Friday, 10 October 2014

Respectability vs RESPECT: Part Two

This and this are connected.

Different women, separated by class, professional status, age, resources and geography.

The connection between these women: they shared an intimate and sexual space with men who did not respect them. These men, feeling unjustly deprived of 'their' entitlements,  deliberately and malevolently harmed and tried to injure them by exploiting the double standard about women's sexual expression that still persists in this 21st century.

In the case of *Nicole* and *Kim* in Halifax, the vindictive actions of a man who felt justified to impugn the respectability of his ex-lover, and to physically endanger her (and her house-mate) were documented by the victims.  Yet the crown attorney declined to pursue criminal charges for what *Adam* did.

As for Lori Douglas in Winnipeg, the first inquiry that thrust her into public view was dropped but a newly formed Canadian Judicial Council panel will be looking at her case - again.

There was one basic question that was never adequately addressed. Given that Douglas testified she had no knowledge of the proposition Jack King presented to his client — an 'invitation' for Chapman to have sex with her — nor had she consented to his initiative, was her spouse effectively trafficking her, and setting her up to be sexually assaulted as well?

It's a moot point now: King died last April, and that aspect of the complicated inquiry was dropped.

It appears to me that it is these women's respectability that is being judged, rather than the criminal actions of vengeful men.

Remember the Rehtaeh Parsons case?  Media attention put a spotlight on the reluctance of the RCMP to adequately investigate the multifaceted and unrelenting sexualized violence that led to her suicide. It forced the police to bring to justice those responsible for her harassment.

Once again, media attention has stirred the police into some semblance of action.  Kim and Nicole's criminal harasser may yet be brought to trial.

Douglas and her lawyers took legal recourse in order to expose the bullying tactics of the original CJC panel for what they were: unvarnished misogyny.

Last word: this exchange of tweets captures how women's respectability is viewed through a sexist lens and why women are challenging the double standard.

From @fortyfs' timeline, here.

Reminder: Respectability vs RESPECT: Part One.


Scotian said...

I would agree with your conclusion that both these cases are in essence connected by virtue of the victim being held to higher account than the victimizers, which is NOT the way we are supposed to operate in our society. What is happening to the two women from my home city is just disgusting to me, unfortunately not all that surprising given what I know about our municipal police force and their history. That Coast article well very detailed in its description and how anyone can possibly see that as anything other than utterly shameful conduct by our local police force is beyond me. Let alone trying to claim there is another side to the story/defending the ex-boyfriend.

Anyone that is not only willing to have their ex raped but to set up an innocent party to be the rapist believing that they are fulfilling a fantasy (yes, its a dark one, but many of us have them, at least this guy was careful in making sure he wasn't being set up/used, as it turned out he was) is clearly a criminal by any reasonable definition of the word, and a truly disgusting piece of slime as well. He was willing to not only traumatize her, but set up an innocent for equal trauma and criminal prosecution and potential jail, that takes an especial piece of filth (I am toning down the language I want to use) to do something like that. The inability of HPD do recognize just how horrific and clearly criminal this was speaks volumes, and none of it good, about how not just blame the victim mentality still thrives but in how violence against women outside of the immediately obvious beyond blinding oneself to appears to not get the serious treatment it requires.

As to the issue with the judge, there are only two ways I could see those pictures being grounds for dismissal. The first is if she knew they had been made public and neglected to tell the committee reviewing her application for the bench at that time (which from what I was reading does not appear to be the case). The second is if those pictures were made using her workplace as a setting, in which case she is misusing her professional place of work and the stature/respect the office requires and has crossed an important line, same would be true for any male judge doing the same, but that also does not appear to be the case here. So why is her job at risk? Because her credibility is somehow damaged? How exactly? Blame the victim in action once again.

Not the sort of reading I like doing on a Friday night, but reading needing doing nonetheless. I knew about the judge, but not the two local women. Thanks for making me aware of this.

deBeauxOs said...

Based upon the growing numbers of women who have been, and are currently being victimized in this way, it would be more apt to change the maxim to: Hell hath no fury like a man enraged at "losing" his entitlements.

Scotian said...

Ever since I was a boy there has always been one expression above all others that puts my teeth on edge, "bros before hos", and the fact that it still is so widely practiced is one of the greatest disappointments I have with the society I live in. I refuse to, and I refuse to let anyone get away with it in my surroundings, alas that can only spread so far, and too often I feel like an isolated case doing so. Being a white male who most perceive as straight (unless I tell them otherwise it is the default assumption, so I am in the so called old school dominant group and too often assumed to share those attitudes by both fellow "members" and those fighting them) puts me in the position of seeing this from the inside of the problem far too often, and the fact that I see almost as much these days as I did growing up in the 60s-70s into the 80s, well, the disgust that causes within me is beyond my capacity to describe (which given my noted verbosity and vocabulary should say something all in itself).

Hell hath no fury like a man whose self important entitlements to be the dominant asshole he believes himself to be God granted the right to be is scorned. That fits the reality far better than the older one. Most women I know are far more subtle in how they get their own back from those that wronged them than that male tantrum type behaviour we are discussing.

BTW, you have noted the inherent misogyny in that old cliche about the woman scorned, right? It is one of the reasons I dislike its use. Understanding the origin of words and expression in language has always been a bit of a hobby with me, so I tend to think about things like that far more often than most, and I do it not because I am following an agenda (like filtering for homophobia, misogyny, racism) simply because I am curious about it, which I think helps me catch some things others miss, and to not overreach on some others, the advantage of doing something like this for the sheer pleasure in doing it gives one a detachment perspective which makes one less likely to fall in either pitfall.

I will never understand the mindset of those who cannot understand that before all else we are all equally human beings, with different strengths and weaknesses, but all deserving of the same basic respect and consideration. In my life I've learned to intellectually understand the mindset of those who discriminate, but at the gut level I have never gotten it, and to be honest, never want to either. I was fortunate enough to be raised around those who did their best to be the best people they could be, and I am not going to waste their legacy.

deBeauxOs said...

Thank you, Scotian, for expressing your thoughtful reflections on this unpleasant issue, as well as sharing some of your own life experience.

These greatly-appreciated conversations with our DJ readers about misogyny and its varied manifestations is one benefit that flows from making the effort to stir the pot and see what coalesces.

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