The future of journalism funding

I have a funny feeling that I’ve written about this before – at the very least, I know it’s something that I’m concerned about and have thought about a lot, as someone who works in the journalism industry.

So, a brief post. Today, I was thinking about how news websites in the UK are largely not that good. In fact – dare I say it? They are terrible.

At work, whenever I have a spare moment, I have two news websites that I like to look at, that I always find interesting and engaging. Usually, it’s Foreign Policy, though I often feel the need to justify my FT subscription and I love reading that too. These two websites are American. In fact, I don’t really find any British news website that engaging or enticing to read. I don’t get excited when I type the URL in the address bar, in anticipation of what treasures and amazing analysis I might find.

I go to British news websites and find myself bored by the lacklustre design, the fact that I could get this information anywhere, and by the fact that they are really not that user-friendly. And actually, when I think about it, I realise that lots of the news websites (ie from newspapers) are essentially newspapers-on-the-internet. There is very little difference in content and form. Look at the Mail Online (if you dare) – the most successful news website here. Content and form is entirely different to the newspaper. In fact, I’d argue though there is a crossover, they are actually targeting different audiences.

I realise this is something I could go on about all day. I did my dissertation at uni on how consumers use twitter, and I think that the way the media runs now is far too abstract and removed from what users want. How can you sell them a product or convince them to read it if you don’t actually know what their preferences are; if you have no idea of what makes a website good, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing? I could actually write an entire dissertation about what news websites need to do to balance the need for money (whether through ad revenue or cost) and content – here’s a hint: it doesn’t even need to be split evenly between the three! You can be fully ad-funded and make money. You can be fully subscription-based and make money. The key is the balancing part.

I could write about it all day. So maybe I will. Not that I’m at university. I might just write a whole research piece on this and publish it as an ebook. Hold off the champers, this is a ‘maybe’, and we all know how terrible I am at keeping my promises… This blog raises just some of the questions we need to ask ourselves when looking at an uncertain future in journalism. The future of journalism isn’t entirely pessimistic, and we need to change our attitudes from ‘oh god no one is buying newspapers anymore’ to – ‘hey, we can charge for this newfangled ipad shit? Brilliant’

Innovation is key, with optimism a close second.

More than just ‘fat acceptance’

For those not in the know, ‘fat acceptance‘ is a movement that tries to change society’s attitudes towards fat people. A lot of fat people embrace this, and personally, following on from my tweets about being fat and the struggle with that sort of thing, I’m not sure it’s the answer really.

I could be totally wrong here but to me, there are basically two schools of thought:

1) I accept that I am fat. It is ok to be fat. When others are fat I feel better because I’m not alone.
2) I hate myself for being fat. Being fat is not ok. If others are fat it means they are unhealthy.

I think we should have a new school of thought:

Being fat is not something that defines me as a person – it is incidental to my existence. It is neither ok, nor not ok. I do not place a value judgement on other people who might be overweight, nor am I dismissive or unsympathetic to their concerns about their weight. I support those who want to lose weight, I support those who want to gain weight, and I support those who are happy as they are – whether medically/socially deemed ‘overweight’ or ‘underweight’. I place emphasis on personality and happiness over weight or size.

Ok, a bit long, but this is a kind of mission statement of sorts, so you have to bear with me.

I am trying to change how I feel about myself. I am trying to change these horrible feelings of ‘If I am fat, I do not deserve…’ ‘If I am fat I cannot do…’ ‘If I am fat no one will love…’ ‘If I am fat I will never be happy…’ I’m not even trying to change them into positives; I don’t think that’s going to work for me. I’m trying to make my weight and size something that is not an issue. Not a core part of who I am. I know it isn’t. It never has been! I am more than flesh, I am thoughts, feelings, ideas… I am more than a shape, I am a do-er, a giver… An active, constantly-evolving mind in a host of a collection of cells, and however large the sum of those cells is, the fundamentals underneath are never going to change so wholly as to warrant different treatment.

I’ve been working on it for a long while, it seems. For somebody who constantly thinks big (I don’t want to move out into London, but I would be fine with moving abroad, for example), for someone who is always looking for a big challenge and shunning the small ones, this is strange, to feel like on an issue that is so, so tiny, that I have made very little progress. The truth is that for me, it’s something that is going to take a long while. I have to undo the years of self-hatred that I’ve harboured. The years of feeling like I’ll never be good enough. How fucking long I spent telling myself that I couldn’t do things until I was thin. Time wasted, hating myself, wasted not appreciating how awesome I can be at any size. Wasted time that I could have spent actually doing everything I ever wanted to!

