Last year marked the first time that the “One Billion Rising” campaign against rape and gender-based violence was held in Second Life – and it met with remarkable success. The event was not a one-off; it will be held again, on February 14th 2014. I had the great honour of participating in and supporting this campaign last year, joining many great, well-respected people in Second Life (like Saffia Widdershins, Daniel Voyager, Inara Pey, Honour McMillan et al), and will gladly do so again.
Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect fame issued an announcement in the in-world “One Billion Rising” group. The announcement reads:
It is time to “RISE, RELEASE, DANCE for Justice” in support of this year’s One Billion Rising “V-Day” on 14 Feb 2014, a 24-hour global event to bring together women and men to raise awareness and stop the violence against women and girls around the world. Our team is working hard to complete the final details. There will be more announcements in the very near future for those who are interested in volunteering their time.
Make no mistake: Rape is a huge problem. Contrary to the sexist narration that is used to dismiss anti-rape campaigns, rape is not the problem of women who are “asking for it” (I’ve got news for you: NO woman is “asking for it”) or the problem of “hysterical feminazis”. It is the result of the rape culture, i.e. the result of an ongoing “education” and upbringing of the general population, teaching men and women to believe that:
- “Contrary to men,” women are genetically not equipped to be rational, and therefore are genetically inferior to men (see the discredited, pseudo-scientific Triune/Reptilian Brain theory used by misogynists to justify their ideology);
- Women are not entitled to have sexual desires – if they do, they are “sluts”, “whores” and “deserve to be raped”;
- Women are not entitled to be respected in their family, social and professional environment;
- Women exist only for “the 3Ks” of Nazi ideology (or, if you want its British equivalent, to be “Barefoot and pregnant“);
- Women are to blame for everything that’s wrong about society;
- Women are not supposed or allowed to demand better treatment and ought to shut the fuck up and take all the abuse, because that’s what they deserve – and all this because of the gender they were born in.
This is an atrocious mentality. Its result is that one out of three women on the planet will be beaten, sexually harassed and/or raped at least once in her life – and that’s not counting the unreported cases. Many rapes go unreported, not least because the police and judicial authorities are unwilling to believe the victim of a rape and basically put the victim on trial rather than the perpetrator. Part of the rape culture is even the jury screening that goes on in many courts, where a rapist’s lawyer seeks to exclude people who think rape is wrong from being part of the jury.
Rape is an atrocious crime that scars its victim for life. It’s designed that way. Rape is used by armies to subdue the civilians of an occupied country. It is used in jails to show other inmates “who’s boss”. It’s the most degrading and dehumanising form of violence. It’s a crime. It’s an atrocity. There is no excuse. Our societies have tolerated it for much too long and it’s time to put an end to it. Now.
Sadly, the prevalence of the rape culture in our societies means that far too many people don’t think rape is inherently wrong – or, they think that rape can be “justified”. For instance, if the victim was dressed “provocatively” or has sexual preferences outside the “acceptable for women” norm (which is a framework far stricter than what is acceptable for men), she is liable to be labelled as “asking for it” by a court of law and see her case dismissed and her rapist walk free, without even so little as a slap on the wrist. The One Billion Rising campaign seeks to raise awareness. To help women understand that they are neither alone nor the only ones. To educate men that rape is a risk for their mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, colleagues, granddaughters. To educate women to raise their sons to respect women and their daughters to not accept this mentality. And sadly, as I saw last year, there are even women willing to attack initiatives against rape and misogyny. There are women who raise their sons to become misogynists and even rapists. Women who raise their daughters to accept and embrace rape and violence as “what women deserve”. I really don’t understand why. Stockholm Syndrome? Unhealthy rivalry with other women? When it comes to explaining this phenomenon, I really am at a loss.
What matters is that, once again, we are all going to meet on February the 14th. To stand by each other. To rise against this heinous mentality and act. To let our friends and family members where we stand and why. The road is long and winding. The event will be a celebration and an eye-opener, as it was last year. But we must do a lot of work every day. In our families. In our schools. In our workplaces. In our societies.
Yes, it’ll be an uphill struggle. And that’s why we need you. To stand with us. To stand up for yourselves and for other women. For children. For girls. For boys. To demand an end to the immunity and impunity of rapists and the vilification of the victim. So, note the date: February 14, 2014. Stay tuned and join us!
- Saffia Widdershins’ posts regarding OBR
- Kinder, Küche, Kirche – Wikipedia
- Barefoot and pregnant – Wikipedia
- Stockholm Syndrome – Wikipedia
- Blog for One Billion Rising SL
- One Billion Rising in-world group
- Facebook Page for One Billion Rising SL
- One Billion Rising in SL on Twitter
- One Billion Rising in SL Flickr group
- Official One Billion Rising website
- One Billion Rising coverage on this blog
- One Billion Rising coverage by Inara Pey
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