Feminism Vs. Rape Culture Vs. Self Defense.

*TRIGGER WARNING: The following post talks about rape and violence in the US.*

So a couple of days ago we had some big news come out in regards to the new Miss USA and her response to a very important question, what were her thoughts on the sexual assaults happening on campus’ across the US. Now usually I don’t get into this stuff or blog about it because I don’t want to start a shit show but this is seriously important. I want to make one thing very very clear before I start: I am a feminist, not an extremist, I recognize that not everything is a black and white issue when it comes to dealing with social issues. I am also a survivor of a few instances of sexual abuse and the topic of rape culture is really important to me.

What is rape culture?

Rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to a culture and it’s society to a point where it is normalized and even condoned and often times is expressed in victim blaming, sexual objectification and making things like rape and violence towards women not such a big deal and belittling the idea of it. We see it constantly in the US, in our media, in our schools, people we are supposed to be able to turn to for safety are blowing it off and it’s coming out as a scandal months later because of shady detective work done by the police. Back in February multiple states had to really take a good look at making a change because they still had rape test kits dating back to 30 years prior, rape culture is well and alive in America and we have to do something about it.

What is not Rape Culture:

Suggesting that women empower themselves by taking a self defense classes to protect themselves.

How do you stop Rape?

By not accepting it in your society, by standing up against it and making it illegal, by creating safe and effective laws that protect the victims that are effected. By teaching people what rape is, how they can prevent it and how to not do it.  The reality is that we may never fully stop rape.

How do you stop Rape when it is happening to you?

You fight for your goddamn life. Just because I don’t want to get raped and that I do not condone rape doesn’t mean that it isn’t a very real possibility when I close the restaurant and walk into the crowded streets of downtown to the bus stop. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t carry mace because bad things happen. People have been mugged blocks from my house. Is mugging bad? Yes. Is it illegal? Yes. Should you be aware of how to defend yourself against someone if they pull a gun out on you? Abso-fucking-lutely.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking responsibility for our own safety, saying that nothing bad is going to happen to us because we don’t want it to and it shouldn’t exist and expecting that to be a reality is a very, very, dangerous mind set. Understanding that Rape happens isn’t perpetuating rape culture or victim blaming, you can be against rape and still prepare yourself just in case it happens to you.

Who should be taking self defense and what are the benefits?

Personally I think everyone should take some form of self defense, if only for the fact that it really helps boost self-esteem (something we seem to lack here in the states.) In every class it’s pretty clear that self defense isn’t about beating the crap out of someone but about creating enough space to get away from the attacker and get help, which is pretty damn useful for just about anyone.

So what’s your point/TL;DR?

Miss. USA isn’t perpetuating rape culture. We as feminists talk all the time about taking power back and standing up for ourselves and keeping ourselves and our fellow woman safe. We talk about empowering ourselves by doing things that aren’t in societies views of our gender roll. By attacking Miss. USA for stating an opinion that is a pretty damn valid one we are taking ourselves out, so all I have to say is:

Congratulations Miss. USA! You go girl!!!!

NG Vs. Virtusphere!!!

I will not blame you if you do not watch this entire video.

 

So as a bunch of my readers know I got to go to PAX east for my first time ever this past weekend. Not only was this my first PAX but it was also my first Con ever. Of all time. It was super exciting and very shiny. For a lot of people PAX is the Panels and Expo floor, waiting in line just to get a chance to play some of the hottest new games before any of your friends do, for others it’s Cosplaying some of the most incredible and realistic costumes you will ever see in your life. For me? It was a lot of trying not to get too overwhelmed with all of the awesomeness that was sucking me in like a wild vortex and part of this awesomeness was testing the Virtusphere.

The Virtusphere is the brain child of Ray and Nurulla Latypov, brothers and inventors who have been made famous with their advances in computer technology and it feels much like running around in a human sized Hamster Ball. With a diameter of ten feet you have a lot of room to play with and according to the site you can punch, kick and run a fairly decent speed without worrying about tripping on anything.

My personal experience with it was this: Due to this being a demo at a gaming convention I got a very very basic show of the true abilities of the gaming sphere goodness which basically means: I got to walk around in a virtual world that looked much like something out of World of War Craft if it were made in 2001 (this year was one of my favorites when it came to graphics.) It was tricky to control, and disorienting to say the least. According to the guy who helped me get into the sphere it tends to work best when facing north, although good luck staying in one pointed direction. At one point I ended up in the air and I got to look down on the sample world as a whole and I was really impressed. The gaming world was larger than I thought when I was on the “ground” and although it felt like I had been walking through the world for a while, I had barely covered any of the actual game.

The Virtusphere is used for training military, fitness clubs, medical centers, museums and colleges (But wait! There’s more!) as well as many other fields of industry. I am just glad it doesn’t fit into my living room; Goodbye world, helllllooooo Killing Floor!

Hellllllooooo Boston!!!

So this weekend I am in Boston for PAX East, actually that’s where I am writing this. I. Am. SO EXCITED to be here!!! The people are great, the atmosphere is incredible and the cosplayers are breathtaking!!!