One thing I’ll always remember from the Fem11 Endangered Bodies seminar (my blog here) was that someone stood up and said that she obsessed over dieting and she told herself she would be able to do things when she was thin. She said she had promised herself ‘when she was thin’ that she would learn French, that she would travel, that she would become a whole new person who did things that she wanted to do, and who would be loved by everyone she met. This is how I have lived my life. Putting things off until the day that I step on the scales and I am the size that I am ‘supposed’ to be. The day that I look in the mirror at myself naked and say ‘I look pretty hot actually’. I told myself I had to wait because when I was thin, suddenly my life would undoubtedly become amazing, I would shed my shyness, I would become the Woman Everyone Wants To Love. This is no way to live a life, promising yourself the impossible. How are you ever going to be happy?

I made a promise to myself that I would endeavour to do these things that made me happy, whatever weight or size I was. I went to Dubai in May and for the first time in just under a decade, I went to a water park. Small steps, remember! I went swimming and god, I was so nervous. Everyone would stare at me, I thought, they would think ‘what a pig, taking up more space in the water’, ‘look how fat and ugly she is’. I actually spent the whole day talking to new people, laughing, playing around in the water by myself, enjoying the water slides, basking in the sunshine on top of the water, doing my own thing. I rocked that day, and I felt great afterwards, because I put on my swimsuit, I saw how fat I looked, and in spite of this, I took a deep breath and told myself: ‘Don’t care. Act like you own this place. You deserve to have fun too.’ I don’t walk around caring about what other people look like; why should anyone care about me?

I went indoor skydiving yesterday and that was similar, except I did feel bad. I couldn’t do as much as other people could – I instinctively attributed this to my weight and stature, not to, say, my lack of ability in the skydiving department! I didn’t even think that perhaps I had just been with a pretty talented bunch of people with a natural gift for skydiving! So, ok, I didn’t deal with it so well. I was upset, and I hated myself. Sometimes life doesn’t go your way – you envision it so strongly that the reality can not really match up.

I’m trying very hard to see past this, to give myself a break from all the self-hatred and guilt-tripping. Sometimes I need chocolate. Sometimes I am just being greedy. Does it matter? I’m not perfect, and yes, I need to lose weight. I’ve always maintained I’ll lose weight when I’m happy (I tend to sad-eat) and I honestly believe that. But if I can’t see a way to ignore my own weight for the time being, and enjoy myself in spite of it, then I’ll never find happiness. Which means I’ll never lose weight, and I’ll go on forever gaining weight and hating myself and then no one else will like me and then I’ll sad-eat myself to death. Umm, maybe even literally!

Fat acceptance isn’t my way forward, because I don’t believe that my being-thin-ness will fix much, and I don’t as such believe that simply accepting that I am ‘fat’ is key. But seeing myself as a real, 3D personality; as something more than just ‘fat’, and seeing ‘fat’ness as a genuine irrelevance to me as a person… That really is. Defining myself in different terms and consequently allowing myself the opportunity to be happy, the chance to love life and to be loved in life… That is going to make a huge difference to my life.

Pro-sex *and* pro-porn?

I was busy writing about traveling when I suddenly found (don’t ask how) this piece on Make Love Not Porn, a project by Cindy Gallop which aims to put the romance/love back into porn and make it reflect real sex.

I read it with interest… I suppose I come from the school of thought that while porn as is is quite damaging for young people, banning things outright/censorship of ideas and products is not really the way to go… I’m perhaps more liberal than radical on this (and I had so enjoyed my swift move into radicalism without the cissexism) and I realise that isn’t likely to win me many fans.

Apparently Cindy describes herself thusly:

“Pro-porn, pro-sex, pro-knowing-the-difference”

I can’t help but feel that that’s probably the most god damn sensible thing I’ve heard a woman say about porn in… Well, quite a long time.

So Cindy’s solution is Make Love Not Porn – she encourages people to upload videos of themselves having sex and enjoying it… The idea is that by mainstreaming ‘true’ sex, people will be more exposed to the truthfulness of sex, even the really embarrassing parts, or the awkward moment when you have to put a condom on and you get bored of waiting. Or when you fall on to the floor. Or dent the wall with the bed. Mistakes and things going wrong are what makes sex real, and what makes sex enjoyable. I suppose the idea is to show what sex really means and how you can enjoy it – ie there is no particular way, not least that porn hardly represents the sexual experiences of many. Things like having a hairy body, being fat, or being blonde, or being a mother… These things are not a ‘fetish’, they are a fact of life – the beauty of sex is that we are all different, surely?

