partner was intending. at all. but it affected me negatively.
  3. don’t make our kinks about our sexual trauma. yeah, me, personally? i really like being choked. a lot. but don’t ruin the pleasure of that by tying it into my trauma. is it your place to figure out the source of my kinks or is it your role as my partner to realize pleasure with me? we both know the answer to that. don’t “figure out” how your partner has been affected by their sexual trauma. what does your curiosity have to gain except for the make your partner feel dissected? partners have done that to me, and all it did was make me feel like personality was compartmentalized into pre- and post-rape.
  4. validate us outside of our sex life. i have long felt that my worth is perceived by others as purely sexual, and this was horribly exacerbated by my assault. while i love feeling desired by my partners, if that is heavily emphasized over the other aspects of our relationship, i will withdraw. i will resent them for seeing my purely in that light, and i will often be triggered. even when having casual sex, or sex in any capacity without a committed relationship, respect is key. making me feel like a whole, full human rather than only your sex partner is vital to my comfort and feeling of safety.
  5. use a safe word. it can be as simple as “wait.” it doesn’t matter what the word is. its function is purely to remind us that we hold power over our sexual interactions and it will always stop if we want or need it to. when i begin the spiral and feel like sex is becoming less mine and purely yours, having a word to center us and bring us back together and to affirm my own control makes a world of difference.

*i have received asks about this in the past, and felt it made sense to share a general post to address some issues i have answered asks on. this does not mean that my issues are the issues of all survivors, or that non-survivors can’t share these issues with me. these are things that i have experienced and i have come to this understanding of them.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Tell us in the comments!