 

At Logan International Airport baggage claim.

At Logan International Airport baggage claim.

 

I am seriously having the time of my life, and I get to be back on my favorite coast (hello my beloved East Coasties!!!) So here is a preview of the things I will be reviewing here!!!

  • Virtual Gaming Orb from here.
  • Rooster Teeth‘s panel
  • People, Location and Atmosphere
  • Food Access (Because the words Food and Good are totally interchangeable)
  • My first Cosplay Experience!!!!!! Woohooo!!!
  • And much, much more. Tune in!!!

NOTE: If I took a photo of your Cosplay you can find your amazing costumes here or here!

Now, it’s 3pm here and the day is far from over. I’m going to go play ^_^ See you all soon!!!

Roofies, let’s talk about them.

*** TRIGGER WARNING!!!!!*** This post talks about Abuse, Violence and Drug Use.

Least to say my first New Years in San Diego was a little interesting, as most of you know I work in the service industry as a host and lo-and-behold I was closing New Years. For most people in retail working New Years Eve isn’t the most terrible thing on the planet, generally you get to close early and really you can still go out for at least a little while even if you have to work early the next morning. In the restaurant when you work New Years you generally are gong to be at work until 3-5 in the morning depending on the laws regarding bar closing times in the area you are in. Also on how fucked up the Bar got because you gotta clean it.

So it’s was a pretty insured bet that I was going to see some shenanigans and sure enough they started creeping in slowly which more than quickly escalated into fully blown dance party. With in no time the DJ had the place bumping, people were REALLY getting into the dancing (if you can call some of it that *cough*TMI PDAs*cough*.) Mostly it was just a lot of “Yes you can order drinks at the bar or with a server”, “no you cannot bring your drink outside,” “No, I don’t mind working New Years Eve.” “Yes, I am being sarcastic.” But soon things started getting a little *too* exciting when a girl suddenly collapsed at the bar and became completely unresponsive. Then another girl dropped, also unresponsive. My mind of course automatically went into wonder wonder woman mode, getting someone to get water, bringing the second girl a puke bag (at least she was puking,) and taking every ounce of self control I had not to kick her boyfriend out of the bar for disorderly conduct. That self control got seriously tested when he started yelling at her and slapping her cheeks to try to wake her up, I completely lost it after I watched him pick her up from the chair and drop her on the floor. The police stepped in and dragged her away and then he had the nerve to tell me what was going to happen. I promptly told him off, and felt rather okay with the fact that he promptly got arrested for grabbing an officer and trying to rip her out of their arms.  Now as a few of you know when I was living in New Orleans I was roofied and it was terrifying, but it also gave me some insight into what roofies were and what they looked like but more importantly how to deal with them.

When I was roofied in New Orleans it was intense, but thankfully I am really in tune with my body and could tell within ten minutes that something was very, very, wrong. I took a sip of my Redbull and Vodka and cringed, it tasted salty which no alcoholic beverage should taste like unless salt or olive juice or something similar is used in the making. My first reaction was to ask Brian if it tasted funny to him, he took a super small taste and didn’t really notice anything unusual, I took another sip and put my drink on the bar. Within five minutes (now up to 15 minutes after the initial dose) of placing the drink on the bar it felt like my entire world was falling out from under me. There was absolutely no way one drink had gotten me that screwed up, I had only had two drinks at the previous bar. I immediately told Brian we had to leave, that something was wrong, and within two blocks of the bar we had been laughing in not 15 minutes ago my entire world dropped for three full days. It took me almost a week to fully physically recover, I have still not emotionally gotten past the experience.  Thankfully I had Brian there who fed me, forced me to drink more water than my body felt like it could handle and held me as I tried to get control of my body back.

These girls did not have the luxury of having themselves so in tune with their own bodies, or the understanding that this isn’t something that will never happen to you. It’s very real, very scary and shouldn’t ever happen but it does. You could turn away from your drink for just a few seconds and never know and you may not have friends near by to help you. Thankfully the first girl had her best friend with her who had no problem calling 911. The second girl was not so lucky and her boyfriend (abusive ass) was promptly arrested for his actions.  As far as I know all the people who were drugged are safe and were taken by ambulance to the ER. I really, genuinely, hope that these people are okay. I hope that girl 2 ditched the douche in red plaid, I hope that the BFF’s keep their buddy system just as strong as it was this NYE, I hope the third party got just as much help as the two girls did.

Now on the road safety is always a huge concern, after I was roofied I realized just how far I needed to take that. Since that night I have carried test strips with me to every bar I go regardless of who I know and who I am with. The thought of someone taking that kind of control from me again terrifies me, but not nearly as much as my concern that it will happen to someone else when there are ways to ensure your safety more so than if you had nothing at all. Below are a couple of links to items you can buy to test your drinks:

Color changing Straws and Cups

Color changing Test Strips

I hope everyone has a safe 2014!!!

Love always,

-Nerdy Gypsy