The really really big problem that we have in the UK with sexuality and porn and young people is a complex narrowing of clashing cultural and moral guidelines, but boils down to : 1) woeful sex education; 2) prominence and mainstreaming of porn; 3) particularly, mainstreaming of violent porn/images of women being degraded; 4) slow-burning low-level sexism.

I kind of like this idea actually, but its success relies on actually taking off and becoming mainstream or becoming a competitor to currently existing porn sites; such that it’s easy to find or is publicised enough to expose younger people to real sex and not pornified versions of it. It’s a new approach to an old way of thinking: let’s teach kids about sex! But they don’t get sex education from school – they get it from their peers. Younger generations access and approach the internet/life in a different way to older generations – they don’t need to experience sex to feel like they know it.. Broadly speaking, they navigate their world through likes and shares and retweets and constant engagement online. Her focus on the social aspect is something that I think could actually make a difference and I’m intrigued about how it develops in the future.

A time to recover, and a time to heal

Some of you who have known me for a while will know that – much to a lot of people’s dismay! – I learned the first level of Reiki last year. (See this post for background info)

Since then – very recently – my gran has passed away, as has my uncle (in fact just under a week later). When she was ill, she was under the ‘care’ of two community organisations – the hospice that they both were in at the end, and a cancer support centre that, thankfully, was very close to the both of them geographically.

I’d been thinking for a while-and I’d mentioned to my gran, actually – that I wanted to help out at the support centre. The hospice is too far away to go regularly, and frankly, from the memories of going there and seeing my gran, I don’t think I could reasonably be there and provide a service for others going through the same thing. I just couldn’t be there and not think of her and be upset.

It so happens that I had wanted to do Reiki level 2 anyway – level 2 qualifies you as a practitioner which means you can charge for sessions if you want, and you learn more complicated things. You are allowed to perform Reiki on others, basically, which is what I’d wanted to do: I have had a bit of experience with family members (all of which were positive experiences and actively helped) but I think sometimes with people who are close to you, emotions get in the way. I never did any on my gran because I didn’t feel it appropriate. But I did do some on my sister’s partner, and he felt it helped him sleep better and eased the pain he was having. From genuine, personal experience I think it absolutely helps. Whether it’s the Reiki, or the relaxing, or whatever… It works, without a doubt in my mind.

So – you see where I’m going with this… I feel so grateful to the hospice and the centre that they made my mum’s life easier by helping with paperwork and explaining the legal processes one goes through in illness and death. The woman who runs the centre has been a pillar of strength for her; on the end of the phone, helping out where she could – she even came to my uncle’s funeral last week. I have been trying to work myself up, actually, to do voluntary work because I think it’s a great thing to do, but I lost confidence and I was pretty busy with everything – first work, then my gran – and even now the dust hasn’t settled, though I feel better than I have been.

I mentioned volunteering somewhere last year, or months ago, before we even knew my gran was ill, and I couldn’t honestly think of somewhere I felt a connection with that I could reasonably help out with. For example, I would love to help out at a rape crisis centre: I think they provide an invaluable service – but I just couIdn’t do that right now. For me, it would be too much to handle. A bit wimpy, maybe, but I think rape survivors deserve someone who can be strong for them in their time of need, not someone who will hear their story and burst out crying in empathy (i’ve always been far too empathetic!)… But I really feel like this is the time and place. I’d like to give something back, in memory of and on behalf of my gran. Even if I can’t do Reiki (which is a possibility), I can do administrative work, or… I don’t know. Befriend people. Something. I need to give something back; to try and make something innately positive out of something so heartbreaking and negative; to give people comfort in their darkest moments, as I know first-hand how much it can help.

I don’t know if I am completely ready to close this chapter of my life – to move from recovering and healing, to helping and healing others – but I think I will be soon. Fingers crossed.

Mooncup adventures

Menfolk and ladies of a delicate nature – look away now, this post is not for you.

