BDSM is about consent

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BDSM is a type of sex play that involves acts of bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. Some people derive pleasure directly from pain or violence, but for many, the excitement comes from the manipulation or subversion of power dynamics within relationships.

Continue reading in The Link Newspaper!

 

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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.

Male Sexual Abuse

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This is a weird question to ask, but it’s a topic that I have rarely seen or read about in the media. I am a male in my mid-20s, and I was at a party recently where I think that I was sexually harassed, dare I say abused by this drunk girl. Everyone says that I am overreacting; now I feel guilty, dirty and undignified. Am I overreacting? —Anonymous

Check out what I had to say in The Link!

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This question was originally asked October 29th, 2013.

Hollaback! You have the power to end street harassment

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I’m really excited about the website Hollaback! for many reasons. The biggest is that I recently had the idea of starting a tumblr or something similar to encourage people to openly share their stories of street harassment. The goal was (and still is) to expose more people (than only the ones who experience it) to the realities of street harassment. Whenever I’ve shared stories of my experiences I can’t help but notice how genuinely shocked my male friends often are by the situations I’ve experienced, and how truly sad it is that these just end up being unfortunate daily occurrences.

So I was really excited and happy to learn that someone out there has already taken action to share those stories! Check out Hollaback! and get involved. Most importantly think about your own creative ways to contribute to the end of street harassment. Refuse to be a silent bystander when you witness harassment, and share your stories rather than accepting them.

Hollaback! You have the power to end street harassment.

Awesome Sexual Assault Awareness Campaigns

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Quite a few awesome sexual assault awareness campaigns have been popping up over the past little while. What distinguishes them from the pack is that these campaigns have posters and media targeting potential sexual assault offenders and not potential victims. Seems simple right? A step in the right direction, that is away from victim-blaming, is why I’ve decided to do a roundup of a few of them here.

SAVEdmonton got the ball rolling back in 2010 with their “Don’t be that guy” Campaign They then released a second round of images in late 2012.

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This campaign received some attention online and ended up triggering some follow-ups in other areas. Here’s one from Vancouver created out of a partnership between Battered Women’s Support Services, the Vancouver Police Department, Bar Watch, WAVAW and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. Going by the same name, “Don’t be that guy” and inspired by SAVEdmonton.

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Last but absolutely not least, here’s an interesting campaign out of Missoula, Montana, a town that has actually been called “the rape capital of America“. I particularly like the aesthetic of this one and it’s probably not surprising that the campaign, “Make your move Missoula” came out of a partnership between community groups and a marketing agency that focuses on community-enriching work, Partners Creative.

speak out from PartnersCreative on Vimeo.

So there you have it, 3 sexual assault awareness campaigns worth checking out and getting inspired by. Are there any others you know about that you’d like to see shared?