On rape, and getting drunk, and judges.

So you have presumably heard of the case of the young woman who attended a party, got drunk, blacked out, and was assaulted by a hitherto-squeaky-clean Stanford student, on the ground behind a dumpster (so romantic!).

She wrote and presented to the court a victim impact statement that has gone viral, as they say, outlining what happened, and stating some of the physical and emotional results of the assault, which will no doubt continue to affect her for the rest of her life.

The perpetrator’s father wrote a completely risible and tone-deaf letter to the court requesting leniency for his precious baby, saying that the son’s “20 minutes of action” with this woman have already had such terrible impacts on his life, including losing his swimming scholarship, that going to jail wouldn’t serve any purpose. It becomes apparent where the son learned his concepts of right and wrong, cause and effect, and appropriate behaviour.

***

They blame the victim for being so drunk she can’t remember what happened, or that (Brock Turner claims) she consented.

Setting aside the fact that the “consent” of a drunk person, if it was actually given, is invalid on its face, what kind of person thinks that it’s OK to have “20 minutes of action” on the ground behind a dumpster with a person who is drunk/passed out? (The witnesses who chased and captured Brock Turner at the time of the rape did so because the person he was lying on top of wasn’t moving in any way and appeared to have passed out.)

How does being drunk at the time you commit a crime make it OK, as his father seems to believe? if you have a car accident while driving drunk, do we consider that OK? If you were drunk when you stabbed someone who was drunk or passed out, would we just write it off and let you lecture highschool kids on the dangers of alcohol and say “Oh, that’s OK! you were drunk, it doesn’t count!”? how is that any different than committing three felony sexual assaults on someone who was drunk/passed out?

***

And then we get to the sentencing. Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies:

1. Assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman;
2. Sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and
3. Sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

The judge, Aaron Persky: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”

The prosecutor recommended 6 years (that is, less than half of the maximum of 14) in state prison. The judge thought 6 months in county jail would be more appropriate. It seems that the severe impact of being raped pales in comparison to severe impacts on rapists, who we don’t, apparently, want to suffer too much. Brock Turner is apparently going to appeal his conviction, apparently agreeing with his dad that he shouldn’t have to face any consequences at all.

***

While I am the first person to agree that getting blackout drunk is a bad thing, and something one should strive to avoid for any number of reasons, I don’t in any way think that anyone who does so deserves any horrible thing that happens to them. The consequences of getting blackout drunk should probably include…having a horrible hangover, being ashamed, and working on exercising more self-control in future. They should not include being assaulted by some punk who thinks just because you’re drunk you agree to anything he cares to do to you. They should not include having to go through the physical examinations and probing. They should not include hours of police questioning. They should not include being blamed for what another human being decided to do to you while you were unable to verbally or physically defend yourself. They should not include the misery of a trial where the roles of “victim” and “assailant” are poorly defined. And they definitely should not include having your suffering and the violation of your person and your rights being considered immaterial to the judge gently sentencing your rapist.

Happy Anniversary

So today is my parents’ wedding anniversary. I’m a bad daughter, because I don’t recall exactly which one. Somewhere in the high 30s, I’m thinking.

I was reminded of this fact when writing a cheque (not working means I hardly notice things like dates anymore).

My dad called me earlier to tell me he was calling the ambulance to take Mummy down to the hospital in Kamloops; he can’t carry her to the car to drive her. This has happened before: she is on antibiotics and her response to this given all of her rheumatoid arthritis meds is basically nonstop diarrhea, which eventually dehydrates and weakens her to the point where she’s incoherent. Her sleep schedule is so erratic that you can’t blame my dad for not noticing until it’s dire, because normally if it seems that she’s sleeping, that’s a good thing and he won’t wake her.

Anyway. Waiting for an update. Last time this happened, it was quite bad and I didn’t realize until it was over…he’s under orders to let me know if I can help at all (not working means I don’t really have a pressing need to be one place over another).

Update: After 5 days in hospital, she was released and all is well.

Anger is an energy

And I’m so heartbroken, and so angry, at this church shooting.

My twitter feed has a litany of the horror and irony of the situation...evil white men in the USA are never called “terrorists” no matter how terroristic their actions are…evil white men in the USA, having committed mass murder, are often captured alive by law enforcement in the same breath that innocent black men, and children, in the USA, are casually murdered by law enforcement, and seldom brought to task, let alone justice, for it (South Carolina being a recent rare exception to this rule, and indicting an erstwhile LEO in a recent unjustified shooting).