Down to brass tacks then – I decided after a whole load of umming and aahing to purchase a moon cup about, oooh *looks through emails* Yup…Four months ago. I’d read a few things about it – most notably in another feminist’s blog (‘Me and my menstrual cup‘) – and the women in my feminist facebook group totally raved about it. In excitement, when I got it, I ripped it open straight away. I tried to fit it in. For about ten minutes. I stopped fiddling around, pulled it up and stared at it. It stared back at me nonchalantly. “How the hell is THIS supposed to go in THERE?” I thought to myself (and later tweeted, natch). This was actually reminiscent of when I first tried a tampon. I was away from home, on my own, having never been told what I’m supposed to do, and I tried and tried until I was exhausted and I cried and then I decided that frankly if it was that much hassle to go swimming when one is a woman, then I just won’t bloody well bother, and the whole world can go to hell. In short, I tried it and I gave up and it has been sat in my room ever since, because I was basically traumatised by the whole experience. I don’t know what I could compare it to. Maybe it’s like trying to get a crayon into your ear. It bloody hurts and it feels wrong and you wonder why you don’t just keep it as a decorative ornament and pretend it was designed for that.

Hey – it even comes in a pretty little bag! You can put this on your mantelpiece and no one will ever know what it is!

I tried it again the other day, having reasoned that there’s really no point in purchasing some fantastic money-saving object if I am just going to simply not use it. It was weird, I guess – it’s bigger than a tampon, for sure, and much more difficult than using an applicator tampon. Where once that seemed difficult, it now is like second nature to me. I can do it in mere seconds. Rip package, pull plastic bit back, insert, push plastic bit in, sorted. But I have always felt a bit weird about the fact that the routine way to deal with being a woman and naturally bleeding every month is to stuff a bit of a bleached cotton up your vagina, as if I am a faulty pipeline. This obsession with hiding menses away and pretending it doesn’t exist is a bit shit and I think it’s symptomatic of a male-dominated society. We don’t want to talk about the fact that every single woman in the world – more than half the population of the planet in fact – bleeds on a monthly basis, and that this is actually crucial to our ongoing survival. It’s all a bit, ‘really it’s women’s problems so um just go over there and plug yourself up, there’s a nice girl’.

Tampons. A relic of the past.

What’s different about the moon cup is that I think it’s designed by women. It really, really tells. Instead of stuffing something up there to plug it like a horrifying DIY fix which in the process dries out the vagina and basically causes discomfort, and instead of making a mess with sanitary towels/pads, it simply collects the blood and you clean it out every so often.

It surprised me how clean it is, actually. It is really, really clean. Because of the size and shape of the cup (you can get different sizes, by the way) it sticks right to the inside of the vaginal wall, creating a seal which means that nothing gets out- or in. I’ve used it at night, and because of the whole seal/vacuum business, it’s an absolute dream – I can’t be the only one who had to live with The Fear of waking up to find that I’d stained yet another sheet because the stupid tampon doesn’t do its job well enough. I dreaded going round friend’s houses when I was on but felt I couldn’t say anything, and just prayed that I wouldn’t wake up drenched in blood. It’s little things like that that can really ruin a girl’s life, you know? Now I won’t worry anymore because I can take this anywhere with me and I don’t have to worry about counting out how many tampons I need for a trip away, I can just use the moon cup (as long as I can guarantee that there’s some way of cleaning it, which is the tricky part). The other thing about the cleanliness – absolutely no sign when you go to the loo that you’re on your period, because it’s ‘collected’ separately and there shouldn’t be a leak. I always hated seeing blood in my urine – partly because it obscures a very good signifier of illness or wellness, and partly because…ew. Now? Nope.

Now to the process of taking it out… Very difficult – the first time I yanked it out using pure force (how I didn’t vacuum-suck half of my insides out, I don’t know) and ended up throwing it down the toilet bowl. Rookie mistake. But then the next time I pulled till I got it to the edge (you kind of get to a point where you can ‘feel’ when it’s almost there), and then squeezed it a bit, at which point the seal broke, and then I could remove it quite carefully, avoiding any spill. I sort of imagined it to be quite a horrifying experience staring into the cup, but actually I find myself fascinated with the contents once it’s used. How much you bleed, the colour of the blood – these are things that didn’t really occur to me to be important before. I just kind of bled and ignored the specifities, but it’s interesting to finally be face-to-face with something you are systematically removed from as much as possible. And something that is very much an incredibly important part of you and a very good indicator of healthiness! I had actually thought I had really heavy, ‘bad’ periods, but it would appear I don’t! I think it’s really surprising how little you bleed – when you have something so small (a tampon) absorbing it, of course it’s going to leak and get full… the Mooncup doesn’t. In my experience.

