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“Shame On You”: Using Language to Conceal Violence and Blame Victims

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1 “Shame On You”: Using Language to Conceal Violence and Blame Victims
Linda Coates, Ph.D. Allan Wade Centre for Response-Based Practice Duncan B.C. Canada In Dignity: Addressing Violence aand Injustice through Response-Based Practice Yellowknife Feb 18-20, 2014 Centre for RBP

2 The Need for Accurate Analysis & Description
“A sense of the unique, specific and concrete circumstances of any situation is the first indispensable step to solving the problems posed by that situation.” (Former Co-President of Ireland, David Trimble, 1998)

3 But . . . “Telling a professional that the language they use is wrong is a bit like telling a grandparent that their new grandbaby is ugly.” (Sheri van Spronsen)

4 . . . not all babies are beautiful in the same way!
Although all babies are beautiful . . . . . . not all babies are beautiful in the same way!

5 And not all descriptions are equally beautiful
And not all descriptions are equally beautiful. Unlike babies, some descriptions are quite ugly. “comfort women” “settlement” “abusive relationships” “sex with a minor”

6 Violence is Unilateral
Violence consists of actions by one person against the will and well being of another Mutual Acts vs. Unilateral Acts Hand-shaking vs hand-shaking Boxing Kissing Mutual acts imply and entail consent, co-action, co-agency, joint activity “If you hit someone on the head with a frying pan, you don’t call it cooking.” (Anonymous Canadian genius)

7 Car theft is not “auto sharing”
Bank robbery is not a “financial transaction” Similarly . . . Wife-assault is not a “dispute” or “argument” or “abusive relationship” Child rape is not “sex with a child” or “child prostitution”

8 Unilateral Mutual forced his mouth on hers wife-assault, beating
forced vaginal penetration beating, attack, assault workplace bullying invasion, genocide international child rape kiss abusive relationships sex, intercourse fight, conflict, argument personality conflict war, conflict, historical relationship problem sex tourist, sex with minors

9 Colonial Discourse Colonization has always been based upon the existence of need and dependency. Not all people are suitable for being colonized; only those who feel this need are suitable. In almost all cases where Europeans have founded colonies we can say that they were expected, and even desired in the unconscious of their subjects. (Mannoni, 1947, cited in Macey)

10 Wife-Assault The partners’ characteristics hold them together As abused partners adapt and become more compliant the partners’ characteristics make them increasingly dependent on one another. After prolonged abuse they develop complementary characteristics: aggressive/passive, demanding/compliant, blaming/accepting guilt. (Anonymous Family Violence Project, 2008)

11 Wife-assault, Sexualized Assault: Judge’s Remarks
“The appellant & his wife engaged in an argument Mr. X became upset over something said during this argument. He thereupon grabbed his wife’s neck, squeezing it until she nearly lost consciousness. He then let go. This brought the argument to an end. That the earlier of the two assaults arose spontaneously in the course of an argument is not in dispute. To that extent it can be said to have been unpremeditated. He was willing to take counselling in reference to his anger & his marital problems. He expressed his deep remorse for what had happened & his desire to improve the marriage. They went to bed and he said, ‘Jane, I’ll have to screw you one more time’, and he had intercourse with her It is obvious difficulties were present in the marriage.”

12 C = Court/Judge A= Applicant/Victim A: About two years ago he threw me onto the floor and started punching my head into the floor three times, to the point where there was blood all over the place. And then my friend said, “The cops are coming. You’d better get out of here”, you know. And he just took off. C: Okay. So there was an incident of violence between you two years ago. Any other instances of that nature? A: Not of that nature, just slapping, hits to the head, like, you know, just verbal abuse.

13 Consent and Sexualized Violence Against Children
Canada, U.S., Australia, England and Wales Children 15 or younger cannot give consent to sex (Exceptions: 14 & 15, 12 & 13) Children cannot consent to sex in any meaningful sense. Therefore it is wrong – legally, morally, developmentally – to portray children as engaged in sexual activity. And yet, children are often portrayed as engaged in sexual activity with adults, in media, criminal justice, mental health, etc. . .

14 New Zealand: Police Commander says girl (10) “willing party” to sexual abuse
In September 2013, police commander Russell Gibson apologized for saying a 10-year-old girl was a “willing party” to sexual abuse. The girl was repeatedly abused and raped when she was ages 10 and 11 by Robin Abraham (a father of 7 children). In a letter to the offender’s wife, Commander Gibson wrote: "There is evidence contained within the file which clearly establishes that the young girl was a willing party to these instances ” Confronted on these comments, Commander Gibson said he made a poor choice of language explaining the consent law and he knows a child cannot be a willing party to sexual acts. But Commander Gibson still misses the point: Neither can a child cannot be an unwilling “party to sexual acts”. Willing or unwilling, a child cannot be a “party to”, or participant in, sexual acts. The crimes by the offender against the child were not “sexual acts” by any reasonable definition, but violent acts.

