Monday, January 11, 2016

The Cologne sex attacks

In the fall-out of the Cologne sex attacks which are being blamed upon immigrant culprits, many are now questioning the policy of admitting male migrants to Europe. So it was with some relief that the blog read this article bythe columnist Laurie Penny that highlighted the problem was not a national or racial one but a sexual one.

“So let me be clear: sexual violence is never, ever acceptable. Not for cultural reasons. Not for religious reasons. Not because the perpetrators are really angry and disenfranchised. There can be no quarter for systemic misogyny. And if we’re serious about that, there’s not a country or culture on earth that won’t have to take a long, hard look at itself. I stand with the many, many Muslim, Arab, Asian and immigrant feminists organising against sexism and misogyny within and beyond their own communities. Nobody seems to have thought to ask them how best to deal with systemic sexual violence - even though attacks on Muslim women have increased since the terrorist attacks in Paris last year.
The sensible thing to do in response to the Cologne attacks would be to call, as many German feminists are doing, for a far more rigorous attitude to rape and sexual assault across Europe. Instead, the solution on the table seems to be to clamp down on migration. That fits in with the shibboleth that only savage, foreign men and hardened criminals rape and abuse women - despite the fact that most rapes, in Germany and elsewhere, are committed by people known to the victim, and migrants have not been shown to be more or less sexually aggressive than any other group. As usual, white supremacist patriarchy only concerns itself with women’s safety and women’s dignity when rape and sexual assault can be pinned on cultural ‘outsiders’ ”

She continues:
"...Saying ‘sexism is also part of Western culture’ does not mean that the experience of women in the West is exactly the same as the experience of women in Middle Eastern dictatorships and war zones. Do you know why that is? Can you guess? It’s because the world is not divided into ‘things that are exactly the same as each other’ and ‘things that are total opposites.’ I actually can’t believe I’m having to explain this right now. I thought we covered this in kindergarten. Those of us who have moved beyond that level can, if we really try hard, understand that it’s not either ‘sexism is exclusively practised by Muslim men’ and ‘sexism is exactly the same everywhere.’ This is what we call a ‘false dichotomy’ when we get to big-kid school.
The oppression of women is a global phenomenon because patriarchy is a global phenomenon. It’s embedded in the economic and social structures of almost every nation and community on earth. Sexism and misogyny, however, look different across boundaries of culture and religion, as well as across divides of race and class and between generations…”

Penny goes on:
 “…The point is that misogyny knows no colour or creed, and perhaps it’s time we did something about that. We’re used to a society where a basic level of everyday sexism, sexual violence and assault is accepted. So if you're saying this act of violence isn’t entirely different from all of those, and if you’re saying that refugees should be treated the same as European citizens, you must be saying that everyone should get a free pass to treat women like walking meatbags, right?
 Wrong. It’s time to take rape, sexual assault and structural misogyny as seriously every day as we do when migrants and Muslims are involved as perpetrators. That means that, yes, refugees must learn to respect women as human beings. Citizens, too, must learn to respect women’s agency and autonomy. Men and boys of every faith and none must learn that they are neither entitled to women’s bodies nor owed to our energy and attention, that it is not okay, ever, to rape, to assault, to abuse and attack women, not even if your ideology says it’s okay. That goes for the men’s rights activists, the anti-feminists and fanatical right-wingers much as it does for religious bigots…”


Anonymous said...

Islam means submission. Why would any self-respecting feminist want to be a Stepford wife?

Anonymous said...

Was this not the unarmed version of false-flag terrorism? Perpetrated by the possibly very numerous Daesh moles among the refugees, because they are eager to discredit those who choose to flee in their many, many thousands, rather than live or die under their brand of clerically branded fascism? So eager that just last week in Syria these utter villains made a young recruit or conscript to their numbers murder his mother in public for trying to persuade him to flee Syria with her?

We are told that when the Mafia murder someone in public they find a patsy or two who are drugged, boozed-up, simple, or daft enough to stand up front and shoot, then get gunned down or caught while the real, trained marksmen stay in the background and slip away in the confusion. (Roosevelt escaped such an attempt; they say, while the Kennedys were not so lucky.) It is not hard to imagine a parallel scenario here.

As the son of a feminist mother I've always supported women's liberation, but couldn't this be possibly a case of something even more malicious and destructive in intent than it first appears? I mean, the Cologne assaults were surely basically politically not personally motivated. The sheer numbers and their concentration would tend to bear this out.

Your blog is an oasis of sanity -- keep up the good work. Best wishes.