The video is chaotic. It shows a woman being stripped, tossed around, hit, kicked, held down, penetrated, beaten into unconsciousness by a mob in Cairo. It’s described in this New York Times report, which avoids any link to the video itself. In fact the original YouTube upload has been deleted. Deleting it, however, is just another way of trying to cover it up. As I write, this one is still active. And yes, you are warned, it’s brutal. As all rape is.
I know that those who read this blog, men and women alike, will be incapable of watching these couple of minutes with anything but horror. But I also know that part of the reason it went viral when first posted is that there are men out there who are turned on by it.
Just the thought of that makes me want to gag. As does the boys-will-be-boys response to it from an Egyptian TV host, who said, with a stupid giggle: “They are happy. The people are having fun.”
This isn’t “just” an Egyptian problem. Or a Nigerian or Somali or Brazilian or Turkish or Italian or Swedish or Indian or Pakistani one. My first association was with last year’s photo of an unconscious near-naked girl being lugged around by wrists and ankles, like a carcass, by high-school rapists in apple-pie Steubenville, Ohio.
This sickness infects some men, but affects every woman. Yes, all women. The Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen took off in response to the misogynistic shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, California two weeks ago, and here’s the formidably intelligent Rebecca Solnit on what it means.
Solnit was in Seattle last week talking about her new book, Men Explain Things To Me, and when she mentioned her unease at finding herself alone on an elevator at night with a strange man, there was a lone weird laugh from a man behind me in the audience. It wasn’t clear what he found so funny. Perhaps he simply couldn’t understand this kind of unease. But every woman can. It’s the year 2014, and yet it’s still not “wise” for a woman to go down a dark street at night, or ride in an empty subway car, or walk in the woods. What was most remarkable about Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s account of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, was not the length or the difficulty of the hike, but the fact that she was a woman walking alone. If she had been male, there would have been no book to be written.
It’s absurd that the onus is still on women to avoid being subjected to violence. One way and another, we are told to avoid this, avoid that, take care, take karate classes, be on the alert, be afraid. Don’t go out at night, say some. Stay home, lock yourselves in, adopt the behavioral equivalent of a chador. (Don’t go out at night? An equally rational ‘solution’ would instead be to tell men not to go out at night.)
But there’s an antidote. And it comes from men — men who really do respect women, and who know that to remain silent in the face of woman-hatred is only to give it free rein. As former president Jimmy Carter put it in A Call to Action, violence against women is not only a woman’s issue; it affects us all, and the only way to win this battle is to work together. I take heart from this photo that artist D.K.Pan posted on his Facebook page after the Santa Barbara massacre. Women are finally speaking out; we need more men like Jimmy Carter and D.K.Pan to speak out with us.
I don’t know where to go with this sort of behavior. I see it celebrated in so many ways- our entire sport culture (anti-culture?) promotes it with the objects. Music videos.
I stopped to get coffee and was taken aback to find the barrista wearing nothing but lingerie.
All the power structures in the world celebrate their ascension to the rank of power as being elevated to a place where others are objects.
And that’s what it comes down to, that’s where the trickle winds up- at the point where that is no longer a person, but an object. That’s the same method that we use to teach our children to torture and kill people; make those people an “other” that isn’t human, or that one should do these things to. The “other” is central to all the religions, and is how they maintain their long-lasting violence.
The mere existence of police forces creates violence. They promote rape as directly as the judges do; by taking the responsibility from people to act human, and making it a law and then placing anyone who breaks the law (or pushes it, or bends it) in an “other” category.
So, we know that the rapes in Egypt have nothing to do with any collapse in police forces and everything to do with collapses in social cohesion. We know that religious fanaticism makes rape a victimless crime that has no accountable person but the woman.
I just don’t see it happening without removing the governments and the police and the judges and religious certainty… But maybe I’m just upset.
Thanks for the touch of irony at the end there, Lavrans! Appreciated. Yes indeed, women had enough of men telling us we’re “just upset.” Good to see some men have had enough of it too. — L.
Here in India the onslaught of rape news is increasing with staggering regularity, making its acceptance with apathy, a chilling reality among the young. This has sadly become a case of “crying wolf” once too many a times.
Outrage, protests, and then just ‘throwing up hands’ in an act of helplessness by authorities, has made these gruesome news items into momentary coverages in papers and television.
Wonder if rapid capital punishment in such cases will deter the rest of the perpetrators. There has to be a stopping of this carnage with the help of males, whose actions against their fellow “evil” males should at least deter this unforgivable trait of disrespect towards women. Men should hold talks, men should garner support of their own, and yes! men can help in restoring the dignity of women throughout the world.
Show your brawn and worth in the right place Man!!
Dear Lesley, there are millions of women all over the world who are raped, beaten up, yet this horrible actions of man is not subject to capital punishment in man- made laws!
But if God made law of Torah or Quran was in effect in that countries this rapist would get capital punishment. There is a dark side of some evil man! It is a reality! And who created mankind knows how violent some evildoers can get towards women and girls. To prevent that God orders this evildoers to be punished maximum dose so other evil man that sold their soul to Satin ( Shaitan ) will be scared to harm women or children. God’s law looks harsh at first side but it discourage evildoers, prevents this violance get out of hand all over the world. One evil man gets killed because of his rape, murder yet millions of innocent women and girls, boys, being saved!
Did you read about the two teenage girls who were raped ,after they were returning home from their local field ,in badaun ,U P , India , defecating- they did not have a loo in their village home-then lynched and tied upside down on the branches of a tree. The patriarchal repressed mindset has to be changed. But how ? Niloufer gupta india
Yes, that was reported here, as was the building outrage that ensued. I hope it continues to build. And that many more men join women in expressing their outrage at it. After all, that perverse mindset is not only a danger to all women, but a deep insult to all good men.