15 Canada: Forensic psychiatrist says child and teacher in sexual relationship
A woman attending therapy reports that, at age 13, she was violated by a teacher. For legal reasons, she is forced to see a forensic psychiatrist. In his report to the Court, the psychiatrist refers to the repeated assaults by the teacher against Andrea as a sexualized relationship. “[Andrea] was involved in a sexualized relationship with a teacher when she was 13. This relationship appeared to include some fondling and sexualized behaviour but not intercourse. This relationship was made known to her parents when her mother found a letter.” There was no “relationship” and, even if there was, it could not have included intercourse. The accurate phrase would be, “The teacher did not rape Andrea”.

16 Wikipedia definition of “Sex Tourism”
Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes. The World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, defines sex tourism as "trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination”. While sex tourism can refer to a variety of commercial sexual activities, agencies and academics sometimes distinguish between adult sex tourism, child sex tourism and female sex tourism to refer to different kinds of sex tourism. Attractions for sex tourists can include reduced costs for services in the destination country, along with either legal prostitution or indifferent law enforcement and access to child prostitution.

17 Canada: Court defines rape as sex
A woman in northern Canada applies for an Emergency Protection Order and is interviewed by a Justice of the Peace (i.e., Magistrate). She clearly describes being raped by her abusive partner. (C=Court. A=Applicant) C: Okay. And – and right from the start he’s been aggressive and sexually abusive? A: No. He was okay until August. Then one night we started to kiss, then I wasn’t I didn’t want to. Then he didn’t listen, then C: Now. Now, was that then the first time that you two had – had relations? Had sex? A: That was the first time I’ve ever had sex.

18 Sexualized Assault of Minor
Judge’s Remarks (2004) In January of 1997, shortly after Hazel moved into this new “safe” home, Gordon Hunter (foster parent) began to have sexual intercourse with her. The first incident took place in a caravan parked in front of the home, where Gordon was repairing a water system and Hazel was watching him work. He began to kiss Hazel, pushed her onto a bed in the trailer. He withdrew a condom from his pocket and removed her clothing. He proceeded to sexually assault Hazel, who was 11 years old, a peri-pubescent girl. Notwithstanding the order to stay away from Hazel, the accused continued to meet and sexually assault her until early in On at least one occasion the accused had sexual intercourse with Hazel in a public park. The sexual relationship of Mr. Hunter and Hazel was disclosed early in the proceedings.

19 had sexual intercourse had sexual intercourse with
Hazel intercourse sexual intercourse had sexual intercourse had sexual intercourse with the accused had sexual intercourse with Hazel relationship sexual relationship the sexual relationship the sexual relationship of Mr. Hunter and Hazel the sexual relationship of Mr. Hunter and Hazel was disclosed

20 Kamloops man accused of procuring sex with child
(Vancouver Province Newspaper 2009) A 33 year-old man who allegedly wanted to purchase sex from a three-to-five-year-old girl remained in police custody Monday. The man was arrested Saturday night at a home in Kamloops where he went believing he was to meet a young child for sex. Police received a report from a person who said they had received a text message from the suspect. “The text allegedly asked the person to provide the suspect with a three-to-five-year-old girl for sex, and that he would pay for the service by way of a finder’s fee”, said Sgt. Scott Wilson. The man was arrested for procuring for sexual purposes under Sec. 212 of the Criminal Code. Wilson said the suspect is known to police and was charged with a sexual-related offence with a person under 12 years of age in He was convicted of sex assault in 1999, police added.

21 Sexual Intent and Violent Acts:
How False Descriptions Lead to False Inferences “wanted to purchase sex from a three-to-five-year-old girl” “believing he was to meet a young child for sex” “the man was arrested for procuring for sexual purposes”

22 Alternative: Re: Kamloops man
violate violate a young child abduct and violate a young child planning to abduct and violate a young child Intent: “planning to abduct and violate”

23 Colm O’Gorman “Beyond Belief” The context . . .

24 Colm O’Gorman: Beyond Belief
“The boy lies there, frozen. The covers move as the priest moves over and brings his hand down. He starts to masturbate the boy, who lies there motionless. And then in moments it is over. The confusion and urgency of the sexual charge that took me over and blurred all else has passed and there is only the shock and guilt of what has just happened. I am dizzy and frightened.” (49-50) “I felt so betrayed by my own body, which reacted to what was happening. I was sickened that I could become aroused and experience sexual pleasure at the same time as feeling terrified and disgusted. (49)

25 Colm confronts the Priest the next morning:
“’Father’, I say. ‘That can never happen again. It’s wrong’. He [Fortune] nods his agreement but doesn’t say anything. Instead he waits to hear what I will say next. ‘It shouldn’t have happened and I don’t know what to do. It’s so very wrong. I feel sick.’ He finally speaks just as I feel I’m about to burst apart with guilt and shame. ‘You’re right, of course you are right. It was wrong and must never happen again. You must never do such a thing again.’” (p. 51)