The incessant systemic racism in North America, which blames the victims for not being 100% perfect, as though certified perfection is a requirement in order to be treated like a human being. What were the dire, murder-worthy faults of these churchgoers, at bible study on a weeknight? do tell.

The bitter bitter irony of politicians in South Carolina, speaking literally under a Confederate flag at half-staff, claiming not to understand how or why anyone would do such a thing.

The predictable pro-gun reaction that wants MOAR GUNS even in churches to be able to shoot the shooters. YES! MOAR GUNS! MORE DEATH! why the fuck not.

She works hard for the money;

And, chances are if she’s working in a kitchen, she has to deal with a shit-ton of sexual harassment on top of the usual sexist shit that permeates so much of our lives.

There was a piece in the Star yesterday about a report brought before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal alleging wanton sexual harassment in a Toronto restaurant. This followed a piece in Maisonneuve last year (neither of which I was aware of before a twitter pal mentioned it this morning, btw).

I watch a lot of cooking shows like Chopped and Top Chef, Canadian and American, and they all seem to strive to include women chefs. Often the women chefs will mention that it’s hard out there for a woman in the industry; to the point that it becomes a bit tiresome, frankly, and I really want the people to just compete and win on their skills and merits, not because they’re one sex or the other. But reading these two pieces made my jaw just drop. I mean I’m used to a level of sexism, although my workplace is pretty good. But you really can’t avoid it. But the harassment! the touching! I would personally find it hard not to start removing digits from offending hands, if I were standing there with a knife. And I realize that would not end well, but that would be my instinct. What kind of (sons, brothers, fathers) assholes A. do this; and/or  B. see it happen and do nothing about it? It’s unbelievable, although I totally believe it. I do trust that none of my restauranting friends runs a kitchen like this, but I’ll bet all of them have seen one or a thousand of them.

But talk about a toxic work environment!

Anyway. Jen Agg of The Black Hoof in Toronto (also author, also evidently quite well-known in T dot although I know basically nothing about T dot, so), came abruptly to my attention this morning, and may I just say that she rocks? She is running with the momentum of the Star piece and talking about making a conference about sexual harassment in the kitchen workplace happen. I encourage you to follow her on Twitter (@theblackhoof) and see if there’s any way you can help, oh esteemed friends of mine who are writers/restaurateurs/chefs/persons of influence, because holy fuck, nobody should have to face a workplace that fills them with dread every day.

Update: Eater is talking about it, too. I hope there will be more attention and participation by some big names, because this deserves it. The twitter hashtag for the conference (to be held in September) is #KitchenBitches.

Imperator Furiosa

OK, so I’ve only seen Mad Max: Fury Road once (I hope to go at least once more in the cinema, and I’m looking forward to Blu-Ray extras, too). I’ve done a quick google but didn’t find a George Miller explanation, so I’m just going to riff on my own.

The language in the movie is, much like in the Thunderdome movie, a version of our current manner of speech. Some words seem to be lost, and some are eroded or elided (Immortan, for example, which presumably has evolved from immortal).

I’ve been thinking about how Furiosa’s title or rank is Imperator. The old-fashioned gender-appropriate version of Imperator is Imperatrix (think executrix or dominatrix). That’s a Latin thing, and pretty archaic unless you’re in the UK, where they still use a lot of “female” versions of roles or occupations, rather than just roles, which has become the norm in Canada and the US at least, as far as I know. I’m not sure where Australia falls in this continuum.

So on the one hand, calling her by the masculine version reminds me of Star Trek’s gender-neutral “Sir,” which I love because it implies rank and respect without gender.

On the other hand, taking as evidence the way he treats his “wives” as property, we can safely assume that Immortan Joe has no respect for women whatsoever.

So Furiosa has somehow become a trusted and respected commander in spite of her gender.

I hope we get her backstory, because no doubt it will be a cracker.

Updated to add that several backstories will be released in comic book form, if you care to look for them at your local shop or just pre-order the collection at Amazon. Thanks, Stephen!

Wow, it’s that rare bird:

a contest open to humans, worldwide humans, 21 and older.

BoingBoing (where you probably go anyway) has a new store with gadgets and whatnot and they are giving away an Apple product worth up to US$700, which is a pretty OK present to get.

Anyway. Sign yourself up! if you are a human living somewhere in the world, and older than 21 😀

New music release

    I’ve released a 5-song EP of dance music on bandcamp, called foam. Some is techno, some is straight-ahead disco, some is…I don’t know what the kids call things these days. And one song is catcore featuring Ilya Kovalchuk. All of it is danceable if you feel like dancing! and cheap!

    foam