I’ve heard the moon cup actually helps reduce the length of periods, and from one period I can say I totally see this being correct. It doesn’t cause dryness because it’s silicone as well. I think the pros are that *generally*, when it’s in, it’s in, and I don’t have to worry about it – though rinsing it out in public toilets is problematic. Cons? Well, it’s difficult to put in (and in my very limited experience, though I hope it’s not like this for everyone, it actually hurts sometimes if I don’t get it in smoothly, and continues to irritate me for a while afterwards) and difficult to get out. There is a certain knack to it. Plus the issue that is currently bugging me is, emptying it while out and about/using public toilets is irksome – I want to rinse it but where sinks and toilets are separate this is difficult…

One thing I would say to anyone trying it is do not instinctively cut the stem. I still have the whole stem, because for some reason (and this will be different for everyone!) mine gets really comfy and goes upwards, making it difficult to retrieve. When I first struggled to remove it, I had visions of going to A&E and explaining to a doctor that I had a mooncup stuck up my vagina because I was too overenthusiastic. Some women find that the stem is uncomfortable. Try it a few times and see what’s right for you, just don’t for heaven’s sake cut the stem before you’ve given it a good go and you’re sure of the length you need it.

If the rest of my experiment goes well then I honestly think this is something that should be a) advertised to young girls as an alternative, or; b) freely available/given away to young girls at school. It’s tricky to get the hang of, but so far, so good, and I’m going to try and see if I can convince friends to try it out too! It’s less likely to cause you problems like TSS, it’s environmentally friendly, saves loads of money (I’d calculate it but it’s late and i can’t be bothered to figure out how expensive it is to be a woman), and is more comfortable to use in the long-run.

*Super impressed feminist face* LONG LIVE THE MOON CUP AND MENSTRUAL FREEDOM.

The long and short of it

My gran is dying. There is no ‘hope’. There is no ‘maybe’ about it.

I have to keep telling myself this, because people keep telling me to keep hoping. And sometimes I forget, and I sort of assume that in a few weeks everything will be back to normal and that I’ll be able to drive to my gran’s house and see her, that we’ll have lunch together and I’ll tell her about my life and she’ll moan about something-or-other and make me laugh.

But she won’t. I’ve been trying to see her in between my work schedule but it’s so hard. I feel like all of my time, if I’m not working, is spent worrying about her, or everyone else in my family. My cousins, who are having to contend with the fact that their father (ie my gran’s son) is also dying. My mum, who until today, was at my gran’s house looking after her until she got so scared she had to arrange for her to be taken into the hospice. Everyone’s life is on hold, but you know that it has to carry on.

No one ever tells you that caring about someone until their last breath is tiring. Just exhausting. I don’t know why, and I’ve not even had the brunt of it, but I am shattered. I am so done. Emotionally, physically. So fucking done. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to leave the house except to see her. I don’t want to have to deal with anyone. I don’t want to talk. I don’t really want a hug. I want everything to be fine again. Or at least for it to stop hurting. For her to stop looking so ill, so frail. She has deteriorated so fast. Now she barely talks. She barely opens her eyes. I feel stupid just standing there staring at her, knowing that she wants to die.

I think part of it is that, honestly, with every death you go through, you learn to hold the remaining people much closer to your heart. You treasure them and you try and stop arguing, you try and stop seeing all the flaws and making sure you see the good parts. I went through a death when I was much younger – I didn’t know my other grandparents (the other side both died before I was born, and my grandad, who I still picture as Father Christmas, died when I was four) but my mum’s friend Frank was basically a surrogate grandfather to me. He was there my whole life, he died when I was around 14, and I will always regret my whole life, not being nice to him in the weeks before he died (stroppy teenager syndrome!) and not going to his funeral. I wanted to go but wasn’t allowed – it’s complicated. But I finally said my goodbyes to him about six years later. I stood in the crematorium before his ashes and I cried and cried and I said how sorry I was and how much I missed him. Like something out of a really terrible film.

The funny thing is I never liked my gran. She didn’t like young children, and I think a part of her resented that I was so close to Frank. When I slept round his, I slept like a baby. When I slept round hers, I would wake her up screaming and kicking in the night and she couldn’t comfort me no matter what she did – eventually I stopped sleeping around there because I couldn’t sleep and I hated her. After Frank died, I realised how precious life was and I was determined to not go through the same thing with my gran. I realised I needed to be nicer, more understanding; after all, she wouldn’t be here forever.

