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Supreme Court of India Orders To Block Rape Videos

In a very welcome move, the Supreme Court of India is acting against the publication and dissemination of rape videos

venerdì 12 settembre 2014

Rape Culture in the Alaskan Wilderness

One night a few years ago, when Geneva was 13, a man she’d grown up with stumbled into the room she shared with her two sisters in Tanana, Alaska, a tiny village northwest of Fairbanks, and climbed on top of her. He was stumbling drunk and aggressive.    
“He tried getting into my clothes,” she recalls. “He tried putting his hands under my shorts and inside my shirt.” She struggled and pushed, but he was years her senior and made of muscle; he pulled her on top of him. She kept pushing and yanking until she suddenly shot backwards and tumbled off the bed. “He was so blacked out, he was like still asleep; his eyes were closed,” she says. “I was watching his face, but his face didn’t move at all. His breathing was normal, but his hands…” She pauses, and the word hangs thickly in the air. “His hands felt like he was awake.

Afterward, she ran into the living room and burst into tears, stuffing her face into a pillow so her parents wouldn’t hear. She didn’t tell them, then; she was scared and ashamed. “I guess I just felt like I was dirty. I guess that’s what victims feel like. They feel dirty and just want to clean everything off.”  
The following summer, Geneva was fast asleep at her family’s fish camp downriver, while a group of adults drank and caroused in the next room. She awoke to someone tugging down her pants, reaching between her legs; she struggled and kicked, and he lumbered out of the room.
In fact, Geneva says, she’s been grabbed, chased, followed, and molested so much in her short life that she’s now made it a habit to lock the bedroom door at night and shove a chair under the knob so no one can come in; she’ll wait up, trembling, until everyone at a party is passed out cold before she can comfortably fall asleep. She’s learned to avoid being alone with friends’ dads, or with grandpas at village potlatches, or with boys at basketball games, who’ve repeatedly groped her breasts and buttocks. “It’s just random, like, you’ll think everything’s all normal and then you’ll feel something on your backside,” she says. “You just freeze.”
Geneva is a tall basketball player with bright eyes, rectangular black-framed glasses, and a wide, eager smile. She has no trouble listing accomplishments and affinities: She’s ambidextrous by choice, grew up doing all the rugged outdoor chores men do, raves gleefully over beloved local foods like fried moose heart and walrus in seal oil.
But for years, she felt scared, hypersensitive, and depressed. She never told her parents about the incident; she was too afraid of what would happen, and anyway, when she told one of her sisters, the only response she received was a dry laugh. “It happened to all of us,” her sister had said. “Just leave it alone.”
Growing up in Tanana, a town of 254, the prevalence of this kind of thing was common knowledge, but rarely discussed. Everyone knew the local elder who’d molested and raped his daughters and granddaughters for decades until he was arrested for touching another family’s girls; after four years in jail and another half dozen or so at a cabin downriver, he was back on the village tribal council. One of Geneva’s great aunts was molested and raped by an uncle for years; dozens of years later, the aunt’s grown daughter told her that the same uncle had molested her, too. Sometimes people pressed charges; most of the time, though, nothing happened. “These perverts travel from village to village, from potlatches to dances,” Geneva says. “And then they get drunk and you don’t know what they’re going to do.”
Then, last year, Geneva joined the Tanana 4-H club, a newly minted outlet for local youth of all ages to gather and play games and craft things like blueberry jam and beaver hats. It’s run by Cynthia Erickson, owner of Tanana’s general store and native of Ruby, a village 100 miles downriver. Erickson says she started the program because of suicide: Three years ago, there were six in Tanana. At first, she just wanted to give Tanana’s kids a place to do things with their hands, to go on field trips, to feel supported. But what began as a diversion quickly became a safe place for kids to share all kinds of traumas they were witnessing and experiencing: sexual and domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, death after brutal death. The discussions they’d have were rarely prearranged, Erickson says. Instead, the kids would launch the conversation by saying, “Did you hear what happened?”
Last fall, the group was asked to give a presentation at a statewide conference held by the First Alaskans Institute in Fairbanks. Instead of explaining how they’d come up with their anti-suicide pledge, the kids decided to share the reasons they’d needed one in the first place.
Geneva spoke about her own abuse and described in detail what has been horrifyingly typical for the people around her: A local woman who was gang raped until she could “barely walk.” A young boy who was sexually assaulted by an older man and later killed himself. Tribal elders who commanded respect, but whose behavior didn’t. “I’m still young and I’m already sick of it,” she said. “It’s happening in his house, in her house, even in your own bed.”
The presentation was met with a standing ovation, and it took the kids nearly two hours to make it from the stage to the back of the conference center, thanks to all the members of the audience who stopped to hug them, weep, pile up cash donations on a scarf on the stage, and tell them how proud they were. In some cases, audience members felt inspired to come out about their own abuse. One grandmother told Erickson she’d been raped and abused for so many years, and she’d held it in for so long, that that was the reason that she’d been so harsh to her children. After the presentation, she called her children and apologized to them.

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