26 Priest springs the trap . . .
“Before long we were close to home Then Fortune said, ‘I’m worried about you. You have a problem.’ I froze and said nothing, too scared to speak. ‘I am a priest and I have a duty to do something about it’. My mind raced, I didn’t know what he meant by ‘do something’. I didn’t have time to think. We were moments away from home, from my parents. ‘I could talk to your father that might be best.’ I started to scream inside. Panic raced through me and the world started to spin. I wanted to escape, jump from the car, anything to get away from that awful moment. Anything to prevent what he said he might do. My father it would kill him to know what I’d done, what I was. He would die from shame.”

27 Response Based Practice Five Part Framework: The case of Colm O’Gorman
Social- Historical Context, Local Conditions Violence Adverse Actions Event Individual Collective Responses Social Responses Responses To Social

28 First account of sexualized assault:
He followed her down the sidewalk. He sped up to catch her. He grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her to the ground. He dragged her toward the bushes. He overpowered her and dragged her into the bushes. He held a rock over her head and threatened to kill her if she screamed. He called her degrading names. He forced his mouth onto her face. He tried to undo her belt. He grabbed at her pant legs to pull them off. He overpowered her and vaginally raped her.

29 Second account of sexualized assault:
He followed her down the sidewalk. She sped up. He sped up to catch her. She moved to the side. He grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her to the ground. She rolled on the ground to get away. He dragged her toward the bushes. She grabbed the roots of a tree so he couldn’t drag her into the bushes. He overpowered her and dragged her into the bushes. She started to scream. He held a rock over her head and threatened to kill her if she screamed. She stopped screaming. He called her degrading names. She said, “You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to hurt me.” He forced his mouth onto her face. She averted her face. He tried to undo her belt. She stuck out her stomach so that he could not undo her belt. He grabbed at her pant legs to pull them off. She crossed her ankles so that he could not pull off her pants. He overpowered her and vaginally raped her. She went to limp to avoid injury and went elsewhere in her mind.

30 Irish priest found guilty of child sex abuse in Australia.
Irish Times. Nov. 3, 2013 Egan (78), who worked as a priest and youth worker in several dioceses, was found guilty of repeatedly abusing girls aged 10 to 17. One attack he was convicted of was the indecent assault of a 10-year-old girl at St Martha’s Institution For Disadvantaged Girls in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt. “Father Egan pulled me onto his knee, he put his hands up my dress, pulled down my underwear and put his hands into my vagina,” the victim said. “I could feel he had an erection.” After Egan told the girl she had “beautiful hair”, she asked a nun to cut it off. “I thought if I didn’t have nice hair he wouldn’t be interested in grabbing hold of me,” she said. When the victim eventually told a nun about the sexual abuse by Egan, she was called a “filthy little liar” and forced to drink several doses of castor oil as punishment.

31 Irish Times cont’d Another victim told the court of being raped by Egan in a Catholic Church property at The Entrance, on the New South Wales central coast. “I actually tried to kill myself – I wanted to die,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to make it end. I felt in my heart that the only thing I could do was to kill myself. I was too scared that they wouldn’t believe me. A Catholic priest and a young girl? Back then you never heard about that stuff,” the now 59-year-old woman said. “I opened the door as the car was going He tried to grab hold of me He took me in his arms and said he was sorry,” she said.

32 Simple passive: Sue was hit by Bob. Agentless passive: Sue was hit.
From Clear to Obscure Active: Bob hit Sue. Simple passive: Sue was hit by Bob. Agentless passive: Sue was hit. Nominalization: An assault took place. Mutualizing: There was a domestic dispute. Centre for RBP

33 Public Service Announcements: Whitehorse, Yukon
Renee-Claude Carrier and Kaushees Place Scenario 1 I asked you to stop I tried to negotiate I screamed for help I turned my face away from yours I crossed my legs I stuck out my stomach I clutched a tree Then I went limp to avoid the pain And went to a safe place in my head Do you really question my resistance? The judge decided I consented. Nobody asks to be raped Stand with us for dignity and non-violence

34 Scenario 2 I’m 18 I’m homeless I have nowhere to go I sleep wherever I can Rape is often the cost of a roof over my head. I make sure that they don’t feed me too much booze I try to bring a girlfriend so we can watch over each other I make sure I go to sleep fully clothed I try to find a room with a door that I can lock This is how I attempt to stop it Do you really question my resistance? The judge decided I consented. Nobody asks to be raped Stand with us for dignity and non-violence

35 Thank you!!

36 Four Operations of Language
Conceals Violence Blames Victim Obscures Responsibility Conceals Responses and Resistance Centre for RBP


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