I am so glad that I had the chance to get to know her. That I grew to like her and love her, and that we had so many good times together. We went on holiday and all of that, and I think at the end of it all, you could say that she had a pretty good life. I actually wanted to speak to her about her life, and get it recorded down (if you’ve followed this blog for a while you might recall the Gran Project post I wrote last year – I felt too sheepish to ask her directly, and now I’ll never get to).

I saw my aunt today for the first time in ages – she’s been living in the hospice because my uncle is in there too and has been for the last fortnight. I just cried on her and spoke to her about how I was feeling. I said to her that it made me sad I had realised I wouldn’t go out to lunch with my gran anymore. She said that no one can ever take the memories away and that even when she’s gone I can think back and giggle to myself about the funny things she used to say. I’m sure that’ll be a comfort to me in a few months, and when I’m feeling more rational. Right now I am just paralysed by shock and grief – six weeks ago my gran was fine, driving her car around, going out to lunch, etc – I feel sad, I feel sick, I am exhausted. I am supposed to be going to work tomorrow, but my head hurts so much, I can’t stop crying or feeling sad, and I can barely think straight.

Every time is the ‘last time’. Every time she gets worse. Every time I leave and I cry. Every time I am torn between wanting an end to the suffering and wanting her to stay here because I absolutely adore her. But she’s not really herself anymore. It’s so hard. It hurts so much. And I don’t really know what else I’m supposed to do. So I wrote it out.

A few home truths

And you’re not going to like them.

- If you are a journalist, you should never become the story.

- If your organisation cannot survive and continue functioning as normal without one of your members of staff, then there is something very wrong with your organisation. Has anybody seen any leaks from WL of late? I haven’t.

- Most rape cases are not pursued as heavily as this, and this is to the detriment of all women everywhere, especially survivors.

- Women have lied about rape in the past. And probably will do in the future. But it is not in the interests of a civilised and equal society to assume that all women lie about rape or must have some ulterior motive. Innocent until proven guilty also applies to victims.

- On the other hand we should be dilligent when we suspect people are being pursued for ulterior political motives. Again, it is not in the interests of a civilised and equal society to suppress free speech and transparency.

- It is possible to believe that rape victims are not liars and simultaneously believe that using something like rape to pursue a political goal is a bad thing to do and very dangerous for activists everywhere.

- Ultimately, this combination of facts falls down to needing to find a balance: If, hypothetically, someone has raped a woman, yet they have also irritated several governments by leaking less-than-pleasant information about them, then how far do we go to protect one principle over the other?

- If we pursue the line that they are absolutely a rapist, then there is the risk that they might come to harm as a result of governments wanting revenge.

- If we pursue the line that actually, freedom of speech matters, then we are essentially setting a worrying pattern in place (not even a precedent – this has happened before), that says that women who claim they have been raped are automatically liars, and not to be trusted.

It would make the world very ugly indeed – and very dangerous for women particularly – and I think for a case so high-profile, this would set women’s liberation back several decades. Like I need yet another reason to worry about my safety, simply because I am a woman.

Given what has been said so far, there is very little room for doubt in my mind as to his actions amounting to rape. I have read that his lawyer, on his behalf, gave his side of the story, which was that he slept with a woman while she was sleeping. It is not possible to consent to sexual intercourse when you are asleep, as consent can only be given when one is awake, conscious, sober, and compos mentis. It is rape. But people keep arguing about this as if one, while asleep, could actively give the go-ahead for a fuck. So really, what we are left with is simply arguing technicalities over what constitutes rape (seriously? Again? Why don’t you go and read the law on what consent is?) and deciding how much we agree with one principle over the other.

It is terribly sad that there is of course a huge amount interest in this case because of who he is – this is a testament to how utterly shit it is for the thousands – millions perhaps – of women who are raped around the world and do not live to see justice served. Because rape victims essentially do not matter and are seen as collateral damage in a patriarchal society. We can ignore it if we single out men who are rapists as ‘insane’ or somehow not normal, for example. That way, we don’t need to bother to actually address the fact that a lot of the messages we see and hear in our society – yes, right here, in the western world – are actually supporting and encouraging violence against women. Or at the very least, not decrying it for the horror that it is.

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